An expression swing is bringing big smiles to the faces of parents and children at Kay Park in Kilmarnock.
The special swing, which was provided thanks to £4000 of funding from Fields in Trust, is the first of its kind in Scotland and allows children and adults to swing together, face to face.
Research shows that the expression swing helps to develop strong emotional bonds through intergenerational play. Rather than adults pushing the child, they can now swing together which encourages meaningful, social play.
And here comes the science bit.
When adults and children make eye contact during play, something special happens. The positions of the brain that are responsible for balance, coordination, thought and language are stimulated. Scientists call this ‘play attunement’ and have identified it as critical in the development of a parent/ child bond.
Councillor Eòghann MacColl, Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities said: “Play is a big part of any child’s life and parents and carers have a key role encouraging children to have fun, laugh, interact and explore the world around them. The Council organises events like Playday and Celebrate East Ayrshire, which I have attended with my boys, and these events provide opportunities for children and adults to have fun together.
“Opportunities to play are available every day though in our wonderful parks. The Play and Early Intervention team from Vibrant Communities and colleagues from Outdoor Amenities worked together to apply for funding for the expression swing which has added a new opportunity for intergenerational play within Kay Park.”
Helen Griffiths, Chief Executive of Fields in Trust, said: “We know how important parks and playing fields are for children and families. They are places to relax, play sports or hold community events. Ensuring they are around for future generations is a top priority so we are delighted that we have been able to protect these valuable assets for the long-term and to fund the improvements with a Fields in Trust County Fund grant.”