Enhancing children’s social and cognitive development through play space design

Enhancing children’s social and cognitive development through play space design

Authors: Aliaa M. Kamal and Hisham S. Gabr


The purpose of this study is to explore the design of outdoor play spaces in Cairo that provide an enjoyable play experience, along with opportunities for enhancing child social and cognitive developmental skills through play features incorporated in their play spaces to achieve this goal.

The study adopts a qualitative methodology to examine the effectiveness of natural, customized and elevated features on social and cognitive play behaviors of 6-8 year-olds. Data were gathered in three different play settings; a play space inside a social club, a park and a schoolyard. Data gathering relied on observations, written descriptions of play patterns and recordings of children's conversations. Additionally, the researcher utilized sketching diagrams to illustrate children's preferences for play with each feature.

The results of the study indicate that incorporating natural, elevated and customized play features into children's play spaces can enhance their environment and provide opportunities for fostering their social and cognitive skills.

Research limitations/implications
This study reports the occurrence of indicative behaviors and not the exact measurement of skill development. Research involving children can have limitations in terms of reliability of results due to slight variations affected by unmeasurable circumstances.

The study makes a valuable contribution towards enhancing the quality of children's play spaces in Cairo by emphasizing the significance of providing opportunities for social and cognitive in addition to physical play.

Archnet-IJAR: International Journal of Architectural Research