It is a well-known fact that for children, play is learning. This is exceedingly demonstrated when kids play mini-golf. There are so many educational benefits that for kids, it should be called “maxi-golf!”
The most apparent benefit is the physical activity of playing mini-golf. It has been said that a golfer can burn up to 350 calories in one hour of playing golf. Children may or may not need to burn calories for weight loss, but they do need to burn off energy so that they can concentrate during times of quiet study. Playing mini-golf gives kids the opportunity to walk off the energy, swing a golf club, chase a ball, and chase their friends around the course. The walking is constant enough that it can provide a good solid cardiovascular workout for a typical child. Swinging a club works the large muscle groups in the arms, while squatting and bending work the large muscles of the legs as well. Obviously where a mini-golf course is concerned, the larger the better when it comes to a good physical workout for kids. The best physical activity is possible if the course also has multiple levels that must be reached by climbing steps, and inclines. Look for a large multi-level course if you want to provide the maximum physical benefits for your children. The other major advantage of kid courses it the fact that most are outside. Kids need the fresh air and sunshine, and a mini-golf course is one great place for them to receive this needed health benefit. An added value to the physical activity is the good night’s sleep a kid will get after playing an afternoon of golf.
There are educational benefits also when children play golf. First and foremost is the hand-eye coordination required to play. This translates into better reading and thinking. Secondly the logic required for kids to adjust their swing as they shoot for the target also helps children learn to think. They also unconsciously acquire decision making tools at the same time. Adult interaction will exponentially increase the learning benefits of kids playing golf. The best mini-golf courses have themes, usually a geographical or historic theme. Even those that have a theme set in fantasy or fiction lend themselves to creative thinking. An adult, be it teacher or parent can – with creative questioning- cause a child to imagine, create, and dream as they observe their surroundings. By asking questions throughout the game about the surroundings, an adult can help the child become intentional with observation. Later, creative writing assignments can springboard from an afternoon of golf. Even math skills can be taught strategically. Using the ‘par’ for each shot, a kid can perform simple math; addition and subtraction based on their shots, or more sophisticated mathematical functions such as probability and percentages. Mini-golf is often therapeutic for those kids who have trouble concentrating. The very nature of playing golf demands a higher level of concentration.
An overlooked benefit of kids playing mini-golf is the social skills that can be built. Kids are naturally competitive. But golf is about competing with oneself, eliminating the feuding that can often happen with team competition. Kids playing in a group have ample time to socialize and interact with each other as they wait for those ahead of them to play through. It also teaches patience and tolerance, especially with a savvy adult’s guiding comments. Playing mini-golf with the kids can bring families together because it allows time for real conversation away from television, computers, and cell phones. Parents should take advantage of this by refraining from using their own cell phones. Teachers who bring their entire class to play may find unlikely friendships forming as children mingle together, often talking to kids other than their usual best friends.
There’s just something about a beautiful day, friendly competition, and fantastic surroundings that promotes physical, mental and social activity. Parents take your family. Teachers take your class. Mini-golf provides all this for kids.
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by Jim Parker L