It’s hard to imagine a school without a playground.
This is a key area of the whole facility, giving children a place to run around, let off steam and enjoy themselves while on breaks.
As a consequence, every school needs to have some equipment for its playground. The question is, why is this so important? Why do school playgrounds need a diverse array of
equipment for the kids to enjoy?
When you take a step back and look at the benefits of playground equipment, it’s very easy to see why it’s so essential…
Encourages Physical Activity
Children need to be physically active to help them develop into strong young adults in the future.
Sitting inside all day is not going to be good for their bodies in the long run. So, school playground equipment gives them a chance to exercise and partake in physical activities
every single day.
From climbing frames to outdoor sports equipment, there are lots of things you can put in a playground that gets kids moving around and improving their health.
Helps Develop Social Skills
Likewise, playgrounds are a fantastic place for children to develop their social skills.
They can spend the whole break time playing with other children, but the beauty of the playground is that it lets them interact with kids from different classes.
Plus, certain playground equipment encourages socialising more than others. For instance, a lot of imaginative play equipment encourages kids to play in groups, which is
great for developing common social skills as they grow up.
It also helps them make new friends, which is so important for a young child at school – especially if they’re new and have recently moved from elsewhere.
Enables Learning Outside Of The Classroom
Playgrounds aren’t just for playing and having fun, they can also be used to encourage learning outside of the classroom.
Adding some playground markings to a school playground can let kids play certain educational-based games that might include counting, puzzles and so on.
Alongside this, items like seesaws and swings can also encourage learning in a different way.
These items often need multiple people to work together for them to work properly, therefore, they encourage kids to develop teamwork skills with others!
Finally, playground equipment can improve creativity in young kids.
It’s a chance for them to run around pretending they are in the middle of a battle while playing on a large pirate ship. They can conjure up so many imaginative stories while
roaming the school playground, and this can translate back to their work.
It sparks creativity in their brains, which is always an important thing for children to have.
Ultimately, every school needs playground equipment to give kids the complete school experience.
It helps them remain fit and healthy, make new friends & improve social skills, learn outside of the classroom and improve their creativity.
This is why it’s so important that schools don’t just have playground equipment, but they have a diversity of items to ensure the kids see all the benefits.
By definition, a playground is a place for children to play and have fun.
It’s a key area of every school and there are local playgrounds open to members of the public as well.
Some playgrounds are inherently different from others, but what items can you typically expect to see in one?
Usually, you can split playground equipment up into a few different categories:
- Climbing & Activity Equipment
- Freestanding Equipment
- Imaginative Play Equipment
- Outdoor Sports Equipment
- Play Towers
- Swings, Springs & Spinners
- Trim Trails
Of course, within each category, there are different individual pieces of equipment you might find in a playground such as…
Climbing & Activity
This includes anything that kids can use to climb, such as climbing walls, climbing frames and the classic jungle climbers with rope bridges, etc.
They’re designed to help kids unleash their inner explorer and adventurer!
Most likely to be found in school playgrounds, this includes things like sandpits, mud kitchens, role play areas and much more.
Sheltered areas with seating can also come under this heading, allowing places for children to come together as a group and have lessons outside.
Imaginative Play Equipment
A really fun category that’s full of playground items that spur a child’s imagination.
We’re talking pirate ships and boats, playhouses and dens, stationary vehicles – the list goes on and on.
The aim is for kids to take these items and come up with their own imaginative adventures while they’re playing.
Outdoor Sports Equipment
This includes a wide range of playground equipment that allows kids to play a variety of sports.
A common inclusion in many playgrounds is a basketball hoop, but you can also add goal ends and sports walls for kids to play football in the playground as well.
There are even wall panels that can display cricket wickets, showcasing just how many sports can be played in a playground with the right items on display!
Sometimes, play towers can come under the imaginative play equipment heading.
However, they do exist as a category on their own because they provide kids with so many different ways of having fun.
A typical play tower could consist of a castle with a climbing wall on one side, a pole on the other, a rope bridge and a big slide.
It’s normally the centrepiece of a playground and the main area where kids want to play.
Swings, Springs & Spinners
You can have all manner of different swings in a playground for kids to use as they please.
Spinners and springs refer to items that rotate around or bounce up and down.
Seesaws come under the spring heading, and you can have those little rocking horses/animals on springs as well.
Finally, you have trim trails. These consist of little trails for children to make their way through.
It can include hanging ropes, rope bridges, monkey bars and so much more. They’re designed to test kids and build both strength and confidence.
Not every playground needs all of these items in it, but you usually see a collection of them in one place. Or, you can have playgrounds that are focused on one particular
category – such as one that just has sports equipment or only has trim trails. The beauty of playgrounds is that they are so diverse and can be made with many amazing items!
There are a lot of different components that come together to create a great school.
One thing you need to consider carefully is the outdoor environment you provide for children. After all, encouraging outdoor play is critical.
The best way to do this is with fun and high-quality school sports equipment.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular types of school sports equipment so that you can get a better understanding.
A MUGA pitch
There is only one place to begin, and this is with a MUGA pitch. This is an amazing way of transforming your outdoor play space.
These game spaces feature equipment pieces, such as sports target panels, which are designed to promote various kinds of creative play.
This includes catching and throwing practice, as well as motor skills and general movement development. A MUGA pitch is a great choice because it is suitable for children of all ages.
Sports Walls and Goal Ends
Sports walls and goal ends are ideal for outdoor spaces.
You can facilitate creativity and fun while children learn through playing. From goal ends to multi-use game areas, these items can help you to create an outdoor area that has plenty of different opportunities for kids.
Outdoor Gym Equipment
It goes without saying that children’s play differs massively when compared with adult play. After all, children have exceptionally high levels of energy, so they need to be able to climb, jump, and run.
At the same time, no child is going to want to go on a treadmill or lift weights, are they? That’s why you need to team up with professionals who can deliver excellent outdoor gym equipment for your school playground such as Creative Play.
Out of all of the different types of school sports equipment that is available, there is no denying that colourful sports markings are some of the most popular.
This is because they are flexible and cost-effective, helping you to transform an outdoor area into a fully-fledged sports facility. You can create official-looking markings such as football goals and foul lines, as well as vibrant fun designs like arrows and goal posts.
If you want to create an informal yet organised playground for children, sports markings give you the ability to do so in an easy and quick manner. Plus, their affordability is a great draw as well.
If you are looking to add an extra wow factor to a larger project, then sports markings won’t let you down.
So there you have it: everything you need to know about choosing the best school sports equipment. We hope that the different ideas and suggestions that we provided above will give you some inspiration when it comes to selecting the best equipment for your school playground.
It can be difficult to encourage children to play outdoors, especially when they are so enthralled by their video games.
However, with outdoor equipment for kids, you can certainly encourage children to get outside more and enjoy some healthy fun! So, with that being said, below, we are going to take a look at some of the different types of outdoor play for children so you can get some ideas and inspiration.
Of course, we first need to highlight why outdoor play is so important. This plays a key role in terms of encouraging social interactions and chasing physical pursuits, both of which are critical when it comes to the development of a child.
Games with rules
There is only one place to begin, and this is with games that have rules. Of course, there are many different games that have rules, including sports such as football, netball, and baseball.
Target practice also has rules that need to be followed. This is important because it helps children to learn how to be disciplined while still enjoying play, which is a critical life lesson.
A good playground needs to have structures that children are able to reconfigure, adapt, change, and impose their own meaning on. These are the sort of structures whereby children can really use their imagination, such as forts and playhouses. Structures like this will encourage rich sociodramatic play further.
In addition to the types of play that we have mentioned so far, you also need to consider social play. Look for opportunities for your children to develop social competencies and skills, for example, playing in the sand together, pulling a waggon carrying another little one, or pushing one another on the swing.
Roleplay games also involve children playing together.
Social activities are a must to help your child develop key skills and to engage with other children in a fair and positive manner.
Next, we have constructive play, which is encouraged by using blocks, woodwork, a place for art, and sand and water play. This is the sort of play that small children love the most.
Last but not least, we have physical play, which should be encouraged by the likes of large areas of hills and grass, tricycle paths, swings, and climbing equipment.
The sort of outdoor equipment you choose for your playground, will depend on the age of the children who will be using it. So, if you are looking for climbing equipment for toddlers and infants, opt for very basic equipment, such as slides, small steps, and crawling tunnels.
So there you have it: an insight into some of the different types of outdoor play that children can enjoy in the playground.
It is important to think about different ways that we can make outdoor fun more appealing, and the creative ideas and suggestions that we have mentioned above are a great place to start.
According to American professor of psychology at the University of California, Alison Gopnik, children are like little scientists.
They use their imaginations to develop hypotheses and then test them with their sense perception. It’s the primary way they learn about the world.
For this reason, sensory play is vital, particularly for children with autism. Playgrounds that stimulate sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch, have the potential to enrich their experience of life.
Moreover, depending on where they fall on the autistic spectrum, ASD children may not be able to learn through conventional methods. Many autistic children are naturally kinaesthetic learners, needing to get up close and personal with the environment around them to truly understand it.
The Benefits of Sensory Play for Children with Autism
Children living with ASD can benefit tremendously from playground-based activities.
Improved Social Skills
Sage Journal research shows that sensory play can improve autistic children’s social skills. Investigators found that interventions of as little as 10-weeks, can have lasting effects on speech, body language and interpersonal communication skills.
Researchers believe that sensory play improves information processing in the brain. Autistic children, they say, can transfer lessons learned on the playground into other areas of their life, including the classroom and extra-curricular social situations.
Improved Motor Skill Development
According to Spectrum News, around 87 percent of children with ASD experience motor difficulties.
Many struggle with actions, such as skipping, hopping and jumping, while others have trouble catching a ball, or imitating throwing movements.
Playground sensory play can improve this in two ways, by:
- Helping to better manage postural issues and improve low muscle tone.
- Fostering enjoyment of physical play, encouraging ASD children to voluntarily engage in it in the future.
Sensory play develops both fine and gross motor skills. Fine motor skills include things like picking up balls or holding hands with other children. Gross motor skills are important for sitting, jumping, walking and climbing – all activities that playgrounds encourage.
Autistic children have a higher propensity for emotional dysregulation. They are more prone to fear- and rage-driven episodes. PMC research shows that among community samples, 71 to 80 percent of ASD children have at least one concurrent psychiatric diagnosis, with 40 percent having two or more.
Accessible playgrounds can help ASD children calm down.
Soothing colour schemes and specially-adapted accessible play options make these facilities more amenable to mood control, than conventional play areas.
While the effects of ASD can appear in the body, it is primarily a cognitive disorder.
According to the National Centre For Biotechnology, evidence suggests that neurotransmitter disequilibrium in the frontal lobe may be responsible for some of its clinical features.
Carefully calibrated playgrounds may help in this regard. Designs can directly stimulate the areas of the brain responsible for cognitive processing, helping to activate rationality pathways.
With long-term play, ASD children may be able to develop sufficient faculties to independently regulate their behaviour, without the need for caregiver assistance.
The first five years of a child’s life have been statistically proven to have a huge importance on laying a strong foundation for their ongoing development. As such, finding the best sensory activities for toddlers, can be one of the smartest moves that any parent or educator ever takes.
Why Is Sensory Play So Valuable For Toddlers?
Toddlers are naturally adventurous and love to explore through their senses. Sensory play is essentially any activity that allows them to learn about their surroundings and aid their physical or emotional development, by engaging their sense of touch, smell, sight, sound, taste, movement, balance, and spatial awareness.
A child’s brain is not fully developed at birth and neither are their senses.
The experiences gained through sensory activities in a toddler, helps to build new connections within the brain, while simultaneously supporting a host of cognitive skills. It can also include the comprehension of conceptual ideas.
Sensory play can be highly rewarding for children of all ages. For toddlers, the following statistics underline why it’s so vital at such a young age;
- In relation to synapses, an infant’s brain can grow 20x in the first three years of life.
- Playing and physically manipulating items helps them learn about the world.
- Children acquire 10+ new words daily up to the age of six.
- Toddlers use both hands equally at an early age and develop a preference aged 2-3.
In short, sensory activities for toddlers help develop their brains while simultaneously supporting cognitive skills such as grip and spatial awareness.
Crucially, it is known that advanced development at an early age gives children an advantage for years to come.
Examples Of Sensory Activities For Toddlers
Understanding the importance of sensory activities for children is one thing, but parents also need to familiarise themselves with the best exercises. For the very best results, kids should enjoy a range of solutions to engage and develop all of their senses and cognitive skills. This will bring the best rewards for both physical and mental growth.
There are plenty of products that can be purchased to support sand-based play or water-based activities while planters, music, and sensory playboards are great too.
Whatever items you have, here are some of the best activities you can consider;
- Create sound tubes using containers or kitchen roll tubes. Place different items like beans, beads, and rice in them to hear the different sounds.
- Buy Play-Doh or make your own dough at home. Rolling, pulling, and manipulating the dough is great for dexterity while you can also use stencils and plastic tools.
- Fill a sandbox or a sand play table with sand and plastic buckets, spades, and items for your toddler to explore and enjoy.
- Use a water table with sensory items including fountains, plumbing pipes, containers, and waterwheels.
- Build simple instruments with simple materials. Place elastic bands over a tissue box to create a guitar. Your toddler can then discover the sounds and feelings.
- Use cardboard boxes to make and decorate planters before planting seeds and soil. Toddlers can also use a watering can to develop further sensory skills.
- Play with beads and threads to develop hand-eye coordination and other key skills. Making jewellery is a great example.
- Place toys inside Play-Doh or other items and encourage your child to find them through a fun scavenger hunt.
- Create a slow motion sensory bottle by placing glitter, water, and clear hair gel in a bottle with some colourful Lego bricks that will drop slowly when the bottle is flipped.
- Play on swings, climbing frames, and other physical activity apparatus that additionally encourage toddlers to be imaginative.
Parents should play an active role in sensory games and activities at home.
This will allow you to talk your toddler through each activity, so that they learn to process new information. This can take the benefits to new heights. For parents, it’s a great way to monitor cognitive development too.
For more information about our range of sensory play, playground equipment for toddlers in a school environment, please get in touch with our friendly team on 01244 375 627 or via email [email protected]
Remember: Sensory Play should be supervised by an Adult at all times!
A MUGA is a Multi-Use Games Area that offers a secure, enclosed, and multi-use space for children of all ages, to play and learn in.
MUGAs offer multi-use opportunities with nets for games such as netball or basketball, as well as general PE sessions and a safe location for break and lunch time play.
Creative Play highlights how much a MUGA can boost the wellbeing and health of school children.
Keep Your Kids Fit And Healthy
Shocking goverment statistics show that between 15% and 30% of kids in the UK are obese.
Obesity in those that are so young can open up a wide range of physical health problems, such as diabetes.
Exercise plays an important role in reducing the chances of obesity, as it encourages the body to move and burn calories.
A MUGA encourages active play at school, which helps kids to stay happy and healthy.
Develops Teamwork And Collaboration
A MUGA encourages children to work together through participating in team sports and shared physical activity.
Team-building activities are vital to a child’s development, helping them develop problem-solving, perseverance, creative-thinking and leadership skills. Team sports can also help build emotional intelligence and resilience.
Setting children up for the victory or defeat of team sports, can help them react more positively to challenges as an adult.
Improves Mental Health And Wellbeing
A MUGA can help your children be at their happiest, as exercise is directly linked to positive mental health and wellbeing.
Exercise helps the body release serotonin, which is a mood-boosting hormone found in the body. Physical activity can also help children focus on the moment, reducing anxiety and even reducing the risk of depression. Increased focus on a task can directly benefit school performance, as it helps with concentration.
Enjoy Physical Activity In A Safe And Secure Environment
A Creative Play, our MUGAs are a safe space for your children to play in.
All of our MUGA’s are enclosed on all four sides with secure gates, whilst offering a spacious, fully-accessible open air and secure area.
As well as keeping your kid’s safe, school parents will also view the school as a safe environment for their kids. Studies into parents’ perceptions of school safety demonstrate that school visits play a part in deciding whether the school has a safe environment.
A MUGA can have a positive impact on all areas of a child’s development. As well as improving physical health, a MUGA can encourage teamwork and collaboration, which improves problem-solving, creative-thinking and perseverance skills in each child.
Children that are physically active will also experience better concentration, mental health, and emotional resilience. A MUGA is also a secure and safe environment for children to play in, which can directly boost the school’s reputation, as a safe area during parental visits.
For more information about our MUGAs, please contact us here at Creative Play on 01244 375 627 or send us an email at [email protected]
One of the most popular pieces of playground equipment showing up across different sectors are kids play areas.
From playgrounds to pubs, schools, councils, local authorities and more, different sectors are installing kids play areas, to give kids a place to let off steam, burn adrenaline and relax.
Playground MUGAs – or Multi Use Games Areas – are becoming more popular because of their ability to be diverse.
They have been found to be very useful in a range of settings, and playground MUGAs offer local authorities a wider choice in kids play areas.
What is a Playground MUGA?
A playground MUGA is a constructed play area that’s designed for a huge range of sports and games.
For example; you can mark the surface to match different sports, different outdoor activities and even to mark different fun zones of play. Children can then play on a playground MUGA for a longer period of time, and have the chance to get their fill of exercise for the day.
Benefits of Multi Use Game Areas
Any playground with a MUGA is a popular playground.
Children need support to foster their imaginations and a playground MUGA is one of the best ways to do it.
With the features of MUGAs the way that they are, children get the educational and play benefits every day. These kids play areas are popular because the benefits are innumerable.
The solid designs are popular and children get to enjoy a versatile space to play. Our design experts here at Creative Play, are able to build your playground MUGA with precision, whilst following a design that suits your needs.
You can create a play space to your size capabilities, that you design yourself. You can choose every single detail that will help to reduce boredom for your school children.
There’s no longer just one game area in a play space; there are multiple options for fun and excitement and this really appeals to children in kids play areas. It is – after all – their space to play.
A playground MUGA allows you to make use of the space you have in a way that’s economical. You can save money and time because once the playground is marked correctly, kids will be able to create multiple games in one area.
You can save on expenses as you only need the one playground for a range of games, and you’ll save space, too. You might not have the land space for a lot of different pitches, but with colourful markings, you can have them all on one playground.
Finally, a playground MUGA is the right space for kids to play because of their ease in maintenance. You only have to maintain one kids play area, rather than many areas!
You can have a kids play area with high quality materials used to create the space and the upkeep to the surface is minimal over time.
Choosing the right materials and space for a kids play area is vital for the continued use of the playground. Talk to us here at Creative Play for more information about the materials we use and the design & installation process.