School playgrounds should be a hive of activity, with children making the most of the time between lessons to have fun and get active. However as ever younger children bring mobile phones into schools, it is easy to see how break time activity can slip into decline.
Even schools who dedicate time each day to exercise (such as the daily mile) can struggle to maintain the momentum and accessibility throughout the full school year. With this in mind, here are our some of our favourite ways to encourage activity during play time:
Keep It Traditional
When you think of traditional playground games, fitness levels may not be the first thing that spring to mind. However simple games such as hopscotch can be an easy way to get children moving. After all, it doesn’t feel like exercise! If your playground has any coloured markings/shapes you could also adapt ‘The Floor Is Lava’ for outside use – can your pupils jump from one shape to the next without losing balance?
MUGAS or Multi-Use Game Areas can be great fun and highly useful. Children can react to games differently, whilst some may like football others may prefer different games. A MUGA can be used for a variety of different sports games – meaning they can also be used for lessons such as Physical Education, as well as at break time.
Having an area of the playground specially dedicated to activity can be highly effective – especially if the activity is made into a game. There are plenty of ways to create an activity area; you could include graphics that make up a fitness course within your new surfacing. Or you could keep equipment such as skipping ropes and hula hoops in the space, instructing children who are not using them to keep a safe distance.
Daily Mile Track
The daily mile is possibly the easiest and most effective way to encourage activity every day in school pupils. However, this said, in the autumn/winter months it can become increasingly harder to carry out. Factors such as muddy fields or slippery/puddle-ridden surfaces can make it impractical. By investing in rubber mulch track, the daily mile can be completed without worrying about puddles or accidental slips.
Space For Sitting
While this may seem counterintuitive providing somewhere for children to sit, that still has lots of room can be a great aid to getting active. Whether they will be sitting on furniture or the floor, encourage students to perform dance shows for their ‘audience’ or play games such as Duck, Duck, Goose.
To see how other schools are making the most of their outdoor play areas, take a look at our recent projects.