6 Ways Playground Climbing Equipment Benefits Pupils

Playground Climbing Equipment

Playground climbing equipment, it’s something fun for the children to do at playtimes, right? Well, although that’s true, it actually does a lot more for children than you might think. Here we look at some of the incredible benefits children get when schools install climbing equipment in their playgrounds.

1. Makes pupils healthier

Although kids won’t see it that way, a climbing frame is a kind of outdoor gym and playing on it gives them a good physical workout. With all that climbing, swinging, jumping, crawling and goodness knows what other maneuverers they get up to, they’ll exercise every muscle in their bodies. That makes it great for building up their strength and fitness and for improving their cardiovascular health.

All that exercise helps burn off the calories too, and with the latest 2021 figures showing 40.9% of all year 6 students were either overweight or obese, providing fun, active play equipment is one of the best ways to encourage more exercise. Indeed, research from Liverpool John Moors University has shown that when climbing equipment is installed in school playgrounds, children’s participation in moderate to vigorous activity increases by around 30 minutes per week and 70% of them show an improvement in their general health and fitness.

2. Great for wellbeing

Even before the pandemic, one in eight children had a recognised mental health condition. Today, that figure is likely to be much higher, even among the youngest pupils. While some pupils obviously need professional help from mental health services, the great thing about physical activity is that it can give a mental boost to every child. Playing on a climbing frame is ideal for this, as the moderate to vigorous activity can increase endorphin levels, reduce stress and improve mood, helping pupils to feel less anxious and happier. And of course, happy kids behave better and learn better too.

3. Makes kids more independent

In order to help children learn better and to prepare them for adulthood, they need to be able to think for themselves and act independently. Unstructured free play is where that journey begins and equipment like climbing frames is great for nurturing that growing independence, as children will need to make their own decisions about the risks they face and the obstacles they overcome.

4. Helps children take on challenge

Challenge – it’s one of OFSTED’s favourite buzzwords. Schools are constantly being told of the need to increase challenge in order to get pupils to attain higher. However, increasing challenge doesn’t necessarily mean children will accept it. Indeed, not all pupils have the self-confidence or the inclination to take on greater challenge.

What makes climbing frames particularly useful here is that they make challenge fun. Can I cross this traversing wall without falling off? Can I get from one end of the jungle bars to the other? Can I get around the entire frame doing it the hard way? Taking on these challenges in the playground improves their overall confidence and this can improve it in the classroom too.

5. Develops resilience

Resilience is just as important as accepting challenge, for the simple reason that if someone fails at something, they need to have the inner determination to get back up and have another go.  Resilience is best developed through failing at small, inconsequential things. If a child takes a week to master a route across a climbing wall, the resilience they will have built up trying and trying again will better serve them to try harder when they don’t do so well in an important classroom test.

On a climbing frame, failure isn’t so consequential, but it improves resilience and drives the determination to succeed. With climbing equipment offering a wide range of challenges, there’s plenty of potential to develop that resilience and harden their resolve.

6. Improves social skills

Climbing frames allow children to play on their own or with friends, and it’s when they are with friends that opportunities arise to develop those all-important social skills. For a start, they’ll need to understand the importance of rule-making and turn-taking. Then there are the negotiations about which routes and challenges the group are going to take. They’ll also learn to give support and advice to any friends struggling to get around.

Some climbing equipment is also themed and this makes it ideal for roleplay, an activity children love and which helps them explore and understand the world from other people’s perspectives.


As you can see, there is a lot more to playground climbing equipment than just having fun. And today, there is a wide range of climbing equipment to choose from, each with its own appeal and challenge. These include our Trim Trails obstacle courses, Free-Flow climbing frames, Tangled rope play equipment, climbing walls, and a wide range of EYFS play towers.

For more information about all these, visit our Climbing Equipment page.



How to Turn a Boring School Yard into an Adventure Playground

Teacher’s put a lot of time and effort into making their school’s environment exciting and inspirational. Walls and corridors are covered in highly colourful displays, there’s always artwork on show and classrooms are equipped with the latest resources. For many schools, however, this ends at the door to the playground. In this post, we’ll give you some ideas of how to turn your boring school yard into an exciting adventure playground.

Boring playgrounds cause problems

Come break time, too many pupils are put out to pasture on nothing more than a drab rectangle of grey tarmac with only the wind to inspire them. It’s no surprise then, that lots of primary kids ask to stay in and help the teacher and the many secondary students mooch around in corridors staring at their phones.

Without things to do, children get bored and frustrated. This can lead to poor behaviour during breaks and cause problems in the lessons that follow. It also means that many children don’t get any exercise during the school day. After being sat at a desk for a few hours, you want them to run around and burn off a bit of energy: it’s good for both their physical and mental health. Instead, many children just stand around waiting for the bell, eating crisps and sipping sugary drinks.

It doesn’t have to be this way. The outside of your school can be as inspirational as the inside, helping children to be healthier, more creative and more motivated for their next lesson. Here are some ideas about how you can achieve this in your school.

1. Get them playing team sports again

You don’t need to spend a fortune to inspire kids to play team sports during break times. Installing playground markings on your school yard surface marks out pitches and courts for a wide range of team games that kids love to play. There’s football, futsal (5-a-side football), netball, rounders, cricket, tennis and basketball to choose from. You can even get nets and goals to equip them fully. Once installed, you just need to put out a selection of bats and balls for the children to use.

The great thing about installing playground marking for team games is that it encourages lots of children to participate. You can also use the markings for PE lessons.

2. Drive them up the wall – literally!

We’ve all had lessons where the kids were ‘climbing the walls,’ – well, now this can happen in a good way. At ESP Play, we supply a selection of climbing walls specially designed for children to play on. Not only are these are great for getting pupils active, they are also good for helping kids challenge themselves and for developing resilience. Above all, they are fun to climb on and a great way to encourage physical activity.

3. Build an obstacle course

When it comes to playground design, one of the features that most schools want to install is some form of obstacle course. One of the best ways to do this is with a Trim Trail. The big advantage of a Trim Trail is that you can choose your own elements. There are lots to choose from, too: balance beams, climbing nets, scramble under nets, duck and dive posts, striding posts, jungle bars, wobbly bridges, tight ropes… the list goes on.

For schools with limited budgets, Trim Trails offer you the potential to build your adventure playground up over time, perhaps adding an extra element or two each academic year. You don’t need to buy everything at once.

For versatility, Trim Trails also come with easily interchangeable features, giving you the ability to adapt your playground equipment for different purposes or different groups. It also means you can give children lots of different challenges using the same pieces of outdoor equipment.

Kids love to play on Trim Trails, which is why you see them in so many public parks. Now you can have them in your own playground and inspire even more children to play.

4. Max up the fun with Freeflow

Our Freeflow obstacle courses have evolved through years of working with teachers and student councils to create the ultimate outdoor playground equipment. With a wide range of modules to choose from, you can create a bespoke adventure playground that meets the needs of your school and contains your pupils’ favourite obstacles.

Not only are our Freeflow courses irresistible to play on; they also help your pupils develop strength, stamina, coordination and team building skills. They can completely revolutionise your playground and increase your pupils’ enjoyment of your outdoor space.

5. Don’t forget to add bells and whistles

To add variety to your playground design, consider using outdoor play equipment for less sporty children to use during break times. For example, we have a range of creative outdoor equipment including musical instruments, stages, and structures which can be used to encourage roleplaying adventures. We’ve also got sandpits and water play equipment, nature equipment and lots of games ranging from hopscotch to chess.


Developing your outdoor space can have lots of benefits for your school. In enhances pupils’ enjoyment and can have a positive impact on their physical health and mental wellbeing. It can also help improve behaviour and progress in the classroom.

As you can see from this article, there are lots of options open to you to turn your boring school yard into an exciting adventure playground. If you want to discuss what we can do for you, give us a call on 01282 43 44 45.


Berwick Hills Primary Buy Huge Trim Trail

Berwick Hills Primary school in Middlesbrough have added to their impressive new school build with a brand new trim trail.  This trim trail has a huge mixture of components included to offer the children lots of fun and adventure. The trim trail includes items from the very popular TAZ (Team Adventure Zone) range that challenges children’s strength, agility, balance and co-ordination.  Mixed in with some standard trim trail equipment this playground equipment will provide the school with lots of use.

The installation is due to be started in the Easter holidays and will be completed by the time the children return. The school and the children particularly like the following playground equipment, for more information about each product please click on the images:

The Tangled Lynx provides a different challenge entirely to a standard trim trail. This exciting piece of playground equipment challenges the children to think very carefully about how to climb across the playground equipment

Contact ESP today to get your free brochure for 2012.

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Army of 20,000 Volunteers Needed To Boost Outdoor Play

Source – BBC News – By Judith Burns

An army of 20,000 volunteers will be needed for a new initiative to help children play safely outdoors, say campaigners. They will be asked to help build new playgrounds, staff existing ones, run play schemes and street parties. The government has given £2m to help local groups boost outdoor play in their communities. Campaign group Play England says children should be able to play outside after school or in the holidays.

The group’s director Catherine Prisk said: “Playing outside, chalking on the pavement. climbing trees and riding your bike are simple pleasures that many of today’s children are missing out on. “Play is essential for children’s health and happiness now, and for making friends, building key skills for the future and for feeling you are part of a community.”

‘Never climbed a tree’

The money, from the Big Society Fund, will be divided among 17 local and national organisations dedicated to improving facilities and opportunities for play. The organisations will match fund the government award. According to Clare Colvine of Play England, part of the National Children’s Bureau, volunteers will be asked to help according to their skills. “For example one person could be asked to help dig a paddling pool but someone with good web skills might be asked to construct an online map of outdoor play facilities in particular area,” she said.

A growing body of research has found that today’s children do not have the same chances to play outside as their parents. For example a survey published by Play England last year showed that one third of today’s children had never built a den or climbed a tree. One in ten said they had never ridden a bike. Figures from the same survey, conducted by OnePoll last June, revealed that seven out of 10 families felt that taking their children to an outside space to play was a real treat.

Minister for civil society Nick Hurd said: “this is all part of our drive to create a bigger stronger society where people are empowered to make a difference to their community.” The 17 organisations involved have formed the Free Time Consortium which will not only improve play in their own areas but produce resource and information packs for other groups hoping to follow suit.

The consortium includes groups in Tyneside, Manchester, Birmingham, London, Milton Keynes and Plymouth


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