School Playground Equipment That Kids Find Most Exciting

exciting playground equipment

The whole point of a school playground is to give children opportunities to play. However, without the right equipment, the result is often boredom and this can affect pupil behaviour both in the yard and back in the classroom. To prevent this, playgrounds need to offer children excitement, challenge and fun. To help, we’ve put together some of the equipment that we find children get most excited about.

Free-Flow Climbing Frames

Once only found in public parks, in recent years climbing frames have become highly popular features of modern school playgrounds. Children of all ages love to play on them, both on their own and with their friends.

Our Free-Flow Climbing Frames bring excitement by providing circular courses with no defined start or end. Children have to decide upon their own route and challenge themselves to see whether they can get around the entire apparatus successfully. Achieving this may take a lot of practice, requiring them to master a number of different challenges, depending on the Free-Flow model you choose. These can include jungle bars, tight ropes, rope bridges and rope traverses, traversing walls and tyre bridges.

Trim Trails

Offering a different kind of obstacle course, but equally as thrilling and exciting, is our Trim Trails range. The great thing about Trim Trails is that you select different pieces from our collection to design a course that is the right fit for your playground and which satisfies the needs and likes of your pupils.

Using sturdy wooden equipment, the Trim Trails provide a range of challenges that deliver real excitement while developing pupils’ problem solving, stamina and resilience. Children can also set themselves and each other challenges about how they tackle the course. And with nearly sixty different challenges available, including interchangeable equipment, you can keep the excitement going.

Individual pieces include jungle bars, wobbly planks and bridges, tyre bridges and steppers, rope traverses, twisty rope challenges, stepping logs, dip bars, leapfrog posts and more. To ensure that the pieces are appropriate for children of different ages, we have put them into four different categories depending on their difficulty, size and height.

Messy Play

The idea of playing with mud, sand and water is enough to bring a smile to any child’s face and for younger children, messy play can be one of the most exciting parts of the school day. Of course, in today’s more sanitised world, ‘mud’ is a mix of sand and water rather than soil and water, which keeps kids, their clothing and the classrooms a whole lot cleaner.

The best way to bring messy play to a school playground is to keep it all together in a specially created ‘messy play zone.’ This lets children easily move from piece to piece, stops any sand and water from getting elsewhere and helps prevent children busy doing other things from getting in the way.

There is a range of equipment you can use to create a messy play zone, including mud kitchens, magnetic water walls, sandpits and sandboxes, creation stations and the very popular water chutes where children can race balls down cascading tracks.

Sports Pitches

Children have played sports during playtimes for as long as there have been playgrounds and there’s no bigger thrill than scoring a goal, getting a rounder, winning a game or bowling out the opposition. Today, of course, using a couple of jumpers for a goal is not the expectation, nor is it the safest approach. The ideal way to bring the excitement of sport to a playground is to provide the necessary sports markings and their accompanying goals, nets and stumps, etc.

These are now available for a variety of sports, including soccer, basketball, tennis, netball, rounders and cricket. Quickly installed and highly affordable, schools with limited space can even have multi-sports pitches so that different types of sports can be played in a single area.

Of course, with proper markings, the pitches help ensure the games stay within a well-defined area, away from other activities. The markings can also be used to deliver PE lessons and help children learn about the layout of pitches and rules of the sports they are playing.


After applying themselves to the rigours of the curriculum, children deserve a place where they can let off steam and have some real fun. A good playground will provide this and a key element of a modern playground is to offer activities that are exciting and challenging. While we have countless other exciting products your school may be interested in, over our many years of installing school playground equipment, those mentioned above are constantly at the top of pupils’ wish lists.

For more information, about these and other products, visit our Products page.


What Are Trim Trails and Why Are They Great for Schools?

If you asked most people what a Trim Trail was, they wouldn’t be able to give you an answer. Unlike a climbing frame or play tower, the name doesn’t really give the game away. This makes Trim Trails the unsung hero of the British playground because, in fact, they are one of the most popular forms of playground equipment in the UK. You see them everywhere, in parks, public play areas and, increasingly, in the school playground. In this post, we aim to explain exactly what a Trim Trail is and show you why they are great for schools.

literacy and phonics

What is a Trim Trail?

A Trim Trail is a children’s obstacle course composed of different pieces of apparatus laid out to form a series of fun-filled physical challenges. The aim is for the child to get from the start to the finish – though where they start or finish is usually down to them.

What pieces of equipment make up a Trim Trail is entirely dependent on the choice of the school and this is usually based on the age, ability and interests of the children for whom it is created and on the space and budget the school have available. Though, when it comes to budget, the Trim Trail can be added to over time.

What pieces of equipment can be used in a Trim Trail?

There are many individual pieces of apparatus that can be used to create a unique Trim Trails course. These include:

  • Balance beams
  • Balance challenges
  • Chin-up bars
  • Challenge nets (climbing rigging)
  • Dip bars
  • Duck and dive (under and over) posts
  • Jungle bars
  • Leapfrog posts
  • Log passes (wobbly log balance beams)
  • Log stairs
  • Log steps (wooden stepping stones)
  • Log strides
  • Log weaves
  • Meet and split balance bars
  • Overhead ladder bars (for swinging)
  • Rope traverses, including zig-zag traverses
  • Shuffle bars
  • Spinning log balance bars
  • Step and jump posts
  • Twisty challenges (twisted rigging)
  • Tyre pass (wobbly tyre balance challenge)
  • Tyre steppers
  • Wobbly bridges
  • Wobbly planks


There is also a range of interchangeable Trim Trails. These are rope challenges built on apex, cube or square frames, which come with a variety of rope designs that can be changed frequently to ensure the children always have different obstacles to play on. These can be incorporated into standard Trim Trails courses and are designed for the ropes to be easily changed over. There are many different rope challenges you can choose from.

Pupils of all age groups can use Trim Trails

Trim trails products are divided into four categories: early years, simplified, intermediate and advanced. The products in each category get increasingly more challenging and, in some cases, they are higher off the ground or are designed for taller children. Early years pieces are obviously designed for EYFS pupils. While simplified work well with infants, intermediate with juniors and advanced with secondary, the wide range of abilities within any cohort of students means schools may want to include items from more than one category into their trail. Here at ESP Play, we’re more than happy to give advice on what works well.

Why are Trim Trails great for schools?

Trim trails offer four great benefits to schools. They are fun to play on, help pupils develop a range of important skills, improve physical health and contribute to mental wellbeing. One of the reasons you see so many Trim Trails courses across the country is that, even from a very young age, children love to play on them. The challenges they present and the excitement of trying to overcome them make them irresistible to many children.

Those same challenges, however, help children develop a range of skills. For the youngest, these include physical skills like balance and coordination but, beyond this, they teach all children how to handle risk, solve problems and develop resilience – all skills which can be transferred to the classroom and which are essential for life after school.

With obesity being a rising issue for our society and increasing numbers of pupils being overweight, it has never been more important to get children active. According to the NHS, youngsters should get an hour of quality physical activity every day. Unfortunately, modern lifestyles mean fewer young people get the opportunity to play outside with their friends out of school and, often, the only real chance they get is during school break and lunchtimes. Introducing a Trim Trail course gives children the apparatus they need to participate in physical activity and, with a range of different equipment, it is possible to get them doing a variety of health benefitting exercises – climbing, swinging, jumping, fast steps, etc.

Regular physical activity is also beneficial for mental wellbeing, indeed, according to the Mental Health Foundation, it can increase self-esteem, reduce stress and anxiety, help prevent the development of mental health problems and improve the quality of life of those who already have such a problem. With 12.8% of UK pupils now living with a mental health disorder and schools under increased pressure to take care of those affected and help prevent the trend getting worse, a Trim Trail can make a positive contribution to a school’s efforts.


Hopefully, this post will have helped you put the right name to the popular pieces of outdoor play equipment you see in playgrounds up and down the country. Trim Trails are thrilling obstacle courses made up from apparatus of your choice and which not only offer exciting playtimes but help develop skills, make children physically fitter and bring benefits for mental wellbeing.


Product Enquiry