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.

Conclusion

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.

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Outdoor Classrooms – A Breath of Fresh Air for Post-Lockdown Schools

outdoor classrooms

The long-awaited return to school has now commenced and staff and pupils across the country are facing school days which are radically different to those they remember. The need to prevent the spread of COVID-19 will place many restrictions on schools, impacting not only the delivery of the curriculum but on school life as a whole. An outdoor classroom can make a big difference, providing a safer learning environment in which children can experience a little bit of normality. Here, we’ll take a closer look at modern, outdoor classrooms.

Why schools need outdoor classrooms

Life in the post-lockdown school is going to be far different than what it was before the pandemic. Movement will be severely restricted, both within the school itself and inside the classroom. In secondary schools, where pupils are used to moving from lesson to lesson, many will now find it is the teachers who move while the children stay put. Not only will this prevent pupils from having access to the specialist equipment needed to study the curriculum effectively; it also means they’ll spend most of the day stuck in the same room. And with social distancing essential within the classroom, children of all school ages will have far fewer opportunities to move around or interact.

The effects of this upon pupil wellbeing and academic progress could be significant. Children are much more likely to become anxious about going to school and frustrated, even bored, during the school day. This can impact their mental wellbeing and impede their motivation, especially when the lack of subject-specific equipment, like science or technology apparatus that can’t be moved from classroom to classroom, prevents teachers delivering the curriculum properly.

In such a stifling environment, the outdoor classroom offers a breath of fresh air. Indeed, the circulation of outdoor air, combined with the additional space pupils have to learn, means many of the restrictions enforced inside the classroom can be relaxed. Movement will be freer, with children able to work in small groups more effectively, perhaps carrying out more experimental and investigative work that the new normal won’t permit indoors. The need to keep voices quiet will not be so urgent, either.

At the same time, just taking a break from the same indoor space, even if it is just for a small part of the school day, can break the monotony of being at the same desk, in the same classroom, six hours a day, five days a week. It offers the potential for increased mental stimulation, improved motivation and better wellbeing.

Equipping the modern outdoor classroom

While there is nothing wrong with getting pupils to hoick their chairs out into the playground for a lesson, there are plenty of more modern and stimulating alternatives. Today, there is a plethora of outdoor learning equipment available, including subject-specific resources covering many areas of the EYFS, primary and secondary curricula.

Starting with the basics, playground seating comes in a wide variety, ranging from fun mushroom seats and storytelling chairs for younger learners to full-class size, octagonal shelters with built-in seats, whiteboards, windbreaking backrests and that essential roof that lets you use it in most weather conditions. This, however, is only scratching the surface; there are tables, benches, amphitheatres, handwriting tables, sit down easels and much more available.

When it comes to delivering the curriculum, there is a multitude of outdoor classroom equipment available for teachers to use. This includes interchangeable, subject-specific work panels, affixed to permanent posts, that cater for almost every curriculum area. Able to be taken down at the end of each lesson for cleaning and storage, with the post then left for the next teacher, they are an ideal solution for outdoor learning. They can be used to display learning objectives and instructions or for pupils to write, draw, measure, calculate and take notes. Subject-specific versions are available for art, design and technology, English, geography, history, maths, MFL, music, PE and science, and include features such as abacuses, coordinate grids, timelines, moving clock faces and much more.

There are also more elaborate types of equipment, such as weather stations for measuring and monitoring precipitation, temperature and wind, or biology investigation tables that can be used to look at soil samples and see how plant root systems grow underground. When it comes to music and drama, there are outdoor stages to perform on, amphitheatres to perform within and fun, outdoor, percussion instruments, like xylophones and drainpipe drums, to make music with.

Conclusion

An outdoor classroom offers a touch of normality to post-lockdown school life. Working in a safer outdoor environment with fewer restrictions and much more space to learn can bring much-needed relief from the monotony of being stuck in the same space. As a result, it can improve pupil wellbeing and motivation and, when well-equipped with subject-specific, outdoor classroom equipment, gives teachers far more scope to deliver the curriculum.

For more information, visit our Outdoor Curriculum page.

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Why Zoned School Playgrounds Have New Importance

zoned school playgrounds

Zoned school playgrounds have become increasingly popular in modern playground design, providing a range of benefits for pupils and schools alike. However, following the lockdown, they have taken on new importance, providing enhanced social distancing and increased safety. Here, we’ll look at zoned playgrounds and their advantages over traditional schoolyards.

What are zoned school playgrounds?

A zoned playground, quite simply, is a school playground where the equipment provided for the children is laid out in discrete activity areas, strategically placed to improve safety and enhance amenity.

Zones can be created for different types of pupil or activity. So, for example, a school can have different zones for EYFS, KS1 and KS2 pupils, each with age-appropriate equipment, or it can create separate zones for sports, climbing, roleplay, creativity, nature, sensory play and so forth.

Built-in safety

One of the key problems with traditional playgrounds is that activities often overlap and this can lead to potential safety issues, such as footballs flying off the pitch and knocking a pupil off a climbing wall or a pupil with skipping ropes tripping up someone playing tig in the same area. By putting these activities into separate zones, you reduce the risk of these accidents happening – especially when the designer can make sure that potentially hazardous zones are located away from each other.

Covid-19 safety

With the need to maintain social distancing in the playground, zoned play areas have developed new importance, as they enable the school to better manage pupil bubbles. Children in different bubbles can be allocated a different zone in which to play and because it is within a defined area, children will better understand the limits of where they can play and the apparatus they are allowed to play on. This also makes the job of supervising much easier for staff and enables pupils from each bubble to enter and leave the playground more safely.

To ensure pupils get to participate in the full range of playground activities on offer, schools can rotate the bubbles from zone to zone on different days, making sure, of course, that the equipment is properly cleaned at the end of each day. Where there are staggered playtimes, cleaning will need to take place between the change-over.

The other advantage is that popular apparatus, such as climbing frames, obstacle courses and play towers, can be a temptation too much for children. If everyone heads for the same piece of equipment, social distancing goes out the window. Zoning prevents this happening, as children will know which zone they are allocated to and, if rotation is in place, will know they’ll get their turn eventually.

Zones for inclusion

One of the other major benefits of having a zoned school playground is that it can improve inclusivity. At the design stage, schools have the ability to consider the type of equipment they need to ensure pupils of all ages, abilities and interests are catered for. The playground designer can then use this to create purpose-built zones that address those needs and place them in the most appropriate location. For example, a quiet area can be developed for children with autism and placed away from the louder and busier activity zones, perhaps even with its own entrance back into the school building. Sensory areas can be created too, giving pupils a calm space in which to experience a variety of sounds, smells, textures and colours.

Similarly, sporty kids can be given zones with pitch markings and basketball nets and thrill-seekers can have zones containing Trim Trails obstacle courses, Tangled rope climbing equipment or a Freeflow climbing system. You can have messy play areas with mud kitchens, sandpits and magnetic water walls, imaginative roleplay zones with fantasy play towers, wigwams and pirate style playboats and creative zones with outdoor drawing boards, performance stages and outdoor musical percussion instruments.

For the more laid back pupils, you can even create a nature zone with planters, trellises and bug houses and furnish it with picnic tables, an octagonal shelter or some all-weather artificial grass to sit on and chat with friends.

Not only does zoning enable schools to cater for all these different needs and interests; it also allows the designer to make them more accessible. Safe pathways can be created to ensure all pupils, including wheelchair users, can easily get to all the apparatus without having to risk travelling through a busy space; while accessibility features can be built in so pupils, even if they cannot fully participate in activities or make full use of the equipment, are close enough not to feel socially excluded from their friendship group.

Conclusion

Zoned school playgrounds can transform a school’s outdoor space. They improve safety, assist with social distancing and provide schools with the opportunity to create accessible zones that cater for the needs and interests of all pupils.

To see what you can achieve with a zoned playground or to find out more about playground design, visit our Inspiration page.

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Why learn outdoors and use physical activity in Science?

Why learn outdoors and use physical activity in Science?

At ESP we recognise the importance of learning outside the classroom and have now worked with hundreds of schools delivering our concept. Below are a few questions we come across when discussing our concept.

• Why bother going outside of the classroom?

• Why bother using physical activity in Science?

• The weather’s too bad.

• It’s hard work managing the pupils – their behaviour changes.

• The class is too big!

 It’s worth it because…

• Learning through physical activity outside of the classroom enriches the curriculum.

• It can give children new and exciting experiences that might inspire them.

• It meets the needs for a variety of learning styles (VAK) and can re-motivate children who do not thrive in the traditional classroom environment.

• It supports improved standards back INSIDE the classroom, raising attainment, reducing truancy and improving discipline.

• Learning outside the classroom is known to contribute significantly to raising standards & improving pupils’ personal, social & emotional development.

• Learning outside the classroom as a regular part of their school life results in benefits such as increased self esteem and pupils becoming more engaged in their education both inside and outside the classroom walls.

• Children need to move – not just for the sake of their physical selves, but also for social, emotional and cognitive development; movement benefits the whole child.

• There is a positive association between children’s level of physical activity (or sport) and cognitive functioning or academic success.

 What do OfSTED say?

An evaluation report published in 2008 makes very clear that learning outside the classroom significantly raises standards and achievements. It also enhances young people’s motivation and levels of interest, providing real, exciting and enjoyable contexts.

Start working in partnership with ESP and bring this positive experience to your school playground.

Our CPD and teacher training department has a wide range of national expertise and is responsible for supporting all of our playground equipment and services, making them relevant and purposeful to the national curriculum. This ensures that every school working in partnership with ESP delivers sustainable change.

 

Relevant Search Words to This Blog:

Playground Equipment , Playground Equipment for Schools , Outdoor Learning , Outdoor Curriculum , School Playground Equipment , Outdoor Science , CPD , ESP Play

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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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