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How Can I Create An Active Playground?

Most people in education know that a third of children are leaving primary school overweight or obese, but did you know that even in Reception, 20% of children are already overweight or obese? There is also a huge gap in these figures between children in areas of high deprivation and their peers. 

As a rule, children and young people aged 5-18 should be moving at moderate intensity for 60 minutes a day. Active play has been proven to have enormous benefits for health, as well as a myriad of other reasons, such as:

  • Sun exposure – Vitamin D is vital for bone and muscle development.
  • Executive function – learning to problem solve and be creative.
  • Taking risks – learning what is involved in keeping yourself safe.
  • Socialisation – working in teams and communicating effectively.

Play is so vital to optimal child development as a whole that it has been recognised by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights as a right of every child. 

So, if you have got an active playground ready for lunch and break times, then you will be onto a winner, as children will be being more active, for longer periods of time, whilst applying all those important life skills. And all of that is before you even factor in PE or extra-curricular activities!

Here are some simple ways you can make your playground more active:

  • Make sure your children are receiving the right amount of break times in a day (75 minutes a day for primary-aged children). 
  • Ensure you have a variety of activities available for all children to access. For example, a child who dislikes football will need to be stimulated in other ways. 
  • Use your lunchtime staff as good role models! Get them involved in the activities, showing the children that being active can be fun. 
  • Set challenges for children to complete. This will encourage problem-solving, personal development and competition. 
  • Have a selection of activities readily available to look to every day for new and exciting opportunities in the playground. 

You can use our Playground Audit for both Children & Staff members to evaluate and review your current lunch and break time provision. The audit is one of many templates provided in our ‘Ultimate PE Leader Handbook’, access it here.

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