The school playground, oval and other outdoor play areas provide an excellent opportunity for children to enjoy unstructured physical activity throughout the school day. Ideally these areas are accessible before and after school as well as during morning recess and lunchtime.
Children are endlessly resourceful if they have an interesting outdoor space and the freedom to create their own games. Line markings painted on the playground for a variety of different games is an excellent way to encourage participation. A large box containing an adequate supply of bats, balls, skipping ropes, a parachute and other equipment put out at every break time is another excellent way to encourage physical activity.
The design of the play area is also a significant factor in the ways in which it will be utilised. Children are much more likely to be creative in their active play if the space they are in inspires their imagination. Schools need to ensure that there are treed areas for children to play in the shade, benches to rest on, interesting shaped spaces to inspire the imagination and free access to water fountains.
The playground needs to be a safe place to play. Children must be supervised by an adult and equipment should be tested regularly to ensure that it is in good working order.
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