Though school playground design may seem simple in principle, it has a brilliant range of fantastic and sometimes complex benefits for children. Carefully chosen playground markings are able to boost physical activity levels, reinforce learning goals, and encourage more positive social interaction, while remaining inclusive and motivational for students of various interests and skill levels. Here are the six main ways your pupils can benefit!
Children between the ages of 5 to 18 need at least one hour of solid exercise per day, according to research by the NHS, and many children don’t get this level of exercise at home. Playground markings, therefore, provide a great way to encourage pupils to stay active throughout their time at school. One of the key strengths of school playground design is that it essentially creates ‘zones’ within the playground, separating them out into distinct spaces which can better motivate children to participate in team sports like netball, football and basketball. It’s not necessarily just sports either – having a mix of markings that cater to different physical activities can help broaden the appeal to physical activity, providing encouragement for children who would normally abstain. Initiatives like the Daily Mile are becoming particularly popular in many schools across the North West, providing a fun and inclusive way to encourage healthy physical activity.
As well as helping pupils themselves to be more active on the playground, markings like various courts are often an exceptionally useful lesson resource for PE teachers. Namely, having a number of different playground markings and zones can help give teachers a broader range of games and activities to work with during PE lessons, allowing them to keep their lessons varied, engaging and enjoyable. Ultimately, this enables them to tailor their lessons to pupils of many different interests and skills, helping them to discover the games and sports that interest them, and giving them valuable opportunities to practice and develop their physical skills.
One of the core benefits of physical activity is that it doesn’t just promote excellent physical health, but is also brilliant for fostering friendships and social interactions between children too. School playground design acts as a major facilitator of this, as group games encourage communication and collaboration, whereas individual games help with turn taking, patience, respect and empathy. Children who might be normally shy can communicate more freely within the contexts of the game, helping them to lay the foundations of lasting friendships beyond the games, too.
As we touched on above, playground markings are frequently used to give playgrounds distinct ‘zones’. Setting these subtle boundaries can be invaluable for children, as it gives them the freedom to join in the games, or the space they need to stay away and cool down. For example, groups of children chatting are less likely to position themselves within the obvious boundaries of a nearby basketball game, while the basketball game in turn is less likely to spill over into the quieter area. This gives both groups the room to enjoy and socialise however they want, encouraging them to interact in more positive ways.
These benefits carry on over into the classroom, too. Public Health England says that physical activity improves social behaviour, results in better peer relationships and results in reduced classroom disruption. Many experts believe this is because active children healthily expend their physical energy outside, so they’re not as restless in the classroom, and ready to learn when they come in.
Depending on what sort of children’s playground markings you choose for your own school environment, you can strategically use them to support other learning aspects too. Children can practice simple addition and subtraction through snakes and ladders and other numbers games, or practice their times tables through fun multiplication grids. Our Education category is dedicated solely to markings which help children to develop these sorts of skills, ultimately proving themselves to be invaluable in reinforcing classroom lessons and learning goals.
Many schools are very particular with their choice of playground markings, and it’s likely that you too will be choosing yours to fit in with the ethos of your school. This is where Uniplay’s bespoke designs can be an especially great way to get some personality and friendliness in your playground, or emphasise your school’s values through your choice of games or characters, helping to make your playground feel a more inclusive and comfortable place.
Our philosophy at Uniplay is “to see children of all abilities develop essential skills through play” and we specialise in the design and installation of thermoplastic playground markings, giving playgrounds colour and creativity to enhance play, fitness and fun. You can choose your favourites from our extensive range of categories, or if give one of our friendly experts a call on 0333 321 6695 if you have any questions, or need any advice. We’re always happy to help!