Playing the likes of football, basketball and tag in the playground during break and lunchtime isn’t for every child. However, since almost a quarter of the primary school day is spent in break and lunchtime, pro-active use of this time can help transform a pupils’ activity levels and school experience in a very positive way.
Fit For Sport promote an active playground to encourage and engage all children to achieve the Chief Medical Office guidelines of 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Children can play with freedom but structured activity also provides them with more stimulus and incentive to be active!
Fit For Sport recently led a new Sport-England funded programme which engaged more than 15,000 school children in regular activity by upskilling lunchtime assistants and other school staff to deliver sessions. As a result of the Engage To Compete programme, schools noticed an improvement in children’s behaviour and concentration levels as well as a reduction in staff time dealing with incidents from the playground. Children’s activity levels also improved and staff felt more confident to take an active role in play time.
Create your own Active Playground!
The first step to promoting an active playground is ‘zoning’. Poor design and lack of space can be alleviated by zoning areas. This could be done by age, activity, or surface area.
We recommend that the playground be split into three zones; high intensity, medium intensity and low intensity activity. Children have the choice of which game they play in which activity zone they decide to play in, making it fun for all!
Why not try a game of Shark Attack this lunchtime to get children active?
· Turn taking
· To have fun and cool down
You will need:
How to play:
Divide the children into three or four teams and name each team after a fish, e.g. Cod, Haddock, etc. A child stands in the centre of the playing area; he/she is the ‘shark’. Each team stands and waits in a different corner of the playing area. The adult/leader then calls out the name of a team, e.g. “Haddock”. That team then jogs around the child in the centre. After a short time, the adult/leader calls out “Shark Attack!”. The children try to get back to their corner before the shark tags them. If they get back safely then they wait for their next turn; if they are tagged by the shark, they too become a shark and wait in the centre of the playing area.
For more activity ideas and hints and tips for fun games, sign up to Fit For Sport’s Active Schools Newsletter by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.