November 17, 2020

Five Ways to Make School Playground Equipment Part of Student Success

A recent study by BMC Public Health suggests the physical, cognitive, social, and emotional benefits of recess are closely tied to the school playground equipment quality. Creating a place where children can be active and engage in unstructured play is essential to enhancing problem-solving and conflict resolution skills.

As schools utilize new approaches like student-based budgeting, the question typically arises, "how does school playground equipment cost?" The more important question is, "what does it cost students not to have a playground?"

School playgrounds offer a wealth of benefits for students, including social-emotional, physical, and cognitive enhancement.

A well-maintained, properly designed, and frequently programmed school playground can help students perform better academically. It can reduce the amount of time teachers spend dealing with poor classroom behavior. Read on to learn five ways to make your school playground equipment part of every student's success.

1. Use School Playground Equipment to Promote Physical Activity

Recess provides children a break from the rigors of learning and allows them to move about in fun, active ways. The American Academy of Pediatrics released a study that shows recess is crucial because of its cognitive, social, emotional, and physical benefits. As more children are affected by inactivity and becoming overweight or obese, school playgrounds provide a place where students can receive the recommended 30 minutes of activity per day.

GameTime's parent company, PlayCore, developed a standards-based curriculum with SHAPE America that helps teachers use the playground as part of physical education class. The Play On! curriculum includes over 100 activities for children in grades Pre-K through 5. Request a copy of the Play On! curriculum for your school. 

2. Design a School Playground for Everyone

Your playground's size may depend on your budget and available space, but you can design any playground to be inclusive for all students. Add adaptive swings for children who need additional support and include freestanding play activities at ground level that are fun and engaging for students of all abilities. Even if you don't have space or budget for a large ramped play system, you can make any playground more inclusive with a little planning.

3. Make Your School Playground a Community Gathering Place

Many students do not have a safe place to play outside of their school playground. That's why many communities allow families to use the school playground outside of school hours, on weekends, and during holidays. If you can provide this service, you will give students a place to gain more physical activity in a fun environment year-round.

4. Maintain Your School Playground

Experts estimate the majority of playground-related injuries are related to neglected or improper maintenance of playground equipment. It's essential to perform routine maintenance on all school playground equipment.

GameTime publishes a free maintenance guide you can download and use to ensure your school playground is in top shape. 

5. Work With Experienced Play Experts

Designing, installing, and maintaining a school playground can be a big challenge. One way to make that challenge a little easier is to work with playground experts who understand the importance of school playgrounds. Find a playground partner with experience creating compliant playgrounds and who knows the benefits of active play for students. 

GameTime's playground professionals design and install playground equipment for schools, and they also use the latest research to create play spaces that help children perform better in school. We can help you select the right play elements that encourage social interaction, enhance problem-solving skills and conflict resolution, and empower students to gain greater self-confidence and self-control.

Active Students Learn Better

School playground equipment plays a vital role in the development of a child. It helps students release energy and take a mental break during the day. Science shows students who engage in physical play each day have fewer behavioral problems in class, perform better on tests, and have better academic records.

Studies show students perform better in class when they utilize school playground equipment to stay active during school.


Design a school playground to meet the needs of all your students. Open it up to the community, if possible, so everyone can realize its benefits year-round, and make sure you have a plan to maintain the equipment to keep it functioning the right way. A school playground can be a lot of fun, but it is also an essential component in all students' social and academic success. 

To learn more about school playgrounds, contact the GameTime play expert in your community.