Playground Activities for the National Curriculum

A lot of schools want to meet the National Curriculum’s requirements when it comes to activities being useful for children. There are several different games children can play to help with learning a variety of subjects and skills.

Keep reading to see some of our ideas on the best playground activities for the National Curriculum that you could include in lessons and play times.

National Curriculum Play Area Equipment

When it comes to National Curriculum play area equipment, there are certain definitions when it comes to physical activities being performed on school playgrounds, these being:

  • Running – This helps children build up their fitness levels and gets their heart rates pumping.
  • Jumping – A key part of physical development for young children which encourages strength and agility.
  • Dancing – Kids can be creative and make up their own dance moves so they can have fun while staying active.
  • Balancing – Another important part of development for kids during their early years, walking along bridges and beams, and climbing different structures can help improve balance.

If a piece of equipment can allow children to perform these types of actions, then it is deemed to be effective in playground activities for the National Curriculum. However, it is important to know that these are just the physical aspects of things. Certain equipment might require more thinking than acting, improving skills like problem-solving, strategising, logical thinking, social skills etc. See our different options for playground equipment here to find out more about what’s available.

National Curriculum Play Area Games

These types of activities are often great for helping kids engage with subjects more frequently and enjoy them more than usual. Ofsted and the National Curriculum often appreciate when schools also provide equipment for students to improve their mental skills alongside physical, so it’s important to remember to balance your playgrounds with a mixture of both.

Having a playground storytelling area is one way of engaging children mentally and encouraging imaginative play. There are many different designs and types of seating you could choose for these facilities.

Key Stage One Games

When it comes to creating games for key stage one pupils, it’s important to keep in mind their skills and attention spans. Kids at this stage can easily be entertained but are very energetic. Physical activities are perfect for kids of this age. On the other hand, at this point, kids learn a lot quicker than any other age groups so introducing them to a few educational games and outdoor learning would also be beneficial.

Introducing classic competitive games such as football, netball, basketball, cricket and rounders are great ways to build up an understanding of competition and how to be polite with good sportsmanship. Obviously, it will build up a lot of physical skills, but alongside this, it will build an understanding of teamwork, leadership and strategising. With this combination of skills, it’s a great way to appeal to the demands of kids at such a young age, whilst giving them benefits. Have a look at this post if you are interested in different maths games which can be incorporated into the playground.

In the video below you can see an installation of play area surfacing at an Early Years Centre in Uxbridge:

Movement and motif boards are a great method to get children dancing and understanding the importance of planning a routine. Again, this type of activity combines both physical and mental prospects and really benefits them on both sides. Encouraging this type of activity is great as it also provides a taste in music as well and introduces them into creative subjects.

Outdoor Games for KS2

Children in Key Stage 2 have matured a lot more and therefore start to become a bit harder to entertain and start to show distaste towards certain lessons and will lack engagement with them if they do not feel any interest. On the other hand, they still do keep the energy they had and still prefer play over work and learn at an accelerated rate through this method. There are plenty of playground designs for schools which you can use to help encourage children’s development.

Climbing equipment can be installed during this age group due to the children’s muscles being a lot more developed and therefore allowing for more complex movements. Activities like climbing hugely boost muscle growth and fat burning whilst also improving good mental attitudes of not giving up. The best bit about this certain activity is how much energy it requires and how it can tire students quickly, meaning they become a lot more relaxed in lessons.

Educational Playground for National Curriculum

Graphic markings can be developed towards this age group as well, mainly by introducing more complex outdoor games for KS2 (whilst keeping it simple to understand). Compasses are incredibly popular for this age group as they start to understand geography and numeracy. Another great graphic is a dartboard. Requiring some strong maths and hand-eye coordination, this graphic can really wield some strong benefits for everyone who participates in them. See more about the floor marking designs on this page if you are interested in these.

Primary School Curriculum Activities

By introducing a mixture of physical and mental activities, you can really improve your students’ performances in and outside of school. Ofsted usually see playgrounds and activities as a major deciding factor for primary schools’ ratings, so it’s vitally important to introduce some great ones if you are aiming to improve your rating.

The governing bodies also suggest that having playground activities for the National Curriculum which challenge both physical and mental aspects as incredibly important. By meeting both organisations’ standards, parents will see your school as a much better option for their children to go and stay compared to your competitors.

Soft Surfaces are more than happier to help with any playground queries and/or ideas you may have. Simply send us a message and one of our team will get back to you quickly with some brilliant advice that you can’t find anywhere else.


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