Email: [email protected] Telephone: 01625 445760
Soft Surfaces logo

20+ Years Experience

Free Site Visit

Managing Behaviour Through Active Outdoor Play

Managing children’s behaviour can often be difficult for schools and teachers as not all pupils respond to instructions in the same way. The increasing numbers of children being diagnosed with behavioural problems makes this even more of a challenge.

The estimate in the UK is that around 2-5% of school-age children have ADHD. This is the most common behavioural disorder in the country. The provision of active outdoor play in an engaging and stimulating environment at schools has been shown to address these issues. It also helps to reduce symptoms in children with these kinds of disorders.

Children with behavioural disorders such as ADHD can be misunderstood by teachers and their needs are sometimes not dealt with appropriately. Schools often take a negative approach to these problems by denying a child the opportunity to take part in active play if they have exhibited ‘disruptive’ behaviour or a ‘lack of attention’.

These techniques of behaviour management are typically counter-productive. This is because disruptive children usually become more frustrated when they are unable to release their energy through physical activity or outdoor play. The build-up of adrenaline and testosterone only increases frustration and therefore leads to the child becoming more hyperactive and disruptive.

Benefits of Active Outdoor Play

Schools and nurseries need a more productive way of dealing with children who have difficult behaviour. One option is to provide a positive learning environment. This gives them access to active outdoor play in a fun environment. This has benefits for all children as it enables them to ‘let off steam’ and release built up energy. They will then be able to concentrate and focus their attention more in lessons.

Research shows that allowing children to be active and take part in sports and physical games outdoors helps rebalance hormones. This, in turn, reduces disruptive behaviour and encourages better concentration. You can even incorporate educational activities into the play area including outdoor maths games and more.

A study recently published in the journal Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being found that children who regularly play outdoors have reduced ADHD symptoms compared with those who play indoors. This supports the need for better external play facilities at schools and nurseries. These then allow children to take part in physical activities. They can do this whilst also learning and developing social skills with others.

Providing Facilities for Activity

Educational organisations have a responsibility to manage children’s behaviour appropriately, and providing opportunities for active outdoor play can benefit all children, not just those with behavioural difficulties. Every child should have the chance let out their physical energy by playing games and socialising with others. Offering this in an outdoor environment is a simple way to help relieve frustration and improve concentration in lessons.

Below you can see a video of one of our projects which shows our team installing a multi-use play area:

This is just one of many installations which we complete each year all over the UK. Our team regularly work in schools, nurseries, public spaces and even domestic locations.

Outdoor Recreational Areas

There are a number of ways that schools and nurseries can improve their outdoor environment. These all provide a better place for children to learn and play while releasing built up energy. Adventure trails and activity units give kids the chance to develop a number of physical skills. The main ones being balance, coordination and agility as well as social skills in working with others.

Educational playground markings can provide kids with a number of games. Some of the options include maths grids, letter snakes and maps which encourage intellectual development through fun activities. There are also a whole host of other types of play equipment including climbing walls and activity panels, and playground graphic marking designs such as sports lines and traditional games.

Your school can choose from various different options and therefore customise the design. This helps ensure you get the perfect outdoor recreational area which meets the needs of your pupils.

If you’d like to improve the provision of active outdoor play at your school or nursery and need help with designing a facility or finding the right equipment to suit your students, please get in touch with us through our contact form. We would be happy to offer advice and further information on how creating opportunities for physical activity can increase children’s concentration and benefit your school as a whole.

Get expert advice, today call us on

Get a FREE quote from our award winning team