6 Playground Activities That Promote Physical Activity

A well-designed play space provides a critical opportunity to address the needs of the whole child and offer a wide variety of activities that motivate, engage, and challenge all children. Specific designs can be selected that encourage children to actively move through play and develop important fitness skills that align with national standards for physical activity.

Playgrounds can be designed to fully implement the Play On! program while incorporating the six key elements of play to promote fitness and help children reach moderate to vigorous levels of physical activity. Physical educators and recreation professionals can play a critical role in the selection of playground equipment and the overall design of the outdoor play and learning environment.

  1. Balancing — Increases understanding of efficient body positioning and control, principles of gravity, equilibrium, base of support, and counterbalancing; Promotes muscular strength and endurance throughout the entire body.
  2. Sliding — Enhances core stability, dynamic balance, and leg and hip flexibility; Provides body and spatial awareness experience.
  3. Brachiating — Improves muscular strength and endurance; Promotes hand-eye coordination and rhythmic body movement.
  4. Spinning — Develops kinesthetic awareness and postural control; Improves understanding of speed, force, and directional qualities of movement.
  5. Climbing — Enhances spatial awareness and coordination; Fosters whole-body muscular strength, endurance, and flexibility.
  6. Swinging — Promotes aerobic fitness, muscular force, and whole-body awareness.

The PlayCore National Demonstration Site Network raises national awareness, recognizes projects of excellence, and helps local communities demonstrate the positive impact they are making on Community Vitality. The Play On! National Demonstration Site designation promotes physical activity and fun by designing outdoor environments for active play and implementing playground learning activities. The program provides educators and recreation professionals with evidence-based design best practices to promote fitness and health — maximizing the value and potential of school and community playgrounds.

Learn more about the Play On! National Demonstration Site program and the other designation opportunities at www.playcore.com/nds.

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