What are the benefits of physical play in primary school?
Picture this, you are a child (primary school age), and you are enjoying playing. In the image you have just created in your head, were you outside? Playing alone or with others? Were you in an open space, or did you have playground equipment? Every person will view play differently.
When you hear the term physical play, you may immediately think of the outdoors. Running around in the fresh air with friends, having fun! Physical play can range from scaling a trim trail to hopscotch. Getting children active has endless benefits, Less than half of the children in the UK are meeting the standard deemed to be active each day. We explore these benefits and share easy activities to try at school.
What is physical play?
The term physical play covers any game or activity that encourages movement. These movements might include the whole-body, fine motor skills, balance, and flexibility. Physical play is a great way for children to build strength, coordination and develop social skills.
Request a free Playtime by FAWNS brochure to access all physical play equipment for your school.
What are the benefits of physical play in schools?
Physical play benefits for children are huge for building strength, core stability and developing social skills and friendships. Let’s look at some of the most important benefits of physical play in primary schools:
Development of problem-solving skills.
Increased strength and coordination.
Social skill progression.
Self-belief and confidence.
Improved mental health and well-being.
Better sleeping habits.
Securing a feeling of belonging.
Physical health (including cardiovascular health).
Fine and gross motor skills (which helps with handwriting).
Risk management skills.
Imagination and creative play benefits.
What are the physical play benefits for EYFS?
We know the benefits of EYFS outdoor play for child development, risk management and learning about the world they live in. Physical play goes hand in hand with learning in an environment different from an indoor classroom. The EYFS Framework is very clear in stating that children should be given opportunities to play both indoors and outdoors. Interlinking the benefits of physical play with outdoor learning.
Toddlers and infants are exploring the world through all their senses. Experiencing new textures, heights, and sounds during their play opportunities. Physical play in the early years offers children the chance to play new games, build sensory information and manage risks with their newest friendships.
Once children begin tabletop activities, they work towards a good level of dexterity to help them with writing, painting, and typing skills later in their school career. These fine and gross motor skills all begin with varied physical play activities in the EYFS.
Easy physical play activities for schools
Teachers, we know how full your plates are. When choosing a wide variety of physical play activities, it is not expected that you know your rotations from your circumduction’s! It is important to get a broad range of activities that strengthen all aspects of the child’s muscular system. But how do you achieve this wide range of activities without increasing workload by excessive researching? We have a list of our top physical play activities and supporting equipment that increases children’s active play levels as well as working lots of different muscle groups.
Indoor physical play ideas
Indoor play often will be on a smaller scale due to space limitations. But nevertheless, there are plenty of games that can be enjoyed indoors.
- Parachute games in the school hall.
- Aim and fire with beanbags on a target.
- Balancing games (like egg and spoon race).
- Yoga or flexibility activities.
Outdoor physical play ideas
Finding activities that tick off a range of movements and build all-around physical strength and coordination can be tricky. We share some equipment and ideas to increase your children’s motivation for outdoor physical play.
- Marco Polo Tower is a physical challenge incorporating pushing, pulling, climbing, sliding, and balancing.
- For schools that prioritise physical play and development, the Mariner Space Frame combines all muscle movements.
- Pick up sticks range promotes grip, grasp, balance, and adventure.
- One for the older children, combine swinging, balancing and upper body strength with the Discovery Space Frame.
Competitive play ideas
Having a designated space for competitive games on your playground is beneficial for reducing injuries. Try some of the competitive games below to increase children’s daily active minutes.
- Bean bag throw competition.
- Air balloon challenge (for indoors).
- Sports fitness trails.
- Monkey bar hang.
- Timed star jumps.
Group physical play ideas
Interlink physical play with the development of social skills. Encourage fair sportsmanship, inclusive behaviour and attitudes and teamwork with these group physical exercise ideas.
- Octopus tag (once one player is tagged, they join the tagging octopus and stay interlinked until the last player is caught).
- Football, hockey, or netball.
- Group obstacle courses.
Independent physical play ideas
Although play often has social demands, some children with communication and interaction needs may prefer to engage in physical play independently. We share some independent physical play ideas:
- Circular swings (give support and can support sensory needs).
- Music tubs.
- Road maps on the playground floor.
- Planting and gardening.
Request a brochure to see the full range of physical play equipment that can fit your school’s needs, budget, and space, or speak to one of our customer support team to discuss.