School Playground Ideas for Different Age Groups

In recent years outdoor learning has been increasingly promoted by OFSTED as highly beneficial for young people’s personal and educational growth! A wide range of activities and equipment to catch kids’ interest and enhance their experience on the school playground is a unique way for schools to prioritise holistic growth a priority for kids of all ages.

As kids grow, however, needs and interests change drastically, as any educator or parent could tell you!

From toddlers first developing their curiosity through sensory activities in tactile sandpits and colourful sound-makers, to ages 10 and 11 rocketing down the football pitch like Beth Mead and Rahim Sterling, providing an environment for healthy development for exploring interests. Staying active and sparking imagination is key for any school playground.

Ages 2-4

Endlessly curious and constantly learning, children aged 2-4 experiencing the world for the first time benefit greatly from supportive, varied environments for play.

Photograph of a young child’s hands under the running water of a wooden water play table from our sensory playground equipment range

What to include in Playgroup Playgrounds:

  • Bright colours
  • Sensory panels
  • Creative patterns
  • Simple storytelling
  • Play sand and plenty of other interesting textures
  • Safe environment to explore with safety surfacing

Giving young children room freedom to play and experiment with a range of tactile, fun and safe playground equipment helps stimulate the senses to develop in a variety of ways. Touch and movement builds strong gross motor skills, sharing and interacting with others on the playground helps even very young children’s communication skills, and being surrounded by bright colours and interesting sounds improve general mood and promote language development.

Top Tip:

Children’s open-ended play at young ages is vital to the imagination and independence, so don’t worry about setting too many rules. Play is a world run by children, we’re there as adults to ensure safe and age-appropriate play by providing the right playground equipment and atmosphere of exploration!

Whether splashing around in the water table, or spinning and twisting the elements of play panels, children’s sensory development is most important from the ages 2-4.

Ages 5-7

As children enter Key Stage 1, their interest in learning should begin to be harnessed in their play.

Using creative playground design, the normal school curriculum can be enhanced through fun and learning. Creating outdoor classrooms is a great way to really engage students in learning across the curriculum to include a range of different school subjects in fun.


Colour and fun is an amazing way to promote early maths skills in primary a school students. Our playground markings are designed to encourage early learning in many, many fun ways!

Whether hopping along our colourful outline of a snake with number segments or playing snakes and ladders, The School Playground Company offers a range of activities to keep numbers on the brain even when playing! Or for those with Ophidiophobia, our range of clock playground marking make time fly by when learning numbers!

Learning numbers is fun when consideration is made for how kids learn, which is often by doing, rather than sitting inside reciting with a teacher. This is particularly beneficial for children with dyscalculia.

Reading and Writing

Communication skills can be developed through storytelling in imaginative play or in outdoor classrooms where stories are read to wind down after a long day.

In addition to our range of letter learning playground markings, The School Playground Company offers a great opportunity to create an exciting and different environment for enhancing imaginations in outdoor classrooms. Our project to create a storytelling area suitable for Key Stage 1 students at a school Royal Leamington Spa demonstrates how our effective playground design and playground equipment can be used to create a brilliant opportunity for outdoor learning

Photograph of The Playground Company’s playground project for an outdoor storytelling area for Key Stage 1 students at a school in Royal Leamington Spa. This includes a high backed wooden chair at one end and seating for students including three red, rubber topped seating mushrooms and four timber backless benches on green artificial play grass

Art and Music

The importance of art and music to children’s development has never been more easily met than in modern playground design which allows for creativity and exploration of imagination to take the fore-front across education.

Musical Play is an amazing opportunity to expand children’s appreciation for the world around them and develop a love of music, among many other benefits. Learning other subjects can even be made easier and more engaging to children with auditory learning styles, or in using pattern recognition through song- for an obvious example- the alphabet song!

Art is so varied that it can be present in every aspect of the playground, and promoting art in primary schools is a way to further use sensory play styles in new ways as children grow. How about turning our playground safety surfacing into a huge chalkboard for your kids to express themselves, using our playground markings to tell stories and get creative!

Ages 8-11

As children become older they require more dynamic play, which our active play areas are more than suitable for. Climbing frames, trim trails and clamber stacks are amazing opportunities to stay fit and active on the playground, with our safety surfacing grass mats providing a soft landing when required.

Children are always making up games for themselves and it is a great idea to let them roam free and use playground however they want: timing themselves on the trim trails or using playground markings in fun and effective ways- including higher educational, more complex playground markings for older kids.

Sports and exercise are also incredibly important for older children on the playground, providing tactile and fun playground exercise equipment, outdoor gym equipment, and Multi Use Games Areas (MUGAs) are therefore a great opportunity to help kids learn about healthy activity and best use your PE time.

Photograph of school-children using and enjoying The School Playground Company’s product- Outdo-child-DBLHE- Double Health Walker. Standing on the black foot holds and holding onto the green safety bar, children take part in a light cardiovascular workout side by side with their peers.

The Daily Mile

The Daily Mile is an amazing opportunity to keep kids active. This international campaign to keep kids fit. Running or jogging for 15 minutes a day is a quick, simple, and safe way to improve children’s health through aerobic activity. This has been seen, additionally to the health benefits, to improve concentration when returning to the classroom, so why not sign up to this amazing opportunity and use our safe and colourful playground surfacing and playground marking designs to help along the way?

Photograph of school playground markings in green wetpour surfacing and white playground markings perfect for the Daily Mile starting and finishing area. The markings include a white checked starting line, with a marking reading ‘warm up walk’ ahead of it circled in green with green footprint markings, and a white arrow perpendicular to the starting line indicating where one lap would end, there is also a large forest green rectangle with white rounded text reading ‘MILE A DAY 1/3 mile = 4 laps 2/3 mile = 8 laps 1 mile = 12 laps’.

Positive Playground spaces are important for all kids!

A diverse selection of activities and attractions is vital to any playground design. It is important when selecting your choices for equipment and playground markings that there is a consideration for the different needs of different age groups and The School Playground Company endeavours to meet these needs and provide a creative and fun outlet for children of all ages!

If you think our products are right for your playgrounds continue to browse our website or contact us today for more information on how we can help.