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  • Writer's pictureBenny Kuriakose

Activity Spaces and Play Areas in a School

Activity spaces in schools can encourage students to learn from the outdoor environment. Sports activities such as athletics, volleyball, football, and other outdoor activities help improve the children’s gross motor skills (hand-eye coordination) along with their learning. Taking the children out of the classroom and teaching through the surrounding environment increases their grasping power. These activities also help the children develop innate qualities like sharing.


Outdoor Spaces in School
Outdoor Spaces in School

Outdoor Spaces in Sankalp School
Outdoor Spaces in Sankalp School

Teaching areas should be extended to open spaces beyond classrooms. For this purpose, chalkboards, raised platforms, and low outdoor seating arrangements can be made available in these spaces.


Outdoor Teaching Spaces
Outdoor Teaching Spaces

Outdoor Teaching Spaces in Sankalp School
Outdoor Teaching Spaces in Sankalp School

Plants, trees, birds, butterflies, etc. can also be studied in such outdoor learning spaces. The students learn by interacting with and observing the natural diversity on campus.


Outdoor Play Areas
Outdoor Play Areas

Activities like making maps out of waste objects can be executed in large open spaces. This will help children understand maps, scale, measurement, aerial views, and different ways of representation through the available objects.


Outdoor Map Making Activities
Outdoor Map Making Activities

List of Contents


Outdoor Arts and Theatre


As a part of the outdoor landscape, an open or semi-shaded area can be designed for art-related activities like drawing, colouring, painting, model-making, etc. A platform of about 450 mm height can be provided here to be used as the stage for performances such as drama and theatre. Drama, dance, and music shows can be conducted in the school by the students and staff members. These activities can also involve the community.


Open Spaces for Arts and Theatre
Open Spaces for Arts and Theatre

Outdoor Play Spaces


Outdoor play spaces can be play areas that involve equipment like jungle gyms, slides, seesaws, etc. It can also be mud, water, or tyre playgrounds. Spaces like open-air assembly spaces, lawns, courtyards, setbacks, and spaces between buildings can be utilised for outdoor play.


Outdoor Play Areas
Outdoor Play Areas

Tyre Park in Sankalp School
Tyre Park in Sankalp School

Tyre Park in Sankalp School
Sensory Park in Sankalp School

Sandpits


Children love to build with earth and sand. Providing a space for them to dig, build, and mould with the material will develop their muscular coordination and creativity. A 200-mm pit filled with sand or earth can be provided for this purpose. An open wash area with taps can be provided adjacent to the sand pit for students to clean up after playing.


Sandpits
Sandpits

Water Play


The water play area can have a dome, bubbler, shower, etc. The water used for these activities can be sourced from the rainwater harvesting system to ensure a judicious use of the water resources available. A rough flooring surface can be provided to avoid slipping and falling. The sandpit and water play area can be placed adjacent to each other.


Waterplay Areas
Waterplay Areas

Tyre Playground


It becomes difficult for schools to get good, sturdy play equipment. Designing a tyre playground using discarded tyres as play material becomes safe and economical. It can be used in the following ways:

  • As play equipment, tyres can be fixed one above the other, 450 mm from the ground, and in between rods.

  • Mud, water, and tyre playgrounds

  • A bunch of tyres can be arranged in a particular order for children to hop, skip, and jump.

  • A number of tyres can be fixed to the ground to form a tunnel for children to crawl beneath.

  • These tyres can also be fixed at a height with a chain and can be used as swings.

  • The tyres can also be used as planters.



Tyre Playground
Tyre Playground

Tyre Playground
Tyre Playground

Tyre Playground within the Courtyard in Sankalp School
Tyre Playground within the Courtyard in Sankalp School

Play Equipment Using Waste Products


Reusing waste available within the school campus for playing can also be encouraged.

  • Using old window grills as ladders or jungle gyms.

  • Rubble stones, logs, and unused bricks can be used for seating.

  • Swings hung from the branches of a tree.

  • Reusable timber logs as part of play.

  • Reusing plastic or old wooden chairs as seating in merry-go-rounds.


Play Equipment Using Waste Products
Play Equipment Using Waste Products

Seating Areas made from Waste Wood
Seating Areas made from Waste Wood

Tyres hung from a tree to make swings
Tyres hung from a tree to make swings

Indoor Play Spaces


Indoor play spaces can be placed in common areas shared by the students inside the school building. These spaces can be used for indoor games like carrom, chess, and other board games. They can also be used for shared activities or as common areas for students to mingle and interact. The non-tiered auditorium layout can also be used as an indoor play area since it has a large area and may not be occupied throughout the day.


Indoor Play Spaces
Indoor Play Spaces

Indoor Activity Spaces in Sankalp School
Indoor Activity Spaces in Sankalp School

Conclusion


Activity spaces are an important element in school design. Such spaces must be designed in such a way that they resonate with the nature around them. It must also understand and be flexible with the needs and requirements of students and provide a wide range of activities. At the same time, the students should not be forced to do activities that they are not interested in. The education system must create room for growth and experimentation and must allow students to choose their interests. Thus, students should be given space to refresh themselves and not be forced to sit within the four walls at all times. The body and the heart are as important as the mind.


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