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The Perfect Playground

Learn simple physics concepts and critical and creative thinking skills through outdoor play.

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Up, down, forwards, backwards, round and round – Playgrounds allow children to slide, climb, swing and spin. It’s the perfect environment for exploring different physical forces such as ‘push and pull’. In this activity, you can explore everything you love most about the playground.

Activity 1: Let’s Investigate

What you’ll need

  • about 30 mins for a trip to the playground
  • hats, sunscreen or umbrellas
  • a camera or mobile phone

What you’ll do

Step 1

It’s time to go out on a field trip! Head out to your local park, beach or any other area with a playground.

Step 2

Have a look at the different features of your playground. Take photos of your most and least favourite parts (you could show a ‘thumbs up’ or ‘thumbs down’ in the photos to capture how you feel).

You can ask:

  • why do you like these ones – is it because of movement, fun, feeling or adventure?
  • why do you think they look/feel/sound like that?

Step 3

Stop to investigate how the equipment works. How do you start its movement – do you need a push or a pull?

Step 4

From here, your kids can design and create a model of their perfect playground for their family, friends or favourite toys. Their goal will be to translate the factors they identified in the playground (movement, fun, feeling, adventure) into their design. See if they can include connecting and moving parts.

You can investigate how to build swings, a slide or a see-saw. If your toys are going to use the playground, how big should you make the equipment?

Step 5

Discuss what kinds of playground equipment you’d include to make a perfect playground. Maybe you want to create something completely new!

Tip: if you can’t make it out to a playground, you can start at Step 4. Just have a chat about playgrounds you have gone to, and move straight to deigning your own.

Key concepts explored

Want to take this activity further?

We’d love to see what you create! Share your video by tagging #ScitechAtHome on social media.

 

Try another at home challenge from our postcard series:

A decorative pattern.

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