Five Free Resources to Plan a Play Area for Your School or Daycare


Many schools and early learning centers are operating at a limited capacity. Others are closed or supporting children in a hybrid model. Regardless of how you're managing these unique circumstances, this is a great time to plan for what’s next.

Our GameTime Cares™ program provides information and resources to help plan an effective play area. Once children return to schools and daycare centers, you’ll be ready!

Read on and learn about five resources that will make planning a play area much more manageable.

1. A Guide to Create a Playground Supervision Plan

According to the National Recreation and Parks Association, most playground accidents could be avoided through proper adult supervision. As part of our Safety Resource Series, GameTime published a Playground Supervision Guide. This comprehensive guidebook provides tips for supervising the play environment.

Our Playground Supervision Guide helps you identify the importance of playground supervision. You'll learn to identify potential environmental and playground equipment hazards. There are also guidelines to help you develop adequate supervision and emergency response plans.

2. Make Outdoor Education Fun

Children have an inherent affinity for play and for being outdoors. Teach them about nature, animals, and habitats with Play Trails Activity Guides.

Play Trails® is an innovative approach to outdoor play that infuses activities along trails. These “play pockets” are themed with nature-inspired play elements like animals or plants.

Our Activity Guides provide environmental education while you explore the Play Trail. Even if your school or community doesn’t have such a trail, you can download these booklets to take with you on a nature walk. They include activities to inspire children about the wonders of nature and develop a sense of environmental stewardship.

3. Inspire a Love of Music

GT Jams® musical instruments on a playground inspire creativity! Modeled after traditional African and Caribbean instruments, each has its unique sound. GT Jams® allows children to discover the joy of music while encouraging healthy physical activity.

Parents and teachers can request a copy of the GT Jams® Playbook. It’s a standards-based curriculum that meets the national standards for music and physical education. And it provides indoor and outdoor classroom connections to bring learning to the playground.

4. Make the Entire Outdoors Your Classroom

Transform your playground or other outdoor space into an outdoor classroom. Outdoor learning areas encourage dynamic, creative play that makes concepts easier to comprehend.

The Outdoor Creative Play and Learning Kit includes 100 standards-based activities to reinforce classroom learning. In addition, there are activities for language arts, science, mathematics, and more.

The kit comes in a sturdy laminated case with a comprehensive instructor’s guide. There are also assessment tools and reproducible activity cards divided by age/grade. Each card lists age-appropriate activities, illustrations, and ways to make the activity inclusive.

5. Turn Your Playground Into a P.E. Class

Play On! helps you design outdoor play areas that align with national standards for youth physical activity. It also provides fun, physical activities for children to enjoy.

The Play On! guidebook includes 125 standards-based playground activities for children in Pre-K through 5th grade. These activities promote overall fitness and maximize the use of your playground.

Play On! Includes:

  • 125 playground activities for grades PreK-5
  • Assessment worksheets and equipment lists
  • National Standards of Physical Activity alignment matrix
  • Safety, implementation, inclusion, and teaching strategies
  • Design strategies and funding resources
  • Playground design strategies to promote higher levels of physical activity
  • Professional development training module

Plan Right Now For What’s Next

Your school or early learning center may be closed due to the pandemic. Or you might be winding down operations for the summer. Either way, this is a great time to plan for what’s to come.

Children need play to develop socially, physically, and emotionally. These free resources will help you create opportunities for children to be active, have fun, and appreciate the world around them.

If you have questions about putting together a play area plan for your school or early learning center, contact the GameTime play expert in your neighborhood.