School Playground Equipment – How It Has Improved Over The Years

Posted on: November 16, 2015

Air Balloon Hill Primary School

Without a doubt the role school playground equipment has played in our lives is as important as everything we learned in the classroom put together.  I really can’t remember the elation of getting my spellings right but I do recall how proud I was of climbing to the top of the climbing frame and sliding down the pole.  Experiencing sweaty palms and sheer fear,  awarded me with courage that would enable me to abseil and go on a zip wire without getting too weak at the knees.  The most wonderful thing about school playground equipment is that children can set themselves physical and emotional challenges that they can practice as many times until they achieve their goal.  When a child pushes themselves out of their comfort zone they gain a confidence that will last a life time.

The First School Playground Equipment

Source: Telegraph

In Victorian times children would get a break from the hard slog of work by playing with school playground equipment such as; footballs, skipping ropes, hoops, marbles, hopscotch, tag and British Bulldog.  There was no purpose built school playground equipment because it simply hadn’t been invented.  However this didn’t matter because Victorian schools were so tough that the children valued playtime more than anything.  The concept of playgrounds was introduced in Germany where playgrounds were built in connection with schools to encourage good manners.  In 1858 the first built public access playground was built in Manchester UK and later President Theodore Roosevelt encouraged the installation of playgrounds in 1907 because, ‘City streets were unsatisfactory’. (Wikipedia)

Bringing The Playground Into Schools

Source: Daily Mail

In 1922 Charles Wicksteed designed the first known pieces of playground equipment to put into his famous Wicksteed Park.  The slides and swings were pretty dangerous and made of wood.  This picture shows how he developed a metal slide in 1935.  The swings looked pretty awesome and dangerous.  Charles Wicksteed lead the way with playground equipment design and many other companies followed suite. It can only be assumed that as educationalists reported on the importance of  play that schools started contacting playground equipment companies and commissioned them to install school playground equipment.

Custom Made School Playground Equipment


Source: Playdale

School playground equipment has become a necessary feature of the school playground and can be used during lesson times as well as playtimes.  As you can see from the photograph of Virgo Infants School Hampshire, the playground is bright, safe and versatile.  Schools can also choose school equipment that encourages natural play so that the children can learn about the world about them.

The great thing about school playground equipment these days is that it is safe enough for children to take risks without the fear of hurting themselves.




2 Responses to "School Playground Equipment – How It Has Improved Over The Years"

It’s amazing how far we have come! Especially now days with interactive playground equipment. It’s wonderful that children have so many unique ways to express their creativity and be active and healthy. Now that playground equipment is so much safer, children are at such an advantage. Thanks for the article, it is great!

Glad you like it – I love watching children feeling confident enough to challenge themselves. My son is cautious but new play equipment means that you don’t have to be so overprotective.

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