Tips & Guides, Outdoor Classrooms & Shelters

School Equipment And Outdoor Play: An Ultimate Guide

kids at school playing and exercising on yellow gym equipment outdoors

If you’re planning on purchasing new school equipment, school playground toys or other educational resources but you’re not quite sure where to start, our ultimate guide to school equipment and outdoor play should come in handy. 

There’s a lot to choose from which can be a little overwhelming, but spending that extra time researching upfront will pay off in the long run. To help you out, we’ve based our guide on some common questions or topics to get you started.

What Do I Need?

There’s a few factors that will help you to determine this upfront. First of all, have a look at the space that’s available outdoors and see if anything can be moved around to make way for new playground equipment. The range of educational resources available come in a variety of shapes and sizes to work with your playground setting but if you’ve got your heart set on a particular piece of equipment, we can also make this bespoke so it definitely slots into your learning environment. 

Welcome ideas from your wider staff, school governors or even the children themselves as these views could help you to narrow down your decision-making process. It’s not a bad idea to get them involved early on too, using the suggestions and feedback to make informed decisions about which school resources and playground equipment will really make a difference to the children. 

Finally, budget may be an influencing factor that contributes to which pieces of educational equipment you go for. There are plenty of outdoor play choices to suit every budget without compromising on quality and of course, the level of learning that children receive.

Will Children Benefit From Outdoor Play?

Having school resources that are outdoors will benefit children immensely. From their physical strength to their mental capabilities, social experiences and of course, overall health simply as a result of engaging in outdoor activities. 

There’s nothing better than enjoying the great outdoors and this is highly recommended for children too. For toddlers ages between one and two and preschoolers aged between three and four, the NHS recommends they should be physically active daily for at least three hours with a mixture of indoor and outdoor play. 

Children aged five and upwards require around 60 minutes of physical activity at a moderate level, again as advised by the NHS. This can also involve taking part in a variety of physical activities which strengthen skills, muscles and bones as well as coordination. 

While all outdoor teaching equipment will stimulate children physically, have a look at our range of sports and fitness playground equipment, which can be incorporated into outdoor learning. 

You can even set up your own playground gym with our range of outdoor gym equipment. From bicycles to work the arms and legs simultaneously to this Double Skier, children can find new ways to challenge themselves and even do this in pairs. 

We also offer an Education Bundle complete with eight units, allowing up to 14 children to use the school equipment at any time. This is the perfect addition to PE lessons where children can take it turns to use the gym station or even at breaktime. 

Another all-in-one addition is our Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA) that will challenge children, boost social interaction and promote team play. It can also be used for a number of sports including football, netball, basketball and other outdoor activities for kids in one space. 

Can Outdoor Play Be Fun And Educational?

Absolutely. By using playground equipment as an educational resource, children will still be able to learn and have plenty of fun. It’s a great balance that comes naturally. We’ve listed some practical and common uses below:


Taking lessons outside of the traditional setting is becoming increasingly popular and this can happen all year round. Check out our range of outdoor classrooms and shelters that are perfect for this. 

Thanks to its generous space, the Amphitheatre offers children the opportunity to showcase their drama skills outside with benches for teachers and even parents can be invited to watch a school play. Children can bring plays and scenes to life and really come into character using this piece of outdoor equipment. 

See how the children engage in this inspiring Earth Pod, which can be transformed to suit many scenarios. It’s particularly popular as a reading snug for quiet time or an outdoor classroom that provides an engaging learning zone beyond the traditional setting and can even be bespoke to your school colours. 

Don’t be put off by the typical British weather because our educational equipment is built to last and can still brighten up any day. This Sunshade Canopy is a great addition to your outdoor space, with a bright and enchanting flower pattern printed onto a polycarbonate roof. There’s also the option to include timber sides for extra weather protection.

Role Play

Get the children aboard this interactive pirate ship and let the fun-filled adventures begin. It’s wheelchair accessible and comes with a moving steering wheel as well as a climbing net so children can really get into character. Add your own finishing touches such as a sailor’s hat or jacket to complete the adventure. 

If being at sea sounds exciting, check out our Adventure’s Ahoy ship. With three decks, there is plenty of room for a large number of sailors (or pirates!). Children can climb up using rope or even pull themselves up. Anything is possible with this action-packed item. 

The ideal setting for stories and fantasies to come to life, have a look at our Towers Adventure and Wimbledon Woodland Towers. In these educational resources, children will love acting their favourite characters from stories or films, taking it in turns to play different roles such as prince and princesses to bring out their emotions. They can take a trip to the forest, climb up into the towers and even slide back down.

After their outdoor adventure, why not encourage children to write a short story about their fun or sing some classic sailing nursery rhymes.

Sensory Learning

Bring all five senses to life with our range of outdoor sensory playground equipment, suitable for all ages and abilities. Children can explore and investigate exciting play panels, sounds and textures at the touch of their fingers. The benefit of the sensory equipment is that children have direct access to a full range of sensorial materials which add to their learning.

For example, pouring water through chutes, running sand through their fingers or messing around with mud will stimulate hand-eye coordination and provide them movement of different compositions. Bring some pots, pans and other kitchen utensils to create your very own mud kitchen, great for curious little hands! Set this up in our Small World complete with doors and windows to create their own wonderful house. 

We can also create rich sensory areas, such as gardens, full of herbs and plants, cascading water and places for bugs to find a new home in this Nature Sensory Path. These real-life settings give children a chance to explore natural flowers as if they were growing in a meadow or in their own garden at home. To follow this up with a learning activity, children can use their artistic skills to sketch or paint the scenery, capturing the flowers in season. 

There will be plenty of noise if you go for an installation of musical playground equipment. This Rustic Music Centre is a brilliant way for children to create their very own band, complete with plenty of singing. Encourage them to make their own microphones and take centre stage, 

If music is what you’re after, have a look at our Play Panels. These stations are equipped to make musical instrument noises when interacting with different panels, along with vibrant colours to catch their attention. There are also plenty of games and mazes to get their little minds working hard.

Where Can I Store Playground Equipment?

You’re likely to have certain school playground equipment that typically remains outside and rather than bringing them in and out, having some outdoor storage could come in handy. 

We have a range of options available to accommodate your outside teaching equipment so that it can be accessed easily and keeps your playground looking neat and tidy but more importantly, provides protection.

As you are likely to do indoors with classroom equipment, ask the children to help with putting the playground equipment away at the end of each outdoor learning session. Our selection of playground storage can be made bespoke to fit into your external space and work around your current or new playground installations.

How Can Red Monkey Play Help You?

The world of school playground equipment and outdoor play is vast and it can sometimes be difficult to keep track of the benefits they can bring to children as well as the options available to you and your school or nursery.

The team at Red Monkey Play hope you found this guide to school playground equipment and outdoor play useful, but if you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’d be more than happy to help to please drop us an email at or call our Leicester office on 0116 366 9922 or our London Office on 020 38445 525.

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