Original Playground Markings

23 June 2011 · 7 comments

in Developing School Grounds & Outdoor Spaces, Maths Outdoors

Almost every Scottish school likes to have a few playground markings adorning their acres of tarmac. Most schools fundraise and buy standard markings from a company who specialises using in thermoplastic tough material.

There is also the DIY option. At Fraserburgh North Primary School, the janitor has been on a painting frenzy this term. Alison Rosie, Head Teacher:

“Our janitor did most of the work in his own time, before and after school and at weekends. He is incredibly dedicated to our school and the children.”

The staff spent a lot of time discussing their ideas and gaining the thoughts of the children. They wanted open-ended markings that could be used in multiple ways. Here’s the results…

Firstly take a look at the brightly-coloured goals. This means there will be less arguments about where a goal has been scored and perhaps less accidental rebounding of the balls off the fences when the children kick off target.

The coloured lines below are where the children line up when the bell rings. Each colour is for a different class. It’s also the place where classes can practice maths activities. For example, numbers can be chalked or placed in each square for children to practice place value work, multiplication tables, etc. The children can invent jumping and running games during their intervals.

These 10 x 10 coloured circles are divine! They have infinite potential for all sorts of activities including navigation, position and movement challenges, grid work and team problem solving. I can imagine the children using them in many different ways during playtimes too.

This traditional hopscotch has become a rocket ship heading towards Earth. Scotland is clearly marked on the map!

A mystery animal has been visiting the school. It must be huge, judging by the size of the paw prints!

The cement on the walls has been highlighted with white masonry paint. The flowers have been added by one class of children and simply look pretty, especially when seen en masse from a distance.

Having a gathering place outside is really helpful in terms of establishing routines around learning in the school grounds. The staff wanted a circle that had multiple-purposes. The children use the maze at break time which is made of concentric coloured rings. The outer circle is thicker and the strips of colour allow for team games and quick groups to be formed. For example, if you are standing on a red part of the circle you are in the red team. I think the additional footprints around the outside add novelty too.

The disadvantage of DIY markings is that they do not last as long as thermoplastic ones. However, this can be useful too in that if a marking is put in the wrong place or is found to be not as useful as originally thought, then it’s easier to make a correction.

Before you ask your janitor to do this, do get the children to experiment with the best places for markings to go. Chalk is useful and indoor paint can also be used for temporary markings too.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

wondersofnature June 23, 2011 at 13:57

I’m not usually a big fan of this kind of addition to a playground, however I think you’ve nearly converted me!

There are some really well thought out options, and I especially like the fact that they are temporary and you can change them if you want/need to-that was one of my biggest problems with the thermoplastic material; a large outlay for a fixed play option.

The only reason I’m not totally convinced is because I really, really wish schools had more natural surfaces rather than the ‘acres of tarmac’.

I guess it’ll be a while before that changes so in the meantime I really like this DIY option!!


Mike Lanza June 23, 2011 at 15:43

Here is a map mural on my driveway that I’m very fond of. It’s somewhat open-ended, but not as much as many of those pictured here:

A Neighborhood Map on Our Driveway


Juliet Robertson June 24, 2011 at 15:14

Mike – This is a lovely map – I tried to comment on your blog but for some reason I couldn’t get the page to open for comments.

I agree with Wondersofnature – there is way too much tarmac and not enough natural surfaces in schools and really this is only just beginning to change – I’m hopeful that in the next 5-10 years, natural surfaces will become the norm and the majority of the school grounds area.


playgroundMD August 20, 2012 at 19:37

The markings look great however if you need them to last longer try http://www.playgroundmarkingsdirect.co.uk


TJ Bakewell April 11, 2016 at 10:02

The markings look brilliant and really light up the playground and make it look more interesting! Definitely a must for the playgrounds. I am a KS1 teacher and our playground is currently getting a makeover with some playground markings. They are looking ace so far!


JD November 14, 2016 at 17:20

Have you any idea what paint was used to create this? Many thanks.


Juliet Robertson November 14, 2016 at 17:26

Jenna, I think it was masonry paint – it normally is used for painting exterior walls. You do need to be a wee bit careful as sometimes the texture of some paint can result in a slippery surface so do a wee check first.


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