Outside Play Still Important For Older Children

Outside Play Still Important For Older Children

Outside play for secondary school childrenWith the rise in screen time, many older children are spending less time playing outside. While this is generally accepted, some suggest that outside play is still important to children over 11.

For one thing, children over this age could benefit from the increase in activity for health reasons. There are many news reports on the growth of obesity in children. Secondary school teachers can also find that children in their care don’t have basic skills like catching, running, etc.

Higher levels of physical activity can help with this.

Additional physical activity can help children develop their physical strength, agility, and reflexes. There are also psychological benefits for outdoor play such as improvement in confidence and self-worth.

However, at age 11, with the lure of additional screen time and because of the social trend of treating older children differently – facilities for outside play are rarely available. Many play parks state that children over 12 cannot use the facilities.

Another point is that many secondary schools don’t have apparatus suitable for older children to enjoy during break or lunch. Certainly not to the level that many primary schools provide.

However, there is much evidence that children over 11, teenagers, and even young adults do like to, and if given the opportunity, engage in play.

Giving Older Children The Opportunity To Play

Therefore, it’s the responsibility of educational institutes and local facilitators to provide older children with the chance to use their imaginations for older play. It isn’t just as simple as providing a pitch and a football. For some, football isn’t enjoyable, and for others, their lack of natural skill convinces them not participate in these sports.

Another challenge is that between the ages of 11 and 16, children develop a lot. Therefore, a one-fit-for-all solution is not the answer as it is unlikely to cater for all needs. You will need to understand how children play at different ages and what they need to remain active to prepare equipment that’s suitable.


Play for older children is still important, and provides physical and psychological benefits. Unfortunately, this age group is often limited in facilities to enjoy outdoor play.

Do you offer play facilities to over 11s? What works for you?

See our range of canopies for schools which enable outdoor play and learning to be carried out all year round.

Let us know in the comments below.

Able Canopies Ltd. design, manufacture and install canopies and shade structures
at schools, nurseries and educational settings to enable year-round
Free Flow Outdoor Play and Outdoor Learning.
For more information please contact us

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