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Bringing Language Arts to Play

Incorporating Your Curriculum: Language Arts/English Playground Games

It is generally accepted that many children have active imaginations and abbreviated attention spans, which can make it difficult for even the most seasoned teacher to motivate all students to learn in a traditional setting. After all, it is much harder to pay attention to one's lessons than it is to start daydreaming or to get distracted by the class clown. As an educator, you can appreciate and understand the importance of different lesson formats. When on the lookout for ways to capture your students' attention, you might find that you can effectively engage, educate, and have a bit of fun, all at the same time.

Turning to outdoor play may be an effective alternative for reinforcing class materials, including new concepts and review previous material. It can also be very effective for students that may learn differently than their peers. At AAA State of Play, we are strong proponents of using the playground as an integral part of a learning curriculum. The importance of recess and other outdoor play has long been noted in terms of cognitive and physical development. To encourage active learning, make the most of the time and space you have by engaging students in educational activities that feel more like play.

Language Arts & English Playground Games

To benefit educators, we have put together this brief resource to assist in incorporating educational play into your class routines and to show how you can use fun learning games with the outdoor play equipment that you purchase. Language arts and English outdoor games can vary depending on the needs of your class, but are generally activities that can be played outside and incorporate the lessons being addressed in the classroom; they are typically timely and general concepts can often be changes to apply to the concepts being covered. In some cases, an English playground game may reinforce language skills through the use of rhymes, counting, and other basic skills. Teachers can use them in a variety of ways to teach spelling, syntax, and other key components of English grammar and composition. This makes them easily adaptable to most learning programs, allowing the teacher to help students learn in a fun and less formal environment.

Using Some Typical English Games in Your Curriculum

There are a variety of lists of English games for the playground available through other schools and educational outlets. We have selected two of the most popular games, in order to give you some ideas as to how you may incorporate them into your curriculum for learning and fun.

IT -- Also known as tag, IT is a simple game where one child chases everyone else. When the child who is "IT" touches another child, the child who has been touched becomes the new "IT" and has to tag someone else. Institutions and organizations that buy playground equipment can make this fun game even more challenging, because the equipment gives children places to hide. This helps children make use of spatial reasoning skills and trains them to look for details--such as the edge of another child's shirt peeking out from behind a pole, revealing the child's hiding place--in order that they might find someone to tag. The game can also be a good way to reinforce things, such as colors, for younger students. For example, the "IT" person can be tasked with finding only students who are wearing white shoes.

To reinforce language skills, teachers can incorporate several challenges. Consider, for example, having the person who is "IT" practice spelling words. Come up with a word--for example, rhinoceros--and then attach one letter from the word to ten students. The "IT" student must tag the other students in order from r through s in order to win the game.

You can also be incorporated into a scavenger hunt. Place words around the playground and have the student find all of the words that meet a certain criteria, such as the shade of a particular color. Once all the words are found, the student will then have to tag all of the other students wearing that color. Ball -- A variety of ball games also fall under the category of English playground games. Besides the traditional favorite ball game of football, there are also versions of basketball that are popular on the playground. When you shop our catalog, you will find many basketball attachments that allow kids to play a variation of this popular game using their playground equipment. A simple game of basketball where the winner is the first child to score 15 points can be an excellent way to teach counting and other math skills. Players have to keep track of point totals, and assigning different point values to different shots gives them the opportunity to practice addition.

To reinforce English skills, consider putting the kids in a circle and have them toss the ball one to another. When a student catches a ball, the one who threw it has to yell out a word that the student who has caught the ball must spell or define. If the student cannot do the task, he or she is out. Continue playing until only one child is left.

The Right Playground Equipment for English Games

One of our goals here at AAA State of Play is to make it easy for schools and other institutions to combine games and learning for better education. Buy from our online playground equipment catalog, and use the structures and accessories you purchase with playground games to reinforce your students' skills.

Find more about the author: Kim Hart