News


Shared goodness

Get the good news!

Join over 13,000 education professionals who receive our bi-weekly newsletter.
News, offers, articles - the world of play is always moving! Sign up and enjoy it.

Contact Us

Play Library


By Jon Alexander 15 Nov, 2017

In 2015, the Government found that 1 in 5 children were obese, with 1 in 3 obese or overweight. Yes – really! Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the last 30 years. What does that mean? Well, it spells an increased risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes and breathing difficulties. That’s not mentioning the potential impact on children’s mental health and self consciousness.

It also means more unhealthy children growing into unhealthy adults, with the development of serious diseases more likely as time goes on. But what can schools do? A great deal, actually! Here are four simple steps your school can take to tackle childhood obesity.

 

1.   Get out and play!

Exercise is essential for any person’s health – child or adult. Even if someone eats well or is the “ideal” weight, a lack of activity can have a negative impact on muscles, organs and joints. In addition to PE, which is required on the national curriculum, schools can encourage active play during break times too. Lucky for us, children love playing! They just need the right space and facilities to do so.

 

2.   Promote cooperation and friendship

Getting children to play can be a problem if they feel isolated. Schools should encourage children to make strong friendships. Here are some ideas:

·        Icebreaker activities to introduce children from day one.

·        Group activities in lessons.

·        Team games in PE lessons.

·        Change around seating plans to get children talking to different classmates.

 

3.   Food education

They say you are what you eat – and, to some extent, it’s true! Even the most active child will not be healthy if they aren’t eating the right food. As well as offering balanced meals and healthy snacks, schools should look to educate children about food so they make the right choices at home and in future.

Worried about squeezing it into the already-jammed timetable? Try incorporating it into other lessons, like maths, science and art.

 

4.   Mental support

Being overweight can affect the mental wellbeing of children. But it can also work the other way . If a child doesn’t feel supported, they’re less likely to lead a healthy lifestyle. And where do kids look for support? Adults, of course. Make sure children are supported at school by offering them the chance to talk about any issues and reinforcing positive thinking.

 

Providing the means for a healthy lifestyle

You can’t force a healthy lifestyle on children, but at school you can give them the knowledge and means to pursue it themselves. At Playcubed , we provide tailored play areas and facilities to schools across Greater London. Covering consultation, design, presentation and installation, our service makes it easy for your school to get the perfect play areas and facilities. Get in touch today to discuss your requirements.

By Jon Alexander 16 Oct, 2017

EduKent EXPO & Conference is Kent’s leading event for the promotion and development of effective school leadership, management, learning and teaching featuring a high-level conference, inspirational workshops and a comprehensive exhibition of leading suppliers of services to schools and academies.

In November 2016, the fifth EduKent EXPO & Conference brought together hundreds of education leaders from across Kent and neighbouring counties - to share best practice and new ideas on managing and developing education in the region.

Continuing to build upon previous successes, the 2017 event will take place on Wednesday 8th November at The Kent Event Centre, Kent Showground, Detling ( view on maps ).


Free-to-attend

This free-to-attend event is Kent’s largest exhibition and conference for the county’s Head Teachers, Finance Directors, Bursars, Business Managers, Governors, Local Authority education leaders, PTA’s, IT Managers and school leadership teams from the state, academy and private sectors.

Delegates benefit from a unique opportunity to meet key suppliers in the market and attend a wide range of free conference sessions - hearing directly from senior figures who set education policy and strategic direction across the national and local education agenda. High-quality content provides practical advice on how to achieve outstanding results through strong leadership, excellent teaching and effective management systems.

Breakfast, lunch, refreshments and parking are all free-of-charge for all delegates!


The place for quality education support services

EduKent has been developed by Kent County Council in response to the rapidly changing educational environment and is designed to meet the needs of schools and academies by providing education support services, all in one place. By building on the success of Kent Services for Schools and by combining such established services as Schools Personnel Service, EIS and Schools Financial Services with the newer service providers, EduKent offers high quality, competitively priced services delivered by experienced staff, to assist in improving outcomes for all pupils.


Come and see Playcubed at Stand 229

We will be exhibiting at Stand 229. Be sure to drop past to meet the team and discuss any outdoor developments at your school.

CLICK HERE  to book your free place and make sure your school is represented.

By Jon Alexander 09 Oct, 2017

Learning the senses is a key part of a child’s primary education. Ask most young children and they’ll be able to list sight, sound, smell, touch and taste (or close enough anyway). But what about learning through the senses? Sensory play engages children, helping them explore and discover the world. Read on to explore how sensory play helps children learn, in more ways than one.

 

Getting touchy

Speak to most people about sensory play and they’ll assume you mean touching and feeling. They wouldn’t be wrong – touch is one of the senses, and is an essential part of sensory play. But it’s also important to engage children with sights, smells, sounds and even tastes. Colourful, aromatic plants, sensory panels and textured surfaces are just some of the ways to ensure children are using all of their senses.

 

Two types of motor skills

Running, walking and climbing help children improve their motor skills. Or, more specifically, they develop their gross motor skills, dealing with large muscle groups for dynamic activities. But what about their fine motor skills?

No, we don’t expect kids to fix a faulty gearbox. This applies to smaller muscle groups, essential for things like writing and shoe-tying. Yes – all the things you want children to master in their early years. Sensory play absorbs children with activities involving fine motor skills, exploring things like squeezing, pinching and lacing.

 

Language skills

As any parent or teacher will know, language is essential to children’s development. It’s how they understand the world around them and express ideas and emotions. Can sensory play help? 100% yes! When you’re learning new words and ideas, the touch, sound and smell of objects can bring them to life.

Point at a picture of a tree and explain it to a child. They’ll probably learn it eventually. But when they can see it up close, feel the rough bark and smell the fresh leaves, it suddenly becomes more real, memorable and easier to understand.

How about concepts and comparisons? Try explaining smooth and rough objects to a child without letting them feel them and experience them. It’s almost impossible for them to understand. With sensory play providing a range of colours, textures and smells to children, this comes naturally.

 

Engaging children with sensory play areas

With clear benefits for children’s learning, sensory play facilities are a superb addition to any educational environment. If you want to add a versatile, engaging sensory play area to your school, Playcubed can help. We provide tailored facilities for sensory play to schools around London and the South East of England. Offering full consultation, planning and installation, we’re the perfect solution to all your sensory play needs. Get in touch today to discuss your project.

By Jon Alexander 28 Sep, 2017

In a world where 'push of a button' entertainment is taking over, playing gives children a much-needed fitness boost. It’s no secret that it also helps them grow socially – communicating, co-operating and competing with their peers, plus a host of other benefits you can read about in our post: The Top 5 Reasons to Play Everyday

But what about maths? As a core subject, it’s at the top of all schools’ list of priorities. But does playing have a role in mathematical development? Read on and explore the link between the two.

 

Combining targets

Why is mathematical ability so important? Quite simply, because it extends to so many parts of life as children grow up. What it also does, however, is manifests itself in things they do from an early age. Because playing incorporates such a wide range of skills, including those linking to maths, it can have a noticeable impact on a child’s mathematical ability.

A 2013 study found that play with block structures had a strong correlation with mathematical ability. They separately assessed the block playing and athematical ability of over a hundred three-year-olds, finding that those who were better at copying structures were also better at maths. Researchers concluded that something as simple as block building improves children’s spatial skills, which then supports the development of problem solving in later life.

By Jon Alexander 27 Sep, 2017

From cognitive development to social skills and physical health, there’s no end to the benefits of a high-quality school playground. Children learn to communicate, cooperate and explore, all while moving around and improving their fitness. But with budgets being cut, many schools need to look at alternative ways to raise money for these kind of developments. 

Don’t worry, it’s not as hard as it sounds! Read on for six simple ways to raise funds, and have a LOT of fun and learning in the process!

 

1.   Get moving

It can be hard getting people to put their hand in their pockets and just give money, but it’s much easier when they know you’re doing something challenging for it. Run a 10k, swim a long distance or walk to school for the term – and get as many people involved as possible. Increasing the number of people participating broadens the sponsorship opportunities and can bring in some serious money. 

 

2.   Jumble sale

Ask staff, pupils and parents to bring things in they no longer need. You could be specific, asking for books, or just leave it to their imagination. Hold a jumble sale (or book sale) with these items, and you’ll soon find you’re a lot closer to hitting the target (as well as freeing up space around everyone’s homes). Cake sales are always popular too, and parents are often happy to bake and donate cakes for the school to sell.

Top tip: Make the most of valuable items by raffling them off with tickets at £2 each.

 

3.   Craft, create and sell

It’s not just used and unwanted items you can sell, there’s also plenty of things that can be created yourself. Even better, they can be made as part of a fun activity for pupils. Grow plants, bake cakes, and make arts and crafts. Parents and the local community will love buying them knowing they’ve been made by the children themselves, and for a good cause.

 

4.   Battle of the bands

Everyone has a song in them, right? With a bit of practice, most schools can put together a decent musical line up. Whether it’s teacher, pupils or a mix of the two, the show will attract plenty of attention, get the children working together and raise a lot of money from ticket sales. How about a talent show or an X-factor evening?

 

5.   Non-uniform day

Non-uniform days are a common occurrence at the end of term, and always popular with the children. Why not use them to raise money? Ask children or their parents to make a donation so they can wear their own clothes to school. Similarly, with games days, children can bring their own toys for a small donation. Something as little as 50p per child can soon stack up.

 

6.   Party on!

Another fun school tradition is the end-of-term party. Parties are the ideal time to raise funds, whether it’s Christmas, Easter or even Halloween. Instead of having parties in class, arrange a party after school where donations are given as an entry fee. All it takes is a bit of organising and some decorations, and it’s yet another fundraiser the pupils can get involved with.


7.  Local business buy-in

Local businesses are often keen to support a good cause - it shows they are giving something back to the community and adds another sting to their corporate responsibility bow! Why not develop a small 'proud to support...' banner with your school logo on that local companies can put on their literature, leaflets, mail-outs and websites? Plus, you could put their details on school newsletters and notice boards too. Tradesmen such as plumbers, electricians and domestic building companies would be glad of the local advertising opportunity, and happy to pay three figures for a 6 month package.


Still feeling the squeeze?

We understand that budget constraints leave some schools strap for cash, so we've recently introduced a finance scheme to make playground improvements affordable to as many schools as possible. To avoid the complications of a large outlay of money all at once, we have partnered with an established finance company to offer a bespoke operating lease scheme for school playground developments. Much like the way you might lease a school minibus, you can now have playground work carried out and pay for it (over an agreed period of time) in small, manageable installments. Get in touch to find out more about this risk-free scheme and how it could benefit you.

By Jon Alexander 18 Apr, 2017

The Academies Show is the leading free-to-attend event for schools and academies. Bringing together education professionals, key decision makers and high quality service providers, the show offers unrivalled networking opportunities and the tools to better understand the latest education policies. The event includes conferences and hands-on theaters, as well as many key note speakers .

The Playcubed team are looking forward to meeting you and discussing your playground ideas at stand 546.

When: Wednesday 26th April 2017, 09:00 - 16:30
Where: Excel London. ( View on maps )
Tickets: FREE, must be pre-booked online. Tickets can be booked here .
Event website:  www.academiesshow.london/

Venue and travel information can be found here .
By Jon Alexander 08 Feb, 2017

Play England's release,  Charter for Children’s Play,   describes play as: ‘what children and young people do when they follow their own ideas and interests, in their own way, and for their own reasons.’ Play should be freely chosen, personally directed and intrinsically motivated. That is, children and young people should be able to determine and control their play by following their own instincts, ideas and interests.

Play has also frequently been described as ‘what children and young people do when they are not being told what to do by adults’ . Many adults think that play is unnecessary; however play is a vital part of childhood and is necessary for every child’s healthy development. Through play children are able to develop the skills and abilities they will require as they grow older . Play is a biological, psychological and social necessity that is fundamental to the healthy growth, development and well-being of individuals and communities. 

It can take many forms; how a child plays is unique to him or her. For some, playing can be doing nothing in particular, it can mean doing lots, being boisterous, showing off, being contemplative, overcoming difficulties...etc. Through play children explore the world and learn to take responsibility for their own choices . Play can be sociable or solitary, play can help children to climb, swing, gallop and chase. It can help them to try new things out, push boundaries , develop confidence, explore and experiment the world around them. You can read more on the benefits of play here .

Having time and space to play gives children the opportunity to meet and socialise with their friends, keeps them physically active, and gives the freedom to choose what they want to do. Play supports children to move through each stage of their development naturally, allowing them to make friends, come to terms with difficulties, follow their instincts, think and learn from others. When children are asked about what they think is important in their lives, 'playing' and 'friends' is usually at the top of the list!

By Jon Alexander 06 Feb, 2017

Here we explore the top reasons why Artificial Grass has become so popular in schools:


Maxmise the use of your space

Artificial Grass fully utilises the space your school has by making it available for all-year-round use. Often schools have areas of natural turf which, whilst great in the warmer months, cannot be used during the winter. Such areas are prone to becoming boggy in the wet, and normally take such high footfall that they are more akin to mud patches than grass areas! This is where artificial grass comes into its own – it is ready for action all-year-round and stays looking it’s best even after years of heavy use! By choosing Artificial Grass you are maximising the use you can get out of your outdoor areas.


Minimal Maintenance

Artificial grass requires minimal maintenance, and even then a simple regular brush over is virtually all it needs. No more weeding, mowing or watering. You can read more on this in our Artificial Grass Easy 5 Step Maintenance Guide .


At last, Clean Uniforms!

The parents will thank you! Investing in artificial grass spells the end of muddy, grass-stained uniforms and footprints in the corridor!


It Blends in with the Natural Surroundings

A further benefit of Artificial Grass is that it’s unobtrusive to the eye. Like natural turf in appearance and colour, artificial grass blends in with natural surroundings without looking ugly or drawing attention to itself (that said, there are plenty of coloured options if you're after something ‘louder’).  In fact it’s becoming more and more popular as a domestic garden surface due to its pristine appearance.


Add some Style!

If you have a larger area, artificial grass is a great way to add some style to your playground! It can be mixed with other artificial surfaces , cut into shapes or patterns or used with contrasting colours with amazing results. Take a look at the surfacing in these projects at The Rise School and  Plumcroft Primary School .


Save Long Term

Artificial Grass enables you to save on maintenance and labour costs.


Soften the Blows

Although not a safety surface in it's own right (more on that below), Artificial Grass does have impact absorbing qualities, helping to cushion falls and making it a safe option over other playground surfaces.


Keep it safe

When installed with our optional UltraMat, artificial grass is a compliant safety surface. This means it can be used beneath playground equipment to meet safety regulations and satisfy fall height criteria.


If you considering having Artificial Grass installed at your school please contact us on 01322 279799 , send us an email or fill out an online enquiry here .

By Jon Alexander 03 Feb, 2017

A Themed Play Area is an area that replicates a real life situation. For example a library, a fire station, a theatre, jungle themes, historical scenes, space…the only limits are your imagination! Our bespoke design service means we can take your ideas for any theme (within reason) and create it into a feasible and compliant play space. We have recently installed areas themed to The Railway Children and X-Factor!

Themed play brings a number of unique benefits to children’s development.

By Jon Alexander 17 Jan, 2017

Propose something different!

Lots of schools will be applying for funding for an outdoor learning area. Can you make your project stand out by theming it with a focus on healthy living, wildlife or the arts? The project needs to be original and creative, whilst also being relevant and current.


Share it out

Think how the new development can be used, not only by the school children , but also  the wider community. Could community groups use the facility in the evenings or at weekends? Could you make ball courts or grassed pitches available? Is there a heritage or ecological aspect that could be exploited – could the space be used for community research or local history? Consider the use of the facility during the holidays for a school holiday camp. Your application will carry more weight if their are wider beneficiaries than just your school.


Get community buy in

Consult the community before you prepare your bid. This can include questionaires to pupils and parents, making contact with local youth groups, community organisations and voluntary groups. Find out whether they could use your space and what they would use it for. Early consultation can help you design a project that will benefit as many people as possible, strengthening your bid for funds. Include quotes from children and potential beneficiaries to make your bid stand out. Advise on how the new area will improve the users health and well-being, with the inclusion of outdoor gym equipment or a trim trail .


Take the initiative

Its worth showing some initiative by arranging some fundraising events yourselves. Whilst it may feel your putting yourself out for such a small proportion of the funds, it puts your application in a more positive light in the eyes of decision makers. School Discos, Quiz Nights, Sponsor Challenges, Fun Days, Talent Shows, Raffles, Jumble Sales, Car Washes and Bake Sales are all possible fundraising ideas!


Avoid Assumptions

Never assume that a funding body, whether local, regional or national, is familiar with your community, your school, the geographical area, local issues or your educational track record/reputation. Always include a context for your project that demonstrates your expertise as a school and the need for the project.


Write well

Good writing is the key to a good proposal. When presenting your bid, write in clear bold sentences. Don’t use acronyms or jargon. Use active language that is positive and persuasive; 'this project is necessary because...' rather than 'If this project doesn't happen...'. It may be worth contacting a bid writing company to get it done professionally. 

 

A thoroughly researched scheme with imaginative ideas, and a well written proposal is far more likely to succeed in securing funding. Visit our funding page for contact details of some funding groups.

More Posts
Holy Trinity School
Design and installation of a playground in Hackney, London - on the school roof!
See pictures
Hargrave Park Primary Shool
Design and installation of a playground MUGA in Holloway, London.
See pictures
Godalming Primary School
Design and installation of a playground MUGA in Surrey.
See pictures
Trinity St Mary's Primary School
Design and installation of a playground in Balham, London.
See pictures
Plumcroft Primary School
Design and installation of a playground in Plumsted, London.
See pictures

You've read this far!

Get them direct to your inbox

Join over 13,000 education professionals who receive our bi-weekly newsletter.
News, offers, articles - the world of play is always moving! Sign up and enjoy it.

Contact Us

Share by: