Hanging out with friends on the playground is a past-time shared by virtually every generation, and the games we played over the years haven’t changed much. Four square, tether ball, hopscotch, and others have been around since we can remember, and playing them on a safe surface is often a concern of adults responsible for the children playing those games. Rubber surfacing has great potential to be designed in a way that’s conducive to encouraging kids to play on those safe surfaces, rather than heading to the pavement, for play.
A time-honored classic, hopscotch is a game beloved by all. Though over the years there have been several different iterations of the court it’s played on, in the United States the layout typically consists of three single boxes laid out one in front of the other, with two boxes side-by-side after that, followed by one single box, another double, and then an “end” space. The game is played by throwing a small object onto one of the boxes and trying to retrieve it by hopping without making any false steps on the board. In redoing your playground’s surface, consider inputting a built-in hopscotch court. As kids tend to disagree as to how exactly the court is meant to be laid out, having one already determined will immediately settle disputes and prevent playground fights from breaking out.
Though you also need some sort of bouncing ball to play this classic game, fitting your playground with a built-in four square court will encourage active play. Consisting of one square divided into four equal, smaller squares, a four square court is simple in design and in purpose. Each square is typically either numbered one through four or subscribes to a royal hierarchy of “jack”, “queen”, “king”, and “ace”, with ace being the best. If you really want to go the extra mile, you can design these labels as well, though the court may be enough to encourage and revolutionize gameplay.
Another schoolyard classic, if your playground is fitted with a tether ball pole and ball, you can make the game more defined and interested by designing a circle around the pole in your rubber surfacing. This will encourage kids who aren’t playing to stay outside of this imaginary barrier, preventing injury and increasing enjoyment of play for those involved.