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Play in schools

Play in schools

Play is a crucial part of physical, cognitive, social, emotional and spiritual development for young people. It is a key part of Sport NZ’s commitment to supporting schools and kura so all students can take part in quality physical activity and enjoy being active in ways that suit them.

Sport NZ is supporting teachers and schools to create play-friendly and quality physical activity environments through:

10 tips for creating a play-friendly school

Ask tamariki how they would like to play and consider some of these ideas:

Getting to and from school

1. Encourage tamariki to get to and from school on scooters or bikes or by walking, so they can play on the way.

2. Create play trails along fences and pathways leading to school, or around school grounds.

Provide additional opportunities for play within the day

3. Extend break times or use class time to play.

4. Bring games into your school like giant Jenga or hula hoops.

5. Let tamariki have a say in playground rules.

6. Have a themed day, like a water day or wheels day.

Create opportunities for tamariki, kaiako

and whānau to play and connect

7. Encourage on-duty kaiako to play with students at breaktimes.

8. Invite whānau to a play afternoon and BBQ at school. Think about holding a play festival!

9. Support play at home by giving tamariki take-home play items, such as chalk.

10. Encourage Loose Parts Play in your school. Start by introducing a play pod or mud kitchen.

Stories of play in schools


Healthy Active Learning

Healthy Active Learning is about improving the wellbeing of tamariki and young people through healthy eating and drinking, and quality physical activity. It’s a joint initiative between Sport NZ, the Ministry of Education and Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand. Now in 900 schools and kura nationwide, Healthy Active Learning is supporting them to create healthy and active learning environments, and better connections to their local communities.

If you’re not already part of Healthy Active Learning, you can still take advantage of our online resources, be inspired by stories of impact and sign up to the Healthy Active Learning newsletter.

If you require an accessible version of any content on the site please contact us and we will be happy to assist.

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