What is a PlayPod?

PlayPods NC is designed to offer children in North Carolina schools and child care centers a loose parts play experience. This play experience includes assessment, preparation, training, mentoring, evaluation and the construction of a PlayPod. The PlayPod can be as large or as small as needed to store the appropriate amount of loose parts and scrap needed to stimulate and continually engage children in free play. The PlayPod is an element in the play area along with existing play features such as ball fields, traditional climbing equipment and courts. Accessibility should be managed by individual facilities, but generally the PlayPod should be made available during any play session for any grade.

The scrap can be collected from area businesses, stores, or homes. The scrap is clean and safe, but comes predominantly from the waste from commercial operations. Providing scrap as a play element supports infinite amounts of play types, play frames, physical development (fine and gross motor skills) and learning experiences. The beauty of scrap over traditional play equipment is that the intent of the pieces of scrap is left in the hands of the player. Scrap provides a greater range of flexibility, diversifying its appeal to children. The large collection minimizes bickering over “hot” items such as balls found on typical elementary playgrounds.

PlayPods North Carolina started in 2012, designed after the model in the UK started by the Children’s Scrapstore, called Scrapstore PlayPods. Be Active Kids® is working collaboratively with the Children’s Scrapstore UK in piloting PlayPods to a limited number of sites across North Carolina.

Why a PlayPod?

  • Achieve greater physical activity during outdoor play time
  • Enhance and diversify play opportunities outdoors
  • Reduce conflict between students during outdoor play time
  • Engage more students in play during outdoor play time
  • Restore attention for post play time classes
  • Improve creative thinking and problem solving skills

Where are North Carolina's PlayPods?

  • Forest View Elementary
  • Randolph County Partnership for Children


  • Preservice Teachers Learn to Use Be Active Kids in Limited Spaces

    I really enjoyed our class meeting. It was interesting to discover that you can do just about anything with children in the classroom where there may not be much space to encourage them to be active.  A change that I will make in my own life is to be more active, as well as my daughter. I will share this information with my friends that have children such as yoga animals, or Simon Says.

    Cathy Sesta, Parent & Child Care Provider
  • Early Childhood Physical Activity Institute

    Thank you for inviting me to be part of this year’s Institute. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed the experience. You’re doing amazing work and I hope I’ll be able to continue contributing to it a bunch in the future.

    Rae Pica,
  • Plenty of Resources That I Can Use and Share

    This class was informative, and I look forward to being physically active with young children. On Friday, I volunteered at a Parents Night Out through my daughter's school. When I got there the kids were watching a movie. I got them up to play Simon Says and Red Light Green Light, however, after that I was stuck on what to do. I wish I had the knowledge I gained from this class, to have made it more exciting.

    I enjoyed your Land and Lake Activity.

    Venessa Wright, Parent & Child Care Provider
  • Be Active Kids Trainers Rock!

    I loved the training.  I would have loved it more if I had the other teachers from my center there also.  I am really looking forward to taking my kit to work and sharing it with my staff.  I liked Brittney, she reminded me of myself as far as being very active and motivated.  When I am at work with my little ones we stay busy all day.  I feel like singing my instructions and dancing my actions helps them to focus better on what I need for them to do.  Britney was great and I learned a lot from her. I am always trying to find new little ways to get the kids moving.

    Tiffany Daniel, Sandhill Community College

    The Early Childhood Physical Activity Institute was just wonderful!  Thank you again for including me in such an important effort to create and sustain leaders in EC physical activity. I would love to return to NC anytime that you think I can help. I enjoyed meeting the folks who work with you and hearing about all of the great things that are planned. 

    Linda Carson, Choosy Kids
  • Be Active Kids has Much to Offer

    Congratulations to you and everyone who has been promoting PA for young
    children in NC. You have much to be proud of here. Be Active Kids is an excellent source of ideas for promoting active play in unstructured settings. The Be Active Kids website also has resources on promoting unstructured active play. I encourage folks to review these resources. 

    Diane Craft, SUNY Cortland & Active Play Books