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