Playground and fitness equipment keep learners moving

K12 designers are inspired by growing evidence that students learn better when they get a chance to move
By: | July 26, 2017

The growing evidence showing that students learn better when they get a chance to move has inspired K12 designers to create classroom furniture and playground equipment that keep youths active, even as they learn.

Flexible seating options allow learners to get more comfortable in the classroom while sensory-based learning tools expand the possibilities of play in physical education.

For younger students, schools have added playground equipment that promotes movement and educational growth. Schools are also purchasing themed playground structures such as castles for younger learners and playscapes with visually redesigned equipment that will appeal to older students.

Educators are also encouraging students to venture outdoors with mobile apps that gamify playground activities.

Vernier Go Wireless

Vernier Software & Technology

The Vernier Go wireless heart rate monitor lets science and biology teachers track students’ heart rates when they’re stationary and during P.E. The device, which straps to a student’s chest, wirelessly transmits data to iPads, Android devices and the LabQuest 2, a separate data-collection device with built-in graphing and analysis software. Vernier can also provide experiments for middle and high school.



The pedal desk combines a desk and fitness bike to keep students moving during class. Pedalers power the system, which provides simple, resistance-free motion that engages a child’s leg muscles, lower back and core area. Motion increases student attention spans and elevates heart rates. The device has a gel seat with back support and an optional pivoting arm for an iPad, Nook or Kindle.

The tabletop and seat height are adjustable.

GoFit app

Polar Electro

This app encourages students to keep moving by monitoring their physical activity. Users can track their exercises, read their fitness assessments and view their heart rates, and activity reports can be saved and shared with parents and administrators. Students can monitor their calories, sleep patterns and how many steps they’ve taken by pairing the app to a separate wrist unit, the Polar Loop.

Biba mobile games


Biba mobile games, available on iTunes and Google Play, encourage students to play outside on PlayPower playgrounds that contain augmented reality markers. First, students download Biba games onto smartphones. Next, they scan the markers to progress through the mobile games.

In Biba Collectobots, students collect imaginary “Biblet” creatures on their smartphone by visiting actual places on the playground. Biba Drive! lets students drive a Grand Prix car on a virtual racetrack by playing on slides, bridges and climbing rings.

Unity Connect

Playworld Systems

Unity Connect, a modern playground for students ages 5 to 12, can be customized with various equipment, including swings, spinning seats, multifunctional stepping stones and climbing surfaces. Playworld also offers domes of steel rings that youngsters can climb and nonlinear monkey bars.

TouchMath activity panel

Play & Park Structures, provided by School Outfitters

The TouchMath interactive panel—which is about 4 feet wide by 4 feet high—bring numbers to the playground. The numbers one through nine are printed on separate panels adorned with brightly colored dots to assist students in preschool through grade 5 with counting and basic math. The panel comes with a training DVD, classroom sampler, activity poster and manual that offers instructional activities.

The panel is available in wood or recycled plastic, and in-ground mounting is required.

Robinia castles


Robinia castles, designed for students ages 5 to 12, inspire creativity and encourage students to play more imaginatively. The castles come with slides, monkey rings, climbable surfaces and other equipment. The castles are made of Robinia wood, a durable material that is harvested sustainably.

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