Imagine a school day where children cannot go outside to the playground because of the weather. Now, imagine a school with an indoor playground! In 2019, LSU AgCenter SNAP-Ed and the Ouachita Parish Healthy Communities Coalition created an indoor playground at Shady Grove Elementary School. This play space increased the activity level of students on bad weather days. Teachers reported the indoor playground has made a difference in student behavior and attention.
This project began with the goal of providing a place for active recess play even on bad weather days. The indoor space was designed to encourage kids to move. Healthy Communities Coalition members, volunteers, and LSU AgCenter staff transformed an empty classroom into the indoor playground.
Volunteers painted the walls with colorful murals and an area of the room to become a play kitchen. The indoor playground includes stations to promote healthy living and active lifestyles:
- A pretend grocery store was placed close to the kitchen so children can “shop” for food before “cooking” it in the kitchen
- A blank wall was painted with magnetic primer and chalk paint
- Large floor stickers were installed to create spaces for hopscotch, jumping, and walking
- A large caterpillar crawl-through sits in the center of the room
- Giant-size games encourage kids to move while playing the games
- Active equipment such as balls, trikes, and hula hoops round out the space
Shady Grove serves 263 students in grades Pre-K through 5th.
The principal reported, “You have really started something with the indoor playground! After teachers saw the new indoor playground, they became inspired to make their classrooms more colorful and appealing.”
One Pre-K teacher noted that her students love to go to the indoor playground. One hundred percent of the teachers surveyed said that Healthy Communities changes at the school have encouraged their students to be more active.
This Policies, Systems and Environmental (PSE) change was made possible through grant funding and community partnerships. Finding ways for children to be physically active on bad weather days is a challenge for most schools. Now even rainy days are active days at Shady Grove!
SNAP-Ed Evaluation Framework Indicators:
MT6: Physical Activity and Reduced Sedentary Behavior Supports
ST7: Organizational Partnerships
ST8: Multi-Sector Partnerships and Planning
LT9: Leveraged Resources