Establishing playground rules is one of the best ways to prevent accidents and injuries on the playground. By posting rules and reviewing them regularly, children will have a better understanding of the behavior expected of them on the playground.
Here are our tips for creating effective playground safety rules and knowing what to include on signage around your equipment. If you need a little extra help, we’ve also included examples of playground signage and rhymes to get you started.
How to Create Effective Playground Rules
Before you go out and buy safety signage for your playground, it’s important to think about how you can make your rules effective. Check out these five tips for creating playground safety rules that children actually remember and follow.
1) Make them visible. Your playground rules should be clearly visible at the entrance to your playground.
2) Keep them short. Sure, you want to cover every base, but kids won’t remember an entire paragraph of text. Keep it short and sweet!
3) Opt for simple language (and pictures). This ensures that as many children as possible can read the rules.
4) Make them catchy. Creating a song, rhyme, or mnemonic to make your rules more memorable.
5) Review them often. Going over playground safety rules once at the beginning of the school year just isn’t enough. Review rules and expectations regularly to keep them top of mind.
What to Include on Your Playground Rules Signs
Your playground signage will likely include two signs: one short and sweet sign for children and one more in-depth sign for parents, teachers, and other playground supervisors. But what should go on your signs? Here are some playground safety sign ideas to get you thinking in the right direction.
General Safety Rules
Standard safety rules are the bread and butter of your playground safety signs. No running, keep your hands to yourself, and keep your eyes and ears open are all welcome reminders.
Appropriate Playground Attire
Open-toed shoes, drawstrings, and even loose, baggy clothing can lead to injuries on the playground. Outlining what safe playground attire looks like within your playground safety rules is a great reminder for adults and children alike. Bicycle helmets should be removed when playing on playground equipment due to head entrapment issues.
Health & Wellness Information
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, health and wellness is at the top of everyone’s minds. You may want to consider including information on your safety signage on your playground cleaning protocol and any guidelines for sick children. If you have hand sanitizing stations, you might want signage reminding children to sanitize their hands before and after using the playground equipment.
Reminders on Sun Safety
Your playground safety signs are a great place to remind parents about the importance of sun safety.
Playground Rules Examples
There are endless ways to share your playground safety rules effectively. Here are three ideas to get you started.
Playground Safety Signs
Playground safety signs are a simple way to get your message across to all who use your playground equipment.
Here’s an example of a simple, memorable sign for kids:
When it comes to the playground,“PLAY IT SAFE!”
Put Safety First
Listen to Directions
Arrive Prepared (Dress Safely!)
Yell for Help (If Someone is Hurt)
Slow Down (No Running!)
Feet First (Down Slides)
Eyes Open and Ears Listening
We recommend pairing a kid-friendly sign like this one with a more detailed sign for adults. Here’s an example of a more thorough sign for teachers, adults, and other playground supervisors to review:
Playground Safety Rules
Open _____ to _____
Welcome to our playground! For the safety of all children at play, please review the rules below.
This playground is designed for ages _____ to _____. Children above and below this age range should not use this playground equipment.
Use of the playground is at your own risk.
Health & Wellness Reminders
Playground Safety Videos
A video can be a fun and engaging way to show children how to use the playground safely. While there are plenty of generic playground safety videos you can find online, making your own is even better. You can show how to use the exact features of your playground safely without having to fast forward through irrelevant sections. And, seeing familiar faces (like teachers or principals) will help children stay interested in learning about safety.
Showing a safety video at the beginning of the school year and after the holiday break can help keep playground rules top of mind.
Playground Safety Songs & Rhymes
For younger children, a song or rhyme can help with remembering playground safety rules. Here’s an idea of a simple song (sung to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star) you can teach to review the rules:
When it’s time to go outside,
By these rules we must abide.
Keep your hands to yourself,
Pay attention, listen well.
Dress for play and slide feet first,
Do not run – but do take turns!