White paper

Tweens Love Playgrounds: How to Motivate Tween Physical Activity in Playgrounds

What is the Best Play Equipment to Encourage Tweens to be Active?

Research from KOMPAN Play Institute shows how you best motivate tweens to participate in physical play activity at playgrounds. During the tween years (9-12) children's daily physical activity levels decline drastically, and it is a common community challenge to find a way to activate young people. But studies show that with the right facilities, tweens’ physical activity can be supported. Tweens want to be with their friends, they want to socialise, and they want to be physically active. So, tweens are often found competing and showing off. They spend their time making friends and emotionally bonding. All of this effortlessly takes place in the playground.

But which play equipment is best for encouraging tweens to be active? In cooperation with the University of Southern Denmark, the KOMPAN Play Institute conducted a major study using GPS and activity trackers to monitor tweens’ activity on playgrounds. The study identifies 4 main playground activity motivators for tweens:

  • Ball game areas

  • Areas away from the playground

  • Climbing equipment

  • Combinations of active participation and spectatorship

See the science behind this whitepaper in 'Where are tweens active in school playgrounds? A hot-spot analysis using GPS, accelerometer, and GIS data' in Landscape and Urban Planning, Volume 227, November 2022, 104546

White paper

Tweens love playgrounds


4 considerations for attracting and activating tweens in playgrounds

  1. Make room for ball game equipment such as a Multi Use Games Area (MUGA)

  2. Plan tween activity areas away from the main playground

  3. Include climbing equipment for tween girls such as Space nets and GALAXY structures

  4. Design areas where some can perform, and some can be spectators

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