playground rules

Today’s kids are having a very different school playground experience than their parents and grandparents. Concerns over injuries and general safety have prompted schools to eliminate many traditional games from the school yard, such as tag and red rover and stop actions like hanging upside down on the monkey bars and jumping off of swings. These new playground rules are meant to keep kids safer and keep the school out of trouble.

Modern school playground rules by type of equipment


  • Swings are meant for one child per swing.
  • Children should always sit on their bottom; never stand or kneel.
  • Hold on tightly with both hands.
  • Stop the swing completely before getting off.
  • When getting on or off of a swing, stay a safe distance from other children on swings; do not walk in front or in back of moving swings.
  • Children shouldn’t push other children on swings as they may not understand the force they are using and how quickly the swing could come back toward them.


  • Pre-schoolers should be supervised if using a teeter-totter.
  • One child per seat. Choose a partner of similar weight rather than double two children on one seat.
  • Always sit facing your teeter-totter partner, not turned around.
  • Hold on tightly with both hands; don’t touch the ground or push off with your hands.
  • Keep feet to the sides, not underneath the teeter-totter.
  • Stand back from a teeter-totter when it’s in use. Never stand beneath it or try to climb onto it while it’s in motion.


  • Always use the ladder or steps to get to the top of the slide; never climb up the slide.
  • Take one step at a time and hold onto the handrail when climbing the ladder.
  • Slide down feet first and sitting up, never head first, on your back or stomach.
  • Children should slide down individually. Only one child should be on the slide platform at a time.
  • Always check that the bottom of the slide is clear of the last kid before sliding down.
  • On hot days, feel the slide with your hand before climbing up the ladder. If the slide feels too warm, don’t play on it.

Climbing equipment

  • Keep in mind that climbing equipment is generally more challenging for kids than other kinds of playground equipment.
  • Use both hands when climbing.
  • Stay a safe distance away from other children and watch for swinging feet from above.
  • When jumping from climbing equipment, bend your knees and land on both feet.
  • Crowded equipment can be dangerous but can be made safer if all kids start on the same side of the equipment and move across it in the same direction.
  • When climbing down, watch out for kids climbing in the opposite direction.
  • Never race across or try to reach for bars that are too far away.
  • Children younger than five may not have the upper body strength needed for climbing or swinging. Adult supervision is especially important for younger kids.

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