Positive Playgrounds

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After 17 years it is time to say a heartfelt goodbye to everyone as I retire from Positive Playgrounds. It was a difficult decision to close Positive Playgrounds as it has been such a pleasure and privilege to share the importance of “Play” to schools and organizations over the years. Thank you so much to all of you who took this journey with me and to my closest associates who supported me every step of the way. My deepest thanks and please continue to make “Play” and its health benefits of fitness, fun and cooperation a part of your everyday lives.


Pearl Marko
Developer, Author, Owner
Positive Playgrounds

Welcome to Positive PlaygroundsPutting the "play" back into Playgrounds

Have you ever noticed?

  • that children don't always play cooperatively on the playground?
  • that children are more frustrated and aggressive on the playground?
  • that children are bored and don't seem to know many games to play?
  • that children are not getting enough physical activity?

If you said yes... Positive Playgrounds can help!

The Positive Playgrounds Program Manual and Comprehensive Resource of Outdoor and Indoor Games is a proactive approach to dealing with behaviours on the playground and in schools, with an emphasis on the importance of positive social skills and physical activity to the health and well being of all individuals. It is currently being used in schools, recreational program and pediatric diabetes programs across Canada. It's a well-researched resource for the playground, physical education classes and the classroom. Positive Playgrounds, developed over ten years ago by Pearl Marko has received rave reviews from teachers, parents, and students. Physical Education Consultants and Mentors from across Canada recommend the program as a great resource for the new Phys. Ed and Health Curriculum.

Positive Playgrounds Program Manual and Comprehensive Resource of Outdoor and Indoor Games provides schools and facilities with all the tools and Positive Play strategies you'll need to implement a successful program and to provide and teach children the skills, knowledge, and positive play strategies to reap the benefits of playing traditional, cooperative and new games that they can use to develop social skills, gain physical fitness and to have fun.

The program manual is divided into a program planning section and a games resource section.

The program portion contains a step-by-step checklist format that easily guides teachers, volunteers, and game facilitators through the planning and scheduling of Positive Playgrounds. Program sections include: coordinator's duties, equipment organizer, volunteer organizer, zone leaders, publicity organizer, format section, positive tip sheets, and postive play strategies.

The games resource section contains over 190 games (researched and field tested) formatted in boxes so that they can be cut out and laminated to easily incorporate games into your playground, physical education classes and classrooms. The games are divided up into zones which include: field and tag games, wall and tarmac ball games, hopscotch, skipping, marbles, jacks, clapping games and passive games for the classroom and many more. Each game is specifically marked with age level, equipment, number of players, and where applicable, space requirements and game type (passive, cooperative, active). Field and Tag games can be played all year long, even in the winter. If it's too cold or wet to go outside the passive games section provides options for small spaces and classrooms.

NEW for 2007, because you asked, Positive Playgrounds Games Vol. 2, which includes more great games in all your favourite zones. Plus new game zones such as: snow games, yo-yo, footbag, juggling, basketball, Frisbee, crazy curcuits, cards, pick-up sticks, string, dice, and more.

Positive Playgrounds is a program that has been run successfully by teachers, volunteers, recreational leaders and is very popular with grade 5 and up Peer Leadership Programs. This program results in everyone working together to: encourage cooperation, role model positive social skills and pass on great games. It's main goal is to provide children with a tool that they can use everyday to develop social, emotional and cognitive skills, gain physical fitness and to have fun while learning positive things about themselves, others, and how to deal with problems in a positive way.

Positive Playgrounds can help to change attitudes on the playground and also how children feel about themselves and others.

...lots of fun...

"I loved all the different games we got to play ... it was lots of fun. At our school, my peer group taught other kids the games at recess."

Grade 6 Student

...co-operation, health and fitness, and a whole lot of fun!...

"Positive Playgrounds is a unique educational experience that allows students from all grades to be present to one another in the spirit of co-operation, health and fitness, and a whole lot of fun!"

Angela Rozycki, Teacher, St. Timothy School

How Positive Playgrounds Evolved

Pearl Marko, developer of Positive Playgrounds observed several playgrounds and noticed that aggressive behavior such as pushing, shoving, name-calling, and the lack of physical activity are more prevalent today. Many children on the playground are bored and have nothing to do. There is 1 to 1.5 hours of unstructured time each day where children can reap the benefits of play and physical activity yet they lack the social skills, knowledge, ideas or equipment to start a game and keep busy. It prompted Pearl Marko to ask, why and what can teachers, recreational leaders and parents do to help?

The idea of a program to help students was researched and developed. Positive Playgrounds gives schools the tools they need to provide the opportunity and knowledge for everyone to benefit from being physically active and socially cooperative. How? Through the teaching of Positive Playground's games and Positive Play tips, and the social interactive skills we develop and practice while playing them. Schools, Physical Education Consultants, youth groups, social workers and recreational leaders across Canada have incorporated Positive Playgrounds into their programs

A word from Pearl Marko:

The importance of play and physical activity are seldom given much thought or priority today. The evidence of this is often seen on the playground and in the classroom. Instead of playgrounds being a place of positive social and physical activity, they are now becoming a place filled with children that can be involved in aggressive play and anti-social behaviours, or a place where children are standing around bored, unhappy and not gaining the health and mental benefits of physical activity.

Why are kids today not involved in cooperative, interactive play as much?

Children today do not have the same opportunities to play as previous generations did. Changes in society, technology and the push to concentrate on academics have affected the way and the amount children play.

The playground during recess is one of the few places today's children can experience and learn from meaningful social experiences. A simple interactive game such as tag becomes educational. Children must learn to cooperate to initiate a game. If they don't, the game will end!

The playing of a simple Positive Playground's game allows children to become aware of their emotions and learn appropriate ways to deal with them. Games also provide physical fitness and the health and mental benefits that go along with being fit.

Positive Playground's mission is for your school to experience a positive, fun-filled playground program in which parents, teachers, and administrators join together to provide opportunities, skills and equipment for children to experience positive play that encourages all areas of development.

It's our responsibility to create the best possible play alternatives and environment for children.

Have Fun Putting the "PLAY" back into your school or program.

Pearl Marko
Positive Playgrounds Founder