Here’s How to Set up a Passive Playground / Lunchtime Club


Many schools have introduced Lunchtime Clubs and had great success.

Playgrounds are unstructured, unpredictable places where children with ASD struggle to follow and join in the numerous social interactions surrounding them. Children with ASD frequently return to class from the playground in a high state of anxiety. In addition, their self-esteem frequently takes a battering.

Up to 70% of children experience bullying. In our book Developing Social Skills, co-author Gay von Ess and I have lots of practical ideas and strategies to support social skills.


Passive Playgrounds/Lunchtime Clubs

10 Top Tips to Support Children in Playground

  1. Observe and then teach current playground language to children with ASD. Remember to revisit this every term as games and language changes rapidly in playgrounds.

  2. Ensure that children with ASD and their parents are aware of the current playground games and activities. Allocate a staff member to teach the rules to the child with ASD so that he/she only has to concentrate on the social aspects of the game as he/she already knows the rules.

  3. Offer supervised activities on the playground; e.g. ball games with a few children, ‘What’s the Time Mr Wolf?’

  4. Give child with ASD a map of in-bounds and out-of-bounds areas. The child could then colour the appropriate areas green and red. If play equipment has set days make sure you write the days on the map.

  5. Have games equipment available for loan at break times – the child with ASD can assist in giving this out.

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Top Tips for Creating Successful Lunchtime Clubs

  1. Use students’ current interests and create clubs around these, or skills the students need.
  2. Consider setting up for students who are not coping in the playground or constantly having incidents.
  3. Name the Club: ‘The World of Fun’, ‘Lunchtime Club’, ‘DS Club’, ‘Passive Playground’, ‘Rest and Relaxation’, ‘Sensory Room’, ‘Games Group’, ‘The Friendship Stop’.
  4. Have set open days each week. This can be from 1-5 days.

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