School Playground Facilities
My understanding of children’s play shifted dramati-cally one wintry day in Denver, while I watched a lively crowd of elementary students rolling giant snowballs on the playground. This was unusual in Denver. Usually, the snow that fell was too dry to pack well-a soft powdery snow-and it was a rare treat to have a lot of snow that was moist and sticky. Still, it wasn’t the packing snow that surprised me. Instead, my surprise came from observing seven students scattered across the playground. These were students from my Friendship Group and I had watched their recess on many other days. All the other times, though, these seven students had struggled to join in the play of their classmates and they usually hung out at the edges of playgroups, pretending to have fun. On this day, instead, they were fully engaged in the rough and tumble of the snowball game, and they were having a great time. The difference, I decided, was the snowball game. Rolling snowballs was more fun when the snowballs were huge, and huge snowballs required a lot of helping hands. All of my Friendship Group students had been actively recruited into one group or another, and that made all the difference for them.