Are playgrounds too safe?

Lesson plan overview

This ESL lesson plan is ideal to get your students talking about parenting, their own childhood, games the used to play and how much risk children should be allowed to take. Students will learn vocabulary related to games and activities, watch an interesting video about an alternative playground  and also work on word formation. You can combine it with other lessons related to parenting, such as “Should we give children an allowance”, as well as the lessons “Adventure tourism and extreme tourism“, “Idioms: risk and danger“, and “Phrasal verbs: adventure“.

The lesson starts with an initial discussion about playgrounds. Students look at different adjectives they can use to describe playground and talk about the playgrounds in their area, good and bad playground design.

Vocabulary: Students match the words given to the pictures of different objects that could be found at a conventional and adventure playground. The next activity is dedicated to classic children’s games. After completing the 2 activities, students discuss their own childhood, the games they used to play and the games that are popular nowadays.

Pre-listening: Students look at the definitions of 6 words and expressions (overprotective, helicopter parents). They match the words to their definitions. Then they complete a gap-fill exercise. Lastly, they have a short conversation using the questions given.

Video: Before they watch the video, students look at 2 photos (of a conventional and an adventure playground). They compare them and try to predict the information they are going to hear. Then they watch a video “Why safe playgrounds aren’t great for kids“, which is divided into 3 parts and complete the activities given. After watching the video, students have a discussion on adventure playgrounds and how much they agree with the points made in the video.

Word formation: Students learn how to use the suffix “-proof” and the most common words they can form with it (childproof, waterproof, bulletproof etc). They complete a gap-fill activity and practise with the conversation questions given.

3 research questions are suggested as homework to develop the topic further. Students can also reinforce the vocabulary from the lesson by exploring the additional resources provided on

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Teacher’s lesson plan

Student’s worksheet

Student’s interactive PDF

Conversation cards PDF

Pre-class activities

To send the pre-class activities to your students, copy the link below.

Vocabulary matching


The first time you watch the video, pay special attention to the correct pronunciation of the following words:

  1. cause  2. surface  3.stressed

Comprehension questions

In-class activities

Teacher’s lesson plan
Student’s worksheet

Conversation cards PDF

Student’s interactive PDF

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