Design the ultimate playground!

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If you could design the ultimate playground, what would it look like? How would it work? Be inspired by the video below which highlights some out-of-this world playgrounds.

Think about how designing a playground can be made infinitely better by incorporating one or more simple machines. Simple machines can be found all around us; we use them to open doors, transport ourselves from floor to floor, and even open a can. They are designed to make our lives easier and, as a result, more fun, which makes them natural choices for a playground! Simple machines give a playground moving parts, letting people push, pull, slide, twist or swing. The most obvious example is an inclined plane. Most playgrounds already have this simple machine – the slide!


Dive into the physics behind these 6 simple machines to design your dream playground.



  • Lever: a plank balancing on a fixed point or fulcrum
  • Wheel and axle: two circular objects with different diameters that are attached together
  • Pulley: a wheel with a rope wrapped around it to help lift and drop a weight
  • Inclined plane: a sloped ramp
  • Wedge: a movable inclined plane that has one or two sides
  • Screw: an inclined plane that is wrapped around a cylinder and can rotate


Inquiry – Digging Deeper

Choose from the resources below to learn about simple machines.

Visit the Tool Shed in this interactive game and try to locate the simple machines found inside more complex tools.
In this video, you will learn about how simple machines work:

Watch this video to see how simple machines take the design of a playground to a new level!