Outdoor seating for primary schools – ideas and inspiration

Posted on | Posted in Education

You can never have too much outdoor seating in a primary school playground. Kids love being outside, and outdoor learning and play is great for their concentration, development, and wellbeing.

Having comfortable places for kids to sit down to eat, play, and learn outdoors is a valuable addition to any school playground or playing field. Outdoor seating that’s connected to classrooms helps to blend the two environments and creates space for indoor-outdoor lessons.

Whatever floorspace and budget you have available, it’s possible to create practical and appealing outdoor seating for your primary school. It might be a cluster of benches, or something custom built. Either way, if it enables your kids to get outdoors and enjoy themselves, it’s worthwhile.

Outdoor seating for primary schools – ideas and options:


Bench seating

Picnic benches are the obvious choice because they are practical and affordable. You can use them for lunchtime, lessons, and socialising, keeping kids safely sat together in small groups. Wood is an environmentally friendly choice for benches, whereas plastic is more durable and doesn’t splinter.

waiting shelters

Auditorium style seating

Creating areas for kids to sit at different levels, facing a central spot, makes the perfect outdoor classroom. Everyone can see and it’s easy for staff to keep an eye on all the kids. Having an outdoor auditorium is great for hosting plays, performances, and outdoor assemblies.


Bespoke seating

Having an outdoor seating structure built for your school is an exciting addition. You could create something that doubles as a play area or climbing frame. Some schools choose to create raised vegetable and flower beds for communal gardens, with bench seating along the sides.

playground canopies

Stacking chairs

An affordable option where space tight, stackable chairs can be packed away when not in use. You get the value of outdoor seating with none of the obstructions. Make sure you have somewhere sheltered to store the chairs when not in use, to keep them in good condition.

covered walkways for schools

Cubes and boxes

A simple way to create space for kids to sit and play around is to fit your playground with some cube and box structures. These should be secured in place for safety but provide a fun area for lots of play and learning activities.

Top tips for choosing outdoor seating for primary schools

  1. Pick a location that’s accessible but not an obstacle.
  2. Choose a material that is suitable for outdoor weather conditions.
  3. Make sure seating is secured in place and safe for kids to use.
  4. Look for seating that is fun, inviting, and suited to your space.
  5. Ask the kids to get involved in choosing the seating area.

Think about creating shelter for your seating

The biggest obstacle to getting the most from your outdoor seating is the unpredictable British weather. Covering it with an outdoor canopy means kids can use the seats whatever the weather is doing. You can plan outdoor activities knowing they won’t get rained off, and you have shade for the hottest weather in summer.

Covering your outdoor seating area with a canopy protects it, keeping the seats dry and making sure the floor isn’t wet, muddy, or slippery. An area that’s sheltered is easier to maintain get more use from. It becomes a hub of your playground, enjoyed by kids and teachers all year round.

We hope you’ve found these ideas for outdoor seating for primary schools useful. Find out more about outdoor classrooms. Contact us on 01254 777 002 or info@canopiesuk.co.uk.