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Cooler Playground? Yes, Please!

Students at a school in Georgia found a way to make their playground less hot.

Five students sit on a curb and smile at the camera as men behind them use tools to add a coating to a playing surface.

Courtesy, GAF (StreetBond ® pavement coatings, a GAF product and part of Standard Industries)

Students at a school called SAE did an experiment to see if a special coating would make their playground less hot.

A school in Georgia coated its playground with a type of coating that reflects sunlight. Now, the playground doesn’t get as hot—making it much more fun to use!

The idea to paint the playground came from an experiment. Students at a school called SAE knew that their school’s playground and parking lot were covered in black asphalt. Asphalt gets very hot because it absorbs (takes in) the Sun’s heat. The students wanted to see if the special coating would make a difference. So they covered one spot in the parking lot with the coating. Then, they measured the ground temperature of that parking spot. They compared it with the temperature of the rest of the parking lot. The parking spot was 12 degrees (Fahrenheit) cooler! 

What made the coated parking spot cooler? The coating the students used reflects sunlight. That means the Sun’s heat bounces off the paint instead of soaking into it. This gave the students the idea to put the coating on their playground. 

“It’s been really cool to find out…the different temperatures you see different days,” eighth grader Paris Howard told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It’s definitely made me think more…of how our climate is changing.”

Courtesy, GAF (StreetBond ® pavement coatings, a GAF product and part of Standard Industries)

Workers put a special coating on a play area at SAE School.

Now that the playground has the special coating, it doesn’t just look cool. It IS cool. It’s a much more comfortable place to run around and play. That’s important, especially since climate change is causing the air to get warmer.

The coating just might be a fun way to make outdoor play a little more awesome.

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Did You Know?

© Bonnie/

Have you ever seen a green roof? It’s a roof that’s partly or totally covered in plants. The plants absorb carbon dioxide, which is a cause of climate change. They can also help keep the building cooler because they absorb the Sun’s heat!

The Power of Play

A boy smiles on a merry-go-round as he plays on it with other kids.

Courtesy, Empower Playgrounds Inc.

As kids play on this merry-go-round, they make energy!

Playing can take a lot of energy! Did you know that playing—or any kind of physical activity—can also make energy? When anything moves, it makes kinetic energy. That’s true of people or things.

A company decided to use kinetic energy to make electricity. And where did it decide to make that kinetic energy? On playgrounds! The company is called Empower Playgrounds. It has put merry-go-rounds in several locations in the West African country of Ghana. A merry-go-round is a piece of playground equipment that can be spun. Kids stand on it for a fun ride. Empower Playgrounds’ merry-go-rounds are able to capture the kinetic energy that’s produced when they are spun. 

Courtesy, Empower Playgrounds Inc.

When this merry-go-round moves, it makes energy!

Empower Playgrounds uses the energy to power batteries for lanterns. These lanterns can be used in homes that don’t have electricity. Kids can take the lanterns home from school so they can do their homework at night, when it’s dark. 

Think of all the energy we make each day, just by moving. Imagine what it could be used for.

Run By the Sun

A single-family home with solar panels on the roof

© Andreas Weber/

This home has solar panels on its roof. The panels capture the Sun’s energy.

The Sun’s energy, called solar energy, can be used to make electricity.

Learn more at Britannica School!

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Word of the Day


Part of speech:



: a force that causes something (such as a process or activity) to be done or to become more active

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