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FORT LEE – The Fort Lee school district is getting serious about playtime.  

A design contest put kids in charge of their own playground destiny. Children’s own dreams about what makes a great playground are expected to come to life late this summer at schools 1 and 3. 

The school board is providing $4,500 to transform the blacktop at each with the winning plan, which a panel of judges selected from among five entries on Tuesday. 

“We try to make real-world options come to life,” said Elsa Osso, the gifted-and-talented-program teacher who encouraged her fifth-graders to think up a project to benefit their schools. 

Students have been working since January to design stencils to transform 480-square-feet of blacktop at each school into colorful, mind-stimulating games and activities. 

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The design work was a brain-teaser for the gifted kids as well, since they had to rely heavily on science, technology, engineering, and math, Osso said. 

The panel of judges included teachers, PTA members, and a few of their peers. 

 “We were inspired by mathematics and patterns,” said Andy Zhao, who designed the winning entry with School 3 classmate Yejun Choi. “We kept in mind that the game had to be easy to learn, easy to play, and fun.”

The students hope their motto — play, love, learn, fun — will inspire students during daily play.