Recess is a great opportunity to give students a break from the “no talking; are you listening; turn in your homework; there’s no sleeping during science” of the school day. For many students, it is their first chance to be active and the students constantly getting into trouble need it the most! Roughly 36% of children do not meet the daily doctor recommendation for physical activity.* Recess is an opportunity for students to meet that daily requirement and also provides an opportunity to reduce stress, socialize, foster creativity, encourage emotional development and prepare the brain for learning. Don’t forget to choose games that are inclusive and maximizes students’ time so they can get the most out of their recess! Make the most of recess with the strategies listed below.
For your help we have created a quick little info sheet on making the most of recess.
It only takes 3 simple steps to make the most of recess.
1. After reviewing rules, get everyone all warmed up to get moving. Take a jog around the playground, skip to the wall and back, play a game of red light, green light or lead students through stationary stretches and exercises.
2. Set up games and activities that are age appropriate and keep kids moving. Games that require long lines don’t keep the blood pumping. Choose tag games with a twist like “Everyone’s It Tag” or “Tunnel Tag.” To play “Everyone’s It Tag” the challenge is to run and tag as many kids as possible and keep count for 3 minutes. To play “Tunnel Tag” taggers will tag as many p layers as possible, when players are tagged they must make a tunnel with their bodies (hands and feet on the ground and hips in the air) and another player must crawl under them to be untagged. Encourage students to play and if you’re up to it play with them, teachers are the biggest role model and they won’t believe how fast you are!
3. Before going back inside for instruction, take a moment to cool things down. Make sure that you have a designated location where students should line up. That routine will be their first transition back to the classroom. When everyone is lined up lead them through deep breathing and a light flow. Ask that they get quiet and ready for the hall.
Recess isn’t just about playing anymore, it is a time to get in precious movement minutes towards the 60 minute minimum goal for daily physical activity. For more great game ideas check out the Playworks Playbook. You can search for games based on age group, length of time, number of students and equipment.
* Source: America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2007, published by childstats.gov