My grandson just started 3rd grade and I was so surprised when he told me that he only had 10 minutes for recess after lunch. Last year he only had 20 minutes. It seems with all the high stakes testing that children have less time to just play outdoors. Personally I can't sit in my house couped up all day without getting out in the fresh air, even if it's 99 degrees outside. Why do we do that to children? I remember asking my students what their favorite subject was and most of the students said "Recess". Believe it or not we let children go out and play in Alaska if the temperature was above 10 degrees! Here are a few great reasons why outdoor play is so important:
- Playing outdoors is multi-sensory. Students use all five senses in different ways that they aren't able to do in their classrooms.
- Informal play can help students connect to formal learning. Think about science lessons about the change of seasons or plant. Students can actually see real-life changes in leaves or plants that they learned about in their classrooms.
- Outdoor play can help develop creativity in children.
- Outdoor play helps reduce stress. We all know that experts say that exercise helps reduce stress in adults. Letting children run off some steam will help them be more focused when they return to the classroom.
- Outdoor play can promote leadership skills. Many children may not excel in the classroom but may excel in sports. It will give them a chance to "shine" outdoors where others will look up to them.
- Outdoor play can promote cooperative play. When playing games, children have to work together to achieve a common goal.
- Outdoor play can promote communication and vocabulary development. Students need time to communicate and negotiate meaning when they aren't sure about rules or how to do something. They can also expand their vocabulary with exploring the outside world. This is great for ESL students learning to speak English.
You can read the position statement written by the National Association of Early Childhood Specialists in State Departments of Education by clicking HERE. It is a great read and proof of why children need recess time. You can also read Sarah Taylor's Research finding of here 2011 Study of the Importance of Play in Elementary School by clicking HERE. Scholastic also has a great article, " Recess Makes Kids Smarter" which you may like to read by clicking HERE.
Here is a great website to give you some fun indoor recess ideas when it's raining or snowing. Just click on the picture below.
Here is another website you may want to check out with fun easy activities for outdoor play. Just click on the picture below.
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Thanks for all you do to make a difference for your students. I hope you have a wonderful and safe Labor Day Weekend.
How much time do your students get for recess?