Friday, January 31, 2014

5 Reasons Why Recess is Important for Child Development

No matter what the weather, schools need to encourage recess time.  Whether it be free play time outdoors on playground equipment, using loose parts (ie balls, jump ropes, etc) or indoor time on rainy, cold days, students benefit from the break for some of the following reasons:

1.  Children learn self regulation and the ability to follow rules during recess.

2.  Sensory motor skills are being developed during recess time.

3.  Cognitive skills, such as mathematical concepts (counting, shapes, spatial awareness) and science skills (problem solving), are reinforced on the playground.

4.   Children's behaviors in the classroom have been shown to improve if they experience at least one period of recess per day lasting a minimum of 15 minutes.

5.   Physical activity in children is important to control weight, reduce blood pressure, raise good cholesterol, reduce the risk of diabetes and improve psychological well being. Physical activity also affects concentration, elevates mood, enhances creativity and facilitates memory.
Need ideas for recess?  Check out 50 Sensory Motor Activities for Kids at or Roll Some Fun for indoor recess ideas at

National Association of Early Childhood Specialists in State Departments of Education (2001) Recess and the Importance of Play - A Position Statement on Young Children and Recess. Retrieved from the web on 3/7/10 at 

Barros, Romina M., Silver, Ellen J., Stein, Ruth E. K. School Recess and Group Classroom Behavior Pediatrics 2009 123: 431-436 American Heart Association Scientific Position on Physical Activity (Exercise) and Children. Retrieved from the web on 3/10/10 at 

Rice, M. Bulk Up the Brain. Retreived from the web on 3/10/10 at 

Parker-Pope, T. (2010) Play, Then Eat: Shift May Bring Gains at School. New York Times Retrieved from the web on 3/7/10 at 

Egger JR, Bartley KF, Benson L, Bellino D, Kerker B. Childhood Obesity is a Serious Concern in New York City: Higher Levels of Fitness Associated with Better Academic Performance. NYC Vital Signs 2009, 8(1): 1-4.

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