The Benefits of Recess

For many school-aged children, recess is the highlight of their day. The break from classroom instruction provides an opportunity for kids to reenergize as they enjoy fresh air and opportunities for creative play and socialization. Today’s playgrounds are designed to thrill and encourage imagination, which helps with cognitive development. Recess may be the only opportunity children have to get outside during the school day, so it is vitally important.

Physical Benefits:

Recess is an essential part of childhood fitness. Engaging in play during recess increases the level of physical activity and offers a host of other benefits, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Recess improves memory, attention, and concentration
  • Recess helps kids stay on-task in the classroom
  • Recess reduces disruptive behavior in the classroom
  • Recess improves social and emotional development (e.g., learning how to share and negotiate)

This is especially important when one in five children are considered obese. Research shows that at least 20 minutes of recess daily, along with 150 minutes of physical education a week, make a measurable difference in children’s weight. Movements on playground equipment like swinging, climbing, and sliding offer a multitude of physical benefits because they engage different muscle groups.

Social Benefits:

School play areas are typically created with social interaction in mind, offering spaces that encourage collaboration. Group play allows kids to take turns, cooperate and listen, among other skills. Engaging in games and imaginative play together teaches them to get along and enjoy the company of their peers. This less structured interaction lets children form connections while simultaneously learning how to communicate independently.

Even when conflicts arise on the playground, they can be important learning moments for students, as they work together to resolve their issues. Unstructured playtime during the school day affords children an opportunity to practice cooperation and getting along with others.

Cognitive and Behavioral Benefits:

Recess offers children a necessary break from the structure of the classroom setting. It not only contributes to a child’s creative and social development; it can help young minds achieve their full potential. Movement and active play stimulate blood circulation, delivering more oxygen and glucose to the brain, which improves memory, attention, and concentration. Free play opportunities such as recess help optimize children’s social, emotional, physical, and cognitive health.

Research highlights the many benefits of recess for children – it’s proven to help children be active, form social connections with their classmates, and be well-positioned to learn. It’s critical that students have access today’s thrilling play spaces that offer them opportunities to develop many crucial life skills.

ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) U.S. government funding can be utilized to enhance student wellness and learning environments, including the development or improvement of playgrounds. Use your remaining ARP (American Rescue Plan) ESSER Funds on a new playground and bring the importance and miracle of play and recess to your school and community. Find a local Miracle Recreation sales representative near you, to begin today.