Recess – Get Outside and Play to Learn More Inside

by | Apr 26, 2016 | More Ways to Play

Thanks to rising academic standards and education reform, time set aside for play during the school day continues to be cut in favor of extended class time. Unlike structured classes, including physical education, recess allows for free, child-led play and is important for childhood development. The benefits are evident and backed by research, and, in fact, according to Scholastic, recess makes kids smarter. So why is it continuing to disappear?

Recess and Refresh

Recess benefits the whole self and should be an essential part of the school day.  “No research supports the notion that test scores go up by keeping children in the classroom longer,” Scholastic blogger Caralee Adams writes. “But there is plenty of evidence that recess benefits children in cognitive, social-emotional, and physical ways.” By providing a break between lessons, kids are more on task and likely to pay attention during academic instruction.

Studies done by Anthony Pellegrini, emeritus professor of educational psychology at the University of Minnesota, show that frequent short breaks keeps children refreshed and more focused on schoolwork. Thus, recess, and free play, positively impacts the entire learning experience, and the longer the time between breaks is extended, the less focused the students become.

Recess and then Lunch = More Veggies

Outside of the classroom, recess helps cultivate social skills and general well-being. Play is important to the development of a child’s self-esteem and helps them to gain confidence in the world. When given the opportunity for unstructured interaction, children learn to work together, resolve conflicts and compromise. Also with high child obesity rates, staying active should be a crucial part of the day. Researchers have even found that kids who eat lunch after recess are more likely to choose fruits and vegetables.

Looking to take a break and reinvigorate? Come visit us at Minnesota Children’s Museum, we would love to be a part of your day! We encourage open-ended, exploratory play.


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