Right now in the US there is a 50/50 split in children’s activity levels. Half of children do not meet the guidelines for daily physical activity and half do. Those children who do move and play for 60 minutes each day, tend get most of their activity during recess. These 60 minutes are some of the most important minutes in a child’s day.
Since children spend most of their active time in school it is important for the whole school community, including parents, to make sure that schools make time for kids to get up and moving during the day. Longer and more active recess periods can improve a child’s whole school day as well as their overall wellness. At Healthy Family Fun, we love active play at recess for its benefits to children’s physical health, mental development, and academic performance.
In Boston schools there is still room for improvements to recess. But coaches from a California-based organization called Playworks have started organizing active recess games in 32 Boston area schools, reaching 15,000 children so far. At Dorchester’s Mather Elementary School children, parents and teachers have been enjoying the benefits of Playworks’ revamped recess for two years. Thanks to improvements inspired by Playworks and supported by the Dorchester community, recess at Mather now includes,
- more fun games for kids that get them up and running
- less bullying and conflict between students
- more student self-confidence
- more cooperation between students
- better student concentration during games and in the classroom after recess
Way to go, Dorchester! Let’s keep on playing, Boston. Remember, adults: even though we may not get a scheduled recess every day, active play is not just for kids.