By this time, your children are well into their school schedule—waking up, getting ready, eating breakfast, catching the bus and so on throughout the day. But part of that routine should include time for play, and the International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association (IPEMA) and the Voice of Play want to share some great activities your children can participate in during recess. Did you know playtime, especially when it’s outside, is essential in helping a child develop physical, emotional, social and cognitive skills? Yes, those are the great benefits of play!
Recess is imperative for your children. An excerpt from Responsive School Discipline: Essentials for Elementary School Leaders highlights just how vital recess is:
“Recess is also crucial to children’s development because it gives them time for free play. Researchers are learning that free play appears to be a genetically hardwired human need, one that children must satisfy if they’re to become socially adept, and school recess is one of the few opportunities in many children’s daily lives when they can meet this basic human need.”
- Jump Rope
Jump rope is not only a great way to get exercise, but it also offers an option for those children who tend to be less hands-on when it comes to team sports. If your child is shy, he or she can jump rope solo or with other kids who share the same interest. There are many different jump rope games, which can create a great social environment and allow kids to make up a game on their own.
Though throwing and catching a Frisbee may seem difficult at first, practicing and starting now is your child’s best option. This activity doesn’t just get your child up and moving, which increases blood flow and boosts mood due to endorphins, it also builds on muscle strength as he or she leaps into the air to catch the Frisbee. Hand/eye coordination also gets a workout as your child runs and finds the Frisbee in the air.
Hopscotch is a simple activity, but it can still be a great way for your children to get some exercise and keep their heartrates up. Hopscotch doesn’t require more than one player, so kids can play alone or in a group. Plus, it has more benefits than you think, like helping kids maintain body control from stepping inside the lines and developing their motor skills when reaching down to pick up their stone.
Kickball may be a little more strenuous than the above-mentioned activities, as you can burn up to 430 calories an hour, but the hasty nature shouldn’t keep your kid from playing. Kickball combines a multitude of benefits depending on your child’s age—whether he or she learns how to throw the ball and coordinate hitting a target or learning to balance on one foot while kicking the ball. Kids will also learn how important it is to be part of a team—and might even change the rules for fun, developing more creative minds.
- Monkey Bars
The monkey bars are fun for kids of all ages! These are a great place for kids to learn to take turns and talk to others, since there’s usually only one area for these at playgrounds. Children can start to build their upper body strength as they hang from their arms – essential when helping to build their fine motor skills. Don’t worry about them twisting or turning, or pulling and lifting themselves up; these small movements help with flexibility and can also give your child an understanding of simple physics.
No matter what activity your child is interested in, it’s important to get an hour of playtime in each day. If schools don’t allow the time for recess, make time for play after school. At these young ages, it is crucial for your child’s development to get out and play. Encouragement from parents will only open minds further, so get out and play as well!