The Benefits of Play During the School Day

In schools across the U.S., administrators and teachers are juggling priorities to help ensure the best for students and their families. While play can often take a backseat to academics and student well-being, the importance of recess shouldn’t be overlooked. Due to pressures often outside of their control, some school administrators have been forced to eliminate recess from the school day altogether. Recess, however, plays a critical role in the growth and development of children and can lead to improved academic performance.

Physical Benefits:

Recess is a great way to help increase a child’s physical activity during the school day. Engaging in play during recess increases activity levels and offers a host of benefits to children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It benefits kids by:

  • Improving their memory, attention, and concentration
  • Helping them to stay on-task in the classroom
  • Reducing disruptive behavior in the classroom
  • Improving their social and emotional development (e.g., learning how to share and negotiate)

This is especially important since one in five children are considered obese. When schools offer consistent and safe space for play, it lays the foundation for leading an active lifestyle that can last well into adulthood.

Social Benefits:

Recess offers the opportunity for children to build critical social skills and interact with their peers in a less structured environment. Children need this time to be able to make valuable connections that simply cannot be taught in the classroom. Free play allows for interactions that teach kids how to communicate, negotiate, empathize, and problem solve, all valuable skills that can be used in personal and professional relationships throughout their lives.

Cognitive and Behavioral Benefits:

Recess provides what is often a much-needed break from academics during the school day, leaving children ready to return to the classroom more focused and engaged. Research shows these breaks allow children to learn more effectively. Movement and active play stimulate blood circulation, delivering more oxygen and glucose to the brain, which improves memory, attention, and concentration.

Recess also acts as an outlet for children to exert their energy, which can help improve behavior in the classroom. When children cannot release their energy, they may become fidgety, making it difficult for them to learn and potentially disruptive to their peers. Recess helps to alleviate these issues and contribute to a more positive learning environment for all.

At Playworld, we have a deep understanding of how a beautifully designed and masterfully crafted playground can help school-aged children in their growth and development. Together we can help encourage healthy, lifelong habits in children. As kids grow, you can count on our play equipment to be a constant source of fun. For decades, we’ve built playground equipment with a child’s best interest in mind.

It is evident that recess and play are a critical component of a well-rounded education and provide many benefits – both for students and school staff. 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 of play and recess to your school and community. Find your Playworld representative, so we can explore the possibilities with you.

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