Revisiting Recess: The Benefits of Outdoor Activity in Schools
Revisiting Recess: The Benefits of Outdoor Activity in Schools
PUBLISHED: Wednesday, March 13, 2019 by Andilynn Feddeler

A hot topic for many years, recess and outdoor play time in school is still being widely debated across the country. Parents, students, and teachers are pushing back against schools that have eliminated recess, arguing that students need at least 20–30 minutes a day to get their energy out and “recharge” their brains. Some are actually breaking ground in this arena—in at least 5 states, recess in elementary schools is required by law. And in other states, elementary schools must allot time for physical activity, though it is up to the school’s discretion how it allocates its time.


Not only do these breaks give students time to absorb information before plowing on to the next subject, but also recess can actually
further social-emotional development and fitness. Certain games and activities can be utilized during recess to explore teamwork, problem solving, and self-efficacy—skills that are crucial for becoming successful individuals. The physical benefits of recess are bountiful as well: Exercise for kids has been shown to develop muscle strength, keep bones strong, boost energy levels, increase concentration, and more.


Advocates for recess would
argue that it makes kids smarter, more self-aware, and happier in general. So maybe it’s time to take a break from training for standardized tests and just let the kids have fun.