Sad but true: many of today’s kids don’t know how to play outside. Many kids aren’t given free rein to play outside in a neighborhood, and many others choose to spend most of their time indoors. Consequently, they haven’t developed the fun-at-recess skill set.
Part Two: Teach kids how to play
As a teacher, you can help your students learn to have fun at recess. This will help them get the most out of their outside time. Ideally, they will enjoy the brisk exercise and time to make friends and develop social skills.
Tips for helping kids have fun at recess
Before recess time, suggest activities. For example, find out who wants to swing, play tetherball, catch, four square, tag*, etc. Buddy up kids so that everyone has a plan for fun. As with many things in life, you get more out of it if you go in with a plan.
Teach kids how to have fun: go outside with the kids and teach them how to play four square. Many of today’s kids don’t know. Teach them how to jump rope and recite some common rhymes. Play a few rounds of tetherball, demonstrating how much faster the game goes if no one is allowed to stop the ball or touch the rope. You could arrange with other teachers in your grade level to take turns giving these lessons. If everyone does it one day a week for a couple weeks, your students will become experts in fun.
Ask for parent volunteers: parents might love to drop by the school and teach kids how to have fun. You could even make it an event and arrange a special one-hour fun lesson on a Friday afternoon. Parents could talk to the class first, then go outside and teach fun. You could ha have kids rotate through stations so they discover new games. Sounds like a great party!
Ask older students to help: this would work particularly well if you teach kids how to have fun at recess every year. The first year would be tough, but after that you’d have a group of alumni who can tutor kids on fun.
Look for tutors in your class: some students might already know certain games and would enjoy teaching them. This can be a great way to help kids make friends and step outside their usual social circles.
Have a happy recess!