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Recess:  A critical part of a child's day


Here’s a question that has really concerned us as a company and advocate for kids health and wellness.  If research has consistently shown that recess offers numerous benefits to children's physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development, why then are schools reducing recess?

The RECESS Essentials

Recess is a critical component of child development as it offers numerous benefits to children's PHYSICAL, SOCIAL, EMOTIONAL, and COGNITIVE growth.

A review of the literature suggested the following as reasons why public schools are cutting back on recess:

  • Increased emphasis on academic achievement: Some schools have reported cutting back on recess to provide more time for academic instruction.
  • Budget cuts: Many schools are facing budget cuts, and recess may be seen as a non-essential activity that can be eliminated to save money.
  • Safety concerns: Some schools may be cutting back on recess due to safety concerns, such as inadequate supervision or the risk of injury on playground equipment.
  • Limited outdoor space: Some schools may not have adequate outdoor space to provide a safe and adequate recess experience for all students.
  • Weather-related issues: Extreme weather conditions, such as excessive heat or cold, may also limit the amount of time students are able to spend outside during recess.


While these reasons may limit recess time, it is critical that school administrators and teachers understand the impact that removal of physical activity (to include recess) has on a child’s development. If we value physical activity, then school schedules can find alternative ways to build movement into the day even if there is a minute reduction in recess. Sensory pathways and movement breaks in the hallway and classroom can afford children alternative opportunities to move and stay physical active.

Recess is a critical component of child development as it offers numerous benefits to children's physical, social, emotional, and cognitive growth. Here are some of the reasons why recess is so important for children:

  • Physical health: Recess provides children with an opportunity to engage in physical activity, which is essential for maintaining good health. Regular physical activity can help prevent childhood obesity, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and improve overall fitness levels.
  • Social development: Recess provides children with an opportunity to interact with their peers and develop social skills such as cooperation, communication, and empathy. These social skills are important for building positive relationships and navigating social situations.
  • Emotional well-being: Recess provides children with a break from academic demands and allows them to release pent-up energy, reducing stress levels and promoting emotional well-being.
  • Cognitive development: Recess provides children with an opportunity to engage in unstructured play, which promotes creativity, problem-solving, and cognitive development. Play also helps to improve attention, memory, and academic performance.
  • Brain development: Recess provides an opportunity for children to engage in physical activity

I think we can agree that recess remains a critical part of a child's school day.  Recess provides opportunities for physical activity, social interaction, and the development of fundamental motor skills. Fundamental motor skills taught in Physical Education are the basic movements that form the building blocks for more complex skills and activities.  Outside of physical education, the ability to practice these skills is the only way children will develop specialized movement skills.  

Recess can help develop fundamental motor skills in children in several ways:

  • Active play: During recess, children have the opportunity to engage in active play, which involves movement and physical activity. The Fun2Moov® Roll-Out Activities® help develop fundamental motor skills such as running, jumping, hopping, and skipping! These can be used indoors, outdoors and on the go.
  • Exploration: Recess provides children with the opportunity to explore how their bodies move and to try new things. Reusable Stencil packages and paint kits offer variety and versatility outdoors. This exploration will further develop fundamental motor skills by allowing children to practice different movements and activities. 
  • Social interaction: Games and activities such as our Copy Cat provides children with the opportunity to interact with their peers and engage in group games. Social interactions can help children practice fundamental motor skills by allowing them to see how others move and apply those ideas to themselves.
  • Practice: Recess provides children with the opportunity to practice fundamental motor skills that they have learned in physical education classes.  We call that concept “sensory continuity” which affords children a chance to practice the same skills in different environments.  Our Fitness Activity Circuit Reusable Stencil packages offer a multitude of options for outdoors. This practice helps to reinforce these skills and develop them further.


In summary, recess can help develop fundamental motor skills in children by providing opportunities for active play, exploration, social interaction, and practice. By participating in these activities, children can improve their physical abilities and lay the foundation for a lifetime of healthy physical activity.

Download our free Mega Guide to discover hundreds of active learning techniques and strategies for improving kids’ SEL skills. You’ll also get 10% OFF our Super Stickers®️, Sensory Pathways, Stencils, and Roll-Out Activities

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