Why Schools Should Allow More Play – Including Recess

This is a sponsored conversation on behalf of The Genius of Play, a non-profit organization with the mission of encouraging families to make play part of their day. All fun opinions are my own.
We’re headed back to school shortly, and I, and my girls, are very excited about that prospect. Routine is wonderful for our family, and I love the school my girls attend. Is it perfect? No, but that’s ok. Teachers and administrators don’t shy away from new ideas. Technology is embraced instead of shunned, and kids are encouraged to think outside the box. I love the adaptive nature of our school, but I won’t just depend on them alone to advocate for my girls. 

Public Schools and Play

Even though we love our school, I know that there is always room for improvement. There are so many opposing news stories out there about some schools cutting their recess time while others are increasing it. As Americans, we have such a bipolar relationship with our school schedules. I could go on a rant about funding and whatnot, but I won’t waste your time with that here. Suffice it to say, in my opinion, the majority of our public schools in this country don’t allow kids to play enough. I don’t mean just recess, either.

Benefits of Play

According to my friends at The Genius of Play, there are six benefits to allowing kids more play time (and probably more than that, but we’ll go with six for now).

  • Physical: kids who get off the couch or chair and play develop better coordination, balance, motor skills, and expend all that pent up energy they have!
  • Emotional: learning to cope with emotions like frustration, disappointment, fear, and anger helps kids learn appropriate ways of handling their feelings.
  • Social: as my kids grow, learning the “adult” skills of negotiation, collaboration, and sharing are vital to their maturity and ability to thrive in the world around them.
  • Cognitive: “you figure it out” is a phrase I often tell my girls, not to be mean, but to encourage them to use the skills that have to reach an answer they seek.
  • Creative: play allows kids to think outside the box, form unique ideas, and use their imagination.
  • Communication: talking, writing, and communicating in different ways through play continues to expand a child’s mind as they learn about others and the world around them.

Why Public Schools Should Allow More Play

Speaking as a mom of public school kids, I know our standards and practices are different from our friends in private school, so I can only speak to what I know. What I know is, there isn’t nearly enough play in schools today. My girls get recess and gym class once a day during the school week. Thankfully, I truly believe their teachers are creative and encouraged play in other ways, but I would love to see a day when recess isn’t limited or stopped altogether when they are older.

Speak Up

As parents, we are the advocates for our children. It’s up to us to get involved, bring attention to important issues, and also to initiate change. I’m also glad to know I’m not the only parent out there who sees and appreciates the crucial role that play has in my girls’ development. Check out what other parents have to say on this issue!

I loved the point about balance! Yes! In all aspects of life, balance is key. Too much of anything can have harmful consequences, so I firmly believe in balancing academics and play. Do your kids get enough play at school? I wish mine had more. I believe schools should allow more play, including recess, as play in a vital part of childhood development. Support your school and encourage them to incorporate more play into their schedules.Do you think kids get enough play at school? I’d love to hear from you and hear what school looks like in your hometown. For more great ideas from The Genius of Play, connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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