With a new school year comes new challenges on the playground. Recess is fun, but after a summer away, students and adults alike need to reset in order to manage the playground in a fun, safe, and inclusive way.
Here are five tips from our friends at Playworks for setting clear expectations on your playground and make recess a place for every kid to shine.
1. Create a common set of rules for safe and fair play. Every playground needs a few simple rules, such as be safe, be respectful, and have fun. Additionally, kids and adults can work together to teach a “Game of the Week” once a week and do a practice round to make sure everyone understands how to play by the same set of rules.
2. Provide several different games for kids to play. Provide equipment for a variety of different games. Teach students how to play those games to get more students involved. You can find rules to games, such as band-aid tag, jump rope, switch, foursquare, and three lines soccer. Check out the Playworks games library to learn more games.
3. Designate a place for each game. Be sure there’s a place for every kid to play. Create a map of the playground by designating areas for jump rope, basketball, and other games. No painted lines? Use chalk or cones. Make sure everyone, especially those who supervise recess, are familiar with the map.
4. Enable kids to solve their own conflicts. Teach kids to use rock-paper-scissors to settle disputes. Rock crushes scissors; scissors cut paper; paper covers rock. It’s simple, takes just a few seconds and it’s invaluable in keeping the games going during recess. It works well in the classroom too.
5. Join the kids in their play. Kids love adults who play! Playground supervisors — even parent volunteers — can join the games. There is no better way to engage kids who don’t usually participate and get kids positively engaged (not to mention prevent disciplinary issues). Have fun, be supportive, and win or lose graciously.
What are some strategies you’ve used to make sure playground time and recess are successful?