Using the Recess Checkup to Transform Your Playground

recess checkup ideas playground

As an educator, you already know that play is one of the best ways kids learn. But are all kids getting to play during the school day? There are a few specific questions you can ask to help you come to a conclusion.

On your playground…..

  • How often do you see kids standing around at recess, hesitant to join in?
  • Do kids feel comfortable starting games and inviting new peers?
  • Do they know games they can play?
  • Can kids resolve small conflicts quickly, or do disagreements bring games to a halt?
  • Are games inclusive, or are cliques making it hard for all kids to join in?

If you see these things happening, kids aren’t getting to play. Play matters.

At Playworks, we have found that, by rethinking recess, schools can take advantage of a huge opportunity hiding in plain sight. Research suggests that active kids are stronger learners because play provides a necessary brain break from the academic challenges of the classroom. Play also presents opportunities for kids to build valuable social-emotional and life skills and build positive relationships with peers and adults. Finally, play is fun!

Making the Most of Recess

That’s what we’ve learned at Playworks through more than 20 years on the playground. We are a mission-driven nonprofit that helps schools and districts make the most of play at recess and throughout the day by providing onsite staffing, consultative support, in-person training, online learning, and free resources.

We are excited to share the Recess Checkup, a free tool for K-6 teachers and principals. This tool will help you assess the health of your playground and identify strategies for growth. The Recess Checkup is a short 3 minute survey designed to provide insight into the state of play at your school based on three key indicators: safety, engagement, and empowerment.

Last year, more than 3000 educators – representing 43 states and the District of Columbia – took the Checkup.

After completing the Recess Checkup, you will receive your school’s results on each indicator along with free resources that provide ideas and strategies to take your recess to the next level.

recess checkup playground tips

Recess Checkup Week is April 22nd-26th. If you complete the Recess Checkup during this week, you will receive a free link to our newest guide, Games for Social and Emotional Learning, and will be entered into a drawing to win one of 5 free PlayworksU online learning subscription for your school (contest rules).

Join educators across the country in making play a priority. Take the Recess Checkup and watch your school be transformed by the power of positive play!

playworks recess ideasAbout Playworks

Are you interested in learning more about Playworks? Check out We also have free resources to help transform your recess on Recess Lab!

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