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Ah, the joys of recess. We never knew how valuable the time was as we played tag or swayed on the swings. Now that you’re a parent and the kids are back in school, maybe it’s time to revisit recess and rebuild family fun time.
Recess provides physical, behavioral and academic benefits to kids. But not all schoolchildren get time for free play during the school day. In fact, only 8 U.S. states require daily recess by law, despite the fact that the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) suggests that school-age kids get 20-minutes of recess each day, in addition to 2.5 hours of PE per week.
And teens? You’re probably so over recess that rushing through the hallways from class to class has become the only activity break you get most days – especially if you’re not involved in a sports team.
So why not create a full-family recess and playtime on weeknights and weekends instead?
- Teach each other the games you played as a kid: Freeze Tag, Tug of War, Hopscotch, Red Rover, Kickball. Teens – take on a leadership role and help the little ones learn the rules and winning ways.
- Just take a walk together, as a family. Save up jokes or funny stories to tell as you walk.
- Search for a geocache using a GPS devise. Set aside a few hours every weekend just for this group activity and you’ll be combining a lesson in analytical skills with physical endurance. Teens – research geocaching challenges in your area and take the lead in planning this family outing!
- Get roller skates or skate boards for the kids and jog/walk alongside them in the neighborhood. Don’t forget helmets and other safety gear!
- Play catch – whether it’s a rubber ball, a football, a Frisbee or a bean bag.
- Ride bikes together (with safety in mind). Ride bikes instead of driving to run weekend errands.
- Try your hand at tennis, volleyball, croquet or horseshoes.
- Shoot hoops, run bases or dribble around a soccer field. Challenge other families to a game or tourney.
- Build a kite for every member of the family one day, and go fly them together the next.
- Encourage everyone to get silly and have fun – because that’s what recess is all about!
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