The Importance of Recess and Play by Ken Myers

Recess Prevents Obesity

  • The obvious benefit of recess and play is that it helps keep children physically fit. In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that over one third of children were classified as overweight or obese. Obesity increased these children’s risk factors for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, bone and joint problems and a laundry list of other health problems. The CDC also cited that schools could help foster a healthy lifestyle for overweight and obese children by providing a safe opportunity to play and exert physical activity.
    According to the book Brain Rules by John Medina, the benefits children receive from recess and play extend far beyond grade school. In fact, those who participate in an active lifestyle cut their risk of dementia in half and become 57% less likely to suffer from a stroke. Exercise is a lifelong commitment to a healthy lifestyle, and children who are not being encouraged to develop a healthy body in childhood are set up for failure as an adult.
  • Play Develops Social Skills

  • Recess is not just about physical activity, though. Recess also provides children with a prime opportunity to socialize with fellow students. Organizing games and discussing classroom activities gives children a chance to form connections with each other. This development of social skills is important to children, and will help them grow into socially functional adults. The oversight of this social interaction by adults allows lessons about citizenship and sharing to be reinforced outside the classroom setting. Recess provides time to learn negotiation, cooperation and conflict resolution in a non-classroom setting.
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