Fresh air, freedom, friends and running around. For many kids, recess is the one opportunity during the day to get outside and run around. But rain, snow, smog or even cold air can put a damper on outdoor play — especially for school recesses.
Don’t worry – it doesn’t have to be that way! Here are a few tips to help your school keep active play alive, even on rainy days:
Encourage schools to adopt a healthy policy for recess in inclement weather.
Each school has its own challenges. Rain may make playgrounds too slick or too muddy. Students may not come to school with adequate rain gear. Encourage parents and school staff to come to an agreement that’s safe for your students. Cold or rainy days can still be great for outdoor play, but students may need to avoid the grass or slick spots on the playground.
Dress for outdoor play.
Layers, boots, a waterproof jacket, even waterproof pants can make play in the rain more fun. As the old Norwegian saying goes, there’s no bad weather, only bad clothing. Help by writing a note for your school to send home to parents with tips on how students should dress for outdoor play. Some schools may need a stash of extra jackets, mittens, hats and boots for students who forget. Arrange a clothing drive for those crazy weather days.
Bring active play indoors.
By using spaces creatively, students can get the break they need and some physical activity in an auditorium, empty hallway, or even the classroom. Help your school arrange a schedule that allows classes to take turns using larger spaces when recess is indoors.
Balance low-key, social/academic games with high energy, active games.
Teachers and kids love pulling out puzzles and board games. They allow kids a break from regular classwork and time to talk with friends. Donate games, such as Uno, Apples to Apples, Pictionary and Mad Gab, to help make recess a success. Still, it’s important to to keep in mind that everyone can use even a short break for physical activity during those rainy or cold days.
Volunteer to lead or share the rules to some simple active games that can be led at the during recess or between lessons. Some of our favorites are Dance Freeze, Four Corners and Bridge Ball. Find the rules to these and more on our website.
How do you keep kids active in crazy weather?
Jill Vialet, Founder and CEO of Playworks, has been a recognized leader in physical activity and play for the past 15 years. She recently addressed TEDxABQ on the moral imperative of building schools where all parents would send their children. Vialet is a proud mother of five.