the next time your class needs to get outside to let off some steam or build teamwork and physical fitness, try one of these 30 classic recess games. this exhilarating and creative game is sure to involve your entire class. a more active version of hide-and-go-seek, 44 home is extremely popular on elementary school playgrounds across the world. the finder finishes counting, yells, “44 home!” and then tries to find where everyone is hiding before they make it back to base. this tag variation has been played for over 4,000 years in india and is also frequently played in japan, nepal, and pakistan (among others). the other players then try to find (and join) the person who is it. this three-player game requires the skills of hopscotch and jump rope with some of the patterns from the game cat’s cradle.
break a rule, and you’re out, and the next player in line is in. since it’s harder for a tagger to get out, consider using a stopwatch and swapping out the taggers. another one of the duck-duck-goose variety, in this version students sing this tune, then choose someone to chase after the song is over. using a bright color will make the can impossible to miss and extra exciting to play with. a new twist on a classic, shadow tag is the perfect activity to shake up sunny days and get students moving. this also decreases opportunities for roughhousing on the playground; it’s a win-win! (here’s an example of young students playing the game with a little tune.)
recess and gym class are a great opportunity for kids to get exercise while learning important skills, such as teamwork, healthy competition, new physical skills, strategy and more. these games are great for inside the gym on rainy or super hot days. feel free to make changes and tweak these ideas to create a game that works best for your students, space and access to equipment.
as you move through the year, see which games resonate with your students the most and use that to guide you as you plan future games. set up a sign up, and boom! – my time and energy is saved for my girls’ running team, instead of all used up trying to get volunteers. recess and gym class are a great opportunity for kids to get exercise while learning important skills, such as teamwork, healthy competition, new physical skills, strategy and more.
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