Studies on Play is a comprehensive review of the academic research on play and recess compiled by 2Play Lab at Oregon State University.  Peruse through our bibliography or each entry below. For specific questions or for more information, please contact the Playworks research and evaluations team.

boy and girl with hula hoops
boy and girl with hula hoops

July 27, 2021

Recess Quality and Social and Behavioral Health in Elementary School Students ›

High quality recess contributes to the executive function, emotional self-control, resilience, and positive classroom behavior in elementary school children.  Citation: Massey WV, Thalken J, Szarabajko A, Neilson L, Geldhof, J.…

girl throwing basketball
girl throwing basketball

April 20, 2021

Memories of school recess predict physical activity enjoyment and social-emotional well-being in adults ›

This study examined adults’ memories of their recess experience and how they are associated with various aspects of adulthood, such as social isolation, meaning, and purposes, physical activity enjoyment. Key…

January 1, 2017

Strategies for Recess in Schools ›

In Jan 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and SHAPE America released new guidance documents for recess. Playworks contributed to the development of these guidance documents and…

April 1, 2017

School Recess, Social Connectedness and Health: A Canadian Perspective ›

Children need opportunities to establish positive social connections at school, yet many school playgrounds are challenged by social conflict that can undermine these connections. Because recess is typically the only…

March 22, 2016

Disparities in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity among girls and overweight and obese schoolchildren during school- and out-of-school time ›

In a study measuring the physical activity of 453 schoolchildren in Massachusetts, only 15 percent of students achieved the CDC-recommended 60 minutes of daily MVPA throughout the day, and only…

January 2, 2014

Impact of Recess Interventions on Children’s Physical Activity- A Meta Analysis ›

Recess interventions can improve youth physical activity levels, even when controlling for other variables. According to this meta analysis, playtime/recess can contribute between 5% and 40% of children recommended physical…

January 10, 2014

What Helps Children to Move More At School Recess and Lunchtime? Mid-Intervention Results from Transform-US! cluster-randomised controlled trial ›

A positive perception of the school play environment is associated with higher moderate to vigorous physical activity during recess among girls. 

January 1, 2013

The Crucial Role of Recess in School ›

Recess is at the heart of a vigorous debate over the role of schools in promoting the optimal development of the whole child. A growing trend toward reallocating time in…

November 1, 2012

Psychological Predictors of Children’s Recess Physical Activity Motivation and Behavior ›

This study explored the relationship between children’s basic psychological needs, satisfaction at recess, level of recess physical activity motivation (RPAM), and recess physical activity (RPA). Findings provide important insight into…

April 1, 2012

The Impact of State Laws and District Policies on Physical Education and Recess Practices in a Nationally-Representative Sample of US Public Elementary Schools ›

Odds of schools meeting recommendations for PE and recess increased if they were in states or school districts having a law or a policy requiring/encouraging it. State policies are more…

kids running through high five line
kids running through high five line

August 1, 2011

Physical Activity and Positive Youth Development: Impact of a School-Based Program ›

After one year of exposure to Playworks, students showed statistically significant increases in the following four protective factors as compared to students with no exposure to Playworks: (1) Physical Activity,…

July 1, 2010

The Association Between School-Based Physical Activity, Including Physical Education, and Academic Performance ›

Studies that looked at recess suggested mostly that recess has a positive relationship with children's attention, concentration or classroom behavior. A majority of studies also found a strong positive relationship…

February 1, 2009

School Recess and Group Classroom Behavior ›

Based on secondary analysis of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, children with non or minimal exposure to recess were more likely to be black, low income, live in large cities,…