Spring Back into Core Recess Games!

  1. Updates

As the weather gets warmer and the snow melts, it’s time to get back outside for recess!

At Playworks, we have a few Core Games that are found at most recesses: jump rope, soccer, basketball, 4- square, and kickball. While all of these games are loads of fun on their own, sometimes after months of playing the “regular” version of them, you need a fun twist! We’ve rounded up a few adaptations to each game for you to try out on your playground.

Jump Rope

  • Snake: This is a great game for younger students who aren’t able to fully jump rope yet, and encourages creativity and an active imagination!
  • Helicopter: A student favorite, this is an excellent alternative to regular jump rope! For safety reasons, be sure to have the spinner keep the jump rope close to the ground so that players can jump over it without the rope hitting them above their knees.
  • Jump Rope Challenge: Are your students competitive? If so, this challenge will be perfect for them! For some added fun, have them create teams and compete as a team, and be sure to have a designated referee to count!


  • Three Line Soccer: If your recess is full of soccer stars who love to play every day, you may find your soccer field is getting packed with players. Three Line Soccer is an excellent adaptation to play soccer with only six people on the field at a time, and allows teams to constantly shift, which encourages students to work with new teammates every round and will allow more space for players to run around with fewer people. Try it out!
  • Penalty Kick Soccer: For a slightly lower energy soccer game, try out Penalty Kick Soccer! This game is excellent for smaller groups who love to try to score on a goalie one-on-one, and is a great game to encourage positive language between all players and those involved.
  • Soccer Smash: While this game requires a little bit of extra set-up, it’s sure to become a favorite at your recess. Teams will have to work together and practice dribbling and passing skills to knock down the other team’s cones using accurate passes, without ever crossing the centerline.


  • Superstar Knockout: A twist on the classic game of Knockout, this basketball game emphasizes the importance of positive language and resiliency. This game is also a great one to teach basic shooting and lay-up skills!
  • Around the World: This is a great game to practice the traditional basketball skill of shooting the ball into the hoop. With the game getting harder as it progresses, this is sure to bring out the competitive edge in your students!
  • Twenty One: Very similar to the traditional game of basketball, Twenty One promotes teamwork, communication, and can even be used to practice addition skills!


  • 4-Square Switch: A combination of classic 4-square and a Playworks’ favorite game Switch, this new game is sure to get a lot of laughs from your students! This game will require all students to be paying attention and respond quickly, which are great skills to learn for the classroom as well.
  • 4-Square Categories: Similar to the above game, this twist on 4-Square requires students to practice paying attention and thinking on the fly! For an added challenge, make the categories for each round get harder and harder. You can start with something easy, such as naming states, and then get more challenging, such as dog breeds!
  • Catch and Drop: For students who are just learning how to play 4-square, Catch and Drop is a perfect way to introduce them to the skills necessary to be successful. As the game progresses, you can make it more challenging by adding alternative movements before the players return the ball, such as a spin!


  • Crazy Kickball: If your students are new to kickball, Crazy Kickball is a way to get them comfortable running the bases and practicing kicking! This game is high energy and an excellent game to play if you have lots of students who want to participate, as it moves very quickly.
  • Multi-Ball: If your students have a lot of energy, this is the game for you! This game combines multiple sports into one kickball structured game, so everyone can enjoy it no matter what their favorite activity is. To keep it interesting, feel free to modify the sports involved by introducing wiffleball, basketball, or more!
  • Over Under Kickball: Is your class having trouble working together? This game requires teamwork in order to be successful, so will be an excellent adaptation to a regular kickball game. The game can be made harder by requiring a larger number of players to be added to the “over-under” chain, so games can be as challenging as you choose them to be.

Try out one of these adaptations and tweet us to let us know how it went! Or do you have any other fun twists to these core games that you like to implement out at recess? Let us know!

More Updates

May 29, 2024

2024 International Day of Play ›

The United Nations General Assembly has adopted June 11 as the International Day of Play. This global celebration was established to champion and protect children’s right to play. On this…

April 30, 2024

Local Collegiate Athletes Help Rock Recess in Rhode Island! ›

Local college student athletes helped rock recess last week at the Segue Institute for Learning in Central Falls, RI, and the Ashton School in Cumberland, RI. Members of the Bryant…

April 9, 2024

Playworks Minute Movers and Brain Break ›

Play is a fundamental aspect of childhood development, fostering cognitive, social, and emotional skills in children. Contrary to common belief, playtime isn’t just about having fun; it also plays a…