Building skills through play: community-building at recess

  1. Updates

What does community-building at recess look like and why is it important?

When kids feel like they belong on the playground and at school, it gives them the space to learn and grow in an environment that they know will celebrate their wins and encourage them to learn from their mistakes. In order to promote that sense of inclusion and belonging, it’s important to build a supportive community out at recess. This can (and should!) be done in a variety of ways, from things as simple as learning every kid’s name to modifying games to fit a range of skill and physical ability levels so that every student feels like they can play every game at recess. Especially at the beginning of the year, being intentional about building a strong community on the playground is important. Check out our game suggestions and other resources below to start your year off strong!

Games to help you build community:

  • I Love My Neighbor: This classic Playworks game is a great activity for students of all ages! While giving everyone a chance to run and get some energy out (with options to modify the movement modality for space available and physical ability), this game focuses on getting to know one another, highlighting things that the group has in common, and building a strong community.
  • Rock Paper Scissors Rockstar: A twist on a fan-favorite game of Rock Paper Scissors, this game allows players to cheer each other on in some healthy competition. After the game, be sure to ask questions such as, “How did it feel when everyone was cheering you on?” and “What are some other ways we can cheer each other on this year?” to tie in the community building theme.
  • Ball Toss Race: This high energy game will force players to work together and talk about key themes such as teamwork and communication in order to be successful. The game is easily modifiable for younger students, and can be played with large groups to ensure that everyone who wants to participate is able to!

Other resources:

  • Do you want more games to help build community within your classroom or at recess? Check out our icebreaker games list for more ideas of “get to know you” games to help jumpstart your community building initiative.
  • While games and play are a great way to build community, here are some other classroom community-building activities for you to try out.
  • Inclusivity is key to building a playground where students feel like they are a welcome and valued member of the community. While games are a great way to build that community, mapping out your playground intentionally to be as inclusive as possible will help. Here’s how.
Do you have other ideas for how to build community at recess? Tweet us and let us know!

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