If you are like us, you are you are always looking for new ways to use play as an educator. Explore what’s working in schools across the country.

No matter how long you’ve been making learning playful, there is always more to discover. We hope that our collective learning can add to your toolkit. Playworks has helped educators get kids playing for more than 20 years. While we got our start at recess, teachers tell us that the games and strategies we share are lifesavers in the classroom as well. We’ve assembled our best below. Enjoy!


Bring Playworks to Your School

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We’re Opening Up Our Playbook

Recess Lab is a new project of Playworks, designed to help principals and teachers re-discover the power of play. We’re sharing tools and games that develop kids’ social skills, on and off the playground, and offering a Recess Checkup—a brief online quiz—so schools know how they’re doing.

Explore Recess Lab

Visit to explore our newest resources and share with a school near you.

Visit Recess Lab

Explore our Games Library

Need a game for 30 kindergarteners, indoors, in a pinch? Trying to convince 5th graders to share the basketball court? We have you covered.

  • Large Group (10 and up)

  • Ages 6-10

  • None

  1. Recess Games
  2. Tag Games

Mannequin Tag ›

Play this fun group game to help develop cooperation and listening skills.

  • Large Group (10 and up)

  • Ages 6-10

  • Bean Bags

  • 10 minutes or more

  1. Cooperative Games
  2. Indoor Game

Let’s Go Fishing ›

This game promotes team building and many skills such as problem-solving, leadership, cooperation, teamwork, listening, creative thinking and conflict resolution.

Children balancing in Ants on Log game
Children balancing in Ants on Log game
  • Large Group (10 and up)

  • Ages 3-5

  • None

  • 10 Minutes

  1. Cooperative Games
  2. Indoor Game

Ants on a Log ›

Practice teamwork and communication in this fun game of strategy and balance! Students will work together to change positions without knocking any of their teammates off of the line.

Tools & Tips

Indoor recess
Indoor recess

December 5, 2019

Make the Most of Indoor Recess ›

By the time winter break comes, many schools have had more indoor recess than planned. Even if some students are accustomed to snow and frigid temperatures, the weather can sometimes still prevent outdoor play. Educators feel the effect of being confined to indoor recess just like their students, but they know play is important for…

November 13, 2018

5 Ways to Make Your Playworks Recess a Success ›

In 2017, Playworks and the American Institutes for Research (AIR) partnered to learn more about how effective recess teams drive strong quality and recess outcomes. Close your eyes and picture the best recess you can imagine. What does that look like to you? A quality recess is one that is safe, engaging, and empowering. Play…

Children actively playing during recess
Children actively playing during recess

September 3, 2019

Proactively Manage Your Classroom ›

Keeping the attention of energetic kids is challenging. But, it’s also an opportunity to build relationships and have some fun. Take a proactive approach to group management with these tips: Get creative with secret handshakes One-on-one conversations, silly claps, cheers, get-to-know-you games, and compliments are great ways to build rapport and mutual respect. Consider learning…

April 26, 2019

Conflict Resolution: Turn your Spring Struggles into Spring Successes ›

Springtime, with all its fanfare, is often a time of escalating conflicts. Students are antsy from a long winter of learning, and their classmates are now more like annoying siblings than playful friends. The key to making the spring season a success is to teach students how to resolve conflicts appropriately—that means using their words and…

Playworks games help develop emotional intelligence
Playworks games help develop emotional intelligence

April 20, 2017

6 Ways to Improve Social Skills at Recess ›

Help kids practice social skills throughout the day, not just in class.

August 24, 2017

CDC + Shape Recess Guidelines ›

The CDC and SHAPE America recently released new guidelines to provide schools with strategies for a safe and healthy recess.

February 16, 2017

Five Transitions to the Classroom So Kids are Ready to Learn ›

Save valuable class time by using fun activities to get kids from the playground or lunchroom to the classroom.

April 24, 2013

Four Tips to Teach Fun New Games at Recess ›

Guest blogger Myla Marks shares how adults on the playground can get beyond “They don’t want to play with me.”

October 21, 2011

Four Conflict Resolution Techniques for School Children ›

Teaching kids to resolving conflicts build confident, empowered youth.

The Great Recess Framework

The Great Recess Framework is an observational tool designed to help educators and researchers evaluate and plan school recess with a holistic approach.

While physical activity levels are certainly one element of a successful recess, other aspects such as safety, adult engagement, communication, autonomy, and inclusion have often been overlooked. The Great Recess Framework observational tool was developed by practitioners at Playworks and researchers at Oregon State University. We encourage the use of ​our work for educational and research purposes. Download the GRF.

For researchersFor Educators


Funding and Grants

We hope these resources may help you find available grants and write a compelling application to support Playworks services.


Grant Resources

Find resources that could help you bring Playworks to your organization.

Grant Writing Assistance

Check out tips, sample Playworks narratives, and evidence-based research to help you write a successful grant application.