Physical Activity

Active Recess: A Strategy of the Active Schools Minnesota Initiative

Active recess is programming designed to increase physical activity levels, as well as decrease behavior problems and injuries on the playground. It is intentional about what happens on the playground and takes steps to ensure that all students have an opportunity for fun, safe and active play at recess.

Key elements of a quality recess program:

• Provide at least 20 minutes of recess every day for all students, preferably before lunch and outdoors.

• Teach positive playground expectations.

• Create universal participation by offering multiple activities at recess.

• Map the playground to designate different areas of play.

• Provide equipment to increase participation and to decrease congestion on play structures.

• Provide group games, led and supervised by adults, to actively engage students and help build social skills.

• Provide adequate staff training for recess.

Professional development and technical assistance about the Active Schools Minnesota Initiative are available. Contact Mary Thissen-Milder, Active Schools Coordinator, Minnesota Department of Education, 651-582-8505 or Terri Swartout, Statewide Health Improvement Program Schools Coordinator, Minnesota Department of Education, 651-582-8377.

Active Recess Resources

Increasing Physical Activity Through Recess (Active Living Research website)

The Potential of Safe, Secure and Accessible Playgrounds to Increase Children’s Physical Activity (Active Living Research website)

Play to Learn: Active Recess Through Systematic Supervision. A guide to promote active, safe and fun recess (Minneapolis Public Schools website)

Recess Revival - An Implementation Guide to an Active Recess (Active Schools Ontario website)