Kids Need Recess, Even in a Pandemic

Kids need recess or time to play outside
Kids need play and recess to help them learn.

My son, Ezra Winter, wrote this essay on how kids need more recess. He began work on this project during distance learning, as we started our isolation at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new schedule of work and school at home has been a challenge for us. It is sometimes a struggle to get through school work and find time and place to play. Yet here was my son, writing a very compelling argument why I should give him even more recess. He is right: kids need play, even in a pandemic, even in a lockdown.

For many people, the school year is winding down. But the need for our children to play is still strong. How can we recreate recess with no playmates or playgrounds? Zoom playdates do not fulfill the need for connection that my young children feel. As we carry on with social distancing, we will have to get creative about play. In our family, we ride bikes, run around in the alley behind our house and try to spend time in nature. Even an empty parking lot can become a great place to play during a pandemic.

As we try to make plans for the most unusual summer in the DC area, I will try to keep Ezra’s recommendation in mind: my children need opportunities to run and play, even when everything else is topsy-turvy. What are you doing to meet your child’s need for play and friendship and connection?

Kids Need More Recess: by Ezra Winter

Imagine a classroom in a world with no recess: children tired of work, not paying attention to the teacher, their bodies are all over the place, and they’re talking to their friends! Kids need more recess because it helps them learn, socialize, and be healthy.

To begin, recess helps kids learn. You’re probably thinking, “Hold the phone. Recess helps kids learn?” It does! In Finland, kids have 1 hour and 30 minutes of recess time, and they have very high scores in school. Kids need to move around to concentrate. Kids can concentrate when they have more time to play. For example, scientists know that exercise helps the brain grow. In other words, recess helps the brain develop.

Secondly, kids need to socialize. When kids have friendship, they feel more invested in school, and they develop social skills. That happens in recess. Friendship helps kids feel connected. In fact, experts know that recess is a good place for kids to run around and talk. So when they come back to class, they aren’t as chatty.

Last, but not least, recess helps kids be healthy. More time outside = vitamin D. Kids should exercise to be healthy. Playing outside takes care of all of that. Kids need to run around, so when they come home or back to school they aren’t crazy. In this case, some articles say exercise helps blood flow to your brain: that means exercise helps your brain work.

It is obvious that kids need more recess, because play helps kids learn! Think of kids that have no playtime: they’re wild and miserable at the same time. So kids should have two recesses.


  1. This is a great article, Ezra! I like your point that kids are more excited to be in school when the have good friends. And what better way to strengthen friendships than recess?!

Comments are closed.