January 26, 2018

When the Winter Forecast calls for Indoor Recess

When the temps fall, winter recess can turn kids into chill-dren (winter pun #1)!

Is freezing winter weather keeping students indoors? Say it ain’t snow (winter pun #2)!

Do not allow inclement weather to get in the way of providing daily physical activity opportunities for all children. 

Children need 60 minutes of physical activity per day, not only for the physical benefits but for the social and emotional benefits as well.  Kids’ physical, emotional, and social well-being are inseparable. And studies show that active students perform better on tests, get better grades, and behave better in class.

To insulate students from the frosty weather, here are a few “cool” strategies to winterize your school’s physical activity efforts and keep students active all season:


1. Put it in Writing

Establish an indoor recess policy at your school that states that recess will not be canceled, but moved inside when the weather is too wet or cold. Once it becomes a policy, it’s harder to make excuses.


2. Be Creative

No gymnasium available?  Convert your cafeteria into a gym or map out a track in your school’s hallways. You can make just about any space an active one with the right motivation.


3. Use Whatever “Equipment” You Have

You don’t need equipment to get moving. Try jogging in place, jumping jacks, or holding yoga poses. Check out our physical activity break cards (Spanish version) for more ideas.


4. Take a Fitness Break

You don’t need to wait for recess to get students up and moving. Our athlete fitness break videos are designed for the classroom and work well in tight spaces. No excuses!


5. Cooperate

To develop and build social and emotional skills in students try incorporating cooperative games into your school physical activity program. Cooperative games allow students to work together rather than compete against each other. We recommend Playworks’ Fishbowl or Shipwreck activities.


Sean Brock is a National Physical Activity/Physical Education Advisor at the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. Connect with Sean to ask questions, learn best practices and get started creating a healthier school environment.