Kindergarten Playground Games

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, recess is a vital part of development and should be a part of every child’s school day 1. In its 2012 policy statement published in the journal “Pediatrics,” AAP states that recess is not just a break from academics, it also provides cognitive, social, emotional and physical benefits 1. Kindergarten teachers can enhance these benefits by providing structured games for their students to participate in on the playground.

Rainbow Tag

Divide your class on opposite sides of the playground far enough so they can run, but close enough so they can hear each other. Choose one child to be "it." That child will call out a color and any of his schoolmates wearing that color must run across the playground while the child in the middle attempts to tag them. Anyone who is tagged stands in the middle. The middle team then decides a color and shouts it. At any time, they can call rainbow and all the untagged children must run to the other side. The last player left without being tagged is the winner.

Bean Bag Balance

Give each student a bean bag or something similar that they can balance on their heads. All students must move around without the bean bag falling off their head. Have one child be the tagger. The tagger must also balance a bean bag while trying to catch his classmates. If a child drops his bean bag, he must do three jumping jacks before he can rejoin the game. You can increase the challenge of the game by having the children do different actions such as hopping, jumping, walking on their toes and skipping.

Flag Relay

Fill two buckets with sand and place a small flag for each student in the buckets. Divide the class into two teams. When you say "go," the first in line for each team races to the buckets, plucks her flag and marches back to her team as quickly as possible. The team that gets all their flags first is the winner. As an added challenge, have each child perform an action such as jumping jacks, hopping or clapping their hands to the other side. Then have them return to the line doing an action such as skipping or crab walking.

Give each child two paper plates for stepping stones. When you say "go," the children stand on one plate and toss the other one in front of them toward the finish line. They need to jump onto the second plate and then reach back and grab the first plate. The challenge is for the children to toss the plate far enough to move quickly but not so far that they can’t reach it by leaping or can’t reach back and get the other plate.