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As schools continue to push kids to learn more at an earlier age, it’s no real surprise that it’s becoming increasingly common for recess to get cut from the school day so that more time can be spent in the classroom. After all, recess, which most kids and adults equate with play time, is just a break in the day that allows kids out of the classroom. Or is it? Is eliminating recess the answer to getting kids to perform better in classes? Or are kids suffering from a lack of recess? Here are four reasons that kids and teachers both need recess during the school day:

  1. It gives kids a chance to get a little extra exercise. By this point almost everyone knows that childhood obesity is becoming a significant problem. Kids are moving less and sitting more than ever, and it shows in their ever-increasing waistlines. Allowing kids 20 minutes to get outside and run around gives them a chance to get in a little bit of extra exercise throughout the day – which is a step in the right direction towards encouraging them to be active.

  2. It helps everyone stay on task when they are in class. Everyone needs to take a break during the day – whether you’re a kid in school sitting at a desk or a teacher standing at the front of the classroom. Regular breaks help both kids and adults stay on task during the rest of the day and approach their work with more intensity than they would if they weren’t allowed to take any breaks at all. Recess gives kids a chance to recharge and blow off some pent up energy, so that they’re more focused when they are sitting in class, and it gives teachers a chance to take a mental breather before continuing with the rest of the day.

  3. Sitting in fluorescent lighting all day isn’t good for anyone. People need exposure to sunlight during the day, even if it’s only for a short period. Being in the sunlight helps both kids and teachers receive some much-needed Vitamin D, which is essential for the body. Not to mention, being outside generally just makes people feel better, especially when you’re stuck indoors for the majority of the day. Taking just a few minutes to get outside of the classroom and enjoy some time outdoors can be rejuvenating.

  4. It helps kids form friendships and social skills. Having some extra time to run around outside and get to know your peers a little bit better is essential for children. Playing during recess helps kids build the necessary social skills they need and form friendships with one another outside of the classroom. When you consider how little kids play outside in their neighborhoods these days, recess may be the only chance they get to have these types of social interactions.

While the pressure may be on to cram more learning into each and every school day, eliminating recess from schools isn’t the answer to this problem. Kids need recess to be a better student and teachers need it to be a better teacher, and taking it away from them can end up hindering them in more ways than it helps.

Author Bio: Jack Meyer is a regular contributor for As a detective he wants to spread the knowledge of terrible things that can happen when people don’t fully verify the credentials of a caregiver or any employee. He also writes for various law enforcement blogs and sites.