10 Best Outdoor Recess Activities, Fall 2021
A nature walk around the school building can be an awesome idea for a fall-themed outdoor activity with your kiddos. Take in the sights and smells, hang out around a leaf pile, turn over a few rocks, and maybe even pick up an acorn or two! Nature walks are fantastic opportunities for your kids to interact with the natural world around them.
Teachstarter.com has an awesome blog post that provides you with 16 different activities to choose from on your nature walk!
2. Nature Activity Circuit On The Blacktop/Sidewalk
Love sensory pathways but also the outdoors? The "Nature Activity Circuit" from Fit and Fun Playscapes is a great option if you're looking for something a little more permanent on your blacktop/sidewalk space - or something less permanent, if you're willing to use spray chalk!
Fit and Fun's nature-themed playground stencils come in an easy-to-organize package that includes recess favorites like a snake-themed tiptoe loop and a tightrope, while also adding activities like the crab crawl or jumping logs for sensory development!
Best of all, the package comes with a ten-site license, which means you can paint the activity circuit at up to 10 different locations within your town or district and not have to worry about buying more!
3. Chalk The Walk
"Chalk the Walk" is just another term for using chalk on the sidewalk. Sidewalk chalk is cheap, inexpensive, and generally safe for most children to use on a blacktop space. Plus, the possibilities of "chalking the walk" are practically endless!
"Chalk the Walks," a website by the Joy Team, has a list of positive affirmations that you and your kiddos can use today - from sayings about strength, to mental health, to overall wellness. If you want something a little more open-ended to facilitate unstructured play, try giving the kids chalk and letting them draw what they want.
4. Four Square/Box Ball
Want a simple to use and easy to set up outdoor recess activity that's bound to let your kids blow off a little steam? Try four square!
Sometimes called box ball, four square is a recess activity favorite that puts four kiddos against one another, with the object of the game to bounce a rubber recess ball past an opponent. When that happens, the player who allowed the rubber ball to get past them is "out" and a new player steps in.
The PE Specialist has an awesome post about how you can incorporate four square into your physical education curriculum - or simply chalk it on the playground and let the kids go!
5. Simon Says
Most of us know the popular game of "Simon says" - where one player, "Simon," stands in the front of the other players and tells them what to do. However, there's one caveat: players can ONLY listen to the commands of Simon if Simon says "Simon says" before the command.
If, for instance, Simon says "Simon says hop up and down!" the players must hop up and down. If Simon says "Hop up and down!" and the players hop up and down, those players are "out."
"Simon Says" is a great game for teaching listening skills, as well as fine motor skills, that are essential as children age. Considerable.com has an awesome post about how to play Simon Says if you're interested in a step-by-step guide, or if you're learning about the game for the first time.
You can't really imagine recess time without basketball. Basketball is a fantastic outdoor recess activity because it's both easy to play (but hard to master!), cheap to set up, and fast-paced for cooped-up kids!
Most schools have a blacktop area with at least one basketball backstop/net. Where that might not be possible, the school gymnasium most certainly does. Simply grab a basketball and let the kiddos roll!
If outdoor recess is not an option, ask the PE teacher if the kids can go into the gym during recess to play some basketball.
Other than basketball, soccer might be the world's most recognized sport - played on every continent in nearly every country around the globe. Depending on space, it might be even easier to set up with your kiddos than basketball!
If your school has access to sports fields, chances are at least one of those fields is a soccer field. All you need to do is provide a soccer ball for the kids so that they can play. You don't even need soccer nets - two lunchboxes for each "goal" area will suffice!
Soccer is one of the best games for physical activity you can provide children, especially elementary and middle school-aged kids. In soccer, you're nearly in constant motion, increasing heart rate and helping to provide the CDC's recommended 60-minutes of active play every day.
8. Capture The Flag
Capture the flag is probably the most scalable outdoor recess activity on this list, since it can be played in a gym, on a blacktop, in a field, or even an entire school ground during a special event like Spirit Day.
Capture the flag is exactly what it sounds like: two teams try to capture the other's flag and bring it back to their team's side to win. If players are "tagged" in the other team's territory, they have to go to the penalty box, where they have to hope to be released by teammates who haven't been tagged out yet. The same rule applies to a player carrying "the flag" - if they're tagged out in the opponent's territory, they have to go to the penalty box and the flag is returned to the team.
Capture the flag can be simple or complex in terms of rule sets, so that's why Very Well Family's "How To Play Capture The Flag" is a great article explaining the ins and outs of the game.
Capture the flag really is the ultimate team-based outdoor recess activity you can play this fall!
9. Leaf Painting!
Leaf painting is perhaps the PERFECT fall outdoor recess activity because of all the pretty leaves that fall to the ground! Grab some art supplies and head to the great outdoors with your classroom to gather up all the leaves you can find and create masterful works of art!
Leaf painting is a great activity for both the classroom and recess, since it provides creative stimulation and can be worked into virtually any art-based lesson plan.
Growing A Jeweled Rose has a great article describing the various ways you can take your students on a leaf-painting adventure this fall!
10. Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunts can be an awesome activity for structured play, so that's why we love this Halloween-themed scavenger hunt for a fantastic fall-themed outdoor recess activity!
Scavenger Hunt Fun.com provides a step-by-step guide on how, with a little time and a few art supplies, you can create a perfect spooky scavenger hunt this fall, either indoors or outdoors, for your kiddos!
With a little time, planning, and effort, you could potentially turn a 30-minute recess break into an awesome problem-solving activity full of all sorts of Halloween creepy crawlies!
Which of these outdoor recess activities will you plan on trying out this fall? Let us know in the comments!