3 Classic Recess Games & Filling a Recess Cart


Here are three classic recess games my kids love! Plus how to make a recess cart filled with supplies for the kids to use.

One of my goals this year is to improve recess time at my school.  The students are all expected to be outside during recess, but otherwise, they can do whatever they want.

Unfortunately, some do not choose to be active during that time.  So, from my corner of the world as PE teacher I am trying to help encourage activity.  Here are some things I have done

First, I put together this awesome recess cart! The school paid for the cart, and I had enough excess equipment to stock it.

Recess game cart

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I presented it to all my classes during the first week of school and talked about care and expectations with the equipment. I told my students it is like a “recess library”.  Now it is watched over by an aide at recess and students can check out any equipment.

Next, after any activity we do at PE, I try and point out to them that this is something they could do at recess if they enjoyed it.  I want to expand their thinking on ways to be active.  Even if you don’t want to join in the soccer game, you can still be moving.

And, this week I have been teaching old-fashioned classic games that seem to have died off a bit.

Recess Games you can teach the kids

  • I taught them 4 square.  This one is always popular, I just needed to clarify basic rules. Here’s a link to the official Four Square Rules.
  • Then, I taught tetherball.  Our tether balls had been removed because the kids were sitting on them and snapped all the ropes.  Our custodian fixed them for me and I am trying to teach the kids how to play the game properly.  They are very excited about the tether balls joining the recess cart soon.
  • Finally, I taught them the real rules of hopscotch.  I attended a conference last fall and learned the “big kid” rules.  I couldn’t believe how fun and challenging it was!  I’ve gotten eye rolls from my 5th and 6th graders when I told them we were going to play hopscotch.  Once I teach them the kick-out method, they have loved the challenge and had a blast with it.  And, some of my more difficult, hard-to-move kids have found something they like! I highly recommend this classic, fun, and challenging game.  You can watch a video of the kick-out method here. Hoppy taws are also available for purchase on the hoppy taws site. Give it a try!  I bet your students will love these classic games too!  

We bought the recess game cart from Gopher. If you watch their clearance catalogs you can get a great deal on one and they are very sturdy. I am lucky to have a huge supply of equipment so I was able to fill the cart with surplus, although I do borrow from it if I need extras of something.

The Recess Game Cart includes:

  • basketballs
  • soccer balls,
  • kickballs,
  • tetherballs,
  • pinnies,
  • flags for flag football,
  • footballs,
  • cones,
  • hula hoops,
  • jump ropes,
  • hoppy taws,
  • hackey sacks,
  • small rubber balls,
  • and frisbees.

We have a recess aide that watches the cart and students check things out. It has been hugely popular. Petition your PTA for funds if you are short on equipment. It has been great to help kids be active at recess — a worthy cause. When I teach a new game in PE, the kids always ask me if the equipment for it will be available on the recess cart!

recess games and filling your recess cart

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