502,436 parents have taken the pledge

Today I pledge to...

Bring Recess Home for The Summer

On summer vacation kids want to leave a lot of their school work at school, close the books for a few months and just relax. Who can blame them? Kids need down time too. As parents, we know that it doesn’t work like that. As a blogger representative for the Together CountsTM Program, I know it’s equally important to make sure they keep moving all summer too!

Three things kids shouldn’t leave at school all summer are these classic recess games. Introducing recess games from school at home during the summer will keep your kids moving and active at a time when it’s easier for all of us to say yes to “just” one more TV show. Below I have three recess games that can be easily adapted for at home play where there are usually fewer kids and less climbing equipment.

1. What Time Is It, Mr. Wolf?

This game is wonderful for preschool – early elementary but don’t be surprised if you find your older kids lining up to play as well. What I like about it is that you can play with just 2 people.

What you need:

Open space to run.

How to play:

One person is Mr. (or Ms.) Wolf and they stand at the far end of the space with their back turned to the group. The group shouts “What time is it, Mr. Wolf?” Mr. Wolf shouts back a number in the form of a time like “It’s five o’clock!” The group takes five steps towards Mr. Wolf.

This continues until Mr. Wolf decides to scream “It’s Lunchtime!!” and then turn around and tries to catch someone. If they do catch someone that person becomes Mr. Wolf. There is a variation when a child is caught that they become a group of Mr. Wolfs until the last child is caught.


Did you play HORSE as a kid? This is a simpler version of the game that you can play with your future NBA star.

What you need:


Basketball Hoop

How to Play:

In this variation of the game players line up at a designated spot in the court (or your driveway) and try to get a basket. There is no moving around the court or trying different styles of shots, just a simple line. If they miss a basket they get a letter (H, O, R, S, E) go to the back of the line and try again. The goal is to avoid elimination which happens once you have spelled HORSE.

Fun variations are to use kids one names, ages, or other silly words instead of HORSE.

3.  British Bulldogs

I grew up in Canada and I love this game. It can get intense but it’s really all how you teach it. You will need 5 or more people to play this, but the game itself is a simple variation of tag.

What you need:

Open space to run.

How to Play:

Set two boundaries on the far ends of your yard. One person is the bulldog and they stand in the middle of the yard. The others try to run from one end to the other without being caught. If they are caught they become a bulldog too. This keeps going until everyone is caught.

I can’t let you go play without one more tip:  Set your alarm for set recess times and just like the school year have set breaks from whatever you and your kids are doing. If you are already outside just turn the alarm off but if you are inside it will be a good reminder to get outside even if it’s only for a few minutes. Ours will be set for 10:15 and 1:00 every day

Allison McDonald is the mom and former preschool teacher behind No Time For Flash Cards, a blog filled with learning and play for young kids. When she isn’t blogging about crafts and learning you can find her running with friends or exploring the forests around her home with her two kids. Allison lives outside of Seattle with her daughter, son and husband

For more ideas to inspire outdoor play, check out these great tips:



« Back to the Blog