Ranger Rick Restores Recess

Ranger Rick

Ranger Rick wants you to help restore recess at your child's school!

As many as thirty percent of elementary schools—nine million kids—do not have daily school recess. School recess can be a gateway experience to nature and should be a part of every elementary student’s daily routine, giving them an opportunity to go outside, play, see the sky, feel the sun, and watch for birds. Kids who have daily recess are more attentive in class and get more physical activity. That’s why the National Association for Sport and Physical Education recommends 20 minutes of school recess per day in addition to physical education, and why the American Academy of Pediatrics believes that "recess is a crucial and necessary component of a child's development."

NWF and Ranger Rick want to bring recess back to the schoolyards. Join our campaign to make sure every child can go outside and play during the school day.

How You Can Help

  • Do the Homework. Join NWF's Eco-Schools USA program and use our recess policy audit tool to evaluate your school’s current policy.
  • Talk in School. Bring together parents, teachers, and administrators to restore recess at your school and school district.
  • Build on Models. Work with the school, district or state to adopt a model recess policy.
  • Share with Others.  Connect with other campaign leaders to exchange learnings and tips.
Child on balance beam

What is a Good Recess Policy?

A model recess policy includes:

  • At least 20 minutes per day of supervised recess for elementary children.
  • Recess in addition to scheduled physical education time, not as a replacement.
  • Before the lunch period to improve nutrition and behavior.
  • Outdoors, except for in extreme weather conditions.
  • A safe outdoor play area with play equipment and a natural setting designated for recess.
  • Participation is not withheld from students as punishment or cancelled to make up for missed instructional time.


You can find helpful recess-related tools and other resources on NWF's Eco-Schools USA and Be Out There.

Related Resources:

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10 Million Kids Outside program photo by Nature Explore
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Every Kid in a Park
Kids and US Park Ranger photo by US National Park Service
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