5 Recess Ideas for Building Teamwork

Ginger Abbot

Sep 17, 2022

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Teamwork is your ability to work together with other people to meet a goal. This is essential for working with colleagues, planning events or living with family. The ability to work with others isn’t something you’re born with; it’s a skill you must learn. Helping your students with teamwork, you give them skills they’ll carry through life. Teamwork allows them to build social skills and be a functioning member of the world around them. Recess is a great time to teach your elementary students about teamwork. There are a variety of fun games that help them connect and make recess memorable. Here are five recess ideas for building teamwork.

1. Golf Ball Parachute

This game takes a popular recess pastime and adds a team-building twist.

Take a few parachutes, sheets or tarps and cut a few slits. Assign different groups to each one. Once the teams have their parachute, place a golf ball in each center.

The teams can work together to move the ball around the parachute without letting it fall. Their team is out of the game if they lose their golf ball. The last team with a golf ball on their parachute wins.

Try adding several golf balls to make the game last longer and add excitement for older grades. If you can’t get ahold of golf balls, try substituting with ping pong balls.

2. Hula Hoop Pass

A hula hoop pass is a great way to get your students working together and works as a fantastic icebreaker.

Gather the students into a circle and place a hula hoop on one child’s arm. Have the class join hands until the entire circle connects. The goal is to maneuver and pass the hoop around the circle without unclasping their hands.

Be sure to choose a hoop your students can fit through to avoid embarrassment. This game will have your students laughing by the end.

3. Block Match

This game involves some foam blocks, cardboard boxes or giant Jenga pieces.

Break your students into teams and give them an equal number of blocks or boxes. With the same number of blocks, pre-build a fun design, like a fancy tower or rocket.

Have each team come to your tower and give them a designated amount of time to try and memorize it. Then, send them away to their stations, where they’ll work together to replicate the design. If a team builds it, they win points, and you can start again with a new design.

If no team gets it correct, each team gets a short time to look at the design and adjust theirs to match.
To extend the game, you can have the winning team make their design for the others to replicate.

4. Balloon Answers

This is a wonderful game for teamwork and getting to know each other.

Give your students slips of paper to write questions on the day before the game. These questions should be things they want to know about their classmates.

Fold the pieces of paper and place each on its balloon. Enlist older students or use a pump to fill the balloons.

The next day at recess, place two large baskets on opposite sides of an area. Scatter the balloons between the baskets and divide your class into teams. Students must bounce as many balloons as possible into their designated basket.

The team with the most balloons wins. A winning team member starts the process of choosing a balloon from their pile and popping it. They then have to answer whatever question is inside.

The game has the students work together and helps them get to know one another.

5. Perfect Square

This game has the whole class working together without actually seeing each other.

You’ll need a long piece of rope for this game. Connect the ends of the rope and place it in a circle formation on a safe, flat surface.

Let your students approach the rope before taking a few steps back. This is when you’ll give out blindfolds. Once your students have their blindfolds, they can step forward and find the rope again.

The students then have to communicate and use their senses of touch to try and form the rope into a perfect square.

After a period, have them remove their blindfolds and see how close they got to make a perfect square. Once you’re past the inevitable giggles, they can complete it without blindfolds.

Teaching Teamwork

Teamwork is a vital lesson for students. Recess is the perfect time encourage your kids to communicate and share ideas.

With teamwork skills, they’ll be better prepared to make friends and function in the world.

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