Break time and lunchtime are many children’s (and teachers’) favourite time of the school day. Children have the chance to eat, take a break and spend time with friends. They also provide the perfect opportunity to engage children in fun, physical activities that contribute towards their recommended 60 minutes of physical activity each day.

Here are some ideas for ways to encourage children to be more active during their break and lunchtimes:

  • Playground Equipment – Set up and provide a wide range of playground equipment that invites children to keep busy, active and engaged. Choose equipment that encourages children to use lots of different skills, such as jumping, hopping or skipping. You could also set up mini games linked to the sports children are learning to play in their PE lessons.
  • Mini-Leaders/ Sports Leaders – Set up a mini-leaders or sports leaders system. Children can either be a leader themselves and set up and run activities or they can take part in those organised by others.

  • Activity Trackers – Give children daily active targets and encourage them to track and measure these on an activity tracker. Give them some time after lunch to review targets and set new ones for the next day.
  • Individual equipment – Some children find it hard to share equipment, so giving them individual sets of their own equipment can reduce anxiety whilst keeping them active.

  • Run activity games or clubs – Ask adults or children to set up and run their own activity clubs. These could be linked to a favourite sport, activity or popular culture trend. For example, set up a circus skills club to learn how to juggle or hula hoop to put on the greatest show!
  • Giant Outdoor Games – Games on a large scale, such as dominoes can keep children busy and moving whilst also developing turn taking skills.
  • Inclusive Activities – Consider how to make your playground activities inclusive for all. Think about different sensory or physical needs when planning equipment or activities, for example including a selection of sensory balls.
  • Outdoor Trails – Why not invest in permanent playground equipment such as a trail, climbing wall, or rope bridge? This is the perfect way to motivate and encourage children to be active while developing their balance and agility.
  • Zone the space – Zoning the playground in to different areas can have multiple benefits. It means that children can play safely (avoiding any overhead footballs) and also have a clear visual cue for activities. It can also help to provide quieter areas of the playground for children that struggle with noisy environments. You could try creating different areas such as role play, balancing, tennis, imaginative play, dancing, football, etc.

The most important people to ask are the children. Spend time talking to them about what would encourage them to get active during their lunchtimes!

Useful Links

Take a look at our range of Sports and Games resources that can help you to motivate your pupils to get active.