The benefits of recess can be reaped by all students regardless of socioeconomic status, race, or gender and at relatively little cost. The purpose of this study was to examine physical activity (PA) variables related to the recess PA patterns of third and fourth grade children and the social preferences and individuals influencing their PA (friends and parents). Data were collected on students (N = 115) utilizing the System of Observing Children’s Activity and Relationships during Play (SOCARP) instrument. In addition, each child was interviewed during the recess period in which SOCARP was completed. Results found that boys spent significantly more time being very active (t (95.64) = 3.252, d = .62, p < .008) than girls and preferred sport activities (t = (73.62) 5.64, d = 1.14, p < .0125) in large groups (t (69.34) = 4.036, d = .83, p < .0125). Meanwhile, girls preferred locomotor activities (t (113) = 3.19, d = .60, p < .0125), sedentary activities (t (113) = 2.829, d = .53, p < .0125) and smaller groups (t (112.63) = 4.259, d = .79, p < .0125). All 115 participants indicated that they wanted to spend time with their friends during recess.
The authors are with the University of Illinois—Kinesiology and Community Health, Urbana, IL.