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Amelia Mays Woods, Kim Graber and David Daum

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.

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Amelia Mays Woods, Kim C. Graber, David Newman Daum and Chris Gentry

This study examined physical activity (PA) variables related to recess PA patterns of kindergarten, first and second grade children, and the social preferences and individuals influencing their PA. Data collected (N = 147) used the System of Observing Children’s Activity and Relationships during Play (SOCARP) instrument. Children were interviewed. Kindergarten boys spent a significantly higher percentage of time in MVPA (t = 3.137, d = .96, p < .008). Kindergarten girls spent significantly more time standing (t = 3.548, d = 1.07, p < .008). Second grade boys spent a significantly (t = 4.44, d = 1.98, p < .0125) more time in sport activities. Second grade girls spent significantly more time in sedentary (t = 4.399, d = 1.11, p < .0125) and locomotor (t = 3.533, d = .899, p < .0125) activities. Participants articulated the prominence of friends, engaging in games/activities, and playing on the playground equipment.

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Nicola D. Ridgers, Gareth Stratton and Thomas L. McKenzie


Children frequently engage in diverse activities that are broadly defined as play, but little research has documented children’s activity levels during play and how they are influenced by social contexts. Assessing potentially modifiable conditions that influence play behavior is needed to design optimal physical activity interventions.


System for Observing Children’s Activity and Relationships during Play (SOCARP) was developed to simultaneously assess children’s physical activity, social group sizes, activity type, and social behavior during play. One hundred and fourteen children (48 boys, 66 girls; 42% overweight) from 8 elementary schools were observed during recess over 24 days, with 12 days videotaped for reliability purposes. Ninety-nine children wore a uni-axial accelerometer during their observation period.


Estimated energy expenditure rates from SOCARP observations and mean accelerometer counts were significantly correlated (r = .67; P < .01), and interobserver reliabilities (ie, percentage agreement) for activity level (89%), group size (88%), activity type (90%) and interactions (88%) met acceptable criteria. Both physical activity and social interactions were influenced by group size, activity type, and child gender and body weight status.


SOCARP is a valid and reliable observation system for assessing physical activity and play behavior in a recess context.

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Rosalie Coolkens, Phillip Ward, Jan Seghers and Peter Iserbyt

Relationships during Play (SOCARP) 23 to assess children’s PA, play, and social behavior during recess. Physical activity was coded as either sedentary (ie, lying down, sitting, and standing), moderate (ie, equal to walking), or vigorous (ie, more energy expenditure than walking). The group size reflects the

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Robert G. Weaver, Aaron Beighle, Heather Erwin, Michelle Whitfield, Michael W. Beets and James W. Hardin

and relationships during play (SOCARP) . J Phys Act Health . 2010 ; 7 : 17 – 25 . PubMed doi:10.1123/jpah.7.1.17 10.1123/jpah.7.1.17 20231751 5. Brown WH , Pfeiffer KA , McIver KL , Dowda M , Almeida MJCA , Pate RR . Assessing preschool children’s physical activity: the

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Play (SOCARP) was used to record preschool children’s play behaviors (including activity level, activity type, group size and social interaction). A compositional data analysis was undertaken to examine associations between these play behaviours and FMS. Results: For activity level, total skills score