Children’s Enjoyment of Play During School Lunchtime Breaks: An Examination of Intraday and Interday Reliability

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Enjoyment and play during school lunchtime are correlated with children’s physical activity. Despite this, there is an absence of studies reporting children’s enjoyment of play during school lunchtime breaks. The purpose of this study was to examine the intraday and interday reliability of children’s enjoyment of school lunchtime play.


Surveys used to assess children’s enjoyment of lunchtime play were distributed to and completed by 197 children (112 males, 85 females), aged 8–12 years attending an elementary school in Victoria, Australia. Children completed the surveys during class before lunch (expected enjoyment) and after lunch (actual enjoyment) for 5 days. The intra- and interday enjoyment of school lunchtime play reliability were determined using a weighted kappa.


Intraday kappa values ranged from fair (0.31) to substantial (0.75) within each of the 5 days (median kappa = 0.41). In comparison, “expected” (0.09–0.40; median 0.30) and “actual” (0.05–0.46; median 0.28) interday enjoyment of lunchtime play displayed low reliability.


Children’s enjoyment of lunchtime play appears to be more consistent within days than across days. The findings suggest that assessment of children’s enjoyment of lunchtime play once on a single day would be representative of a particular day but not necessarily that particular school week.

Hyndman, Benson, and Telford are with the School of Medical Sciences, Discipline of Exercise Sciences, RMIT University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Ullah is with the Flinders Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia. Finch is a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Principal Research Fellow within the Australian Centre for Research into Injury in Sport and its Prevention (ACRISP) at the University of Ballarat, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia.