The best word in grade school was “recess.”  We had two of them every day, morning and afternoon. Rain or shine(and in Portland, Oregon it was often rain)we poured out of the classroom to play. We had most of the equipment pictured above, including the line of hanging rings, the jungle gym and the merry-go-round. I had to laugh when I was collecting these pictures off the internet since they were all found under the title “dangerous playgrounds.”

I suppose the playgrounds were dangerous compared to those of today. One could easily fall off the jungle gym, though I never knew anyone who did. We all seemed to pace ourselves according to how secure we felt climbing high. The rings were cushioned underneath with sawdust which helped when I inevitably fell before making it all the way across. The merry-go-round was probably the most potentially lethal since as it went faster and faster it could possibly fling you off. However the girls I knew who went flying off did it on purpose. The most damage I suffered was severe nausea from the spinning.

No teacher came outside during recess to supervise us as they do today. We were expected to work out all our squabbles over whose turn it was to use which equipment. I think the girls tended to use the equipment more than the boys. I remember the boys doing more general running and falling to the ground in mock battles on the grassy field.

I imagine that the boys in my school days would all be labeled ADHD today. They all fidgeted, spat paper wads, poked girls and ran amok outside. Fortunately we just thought that was what boys were like. Thank goodness they had not only two recesses each day but also daily gym class. Educators when I was a kid knew no child could go more than two hours without jumping or running. So they let us do both.

16 thoughts on ““RECESS!!!”

  1. I handle kindergarten recess today….they act the same it is interesting…though it is supervised, we do try to suggest to the kids to work out there own problems


    1. I wonder if they expect the adults to solve them since there is an adult present. I am glad you encourage them to sort it out themselves. How else do we learn to deal with conflict?


  2. Back in grade school, we didn’t play during recess but we ate snacks (fresh fruits, native delicacies like pancit or kakanin and what have you). Playtime is usually after our afternoon classes.


  3. We called it ‘playtime’ in Junior School here. (A recess is a small opening in a wall for us) But my Victorian-built schools in Central London had no outside equipment for us to use, to let off excess energy. We went out onto the large tarmac area and charged around making up our own games. As the boys wrestled or tumbled, the girls would use skipping ropes, or bounce balls off the walls of the school.
    Playtime was never long enough though, and always over too soon. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.


  4. The jungle gym was my favorite in the playground at school. Us West Indians find it hilarious that these are considered dangerous things in America. Last time I saw a merry-go-round here like the one pictured I think I was about 12. It was in Baltimore, Maryland.


      1. I sure did! It really wasn’t that tall, a little taller than an adult, I think. But, I’m sure as a child I felt as if I had conquered Mount Everest! What I never mastered was finding the courage to jump through the hole in the middle. One boy did it and broke his leg and that killed my nerve.


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