Recess in the Snow

I grew up in Michigan. Being a hardy Michigander, I used to slog to elementary school wearing every piece of cold-weather clothing possible: snow pants, coat, boots, scarf, hat, and mittens. And when I taught kindergarten in Michigan, my students did the same. Each day for recess, I would help them wrestle into their clothing so they could go outside to play. 

When I moved down south for my job here at The Mailbox®, I once had a coworker ask me what we did for recess up there in the great white north, assuming that we kept the children inside. She was completely surprised when I said that we bundled them up and took them out. Honestly, the kids loved it–and it was good for them!

Recess is important all year round. Students need to have free outdoor play even when there’s two feet of snow on the playground. Indoor recess is necessary on occasion, but it doesn’t give youngsters the gross-motor skills and social opportunities of outdoor play. 

Tell me about the recess rules at your school. If there’s snow where you live, do students play outside?


15 thoughts on “Recess in the Snow

  1. The rule in my district is if the actual temperature or wind chill factor is 32 or below we usually do not go outside for recess. It ultimately depends on which teacher(s) have recess duty. Some are hardier than others.

  2. Only stay in if raining or 32 degrees of colder. Parents are told at the beginning of year to dress children accordingly. Some local organizations donate extra hats, scarves, and gloves to districts for those who do not own any.

  3. My school is in NH and our kids go outside no matter what, unless it’s below zero. The littles need all of the appropriate clothing while the olders want to be cool and wear as little as possible. Talk about natural consequences when they come in wet from newly fallen snow and they get to walk around in wet sneakers and jeans all day!

  4. We play outside, unless it is raining or lower than 32 degrees F. Many of my littles do not have boots, mittens, or hats, but I have a supply of the the latter two and we make the best of it. Once we’re outside, nobody minds the cold.

  5. We send our kids out when it snows. We only get snow once or twice a year and it melts quickly. I keep dollar store mittens or gloves in the classroom for my kids that don’t have them.

  6. I teach in Nebraska. My district policy is that we do not go out if temp/wind chill is below 0. My kindergarten students love to run around in the snow and the older students make some big snow people when they are out.

  7. I chuckle to see the 32 degree rule. We’d be inside sometimes from October through April here in Wisconsin. We require boots, hats, and gloves/mittens for all students and snowpants for K-4. We check the windchill when the temp gets below 10.

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