Unstructured play is defined as activity that is freely chosen and self-directed by the child, with no adult influence. To be considered unstructured, no measurable outcome should be attached to the activity. Many programs introduce play into the school setting with an end goal in mind: increased physical activity minutes, increased number of steps taken, introduce specific games and activities so children know how to play. LiiNK truly focuses on children freely choosing and self-directing their play experiences. While physical activity, skill development, STEM learning and so forth may occur during LiiNK play periods, they are not the end goals. The LiiNK goal is to allow children time, outdoors, to reboot their brains and reset their bodies for learning through play their way (safely of course).
Four 15-minute outdoor, unstructured breaks throughout the day
[ 2 before lunch & 2 after lunch ]
Benefits of Recess
Improved Muscle Mass and Decreased Fat Mass
Better Sleeping and Eating Habits
Increased Attentional Focus in the Morning and Afternoon
Lower BMI Scores
Improved Gross and Fine Motor Skills
Many schools and school districts feel that an indoor play break is the same as an outdoor play break. The rationale is that less time is needed to do a break indoors because they don’t have to transition and the children should get the same benefits no matter where they are. The teacher can provide activities for the children to do that they consider to be play, like doing puzzles, playing games on the computer, playing card games, or just putting Go Noodle on the wall and letting the kids dance for a few minutes. Here’s the problem: the indoors continues to create a distressful environment for children and teachers. The outdoors represents a relaxed environment, providing whole person positive elements.
The outdoors naturally relieves stress. When one focuses on trees, grass, and plant and animal life, stress and anxiety are naturally decreased and mental health is improved. The outdoors provides an environment for individuals to focus on targeted actions in the landscape or switch the focus to the wholeness of the landscape (seeing all of the natural beauty around you). Being able to go in and out of this focus is what prevents ADHD from occurring.
Improve the health, character and attention span of your students. Inspiring innovation and creativity in your students will allow them to be more effective in the classroom.
Arlington ISD Kindergarten Teacher
“I have several students, but one child in particular, who will make sure that everyone on the playground has someone to play with. Almost every day you’ll see him approach someone who needs a friend to play with and ask, ‘hey do you want to come play with me?’ or ‘want to join in with our game?”
Little Elm ISD 1st Grade Teacher
“My group doesn’t really struggle with getting upset, or maybe having a meltdown, or maybe they just need a minute to readjust. They have time to go outside and play, and by the time they get back they’re over it and they’re back to work.”
Chattanooga 5th Grade Teacher
"This is my fourteenth year of teaching. I love the LiiNK Project. But at first, my thinking was 'How am I going to fit everything into the time that I need to get done?' As I relaxed about that, so did the students. Now we come in from recess and they beat me into the room. They're already working by the time I walk in."