Recess Facilitation

Recess Rocks! expands upon and highlights children’s natural attraction to elements of music and movement in play and allows students to choose between structured and unstructured opportunities to explore and have fun with rhythm, rhyme and dance.

Unstructured activities may include jump rope and jump rope songs, double-dutch, hop-scotch and games using playground balls. Structured activities may include drumming, choreographed dancing, and facilitated playground games that incorporate music. Recess Rocks! seeks to work with classroom teachers to reinforce classroom lessons through game-playing. Recess Rocks! will be facilitated by aspiring musicians and youth development workers who have some post-secondary training. On a weekly basis, Recess Rocks! will feature a guest professional musician who will provide enhanced musical activities.

Target Audience: All students will benefit from Recess Rocks! Activities are suited for mixed-age groups but have extension or simplification options for older or younger age groups.

How it works: DMDL staff work closely with school personnel to review logistical strategies for recess implementation including hours of operation, number of participants per session, location, rules and regulations, etc. Recess Rocks! will kick off with “Recess Orientation” that will include a performance from a guest musician.

Robot Group Dance

Students will have fun using imagination through active, creative play.
Students will learn and practice skills in movement and collaboration.

45 minutes (may take place over multiple sessions)

Recorded Music; Boom-Box


  • Play music and do a short warm-up with students to get them comfortable with moving to the music. Start with a follow-the-leader activity. You can be the first leader. Do some warm-up movements, such as arm or leg circles, touching your toes, bending in different directions, running in place, reaching with your arms and wiggling your fingers, etc.
  • Now start to move around the play space. Tell students they don’t need to follow you in a line. Do other movements such as marching, swinging arms, crawling, reaching up, etc. Use your whole body. Have students take turns being the leader. Remind them to use movements that are safe for everyone to do.

Main Activity

  • When done with the warm-up, ask students to show you how a robot moves. Have a few volunteers show their moves. Ask students “how are these movements different from the movements you were doing before?”
  • Do another follow-the-leader activity with a student in the lead doing some robot movements. Play music that a robot might like.
  • Divide the large group into smaller groups of about 4 students each.
  • Each group should create their own robot dance that takes 8 counts and involves ideas from everyone. Show an example of what a dance would look like over an 8 count. Give students the challenge that there should be a change in their body’s movement on every count. They will be performing their dance together, and all should be doing the same movements. Don’t play music while the students are creating their dances.
  • Allow the students time to practice. Turn on the music toward the end of their practice time.
  • Gather the students in a large circle. Have each small group perform their dance for the large group. Count off by saying, “5, 6, 7, 8,” for each group before they start.
  • Next, with the music playing, try moving around the circle with each group doing their dance in turn on an 8 count

Bucket Brigade Relay

Students will have fun while engaging in physical activity.
Students will learn and practice skills in rhythm and memorization.

15 minutes (may take place over multiple sessions)

Two large paint buckets and two sets of drum sticks for 20 students


  • Divide the group into two groups of 10 and have them line up at a starting line in two parallel lines.
  • Using the sticks and one of the buckets, tap out a simple rhythm and have the participants practice it by tapping it out with their hands on their thighs. Tell them they will have to memorize the rhythm.
  • Give the first child in each line a set of drumsticks. Explain that this will be a relay race where each runner has to run to the buckets set up (at least 50 feet from starting line), play the rhythm, then run back to hand off the sticks to the next runner in line.
  • Set up the buckets, then call out “on your marks, get set, go!” Remain near the buckets to judge the accuracy of the rhythm played by each runner.
  • The first team to complete the running and playing of all rhythms wins the relay.


  • Repeat with increasingly complex rhythms and/or farther distances.
  • Have children take turns inventing rhythms and participate in judging the accuracy.

Mob Dance

Students will have fun while engaging in physical activity.
Students will learn and practice various popular dance moves.

TBD (depends on dance routine)

Recorded Music; Boom Box


  • Align students in rows of 5 – 10.
  • Demonstrate selected dance moves.
  • Examples include: Billy Ray Cyrus’ “Achy Breaky Heart,” Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and “Beat It”.
    Various group “Broadway” dances, and simple tap dance routines.
  • Practice and perform!


  • Choose and assign student leaders.
  • Encourage students to practice at home and view various dances on YouTube.