Recess Advocacy Toolkit

Joyful, playful learning experiences

The Recess Advocacy team, co-led by Trying Together and the Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative, has created the Recess Advocacy Toolkit to highlight research, strategies, and advocacy opportunities for play and physical activity at home and at school.

About the Recess Advocacy Toolkit

The Recess Advocacy Toolkit is designed to be a resource for educators and families on the importance of recess and play for the healthy social-emotional growth of children and includes:

  • information on different types of play;
  • research to inform educators and administrators on the benefits of recess;
  • testimonials and tips from Physical Education teachers; and
  • template emails and social media posts for digital advocacy.


Quote by Kevin McCarty, Early Childhood Coordinator at Jefferson-Morgan Elementary School

“Personally, I have witnessed over the years that students who have quality play/recess experiences generally exhibit better self esteem. Also, students who play together learn to negotiate and communicate with one another more reasonably.”

Kevin McCarty, Early Childhood Coordinator at Jefferson-Morgan Elementary School

Educators and Administrators

Play provides opportunities for children to reduce stress, explore feelings, and form relationships with peers. For more than a year, children remained socially distanced from their peers and adjusted to a new way of schooling. As we shift from remote learning back to in-person school, the importance of play and recess must be at the forefront of the conversation around reopening schools and helping children adjust to a changed educational environment.

Tools for Educators:

Quote by Emily Pocratsky, Parent at Greenfield Elementary PPS

“I hope we learn the lessons from this year and add more time for recess and play. Health and wellness matters. Our children need childhoods. I truly believe more play will benefit all kids.”

Emily Pocratsky, Parent at Greenfield Elementary PPS


Children deserve joyful, playful learning experiences this summer and beyond. This toolkit is meant to help guide how play and physical activity should be included as part of children’s daily lives.

Tools for Families:

#SummerofPlay Social Media Toolkit

Social media is a powerful tool for advocacy, even if you don’t consider yourself to be an ‘expert.’

If you spend time on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn, you can use those platforms to advocate for issues that are important to you. For the Summer of Play in 2021, use social media to promote learning through play and engaging in playful activities.

Download Summer of Play graphics (in English and Spanish) to share on social media and find sample posts and helpful tips in the toolkit.


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The creation of this toolkit was made possible by The Grable Foundation and Remake Learning Tomorrow Grants.

Special thanks to the following organizations for their contributions and guidance in the creation of this toolkit. Their work on the Recess Advocacy Team has been instrumental in creating this toolkit and in the ongoing advocacy efforts. Each organization brings to the table their own expertise and perspective:

Questions & Feedback

For questions or suggestions, please contact


In addition to the individual topic-based PDFs above, the complete Recess Advocacy Toolkit is available to read or download as a PDF below.