Alki Elementary


Recess Games

Recess Reimagined!

Playworks at Alki Elementary

With support from our incredible PTA and our amazing school community, we were able to bring in Playworks ( to help us reimagine our recess! Coach Karen from Playworks was here last week training students and staff around building an inclusive and positive recess environment. She helped us to:

  1. Establish consistent rules for the most popular recess games that are inclusive and keep game play moving quickly. Game rules are now posted at each station.
  2. Learn new games that give students more options for play at recess.
  3. Train 4th and 5th grade leaders, Alki Heroes, to play and model positive recess behavior at K-1 and 2-3 recesses.
  4. Bring our recess supervision team together to align our practices to better support all students.

This work is just the beginning! We will be building upon this foundation over the course of the year and Coach Karen will be back in September to help us kick of the next school year right!

What are the basics you need to know?

  1. We give high-fives as often as we can! We say positive phrases like, “nice try” “you can do it!”
  2. We play by the rules (rules posted at each game)!
  3. If there is an argument, we Rock it Out! (play one game of rock-paper-scissors)

Want to join us in this effort? Here are 3 ways you can be a part of this important work!

  1. Be knowledgeable about the rules and expectations so you can reinforce these skills with your child!  Visit our website for a list of all the game rules and expectations.
  2. March’s Principal Coffee will be held out on the playground (weather permitting) on March 30th at 8 a.m. Come hear about our new recess program, give us feedback, and maybe play a game or two!
  3. Come play at recess! What a better way to reinforce our work than to have adults come and be role models on the playground! Sign up for a spot at a game station and come and play! Click link below to sign up.

Recess Terminology

Rock it out ” – Students may shout this, suggesting that it might be a good idea to do Rock-Paper-Scissors to solve the problem. We do this just once and say, ROCK….IT….OUT(show your choice on the word out)

Recycle ” – When a player leaves play and returns to the back of the waiting line. We give high-fives and say, “good job, nice try!”

The Wild West “- Some of our students like to make up their own rules for 4square. Everyday, we designate a court for students to do this. We call it the Wild West Court. If students choose to play at this court, they understand that they will be making up their own rules. Students are still expected to follow recess expectations at this court and must still give each other high-fives and rock-it-out when necessary.

Recess Game Rules


Number of Players: 5
cones or chalk (optional)

  • Designate 4 corners and the middle of a 4 – Square court with cones or chalk
  • 5 players in at a time. Each player occupies a corner or the middle.
  • Play begins when the person in the middle says “Switch” & pulls the switch lever (their arm).
  • All players must find a new corner/cone to occupy.
  • Once “Switch” is called, you cannot go to the middle and you must switch to a different corner every round.
  • If two players arrive at the corner at the same time a quick Rock, Paper, Scissors is played, winner stays.
  • If a player does not find a corner in time they are RECYCLED
  • The next person in line goes to the middle and begins the next round.
  • Players waiting in line must cheer on players in the middle of Rock, Paper, Scissors. “Rock it out! Rock it out!” is an encouraged cheer.

4 Square

Number of Players: 4
Equipment: 1 bouncy ball

  • 1 player stands in each square.
  • The game starts in square #4, where the SERVER bounces the ball, and then hits it into another player’s square.
  • The ball can only bounce once per hit.
  • When the ball lands in your square, hit the ball into another player’s square.
  • If the ball lands on a line, or goes out of bounds before it bounces, whoever hit the ball gets RECYCLED
  • A player is also RECYCLED when:
    • the ball bounces more than one time in their square,
    • they hit the ball onto a line,
    • they hit the ball outside the 4 – Square court,
    • the ball is held,
    • they hit the ball into their own square,
    • or the ball is touched before it bounces.
  • When a player gets RECYCLED, the 3 other players move up a number square. 4->3, 3->2. 2->1. A new player steps into square #4.
  • The game repeats after each RECYCLE


Number of Players: 4
Equipment: none

  • 4 players stand with one foot touching the center of the 4 – Square court. These players are called EGGS
  • A 5th player called the SCRAMBLER stands at the edge of the court, toes on the outside border. When all 4 eggs have a foot in the middle, the scrambler yells out “Scramble!”
  • The Scrambler must then tag one of the eggs inside the 4 – Square court on the arm, shoulder, or back with BUTTERFLY FINGERS.
  • The Scrambler can only step on the painted lines of the 4 – Square court.
  • The Eggs can move freely inside the 4 – Square court.
  • An Egg is RECYCLED when they step outside of the 4 – square court or tagged by the Scrambler. The Scrambler takes the place of the tagged Egg next round.
  • If all 4 Eggs are standing in the same small square they are safe. The Scrambler is then recycled and a new player in the waiting line becomes the new scrambler.

Jump Rope

Number of Players: 3+
Equipment: 1 long jump rope or individual jump ropes

  • 2 players hold the ends of a jump rope & swing the rope. Rope begins swinging when the 2 players turning the rope saying “1, 2, SKY BLUE!”
  • 3rd player, called the jumper, jumps over the center of the swinging rope
  • Form a line shoulder to shoulder so people in line can see & join in on the song singing. Every jumper gets 2 tries to jump.
  • Once a player has stopped the rope with their body or given up jumping they must take the place of a rope swinger for the next player. The next person in line gets to be the jumper in the middle of the rope.
  • If small jump ropes are available a player may solo jump rope within the jump rope area
  • Jump ropes should not be thrown, swung around, or used to tie up anyone or thing.