Create a classroom environment where students feel safe making mistakes, taking risks and trying new things.

This website is dedicated to promoting inclusive schooling and exploring positive ways of supporting students with autism and other disabilities. Most of my work involves collaborating with schools to create environments, lessons, and experiences that are inclusive, respectful, and accessible for all learners.


Tip 17: Teach Playground Games

Posted on April 17, 2012 in Autism, Inclusion, News

So many children struggle during recess. Some cannot figure out how to spend the time and others may identify activities, but lack skills to engage in those activities. One way to support these learners is to explicitly teach playground games to all students in the school. This way all students will have a shared set of rules and disagreements can be minimized. In addition, teaching rules for a wide rage of games (e.g, four square, red rover, freeze tag) may also give all kids opportunities to learn new skills and play with a wider range of peers.

There are several ways to teach these rules. The easiest way would be to teach a new game per week before or during recess. Or you could have your physical education teacher review rules of certain games during classes. You can also use videos as a teaching tool. These videos can be share with families via YouTube and shown in class as well. See this video of “What’s the Time, Mr. Wolf?” as an example.

Paula Kluth 30 Tips in 30 Days

You can also use books as a teaching and learning tool. A guide like “Hopscotch, Hangman, Hot Potato, & Ha Ha Ha” (Jack Maguire) provides tons of game ideas for the playground and the classroom.

Paula Kluth 30 Tips in 30 Days

Finally, do an Internet search for websites with lists of games, like . You could have older students do some of the searching for you or you can do the exploring on your own.


  1. From Jennifer on 17 Apr 2012

    This is a great idea and wonderful reference. We have this issue on our playground and it causes a lot of problems. I am especially going to go and find that book. Super!

  2. From Nicole Eredics on 17 Apr 2012

    As always, thank you for reminding us of the role teachers play not only in the class but the playground as well!

  3. From Michelle Allen on 17 Apr 2012

    Paula, you should look into the “Loose Parts” studies of play on playgrounds. Particularly for kids with autism, adding interesting multi-purpose pieces to the playground with which students can construct new and varied play experiences gives them a purposeful activity to do on playgrounds and highlights some strengths to peers that would otherwise go unnoticed. Recess does not always have to be running/chasing/climbing. And loose parts play can facilitate more interactions and cooperative building if the materials are just right.

  4. From Crystal Caruso Costello on 18 Apr 2012

    I am a firm believer in using recess time as teaching moments. So much learning to be done on the playground that for some kids, like autistic children, who don’t have as many opportunities outside school for social opportunites. As a mom, we always tried to get kids to come over, and it was often difficult when she was younger and didn’t understand a lot of the social rules. But I love the idea of teaching games to everyone and using youtube videos, I love it. Can’t wait to put this into practise!

  5. From Tiffany on 19 Apr 2012

    WOW! great idea. so many students do not want the teacher to teach them during recess but I love the idea of the PE teach assisting with games and rules during PE!