Is There Still Play in Kindergarten? YES!

kidsplayingThe Question:

How many of you still have “play” center time? If you do, what do you do at this time?

The Answers:
Sadly, no we don’t anymore. It’s a huge injustice because our kids don’t have the social skills that they need.
 I set aside some time on Friday afternoons. I have a kitchen center, tool bench, trains, various blocks, and an art center.
I do! 25 minutes at the end of the day. I am usually running around the room, cleaning, talking to the kids, observing interactions between children.
We do! Play-doh, tangrams, magnets on white board, blocks, bricks, crafts, kitchen area, do-a-dot art stampers, etc. Kids love and and need it.
We do “centers” everyday. There is always at least one play center out of 4. On Fridays we have “fun” centers. They are all play but with a purpose!
Yes! 30 minutes at the end of each day. Dramatic play, library, blocks, writing, math, art, literacy, science, sensory table, playdough, etc. Not all open on the same day.
Absolutely! I have a literacy center rotation in the morning, math buddy games before math starts and ‘enrichment centers’ in the afternoon – Art, sand, iPads, blocks, dramatic play, library, science, math… As a side note, my pm centers are all hands-on and free choice as opposed to ‘do this task’ centers. I pull individuals and small groups for specific academic/social/behavioral/etc work
Legos, ipads, computers, kitchen, puzzles, play doh, drawing, etc. I like them to have some free time in the morning and right before they leave. That way they are glad to come and happy when it is time to go home!
 If you mean what kids do: they have station rotations of handson activities like beads, blocks, playdoh, watercolors, science center, etc. If you mean what does the teacher does, I usually pull my students for small group instruction or assessments.
We just got it back now that we are full day. We do dramatic play, puzzles, sand table, play doh, blocks and an art center. But it’s only for 20 min.
I do! I rotate between Legos, blocks, puzzles, and board games!
I try to squeeze in 15 to 30 minutes whenever possible in the afternoon. But some days our lessons take more time and our “choice time” gets bumped. I have Legos, blocks, cars, a doll house, puzzles, kitchen stuff, stuffed animals… But I don’t put it all out each time.
I do about 25 minutes a day. I pull kids and do intervention work with them while the other students are playing. They don’t realize it is intervention work they think it is fun one on one time with me.
Absolutely. 10-15 minutes at the end of each day. Sometimes more at the beginning and end of each school year. Early on, they need it as their stamina is not there, and in June when it’s so hot they can’t concentrate….
We do….a favorite is the “office box”–a bunch of old keyboards, cameras, and cell phones….seriously, the kids love that center.
This year, only for 1 hr. per week. This is done on our “Green Day” (when we save trees and do not use paper). We have housekeeping, blocks, legos, dinosaurs, cars or trains, etc. I see this as building socialization skills and creative thinking skills.
We do, every day for 25 minutes or so. My centers are kitchen, puzzles, sand table, science, “big” blocks, legos, dinosaurs, animals, art and computer. None of them have a purpose (although I do have literacy materials in each that they can use if they choose). I just let them PLAY. I usually get dismissal stuff ready (stuff folders, clean up, etc.) at this time or pull kids to do assessments
We have 30 minutes everyday- housekeeping, play dough, dollhouse,legos, trains, iPads, computers, cars, farm, markers it is a great time for the kids. I try never to short change them the time for free time and recess.
Every day for 20 minutes. I usually do some quick assessments on kiddos during that time. Nothing too long, so that they won’t feel like hurrying thru it to get back to their centers.
I do…car tracks….blocks…kitchen or housekeeping. .art…puzzles
We do for about 20-25 minutes a day. My teammate and I share center-time, so we have more options for the kids (1/2 of the centers are in each room and the kids can choose either room–housekeeping, blocks, sand, computers, science, playdoh, games (manipulatives/puzzles), listening, writing, art, invention (with recycled materials), water, pretend (dramatic play). During that time, I pull my kids for RtI time and/or work on getting folders, etc. ready for dismissal. The way ours is “justified” is that we do some of our RtI pull-outs during that time.
I wish I could have. Last few years before I retired play centers were not allowed. They were not “instructional”.
We haven’t been allowed to “play” in kindergarten for about 15 years. We have Literacy Centers and Math Centers only. (Jacksonville, FL)
Most certainty! We do it everyday for an hour. The kids do free exploration in science, blocks, housekeeping, art, writing, puzzles, word building, literacy , class projects, manipulatives, iPads, etc. I float around the room and take anecdotal notes on oral language and social skills. Snack is also served (6 at a time) during this time by my assistant.
Absolutely… 30 minutes at the end of the day…. kitchen area (I refuse to use the term dramatic play…. all play can be dramatic and role playing), blocks, legos, doll houses, cars, Lincoln logs, marbleworks, bristle & snap blocks, farm and school house…. literacy centers take place in the am… with one math center included as well.
Yes! Everyday for 30-45 min. It is the most important part of our day! We call it choice time and they may come and go to all the areas in our room to play and free explore!
Every single day for 45 minutes…’s my priority! We have computer, smart board, books, writing, family living, games and puzzles, trains, doll house/fire station, painting, blocks, creation station. My assistant and I rotate around or I may do running records or informal assessments. It’s also a good time to ‘catch-up’ students with unfinished work.
Yes! Building, reading, puzzles, science, writing, and art
 Yes! Everyday!! Home living, blocks, science, computer, listening, writing, math, art, and library
Yes! About 40 minutes a day. My district is “revamping” kindergarten and really pushing the importance of play, choice, and all those things we already knew the importance of! Glad that the “up above” are recognizing its importance again…
Yes! Blocks, Dramatic Play, trains, table toys, water table, easel, doll house, writing and art, puzzles, chalkboards, play dough, snack, open library, light table, lego table. We use the time to pull kids for small group tutoring and social emotional support for problem solving.
Nope. Not allowed in our district. It is missed greatly!
Wow so glad to see so many K teachers that are still “allowed” to have “play” centers. Play is vitally important to children’s ability to learn.
Everyone that still gets play centers is very lucky. I’ve been retired for several years, and the last five years I taught we had work stations, and everything was literacy based. No toys, blocks, housekeeping, etc. I was in a Title One school and all they cared about were test scores. That’s why I retired so early.
We do! The last 25-30 minutes of the day Mon – Thursday. Friday’s we do Mad Science instead. We’ve gone from calling it “Big Centers” to “Social Centers” to “interactive Learning Centers” and currently called “Language Labs”. We have a variation of what’s already been listed. The teachers do some assessment and/or tutoring for first 15 minutes or so then get behavior folders handed out and the day’s work packed up! We justify it by citing the Listening/Speaking TEKS Objectives and ELPS, as well as, have literacy extensions/options at each lab.
Now that we are extended day, we fit it in at least a few times a week. Playhouse, Lincoln Logs, Puzzles, Legos, and the CREATIVE BOX! I throw all types of paper scraps and other materials in there, and they make whatever they want. They come up with crowns, watches, robots. True brainstorming and STEAM. 
Free choice time. Kiddos chose from dramatic play, legos, blocks, art center (drawing/painting) sand table, playdough, puzzles, home center, cars or something that pertains to our Unit of Inquiry. I use colored clothes pins. 2-4 kids can play at each center and can trade pins and places for the last 30-40 minutes of the day.
We have an hour a day of free play. Let’s pretend, lots of building, play sets, painting, light table, sand table, water table, games, sensory tubs, writing, art, exercise equipment, games and puzzles. But I’m from Canada, so it’s different up here.
Every day! 25 minutes of homecenter, blocks, Legos, writing center, library, dollhouse set, farmhouse set, play dough, puzzles, Lincoln Logs, Barbies (great for fine motor- trying to get those clothes on-and yes the boys love it). I use the time for 1-1 assessment or intervention.
Playdough, blocks, legos, playhouse, puzzles, math tubs (tubs of math manipulatives), magnets, art center, easel painting, cars, puzzles. YES YES Yes to oral language development, and fine motor skill development through play! Not to mention the rich social development!
And isn’t sad that we have to even ask this question for kindergarten classrooms?
“Explore Time”…dramatic play, clocks, computers games, play dough, math manipulatives, puzzles, coloring/drawing/art, games, library, trampoline, big books, etc. We have been forced to cut back from 1 hour play to about 30 minutes in the afternoon. I do open my classroom at 7:30 am and students have a little bit of time to play when they come into the classroom in the morning (depending on how early they get to school) All students are supposed to be in the classroom at 8:00. We begin morning meeting around 8:15 – 8:20.
1st grade, YES, I usually observe or assess or do something that I must get done ASAP
I have learning centers in the morning which, although they include play dough, puzzles, sand and other fun activities, it is done with a teacher directed purpose. Last period of the day for 30 minutes we have free play. Blocks, housekeeping, art, dress up, Legos, cars…. During which time I get them ready for dismissal: Packing folders with new ” just right” books and making sure they pack up correctly.
I retired two years ago. I ran centers most of the day. I taught first grade for many years, and have one caveat: don’t call it “free play” time. “Free” connotes wild. Center time – or open time – connotes WORK. Convinces kids, parents, and principal.
 YES!!! And I will fight to continue it!  Pretend, Legos, blocks, happy meal toys, puzzles, ABC center, computers, reading loft with puppets, play doh, science center, art center.  I try to squeeze in 30 minutes but there are days that we only get 20 mins. However I did go back to two outside recess times!
Standards based labs (SFA calls this time learning lab time, we find activities that can support our standards )
Yes, we do play centers during “indoor recess time” which is about 20 min in late afternoon. I have kitchen, playdoh, legos, blocks, cars, trains, board games, puzzles, card games, art caddy, pirates, lite brites, puppet stage, etc. (anything that my own kids outgrow–I bring to school). My class right now is begging for Mr. Potato Heads now, lol. We only do these on days we can’t go outside due to weather.

4 thoughts on “Is There Still Play in Kindergarten? YES!

  1. 30 min at the end of every day we have play… Blocks, housekeeping, Legos, games, puzzles, books, doll house, etc. during “academic” centers in the morning we also incorporate painting, play do, sewing cards, sand table, listening center, iPads and more. I try to have the learning as active as possible but I feel the need to do more!

  2. Yes, and if you don’t, then I question what you are doing as a kindergarten teacher!! It’s your job to know the value of play and fight for it – no matter what. If your district says no, you close the door and do it anyway. Oh, and play is not just for kindergarten either 😉

    We play everyday in my room. I have an hour ELA rotation block daily. Students rotate through three 20 minute groups: guided reading group, phonics/skills group, and a free-choice center (blocks, sand, painting, housekeeping, etc.). The last 30 mins. of the day we also doing activity time. There is an art project and various hands-on activities to choose (shaving cream, finger paint, books on cd, water play, board games, etc.)

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