Examining Physical Activity and Play Behavior Preferences between First Graders and Last Graders in Primary School Children in Tehran

  •  Noura Marouf    
  •  Adi Irfan Che-Ani    
  •  Norngainy Tawil    


School grounds are critical places because they are some of the few play areas available for children to develop and transfer peer culture. Moreover, school playtime, which is often called “recess”, offers children daily opportunities for physical activity in the outdoor environment. During school years, age has always been presented in the studies on children as a fundamental component of their development. Children of different ages are interested in different play styles and have various play priorities. However, few studies have compared play patterns in children within age groups. This study explores play behaviors during recess in elementary school children overall, and secondly examines the differences in the play behavior of children, considering first graders who enter elementary school and the last graders. This study uses quantitative design and naturalistic observational approaches. An ethnogram recorded the observations of the play activities preferences of the children. The results of this study showed that girls spend the majority of their recess talking and socializing with peers generally. Older children, particularly those in grades fifth and sixth, spend more time socializing than other age groups. Children in the first grade spent much time in active free play, such as chasing and running, during recess and tend use their playtime as an opportunity to perform a physical activity; therefore the significance of combining recess and provisions for physical activity to reach health goals becomes clearer. These findings are interesting considerations for further research; such information could help to develop appropriate interventions to improve the recess.

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