Ask elementary school kids what their favorite part of the school day is and many will say recess. Not only is recess a fun break from books, but a 2010 survey of more than 1,950 principals and vice principals conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that recess actually has a positive impact on academics. From improved social development to better focus and listening skills, the benefits of recess are more important than experts once thought.

Physical Activity Leads To Better Behavior

Brain research shows a correlation between physical activity and the development of brain connections. In 2010, the journal Pediatrics released a study showing that children with as little as 15 minutes of recess each day exhibited better behavior and attention spans than their peers who did not have recess. The Journal of Attention Disorders even states that walks outdoors that normally are associated with recess appear to improve attention and concentration scores of students with ADHD.

Better Academic Performance

Research conducted by Active Living has shown that just 30 minutes of physical activity can improve standardized tests scores and lead to better grades overall. Recess provides a break that allows the brain to "regroup," and research has shown that recall is improved when learning is spaced out rather than condensed. After recess, children are more likely to learn because they are less tense and more invigorated. Even adults are given breaks during their work day, which allows for better production and clearer thinking.

Improved Social Skills

School is important for your child not only for the cognitive and academic benefits, but because it provides a setting that allows for social interaction and growth. The playground strengthens the brain of your child as well as his ability to gain important leadership and conflict-resolution skills that cannot be learned during instruction time. In an otherwise structured day, the free-choice structure of recess allows children to learn the negotiation skills needed to keep play going.

Improved Overall Health

Countless studies have been conducted showing the benefit and value of exercise for overall health. In 2008, a study released by the University of Georgia stated that fatigue levels can be reduced by 65 percent with just 20 minutes of exercise a day. This reduction in fatigue leads to a more active and healthy lifestyle and improves focus, concentration and the ability to retain information with a refreshed and stimulated brain.