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7/1/2020 12:59:00 PM
This site contains our Return to Learn plan for the 2020-21 school year.



At recess we want students to have fun playing, while practicing the life skills we teach in the classroom.  Pierce has adapted the "Trouble-Free Playground" theory which was originally developed by Dr. Curt Hinson.  Hinson is a former elementary school teacher and author of several books focusing on youth development. According to Hinson over 90% of children consider recess – a time to learn through movement, play and social interaction - their favorite part of the school day.  Hinson’s presentation focused on teaching children developmentally-appropriate recess games that involve all children.  “Some children and teachers believe that recess is free time away from learning, when in fact it can be a valuable learning experience,” explained Dr. Hinson.  “Games help teach social skills through play.” Students will walk/jog two laps around the trail at the beginning of their midday recess, then students will have about 20 different activities to choose from on the Pierce playground:

2 Square Sprint Races Walk on the Trail
Soccer 5 vs.5 Kickball 5 vs. 5 Rainbow Regulation Kickball
Kan-Jam 4-Down Football Keep Away
Hasi 4 square Jump Rope
Hopscotch Tether ball Play on Equipment
Basketball 3 vs. 3 Sandbox Fox and Geese


Trouble-free Playground focuses on teaching the group dynamics, conflict resolution, communication, cooperation, empathy, self-control, self-awareness, motivation, decision-making, problem-solving, critical thinking, creative thinking, stress management, and self-responsibility.   


Playground Games

Keep Away

 Level: K-5   (K-1’s are allowed once bounce)

Equipment:  One Playground Ball and Markings for the corners

Organization:  5 players: 4 players stand on the corner and 1 player is the middle player.  Up to 4 additional players may join on a spot in between the two corners. 

Object of the Game: Keep the ball away from the middle player.


1.)             The person in the middle must start in the center of the playing area.

2.)             If a corner player moves off of his spot, he then becomes the person in the middle. The person in the middle is the only person that can move around.

3.)             The person in the middle attempts to touch the ball or may tag (gently) the person with the ball.

4.)             If the ball touches the ground the person that threw it becomes the new person in the middle.  (K-1’s get one bounce.)


3 vs. 3 Pierce Soccer

Equipment:  1 soccer ball, 4 cones used as goals, 6 jerseys (3 of each color)  Students may go up to 5 vs. 5.  Both teams must wear jerseys. 

Organization:  The players determine where the goals should go.

Play: Play begins with one team in possession of the ball at their goal line. There is no punting (drop kicking).  The ball must be resting on the ground and the kicker may run up and kick it.  The ball must be passed to a team mate and/or touched by a team mate before the opposing team can contact the ball.

There is no out of bounds.  Students may not touch the ball with their hands at any time during play.  A goal is scored when it goes between the opposing team’s cones from the front.  After a goal is scored, the other team starts with the ball.  Play is continuous.   The only time play stops is when a foul occurs or a goal is scored.

Fouls:  1.) Hands - the ball touches the arm or hand.

   2.)Contact – Body to body contact

When a foul is called the team that did not commit the foul starts with the ball in the spot where the foul occurred.  

Note: Students may not argue about a foul.  If a foul is called, the ball is automatically awarded to the other team and play continues.

Students may not kick away a soccer ball from another game.  Soccer balls that come into your territory must be left alone.

Kan Jam

Objectives:  Accuracy; Teamwork

Equipment:  2 Kan Jams and 1 Disc per 4 students

Organization:    The Kan Jams are placed on the red circles on the blacktop (about 8 feet apart).  Students pair up and compete against another pair.  Partners should stand opposite each other, one at each Kan Jam.

Play:  One pair will go first.  The person throwing the disc may stand anywhere near the Kan Jam and throw towards the other Kan Jam.  The partner standing behind the other Kan Jam, may assist the disc into the Kan Jam.  The disc may not be caught, but may be slapped in or deflected in.  The other partner then takes her turn throwing the disc back.  After both teammates have gone, the other pair takes their turn.


1 point is awarded for the disc hitting the Kan Jam

2 points are awarded for the disc going into the Kan Jam from the top.

If the disc goes through the small slot in the front of the Kam Jam the game is over and the pair that threw the disc automatically wins.

Pierce Four Square Rules

Object- Advance to Square “D” and remain there as long as possible.


Action: One player stands in each square.  The player in square “D” starts the play.  From a bounce, he/she strikes the ball with two hands, directing the flight of the ball so that it bounces into one of the other squares.  The player in the receiving area keeps the ball in play by striking it on the first bounce only and directing the flight of the ball into one of the other areas.  Play continues until one of the players commits a foul or fails to return the ball properly.  When this occurs, the offending player is eliminated and goes to the end of the waiting line.  Players behind the offending player all move up one area.  The first person in the waiting line moves into square “A”.

Rules: The server stands in the center of square “D” and gives a fair easy serve.  A player may go anywhere to return a fair ball once it has bounced in their square including into another square or out of bounds. You may strike the ball with one or two hands.  Fingers must be down.  No overhand hits.  Players in squares A, B, & C cannot get out on the serve. The server must try again. If the server (square D) has an illegal serve (one handed, overhand, or doesn't get inside a square), the server is out. Once the ball has been served properly and returned properly into another square, the game is continues until one of the following fouls occurs:

a. Failure to return the ball on the first bounce.

b. Stopping the ball   It must be played from motion.

c. Overhand or Sideways hit    Fingers must be down. The body may not twist sideways.

d. A ball that lands outside of the playing area on the first bounce.

e. Playing a ball that did not bounce in your square (Interference)

f.  Letting the ball hit you      You must let the ball bounce.

g.  Hitting the ball to a line  You must hit the ball so that it lands inside a square.



Pierce Tether Ball Rules  

  1. The first person chooses whether to serve or receive.  The other person has choice of pie space. Students must play directly across from each other.


  1. Once the server has hit the ball, he/she may not touch it again until the opponent does. (The opponent may choose the same direction the ball was served.)


  1. Once the opponent touches the ball, the game begins. They must hit in opposite directions.


  1. Normally, a game is over when you wrap the ball around the pole.


  1. You automatically lose the game if you commit one or more of the 

  following fouls:


a.)   Stopping The ball

b.)   Throwing the ball (there must be a slap around)

c.)   Touching the pole

d.)  Stepping on or in the neutral zone lines

e.)   Touching the rope (touching rope and ball at the same time is acceptable)

f.)     Pulling the ball toward you, then hitting it.


  1. The winner remains in the game and challenges a new opponent. If there are 6 or more players in the waiting line two new people come in to play (2 in – 2 out).  (There is a two minute time limit for 2 in -2 out play.)



The MAJORITY OF STUDENTS WILL MAKE THE DECISION ON ARGUMENTS…if a student continues to argue with the group he/she is to leave the tether ball area for the rest of the recess period.


Kickball (3 on 3) 

Objective:  Kicking; catching; rolling; throwing; teamwork.

Equipment: 5 cones set in a diamond shape with one cone in the center of the diamond (distance depends on the ability of the players), 1 playground ball

Players: Students may play 3 vs. 3, 4 vs. 4, or 5 vs. 5

Organization:  The children form two groups of three.  One team is the kicking team and stands at home cone.  The other team is the fielding team with two of them in the field and the other one (pitcher) stands near the center cone. 

Play:  The pitcher rolls the ball to the kicker.  The kicker may kick the ball or stop the ball and place it near the home cone and kick it. The kicker kicks the ball (between first and third base for grades 2-5) and begins running around the bases (outside each cone).  When the kicker returns to home plate the next teammate in line begins running. The next runner may not start running until tagged by the previous runner. The kicking team takes turns running, trying to score as many runs as possible until the fielding team gets them out.  The three fielders work together. Each fielder must hold the ball.  The last fielder to hold the ball must hit or touch the center cone with the ball to stop the kicking team from scoring. The kicking team receives one point for each turn around the bases.  After all three kickers have had a chance to kick and all three fielders have had a chance to pitch, the teams switch roles and continue. (For 5 vs. 5 games: Play until all 5 kickers have kicked and all 5 fielders have pitched.) A kicked ball that is caught in the air by the defensive team is an automatic out.


Four-Down Football  

Objective: Throwing; Catching; Cooperation; Teamwork

Equipment:  One junior football and 4 cones (markers) for every 6-8 players

Organization: This game can be played 3 vs. 3 or 4 vs. 4.  Each group has one football and four cones.  The cones are placed on the ground in a large rectangle. (The best thrower should be able to throw from end zone to end zone.)

Play: The team with the ball starts on their own goal line (one end of the rectangle.)  They have four plays (tries) to get to the other team’s end zone.  Each player must take a turn being the quarterback.  The quarterback and says “Hike”. The other team members run down the field attempting to “get open” for a pass from the quarterback. 

When a successful pass and catch is made, a different person on the team takes a turn as quarterback and the next play (down) starts from where the pass was caught.  The players may move to the center of the field even with where the ball was caught to start the next play.

If the pass is incomplete, a different person on the team takes a turn as quarterback and the next play is from the same spot as the previous try (down).

If the offensive team catches the ball in the other team’s end zone, it is a touchdown.  The other team now starts from their goal line and has four plays to try and score.

If the offensive team does not score a touchdown within four plays, the ball goes to the other team.  They start with the ball on their goal line and have four plays (downs) to try and score.

The only time a team does not start from its own goal line is if they intercept a pass.  In this case they start from where the pass was intercepted. 

No one is allowed to advance the ball by running with it.  An offensive play is over as soon as the ball is caught or it hits the ground.

If there is a collision of players from opposing teams during a play, the team that threw the ball will get to start their next down at the spot where the collision occurred.  If the collision occurred during 4th down, the team that threw the ball is awarded an extra down starting 5 yards from the goal line.

Long Rope Games

Equipment:  One long jump rope per 3 or 4 students

Organization: Students should be clear of other objects or groups.  The twirlers should be standing close enough so that the rope hits the ground.

Grades K-2:  The jumper stands next to the rope in the center between the two twirlers.  The twirlers swing the rope in and out twice and then over.  Say “one, two, and over” The jumper gets two misses, and then becomes a twirler.

Grades 3-5:  The jumper stands outside of the rope.  The twirlers twirl the rope towards the jumper (front door).  After the rope hits the ground, the jumper runs in and jumps.

Snake:   The twirlers squat down and wiggle the rope side to side along the ground.  The jumper runs and jumps over the rope.  If the rope hits the jumper, the jumper then becomes a twirler.

Ocean Waves:  The twirlers squat down and wiggle the rope up and down. The jumper runs and hurdles over the rope.  If the rope touches the jumper, the jumper then becomes a twirler.

Figure 8 Chase:  (grades 4 & 5) two twirlers keep the rope going. Two other students start outside the rope at the front door. The runner runs in and jumps one jump and then runs around one of the twirlers.  The chaser then does the same thing going in the same pattern. The runner runs in again and does one jump, this time running around the other twirler completing the figure 8 pattern.  The chaser tries to catch the runner.  When caught they switch positions.  If either jumper gets touched by the rope, they must do 2 jumps the next time around.

Pierce Hopscotch Rules

Objectives: Hopping Skills; Accuracy; Balance

Equipment:  One Wood Chip or Bean Bag for Each Player

Play: All players take a practice run through the hopscotch course, then play begins.

Player 1 tosses the wood chip or bean bag into square #1.  She will hop or jump over square #1, and into all of the other squares until she reaches the end.  Then, without stepping out of the last number, hop, turn around and return.  She will stop in square # 2, and without losing her balance, bend over and pick up the wood chip, then hop out of the game.  The rest of the players each take a turn.  When it is time for player 1 to go again, she will then toss her wood chip into square #2. 

If a foul occurs, the player does not advance to the next square. She must retry the same square over again on her next turn.


1. Stepping on a line

2. Failure to toss wood chip, into the square

3. Failure to maintain balance on one foot when required.

4. Failure to jump or hop in proper order.

5. Stepping outside of the “Hopscotch Markings”.


Pierce  3 vs. 3 Half Court Basketball

*Both teams must wear jerseys

* Students may play 3 vs. 3, 2 vs. 2, 1 vs.1, 3 vs.2, or 2 vs. 1

 When you have the ball you are:

  1. Dribbling or Bouncing the ball towards the basket.

(Try your best.  Double Dribbling and Traveling is allowed.)

  1. Shooting at the basket.

  2. Passing the ball to a teammate.


When you don’t have the ball you are:

1.      Getting the Rebound.

2.      Moving into a Position to Receive a Pass.

3.      Intercepting a Pass.

You may not steal the ball or knock it out of someone’s hands.

 Fouls:  contact, stealing the ball from the dribbler, stripping the ball,  knocking the ball out of someone’s hands, or not following the rules

 On a foul, the ball is awarded to the team that was fouled on at the half court line.

 No arguments!  If you argue, you lose the ball!

 Change of Possession:  On a change of possession, the ball must always be taken back to the half court line. You can choose to check the ball if you wish.  The only person allowed beyond the half court line is the person with the ball.

 * Students may play full court basketball if no other students are on the basketball court area and may go up to 5 vs. 5.  The same rules above apply.


  Rainbow Regulation Kickball

            (4th & 5th Grade)


Equipment: Bases, Kickball, Strike Line, 12 jerseys (two of each color Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Violet)

Players:  12 players, 6 players on each team.  The six players will each wear a different color jersey representing the colors of the rainbow.

Fielding Team: Pitcher, Catcher, 1st Baseman, the other 3 players may assume any other position in the field (shortstop, baseman, outfielder, etc.)   The person playing the catcher position will also act as an umpire and call strikes, fouls, balls, safes, & outs.

Kicking Team: The kicking team will line up in the following order behind the fence: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Violet (ROYGBV)

The student wearing the Red Jersey is first to kick.  The kicking team will maintain the same kicking order throughout the game.  In the 2nd inning players that haven’t kicked yet will be at the front of the line.

Play:  The Pitch The pitcher rolls the ball towards the kicker.  If the ball bounces higher than mid-calf level, the catcher calls “ball” and the pitcher must pitch again. The ball must roll within 2 yards on each side of home plate to be considered fair.  If the ball does not roll within fair territory it is considered a “ball”.  After four pitched “balls” the kicker is awarded 1st base.

The Kick: The kicker must wait until the ball rolls past the strike line before kicking it.  Penalty: Strike 

The kicker must kick the ball into fair territory (between 1st base and 3rd base), then run towards 1st base.  If the ball does not go into fair territory it is considered a foul.  The first two fouls count as strikes.  If the kicker does not kick a ball that has been pitched fairly, it counts as a strike.  If the kicker misses the ball it counts as a strike.  Three strikes and the kicker is out. If the catcher catches a foul ball before it hits the ground, the kicker is out.

No intentional bunting is allowed.  Penalty: Strike

        The Run: The kicker tries to advance as far as possible around the bases. Runners must run across each base touching it with their foot. The runner may stop on any base. The kicker must reach 1st base before the ball does. 1st base is the only base that may be over run without penalty.  Runners may not slide.  Sliding is an automatic out.  If the runner is hit with the ball (below the shoulders) or contacts the ball when not on base, the runner is out. Once the ball is returned to the pitcher, the runners must stay on base and may not advance until the next kicker has kicked the ball.  There are no lead-offs and no stealing bases.  Runners on base may only advance one base per overthrow.  If the runner is hit in the head with the ball, the runner is awarded an extra base. If a fielder is interfering with a runner (i.e. standing in the base path), the runner is awarded an extra base.

        Ball caught on the Fly: When the kicker kicks the ball and it is caught by an outfielder before it hits the ground, the kicker is out.  Any runners on base must tag up before advancing to the next base.  Runners that don’t tag up must return back to base before the ball does. Penalty: Out

        Force-outs: Runners on base with no empty bases behind them must advance.  Runners can be forced out if the ball beats them to the base.

When there are 3 outs, teams switch

    Team Touchdown

Level: K-3

Objective: Throwing skills, catching skills, teamwork, and lead up skills for other games involving a football.

Equipment: One football for each team, jerseys, and four cones

Organization: A team consisting of 2- 5 people will race against another team of 2-5 people, or a team may play all by themselves. The cones should be arranged in a rectangle. Two cones signify a start line or end zone. The other two cones signify a finish line or end zone. All teams start at the same start line and finish in the end zone at the other end of the playing field.

Action: All teams start behind the start line. One person on each team is holding a football. The person with the football may not take any steps. The ball can only be advanced by throwing or using an underhand pitch. On the “go” signal, the teammates without the ball will run out and get into a position to catch the ball. Teams are working toward the end zone, by making a series of catches and passes. At least three passes must be made. If the ball hits the ground at any time, the entire team must go back to the start line and begin again. The first team to advance the ball to the other end zone/finish line wins. Teams may not interfere with another team’s progress, or touch another team’s ball.

Variation: The play is continuous. Teams try to score as many touchdowns as possible in the time allotted.