Florida organization creates 'recess kits' for school teachers

Ask any elementary school kid what their favorite part of the school day is and chances are "recess" will be the answer.

Teachers know that recess is a lot more than a break for students or a chance to run around and play with other kids. 

"Recess is a time where that's where we learn problem-solving, that's where we learn getting along with each other, that's where students can shine who really struggle in the classroom," said Dr. Jaime Cadelori.

She said recess also helps students' mental health.

"It actually really does show there is a reduction in anxiety when they do have some more time to unstructured play," she said, noting that some studies show kids who get recess perform better on tests.

Not to mention, the physical health benefits of running around.

At Hamilton Elementary School in Sanford, where its school population is growing rapidly, they do no have enough playground equipment for all of its students to play with, leaving some kids to play in open, empty fields.

While recess is mandated, school budgets have shifted and finding funding for new equipment is tough.

A local organization, Grow Healthy Kids, in stepping in to help these schools through "recess kits." They include sports balls, like basketball balls, soccer balls, or footballs; jump ropes, mini cones, tennis balls, and scoops. 

Founder Colleen Gonzalez said over 800 of these kits have been distributed to schools so far this year. Yet, more than 2,200 teachers have applied for one.

In order to help more, it's going to take all of us, she said.

"You can support a school in your neighborhood. Go out buy a ball, jump ropes, classic toys you enjoyed as a child, and take them to your local school," Gonzalez said.