These kids are the only students at Lone Tree Bench, a one-room schoolhouse in Montana’s Missouri Breaks. The photo appeared in a 1999 National Geographic article about their sparsely populated region.
Playground time isn’t just something kids want—the United Nations says recreational play is a child’s right. Play is an important part of development, and many researchers argue that this makes recess—a break for outdoor physical activity—an important part of the school day for students.
As students head back to school, we’ve pulled these pictures from our archives of kids playing, laughing, and goofing off in playgrounds and courtyards around the world.