Top 10 Indoor Recess Ideas
I don’t know what the weather looks like this time of year where you’re located, but winter in Morocco is rainy! Since all of the play areas in our school (even the PE space) are outside, if it rains, we play inside! So, here are my top 10 indoor recess ideas. Feel free to leave a comment with some of your ideas.
10. Jigsaw Puzzle Contest – My kids love to do jigsaw puzzles, but they rarely get a chance, with all of the curriculum I need to cover. So, often during indoor recess, we pull out those puzzles and team up to see which team can do their puzzle the fastest. This is a great team building activity too!
9. Kids’ Yoga – I have
stolen borrowed a kids’ yoga DVD from my sons to use in my classroom, and it has been a hit! I know there are lots of kids’ yoga DVD’s out there, but this one has a yoga pose for every letter of the alphabet, so I introduced it when we were doing our alphabet review at the beginning of the year. Now, the kids beg for it as a part of indoor recess or Friday party.
8. Coloring Contest – Since some of my students have the world’s worst handwriting, I have decided to stock up on coloring books, and keep them around to practice those fine motor skills. Indoor recess is a great time to do this, and we often have a contest to see who can stay in the lines the most perfectly!
7. Board Games – When I taught 3rd grade, indoor recess consisted of Yahtzee and Boggle a lot of the time! Now that I’m teaching 1st grade, we play CandyLand, Chutes and Ladders and Memory. Whatever level you teach, it’s good to keep some board games around for this type of recess. Savings tip – get them right before or after Christmas, or ask your parents to buy them for you for Christmas, instead of another coffee mug!
6. Build with Base 10 Blocks – You know your kids want to build with them because they build with them when they’re supposed to be building numbers! Why not let them use indoor recess to pull out those Base 10 Blocks and be creative? Want to keep it academic, let them count out a number (say 222) and them build with the blocks that make that number.
5. Reading Slumber Party – Why is reading always so much more fun with pillows and blankets around? For some reason, my kids love to pull them out and read laying on the floor, so why not do it during those rainy afternoons? If they get involved enough with their books, I’ve been known to let them continue to read way past the end of recess, while I grade papers and answer e-mails!
4. Number Aerobics – I have completely stolen this idea from another teacher, but I love it! At the beginning of the year, we did number aerobics every day, now it’s solely indoor recess, Friday Party, 5 minutes to kill type of material. Number Aerobics is a way of counting from 1 – 100 with your students, while adding movements for each 10 that you count. You can find the poster I use for number aerobics at this blog post I did earlier this year. I have learned to save number aerobics for about the 3rd day in a row with indoor recess, when the kids are so tired of rain, that they just have to move around!
3. Brain Bending Puzzles – I collect brain teasers, it’s an addiction, really. However, on a good, rainy day, it’s also a way to keep little minds busy and moving. Here’s a link to one of the many books I have on brain teasers.
2. Card Games – In addition to the standard card games, like Go Fish and Memory, I also use playing cards to play games lie Math Facts War (each student puts down a card, they add (or subtract or multiply) the two numbers and the first person to call out the answer wins the cards) and Line It Up (each student gets 7 cards, which they must put in order from least to greatest – the first person done gets a point for that round, after 7 rounds, the person with the most points wins). Whatever game you play, a deck or cards or two is always a good thing to have on hand.
P.S. I write a Top 10 post every Sunday. Here are some past Top 10 posts: Top 10 Holiday Read Alouds, Top 10 Tattletales, and Top 10 Phonics YouTube Videos. Check back each Sunday for more Top 10 Lists.