Indoor recess is a given in the Northeast during the winter months. It’s often rainy, too cold, or icy to play outside. I use to dread the words indoor recess because it was like herding cats. However, I have compiled a list of ideas to keep your students entertained during indoor recess.
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1. Movement Videos for Indoor Recess
There are so many great videos that get your students up and moving during indoor recess. Below are a few of my favorite channels. I am always on the hunt for new ones, so feel free to share your favorites in the comments!
Koo Koo Kangaroo – my own children love running around and dancing to these videos.
Go Noodle – there are so many fun songs and dances on this channel
Cosmic Kids Yoga – yoga for littles
2. Games and Puzzles
Who doesn’t love puzzles or board games? There are so many awesome games out there! When I was in the classroom I use to ask for donations from families of games they no longer wanted at home to keep in the classroom. My families were incredibly generous! Board games also don’t have to take up a ton of room. You can get rid of the boxes and place the directions, boards, and pieces into these zipper bags. I use them ALL THE TIME in my own home.
Keep your puzzles and board games together in a smaller space with these zippered pouches.
Favorite Games for Indoor Recess
My favorite games are the classics. They are easily set up and easy to take down!
3. Building Blocks and Design Challenges
My upper elementary students loved a good challenge. STEM challenges are perfect for indoor recess. These can be super simple! Tell them what the challenge is and allow them to use materials within the classroom to complete it. Below is a slide for a penguin using cardboard and building blocks!
Marble runs are super fun and creative. My kids would spend all recess creating different ways to get the marble down the tubes.
4. Coloring or Arts and Crafts
This idea can be informal or formal. You could have specific arts and crafts for your students to work on during indoor recess or simply lay out art supplies and see what they come up with. During the winter months, my students loved to make snowflakes by folding and cutting paper. Fingerprint crafts are another fun and easy activity for indoor recess.
5. Modeling Dough
Play-Doh is great for indoor recess.
However, if you don’t want to buy it you can always make your own!
What you need:
•Cream of tartar (4 tsp)
•Lukewarm water (2 cups)
•Vegetable oil (2 tbsp)
•Salt (3/4 cup)
•All-purpose flour (2 cups)
•Food coloring (optional)
1. Add flour, salt, and cream of tartar to a large pot.
2. Add water and oil to the pot.
3. Place over medium heat.
4. Stir constantly. It will thicken and turn into dough.
5. Once it has come together and formed a ball remove it from heat and place it into a container to cool. If you are adding food coloring separate it into batches and add food coloring to a bag with the dough. Mix in the bag.
Note: This can last for up to 3 months if it is stored properly. After use seal in bags.
If you have some students who love writing check out this blog post to grab a freebie that can be used during indoor recess. What are some activities and ideas you use to keep your students entertained during indoor recess?