30 Indoor Rainy Day Recess Ideas
Baby it’s cold outside! Well, since I’m in Georgia it’s not too cold yet, but it’s that time of year when the weather sometimes keeps us inside. So, I thought I’d share a list of ideas for indoor recess because after a few days of being stuck inside the kids can get squirrelly.
Unfortunately, there isn’t always a lot of time in the day for art and creativity. Indoor recess is the perfect opportunity to break out the art supplies.
- Drawing-It doesn’t get any simpler than setting out the crayons, markers, and paper. Add some step by step drawing books if you have any. Let the kids talk and free draw.
- Clay or Play Dough-If you have a class set of playdough, this is an awesome activity for indoor recess. You can always make some playdough or salt dough if you don’t have any.
- Coloring Books– Invite your students to each bring a coloring book to school. Save it for indoor recess days.
- Pipe cleaners– Pipe cleaners are a fun medium to work with. They don’t create a big mess either. Add some beads and let the kids create bracelets, pencil toppers, or whatever else their creative minds come up with.
- Painting– Even if it’s just watercolor paint, there is just something special about getting to paint with friends.
Most of the time centers are tied to academics. Indoor recess is a great time to break out some favorite center materials that are just plain fun.
- Legos or Blocks– The kids will amaze you with what they create with Legos, Knex, GoldieBlox, or blocks.
- Dry Erase Drawing– Usually, I only break out the dry erase boards for working problems or writing, but kids love drawing on whiteboards.
- Computer Games– Does your class have any favorite learning games? If so you’ve got an easy indoor recess activity.
- Pattern Blocks– Have the kids build a pattern, trace it, and color it in. You can also just let them build.
- Partner Learning Games– Some kiddos love playing school. Break out some center games from earlier in the year. Not only is it a great way to sneak in some review, but partner games are fun.
Kids love games. You can do small group games or play as a class.
- Bring Your Own Board Games– If you know ahead of time that the weather is going to be bad, you could invite the kids to bring a board game.
- Would You Rather– This is a fun game that gets kids up and moving. You ask a question like, “ Would you rather hold a worm or a frog?” The kids move to one of two walls to show their answers. The sillier the questions, the more fun it gets!
- Balloon or Beach Ball– Blow up a balloon or use a beach ball. Work together as a class to keep it off the ground.
- Charades– This is an old classic. Try it and see if your kids enjoy it.
- Heads Up 7 Up– I played this all the time in after school when I was a kid. If you’re not familiar with it, you can find directions here.
If you have an interactive whiteboard you’re in luck. There’s a ton of ways you can use it for indoor recess.
- Dance Party– Pull up your class’s favorite brain breaks. Have a dance party. Let those kids wiggle, shake, and dance.
- Playing School– Let a small group of kids play school. Pull up a review activity or a blank board and let them teach each other.
- Fireplace & Hot Cocoa– This one takes a little planning ahead. Pull up a fireplace video from YouTube. Let the kids bring in pillows and favorite books, sticker books, or activity books to read. Serve hot chocolate and popcorn.
- Pictionary– Why not play a game of pictionary using the interactive whiteboard?
- Children’s Movies– Sometimes it’s just easiest to show a movie. Pick a G rated movie and show it on the whiteboard. Popcorn is a plus!
Kids love to be creative. Why not use the time to fit in some fun STEM activities?
Paper Airplanes- Give each kid a sheet of paper. Have them color it completely and then turn it into a paper airplane. Have a paper airplane flying contest. See whose goes the farthest, flies the highest, curves the most, etc.
- Building Challenge– Let the kids build towers with gumdrops and toothpicks, spaghetti noodles and marshmallows, rolled up newspapers and masking tape, or whatever materials you have.
- Cup Stacking– Let the kids see how high of a tower they can build. Give them some small plastic toys and let them see if their tower can hold the toys up.
- Marble Mazes– Give the kids a marble and whatever scrap materials you have to create their own marble mazes. Try using cardboard boxes, toilet paper tubes, Legos, paper cups, and tape.
- Ramps and Cars– Let the kids build ramps with cardboard, pool noodles, blocks, books, or whatever else you have. Then, let them race toy cards on their ramps. Challenge them to see what happens if they change their ramps.
- Mad Inventors– Pull out whatever materials you have on hand and let the kids work with a friend to build a new invention. Their creativity might surprise you.
Sometimes kids just need to move. Being stuck inside can create some really wiggly kids. Sometimes you just have to let them move.
- Relay Races– Maybe you have an empty cafeteria, gym, or a hallway that can be used for some relay races. Depending on the space, you might not want the kids to run, but maybe they could crabwalk, hop on one foot, tiptoe, or crawl. You can even do these in the classroom if you are able to move the desk or have enough room.
- Dance Lesson– Let your kids teach you their favorite dance moves. Put on some music and get ready for some laughs.
- Yoga– Lead your class in some yoga stretches. Here’s a list of kid friendly yoga poses.
- Indoor Hopscotch– Put some painter tape down and let the kids play hopscotch.
- Limbo– Turn on some music and have a kid help you hold up a yardstick to play an impromptu game of limbo. See how low your class can go.
While it’s sometimes best to do a whole group activity, I think it is important to include a choice of activities during indoor recess whenever possible. Since some activities are more popular than others, I usually set up several activities and set a cap for each activity. I would explain the directions and then call on students randomly to pick their activity. I’d always have enough activities for every student to have at least 2 or 3 choices unless we were doing a whole group activity.