As a teacher, I find indoor recess stressful.  In my mind, recess is a time for my kids to let off some steam and for me to have a break from keeping them quiet and focused.  This is much more challenging when we have indoor recess!  It can be difficult to find indoor recess activities that are manageable, fun, and engaging.  In my search for awesome indoor recess activities, I have come across the following 8 ideas that were enjoyable for my students and myself.  I hope these indoor recess activities help keep you sane and your kids happy during those indoor recess days!

8 Exciting Indoor Recess Ideas

1. Do a Craft

Kids Doing a CraftMost kids enjoy doing crafts, and indoor recess is a great time to teach your class a new craft (especially since there’s less and less time to do crafts at other times during the school day).  Although it may take a bit of planning to have all of the supplies and instructions ready, learning and making an interesting craft is sure to keep your kiddos busy and engaged during indoor recess.  If you’re looking for crafts to do, Pinterest has LOTS of great ideas to get you started!

2. Use GoNoodleChild Jumping

I loooooove using GoNoodle in my classroom!  GoNoodle is a website that has a variety of FREE movement videos for kids to watch and move along with.  They have a ton of options: stretching, dancing, mindfulness, exercise, academic, and much more.  Using GoNoodle during indoor recess gives my students a chance to move in a safe and organized way.  Plus, the kids love it!!  (GoNoodle is also a great choice for movement breaks during the day, especially for your kiddos with attention troubles.)

3. Play an Organized Game

Another great way to get kids moving while stuck inside is to play an organized game with the whole class.  This way, your students can get their wiggles out in a controlled situation and have fun at the same time.

Some ideas are:

  • Heads Up, 7 Up
  • Four Corners (This one is usually my kids’ favorite!)
  • Simon Says
  • Just Like Me!
  • Hot Potato

4. Board Games/Card Games

Board games are a great choice for indoor recess because they are fun for kids and help them practice social skills.  Also, lots of kids never get the chance to play board games at home (although this varies a lot by school), so it’s new and exciting as well.  You can start off by teaching your students how to play a particular board game, then give kids the chance to play on their own.  Or just offer some options that they can play or learn.

Here are some great choices that kids enjoy and that work well for indoor recess:

5. Puzzles

puzzle piecesAnother activity kids enjoy is puzzles.  You can get a wide variety of pictures and difficulty level, so you can find puzzles that appeal to all of your students.  Plus, puzzles are a quiet activity that requires problem solving and teamwork (if more than one student is working on a puzzle).  Want to order some puzzles for your classroom? Here are some great choices on Amazon!

6. Coloring Sheets

kid coloringMost kids love coloring sheets (I know mine always begged to do coloring activities!), so this is a great choice for indoor recess.  Coloring is a quiet, engaging, and fun activity.  There are many free coloring sheets available online, and many of them have academic content as well. (Teachers Pay Teachers has a lot of good free and paid options.  Crayola’s website also has many free printable coloring pages.  Or check out these math mystery coloring pages!)

7. Science Experiments

science experimentAs the curriculum focuses more on reading and math, there seems to be less and less time during the day to teach science.  Science, however, aside from being important academically, is also a ton of fun to teach and learn!  Indoor recess is the perfect time to do some interesting science experiments that you may not have time for during the rest of the day.  Even though it is technically not “recess”, I have found that my kids don’t mind (as long as the experiment is fun!).  Need ideas?  Check out these 40 fun science experiments suggested by Scholastic (with videos to show you exactly how to do them)!

8. Use the Gymnasium

school gymnasiumSometimes, kids just need to move, and recess is usually the perfect time for that.  Unfortunately, indoor recess makes that difficult.  One solution is to check whether the gymnasium is being used during your recess time.  If there is no gym class at that time, and there are no special events, you can take your kids to play in the gym during recess.  This way, they get to run around and burn off some energy without going outside!


Enjoy using these indoor recess activities, and I hope you can get outside with your students soon!

Do you have any other great ideas for indoor recess activities?  Send me an email or post a comment below!