10 Ways to Be Active During Indoor Recess

Are rain clouds keeping you inside? We get it. Oklahoma weather has a mind of its own, throwing curveballs in the form of ice, rain, extreme cold or extreme heat — which can force you to spend recess in the classroom. If you’re looking for ways to keep your class active and engaged, try these 10 ideas to combat the indoor recess blues!


1. Make Watching Movies More Active.

If you want to embrace a dark and dreary rainy day, go ahead and watch a movie — but make it active! Write a few fun ways for them to get moving on the board. For example, if the movie is about the ocean, have them do ten squats every time the sea is shown or mentioned. If a character in the movie loves sandwiches, they must run in place every time they see one on screen, and so on. This will prevent your kids from being lulled to sleep in the dark room and also give their muscles some attention.

Freeze Dance WCA

2. Freeze Dance!

Do your students seem extra antsy? Turn on some tunes and play freeze dance! Ask your kids to dance, jump, spin or shake anytime the music is playing — and when you stop the music, they’ll FREEZE. Anyone still moving after the music stops is “out!” Encourage your students to make big movements and really express themselves. After just a few songs, they’ll be huffing, puffing and ready to focus for the rest of the afternoon!

3. Act out the Animal.

Break your students into groups of four to six and write animal names on several pieces of paper. Each kid will draw one out of a cup then act it out for the others to guess. This activity can last a few minutes or the whole free period, and it’ll have your kids laughing, reading and moving!

Set the Timer WCA

4. Set the Timer!

If your classroom is full of board games, books and color sheets, your kids may want to use their free time to read or play with friends. To add a little activity, set a timer to go off every five minutes. Once they hear it, they must get up and move for 30 seconds — whether they run in place, do jumping jacks or flap their arms like a bird! This option is truly the best of both worlds: The kiddos get to exercise their independence and get their heart rates pumping … all in one classroom!

BONUS TIP: Do the movements with your kids so you’ll also get closer to your 30-minute activity goal for the day!

5. Do Workout Videos.

Play a workout video on the projector and do the activities together. Many videos are around 5 minutes, so this is a great way to move as a group before starting other activities. The videos are so fun, they may even ask for more!

Balloon Ground WCA

6. Don’t Let the Balloon Touch the Ground!

Balloons are a cheap crowd-pleaser that’s easy to store in your desk for a rainy day. Divide the class into groups and give them each a different colored balloon. The object of the game is to work together to keep the balloon from hitting the ground. Just make sure there are no tripping hazards nearby!

7. Play Charades.

Break into two teams and act out objects and actions for the other team to guess. For an extra active twist, have the students who lose do one movement like squats or arm circles, and the winning team perform another action each round. Time will fly by with this fun activity.

Indoor Hopscotch WCA

8. Bring Hopscotch Indoors!

If you have masking tape, map out a hopscotch grid on the floor. Have your kids take turns hopping across the room and back to release their energy. You can also make other designs on the floor with the tape to keep things moving and create safe obstacles for them to tackle.

9. Play a Round of Musical Chairs.

Move your desks out of the way for this classic game. Arrange the chairs in a circle and turn on your favorite music. Your students will get their steps in, get their wiggles out and have a blast with this timeless activity!

Do Stretches WCA

10. Do Stretches.

No matter how you spend your recess, save the last five minutes to lead a group stretch. Touch your toes, lean side to side and take a few deep breaths. Your kids will feel refreshed and ready to start the second half of the day.

With so many ideas, you might even start looking forward to the indoor recess days to come! Spending even a little bit of time moving and shaking will set your kids up for success in the afternoon. For more healthy ways to move, check out our page on how to move anywhere, and for more classroom ideas, visit our teacher page.