The winter months can be tough on teachers, and students too, walk into any faculty room and you may hear moaning about having indoor recess again. Cabin fever is a real thing, just ask any teacher who has not had recess outdoors after a week and you will just get a blank stare. The rain, snow, and the cold are not our friends!
What if I were to tell you, there are some advantages to having indoor recess that will not cause you to cringe when you see rain or snow in the forecast.
One advantage is playing with your students. Taking a break from academics and allowing your students to see yes, you, the teacher can have fun too. Playing card games or board games with a groups of students is a great way to take a much needed break for them as well as you.
Some favorites are connect four, checkers, chess, legos, Mancala, Uno, the list can go on and on. If you are not sure what games your students may like, do an interest survey with them to gather ideas.
If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on games, who does right? Use some of the PTO reimbursement money on your class or even ask parents for old games they may not want anymore. Go to yard sales, consignment shops or Good Will to find games for less than the retail price.
No, I am not talking about given a test, especially if you are in upper elementary. This would be for kindergarten or even 1st grade. I always have to assess students on letter identification, sight words, counting, etc…
Having an extra 20-30 minutes indoors is a great way to collect data that is needed. I will call a student over ask them to read the sight word list and then send them on their way. I will have the students for 3-4 minutes perform the assessment and then they are off back to playing.
This is one of the main reasons, I don’t mind having indoor recess. In kindergarten there is a lot of note taking and data collecting that occurs. I find that indoor recess is the perfect time to collect as much data as I can. I will have 3-5 students each day come to the teacher table to be assessed, having different students each day is a way to make sure I assess the entire class.
Another advantage for indoor recess is a way to build relationships with your students. Playing a game with them is one way, but it also allows time to have conversations with them. Academic stresses are aside and most often than not, students will talk freely to you. It is a great way to get to know your students and what their interest are.
Playing a team building game with your class is great too. This may take a little bit of extra thought, but there are many games that you can play together as a class. Some include: hula-hoop-pass, scavenger hunt, stem activities or even telephone.
Taking a break from academics is a great way for students to shine.
Legos, Jenga, playing cards, play dough, painting, or even drawing on the white board are fun things for students to do. Using Go-Noodle is another fun way to have students get up and move.
As we move into the winter months, I bring in new games/activities for the students to do. One item I bring from home is my hopscotch rug, I bought it years ago for my daughter and my students love it. Usually I do this mid January, as the games since September are starting to become mundane. Changing up indoor recess games once a quarter is a sure way to keep them engaged during the winter months and rainy days!
What indoor recess games do you play with your students? Share below in the comments!