Love it or hate it, indoor recess can be a challenge! The barometric pressure is changing, the children need
exercise, AND your admin is saying: “indoor recess needs to be quiet.” Having games like Checkers, Chinese Checkers, cards to play Go Fish, playing Simon Says are all fun and require strategy development but do not really help with literacy. I want my children to learn some of these games too because I find that many of them do not play games at home. What are some activities that can be used during indoor recess that build literacy?
Charades is traditional party guessing game can give your class a fun break. I like to make cards for whatever we are studying. One of my favorites is animal charades when the class has done research on animals (each child makes a card for the animal he/she explored), but you can also do book titles, or book characters (I make cards for my class read alouds), historical figures (from Social Studies topics), the sky is the limit. Just have one student go to the front of the room and do their thing to mime whatever topic he/she draws from the card stack (students need to know they will be eliminated if they talk instead of mime) while the rest of the children try to guess the answer.
This activity involves remembering words. It is great for building listening and focus skills. The first player begins by saying, “In my basket for the picnic, I packed…” for example, “In my basket for the picnic, I packed sandwiches.” The next player would say “In my basket for the picnic, I packed sandwiches and lemonade.” It is fun to see how long it takes to fill the basket and remember what is in there. Play continues as above then a new round starts. I like to vary the container from picnic basket to suitcase or book bag or any other container
your students might know… this is definitely a class favorite for indoor recess!
Pass the Rubber Chicken
This is one of the most hilarious indoor recess games and worth the investment of one rubber chicken. First, teach your kids the Chicken Dance by showing them a tutorial on YouTube. To begin have your students sit in a circle and give the rubber chicken to one student. You will ask that student a question such as ‘Name six things that begin with the letter K.’ As soon as you have asked the question, they will pass the chicken to the person
on their right and the other students will quickly pass it around hoping to pass it all the way back to the original person before they have had a chance to answer the question. If the chicken makes it all the way around before the answer is answered correctly the person must stand and do the chicken dance. If they do answer the question before it makes it around, whoever is holding the chicken becomes the next one to answer a question… your students will giggle their hearts our during indoor recess!
Want to give your students help with drawing and practice following directions, but do not think you are much of an artist yourself? Try directed drawing activities! They walk you through the process step-by-step, so anyone can follow along. Teachers often lead the session by drawing on the whiteboard or chart paper, or you can show an instructional video instead. (Art for Kids Hub on YouTube has hundreds of options.)
Play Simon Says
Clear a corner of the classroom and play a good old-fashioned game of Simon Says to enhance careful listening. Let students take turns being the leader and encourage them to include physical movement in the game.
Stop the Bus
Divide the class into teams and hand each team a paper with the headings: “name,” “place,” “animal,” and “thing” on it. This template for students can also change if you want to incorporate topics about which you are currently learning. Randomly choose a letter from the alphabet and let students race to write down one thing in each category starting with that letter. The first team to complete their table must yell “Stop the bus!”
Not all these will appeal to all the children but it is important to rotate between activities so they know that next time, the activity may be one they really enjoy.