7 Indoor Recess Ideas

Hello fellow teachers! I hope everyone is staying warm with this super chilly blast of rain and snow!

Nothing quite drains teachers like a steady schedule of indoor recesses. It gets old fast. After a whole day trapped inside, our classes are in desperate need of some break time. Here are a few easy activities that make it less painful, and dare I say, even a little fun.

Heads Up 7 Up

I played this game when I was in elementary school. It’s the only indoor recess game I remember playing, and now my class plays it. 7 people are chosen to be “it”. When the lights go out, everyone closes their eyes puts their heads down & thumbs up. The 7 kids walk around and each tap a thumb. When a thumb gets tapped they make a fist. When the 7 are done they line up in the front of the room, and the lights come back on. The 7 people who got tapped stand up and try to guess who tapped their thumb. If they guess correctly, they switch places with the person who tapped them.


Charades is a great way to add drama into your curriculum. Fitting it in during recess time is an added bonus! It’s super simple. Students take turns drawing an action or noun card and acting it out for the class. The catch is they can’t speak! The rest of the class is divided into 2 teams. They call out their guesses of the phrase on the card, and the first team to guess correctly gets the point.

After a couple whole class sessions, you can have the class break into smaller groups so everyone gets more opportunities to participate. I’ve premade a set of charades cards for my class. You can find my set here:


4 Corners

This is one of my favorites because it’s mildly active, kids LOVE it, & you don’t need any props to play. In this super easy game, name the 4 corners of your classroom (ex. Flag corner, door corner, library, teacher’s desk, etc.). One student covers their eyes and faces the board in the front of the room. They count to 15. The rest of the class walks around and must choose a corner by the time the student finishes counting. The person counting then calls out a corner. Everyone standing there returns to their seats. This process repeats until one student is left. That student then becomes “it” and it is their turn to go to the front, count, and call out corners!

Silent Ball

When you need some peace, play this game. The kids sit on top of their desks. All you need is a soft yarn or whiffle ball. The kid with the ball can say the name of the person they are going to throw it to. If that person doesn’t catch it they have to sit down. If anyone talks they also have to sit down. The last person sitting on top of the desk is the winner!


Legos are a kid favorite! Scan thrift stores or ask parents for donations. These are a great quiet, creative activity that will keep kids busy the entire time.

Go Noodle

GoNoodle is a free website with interactive videos and games. It’s effortless for the teachers and super engaging for the kids. Each video is a few minutes long. I suggest choosing a few and starting with the most active option and ending with a calming video. To make it really easy, GoNoodle has an Indoor Recess Mega Mix that plays their most popular videos. All you have to do is select the length of time you want, and hit play!

Checkers Tournaments

Every time I visit a thrift store I pick up a Checkerboard. Since most kids know how to play, it’s super easy to pull out 14 boards, a big bin of checkers, and let them play during recess.




I hope you find these ideas helpful, and I’d love to hear your tricks for getting through these long days! Please leave them in the comments below.

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