When playing outdoors isn’t a school recess option, what’s a teacher to do with all those children cooped-up indoors? Indoor recess is sometimes a necessity due to inclement weather. A school recess period with children indoors–children who may have few play options–is a recipe for teacher stress. A wise teacher plans ahead and has an indoor recess box ready to go for such an occasion.
What’s an indoor recess box? It’s a box of play activities for students to do while indoors for recess. Since most elementary schools schedule a morning, noon, and afternoon recess for students, that means recess break happens at least 3 times per day. Teachers need a recess box of indoor student activities for indoor recess times–enough to cover several recess periods.
What goes into an indoor recess box? The answer depends on the age or development of the students, classroom dimensions, recess time available, and student and teacher interests. Games and activities that go into the indoor recess box should be as student-directed as possible. This allows teachers a break from needing to facilitate and gives students a break from structured activity. Furthermore, all indoor recess box activities should allow for creativity or fun without resembling regular schoolwork.
There are several generic items that would be great additions to any indoor recess box. These items include:
Paper and pencil fun activities, word-searches, mazes, hidden objects, dot-to-dot
Coloring sheets, special markers, crayons, or colored pencils
Short-duration board games, such as Dominos, Checkers, or Boggle
Puzzles with 50 or fewer pieces
Large picture books on kid-friendly subjects, zoo animals, trades, weather events
Building blocks, creative building kits, or construction sets
Are there other items that might go into an indoor recess box? Yes, this is where a teacher should consider particular student interests as well as classroom curriculum. Teachers might consider adding these specific items to an indoor recess box:
Computer video games that reflect curriculum or build basic skills in a fun way
Dolls reflecting cultural diversity of students
Pre-printed or hand-drawn roads on cardboard for matchbox cars
Origami center with paper and guided written or video instructions
Where should a teacher store an indoor recess box? Students should be aware of this box of fun, but should not have daily access to it. Teachers want the indoor recess box contents to hold student interest during times of indoor recess, so students will stay engaged and positive about having an indoor recess. Keeping activities novel helps with this.
The indoor recess box is a must-have for elementary teachers, and a lifesaver for any substitute who must cover an indoor recess. Students need constructive and creative play activities during indoor recess times. A smart teacher plans ahead for inclement weather and has an indoor recess box ready to go.