Indoor Recess- A Time to Move!

Recess is an integral period during the school day. It’s a chance for students to get some much needed movement and exercise. This is easily attained when students are able to run around on the playground, but what should one do when the weather does not cooperate and the class is confined inside to a small classroom or hallway? Indoor recess is what. Indoor recess can be just as active and fun as outdoor recess with the right games and a little creativity.

I like to break indoor recess into three parts: warm-up, main game, and then cool down. The warm-up can be anything that gets them moving and focused. I will usually start with a game called Up, Down, Stop, Go. A simple game where the student must do the opposite of what the leader says, rules can be found here: You can adjust the rules for constant motion. If a student makes a mistake they do five repetitions of a specific exercise (jumping jacks, squats, ect.) instead of sitting down.

I really like to incorporate learning of some kind into the main game. When it comes to the younger ones, 1st and Kindergarten, my go-to game is Red Light, Green Light, Fruit and Veggie Edition! Students stand behind their desks and move according to what color fruit or vegetable the leader says. If the leader says a green fruit or vegetable then the students run in place. If the leader says a yellow fruit or vegetable the students walk in place, and if the leader says a red fruit or vegetable, the students freeze. If a mistake is made the student does a certain number of exercises (usually 5 jumping jacks) then continues to play. This reinforces healthy eating and increases basic knowledge of fruits and vegetables.

indoor recessWhen it comes to the older students, I really like to play Ro Sham Bo Relay (, but change the rules a bit to incorporate math. When the two students meet on the path, instead of throwing rock, paper, or scissor, they throw numbers 1-5 with their hands. The students must look at the two numbers and the first person to add them together wins.  You can also do subtraction or multiplication to make things a bit harder.

The cool down is always very simple. Some light stretching and some deep breathes to help decrease the heart rate and get the students ready to learn again.

Inclement weather need not be a deterrent to an active and fun recess. The right game and a little creativity can turn an indoor recess into a fun and productive time of day. So when the weather turns or the rain falls, keep the board games on the shelf and the computers turned off. Because if you want the brain to work, you have to let the body move!