It’s the dreaded call over the loudspeaker…rainy day recess. All sense of being productive, a moment to breathe, and a second to scarf down my lunch, out the window. Or is it?? Here are few tips and tricks to make the most of rainy day / indoor recess to keep kids busy and give you back a few seconds of your precious time.
- Put on an educational video.
My personal favorite is Bill Nye the Science Guy. It’s a wonderful show that teaches kids to love science and sparks their interest. It also helps to keep their attention. By the end of the year, I have kids begging for indoor recess to watch Bill Nye. So much so that we started watching Bill Nye during lunch hour in our classroom! I also really like the Schoolhouse Rock series and there’s tons of PBS Kids videos that sneak in some science, too!
**Hint: Bill Nye Episodes are on Netflix if you have an account!
- Pull out your math manipulatives.
Why not make indoor recess an educational moment? I love pulling out the base 10 blocks, tangrams, snap cubes, fake money, etc. I find that kids get really excited about free play with the manipulatives. After all, they are unlike any other “toy” they might have at home, and with a little luck, they are even learning and reinforcing math skills! It’s a win-win for all.
- Allow kids to access online math games.
I was fortunate enough to have classroom with multiple classroom computers, and my students loved the opportunity to play “games” on the computer. Again, squeezing in so much education during the rainy day recess. How perfect is that?!
**Hint: I have compiled a list of my favorite student friendly sites, check them out here.
- Allow silent reading in reading corner.
I find rainy day recess a great excuse to let kids curl up with a good book and read away. I let kids pick any book, picture book, short story, novel, etc. because it helps build their confidence and curiosity with reading.
**Hint: Interested in my favorite picture books to read? Check out this post.
- Put on a just move video.
Losing time to run and play, kids often get squirley in the afternoon and have a hard time paying attention. I typically notice more behavior issues in the afternoon after indoor recess. How do I combat that? Before we start work again, I find that kids like to move around. I love putting on a video that kids can move and dance to.
**Hint: Check out “The Learning Station” on youtube for lots of kid friendly song and dance.
**Hint: Check out “Go Noodle – Get Moving” on youtube for more kid friendly song and dance.
- Allow students to be creative.
Letting students be creative is the best way to nurture their growing minds. I let kids use colored paper and white computer paper, crayons, markers, etc. I try to limit the use of scissors during craft time, as my room looks like someone threw confetti all over at the end of the day if I let kids use scissors as they please. Seriously, why do they love cutting paper into the tiniest of bits?! If you do allow use of scissors, I try to create a very small “craft station” to limit the mess, and I set a timer 5 minutes before recess is over to ensure everything is cleaned up.
- Encourage Independent Learning.
Indoor recess is a great time to let kids take charge of their own learning, however, try not to use indoor recess as a punishment to catch up on late or missing work. So how do I get kids to use their time wisely and independently choose to catch up on late work? I use Mastery Club in my classroom which allows students to learn about 86 different topics of their choosing. Once they have researched and learned about the topic they can demonstrate their mastery. Students love using the extra free time at recess to master their topic and add their name to the hall of fame. Most students are so motived to participate! If a student has late work or missing work, they must finish that before they can “master” a challenge in Mastery Club. I won’t ever stop a child from learning and researching, but the motivation is there to finish their late work to earn mastery of a challenge.
**Hint: Interested in learning more about Mastery Club? Check it out here.