Indoor Recess Ideas to Keep Your Students Calm and Engaged

Teacher Tips

As teachers, we know the dread that comes along with indoor recess! Finding something to keep your students calm and engaged is hard, especially towards the end of the Winter when we are all going a little stir crazy! Today we’re giving you a rundown of our top indoor recess ideas.


Whenever we know that we are going to be inside all day, we always make sure to set aside some time for GoNoodle! Their videos are all about encouraging moving and interaction. They’re the perfect way to help get all of your students’ energy out! They even have a whole section devoted to indoor recess here!

Sensory Activities

Outdoor play is normally a big way our students get sensory input. When they’re stuck inside for long periods, it is important that we fill that gap! If you haven’t used sensory activities in the class before, make sure you practice before it is indoor recess time to make sure your students understand how to use them and protect your sanity.

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Toys From Home

Indoor recess can get monotonous. As teachers we get bored, imagine the kids! One trick we picked up was having students bring small toys from home to play with. We limit them to bringing toys that don’t need batteries and fit in a ziplock bag so that we don’t end up with anything too large or distracting.


During indoor recess, no prep activities are a lifesaver! We love keeping a stock of printables printed and ready to go. We keep them in file folders so that students can access them themselves. Just make sure you keep a fresh rotation so that your class stays engaged! The early finisher activities from our Pocketbook Units are perfect for this! Check them out here!

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Board Games

Do you remember the joy of losing yourself in a board game as a kid? There is a reason why our parents used to pull them out during Winter! They’re a great way to keep kids entertained and practice social and reasoning skills. Don’t worry about buying them new! You can always find cheap board games at garage sales or ask parents to donate old games to the classroom.

Friday Fun Day

Living in Buffalo, we are used to a long winter! It can be rough on the kids and us. So we started a new Friday tradition! Every Friday we all bring our snow gear (teachers included) and play on the playground in the snow. It is the perfect way to end the week and a great way to connect with our students!

Try out these ideas for your next indoor recess and let us know how they go!

Are you looking for other teaching tips? Check these out:

5 Tips to Create a Work-Life Balance

7 Tips for Working with Paraprofessionals

5 Tips to Help Students Master Vocabulary

meet the teachers

Hi, we're Kelly and Stephanie, 2 teacher besties from Buffalo, NY. We love collaborating and creating hands on, engaging materials for all learners. Thanks for stopping by!

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