Indoor Recess? No Problem!

With the winter months, comes many inclement weather days for our young learners. This can also lead to an over-abundance of built up energy for our little ones when they are not provided with enough engaging, gross motor activities. The CDA Council prides itself on 13 functional areas, and one of them include Functional Area 4: Physical. Teachers should be sure they are providing enough time on a daily basis to provide a variety of developmentally appropriate experiences where children are able to develop their large muscles. This does not mean we have to allow them to run laps inside the classroom, but we should provide engaging activities where children have structure, and it is not a free-for-all. Here are some ideas to keep in mind the next time you early childhood educators get stuck inside.

Go Noodle! – One of my favorite get-up-and-move activities to use with my students, is the website, Go Noodle ( An account is required, but the website is free. Go Noodle provides fun, short movement breaks. We use this as a “brain break” after working hard on our reading or math.

Activity Works – This is another great website that provides a slew of movement videos, exercise videos, resources for teachers, and more. Registration may be required by your school. So talk with your director and make it a center-wide incentive to compete in their quarterly competitions (

Four Corner – Chose one person to be the “Caller” or any other name you want to create. Decide which corners represent which, such as Corner 1, Corner 2, Corner 3, and Corner 4. Again, you can modify this to fit your classroom. All other children must choose a corner and quietly walk to that corner and stand there, while the caller closes his/her eyes and counts backwards (or forwards) from 10 or 20. The Caller then shouts a Corner out loud. All children standing in that corner are now out. Play continues until one child is left.

Balloon Volleyball – Played just like real volleyball, only with a balloon! Do not let the balloon touch the ground!

Back to back – Ask children to find a partner of equal height and weight to face back to back and lock arms with. With arms remaining locked at all times, the partners should try to sit down on the ground, kick their legs out straight, and then try to stand back up. Try with groups of four, eight, sixteen, and, eventually, the whole class together.

Of course there are many more activities and peaceful breaks to add in there as well. Consider painting, board games, shadow puppets, extra reading/story time, etc. Don’t be afraid to sneak in a little extra learning, even on recess!

Have fun, and stay warm!