Recess happens every day: rain or shine, snow or sleet, hot or cold weather. But what happens when weather conditions keep you inside? Can you still have an engaging, fun, and physically active recess?

Yes, of course! In Rhode Island, many recesses during the winter months will be spent inside because of snow or below freezing temperatures, but recess is still an incredibly important time of day for students to take a break from academics, get their heart rates up, and practice core social-emotional skills learned through play.  

Kids can’t afford to miss opportunities for physical activity or building interpersonal skills with their peers just because the weather doesn’t cooperate!

Watch NBC10’s Health Check Kids on Active Indoor Recess Week, a free week-long event providing training, games, and resources to support active indoor recess.

Our friends at Playworks New England suggest getting started with these tips:

  • Learn your school’s policies. Every school district or school administration has different policies regarding indoor vs. outdoor recess conditions, spaces available for play, and the general “run of show.” Be sure to check with your school staff so that you’re starting out on the same page.
  • Have a back up plan. No matter how foolproof you think your plan is, challenges can arise. Sometimes the auditorium you planned to use for recess is being used for an assembly, or the classroom next to you is taking a test so you need to have a quiet indoor recess. Make sure you have a back-up plan and that it’s communicated to the other members of the recess team!
  • Keep it consistent. Just because you’re inside for recess doesn’t mean that the same recess procedures can’t stay intact. If you normally announce game stations before recess starts, do that! If students line up at cones at the end of recess, set up cones inside so they know where to line up, close out recess, and transition to the next activity in their day. 
  • Stay safe. Indoor recess commonly means limited space, so making sure that all students and staff are staying safe should be a top priority. If you’re playing a fast-paced game in a classroom full of chairs and other obstacles, consider using speed-walking or hopping motions rather than running in a game to keep everyone safe.
  • Have fun! Recess is such an important time of the day, full of creativity, free play, and games, and all of those things can still take place inside. Encourage students to try something new, and jump into a game yourself to experience the power of play!

Playworks has developed an amazing collection of indoor recess games! Try some (or all!) of these: