I remember well the dreaded “rainy days” at school. My staff often got as frustrated as the students with indoor activities or a general lack of activities when days of rain held students and staff captive indoors for extended periods of time.
In California, gyms or indoor areas for movement are few and far between and indoor hallways a rarity adding to the pent-up feeling of a world closing in.
Today although a nuisance, there are many positive activities appropriate for rainy days that keep kids active and burn off excess energy allowing students to focus and sit during afternoon lessons.
With the emphasize on physical activity with our First Lady’s “Let’s Move” Campaign, the National Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance Association, created a list of activities designed for indoor activities for getting kids active called Integrating Physical Activity into the Complete School Day.
I’ve scanned the list for activities that could be conducted for indoor recess or physical education activities on inclement days.
Indoor Activities for Getting Kids Active
- ABC for Fitness -
Their stated mission is to provide a fun, simple, engaging, no-cost, effective activities that encourages physical activity in the classroom. The program is FREE and comes in PDF format. It provides research on why physical activity is important, classroom management tips for kids moving indoors, and tips for warm up and cool down procedures. Many activities have students standing by their desk and are conducive to a student leading the various activities designed for K-5. Some activities include: Wiggles, The Twelve Days of Fitness, and Let’s Swim. Another section identifies activities that integrate with language arts and math concepts called physical activity learning or “learning by doing”. Most activities are teacher or leader lead but this could provide an opportunity to send other students to younger classrooms to lead activities.
- Energizers: Classroom–based Physical Activities – Activity Promotion Laboratory and East Carolina University College of Health and Human Services.
The goal of the Activity Promotion Laboratory is to promote active lifestyles. The document includes a Healthy Active Children Resource Sheet and tips for Creating a Physically Active Classroom Atmosphere. Energizers are designed for K-5. Some activities include: Heart Smart, Stop, Drop and Roll or Rescue 9-1-1.
Energizers are available for a free PDF format download at:
Download at East Carolina University- Activity Promotion Laboratory
- Jam a Minute School Program – Health-E-Tips.
The goal of the Health-E-Tips program is to help kids make an impact on combating childhood obesity. The website requires that you sign up. The JAM School Program brings physical activity and health education into the classroom. JAM is designed to teach kids (and adults) healthier lifestyle habits. JAM is a free wellness resource for schools. JAM resources offer a weekly one-minute exercise routine called JAMmin’ Minute, an athlete-featured more extensive routine called JAM Blast, and a monthly health newsletter called Health-E-tips. According to the website the program can be lead by a JAM leader or student appointed “Drill Sergeant” of the week.
- Indoor Recess Games – Proteacher.
This website has a number of indoor games for recess. Proteacher identifies these activities as “fun ideas for what to do when recess is in the classroom.” Indoor games can be printed out from the website. They are free resources. Each game idea is an open thread where other teachers write in to add their game ideas and game modifications.
- Peaceful Playgrounds 2 Go Games –
Peaceful Playgrounds 2 Go Game rugs are available for purchase and allow you to take some of the more popular outdoor games and markings indoors. Six game rugs are currently available including: Alphabet Grid, Number Grid, Hopscotch, Balance Beam, Bean Bag Toss, and Target. All games include a number of academic activities that go with the movement activities.
- Ten Activities to Encourage Physical Activity in the Classroom – Therapy Source.
10 easily implemented activities that can be conducted during an indoor recess. Activities listed on the board and various students are assigned to lead each activity. Activities include: Walking Worksheets, Opposite Hunt, and Pencil Jumps.
- A Range of Breaks to Use in the Classroom – Behavior Solutions.
Ideas such as Sitting Aerobics, Finger Aerobics, and Double Doodles/Palm to Palm. Modified activities from Dave Vizard Brain Breaks, Starter Activities and Fillers.
- Fitness Fun Forever – Florida Department of State.
This website is unique in that it lists great games for getting kids moving. Some games like Balloon Frantic is an indoor classroom game that is popular with students. The site has a listing of games, followed by a video clip of the teacher explaining the game, as well as a video clip of students performing the activity in addition to a downloadable description card.
Download game description cards and view videos:
- Take 10! – International Life Science Institute.
Take 10 is a classroom-based physical activity program for K-5. The tool was created by teachers for teachers and students. It integrates academic learning objectives with movement. It requires no special equipment and comes with 30 multi-level activity cards linked to reproducible worksheets and was designed to allow students to be active within space limitations of a standard-size classroom.
- Hand games -
Remember the old clapping games and songs? The following You Tube Website has about 14 different Hand clap games and songs. Teaching a game every couple of days can keep students busy trying to perfect the routine and engaged both physically and cognitively. Some favorites include: A Sailor, Dr. Pepper, Miss Mary Mack, and Double, Double.
School Recess and Group Classroom Behavior – Pediatrics 2009;123;431-436, Romina M. Barros, Ellen J. Silver and Ruth E. K. Stein http://pediatrics.aappublications.org//cgi/reprint/123/2/431
National Association for Sport and Physical Education. November 2010 Teacher Tool Kit. Integrating Physical Activity into the Complete School Day