April showers bring May flowers, so make sure you're prepared with some fun rainy day recess activities!
Some parts of the country are definitely more familiar with rainy days — maybe even snowy ones — but every teacher has experienced a room full of students who can’t go out during recess to play handball. So what do you do? Hide under your desk? No way! This is a great opportunity to get the class moving and grooving, whether it's with some mellow brain games to keep the juices flowing or some motion exercises to get them reenergized. Here are some rainy day recess activities that will help students forget about the dreary day and distract them from making a mess of your classroom!
Rainy day recess activities to keep students active:
1. Play table tennis with balloons.
Have a couple of balloons handy and a lot of antsy students? Perfect, because that’s what you’ll need for this rainy day recess activity! It will also help if you have a few paper plates and popsicle sticks available (if you're short on those, check with your school cafeteria). Use the sticks and plates to make lightweight — and much less dangerous — tennis rackets. You can then have the students either bat the balloon back and forth or create a makeshift table tennis court on a desk using some string. Even if you can’t make the impromptu rackets, children can use just their hands to pass the balloon back and forth!
Here’s another safe and affordable rainy day recess activity for the classroom! All you need are some pencil eraser toppers, a marble, and some small stickers. If you don’t have these things handy, don't worry — anything that’s small and can stand on its own can be used for the bowling pins. Set up a lane by lining tape on the floor or a long desk. From there, tiny bowling can start!
Four Corners is a classic go-to-game for many teachers because it’s so simple and it gives students the giggles! Have your students choose one of the four corners of the classroom to go to. You can name each of the corners one, two, three, and four, or you can name them based on something you’re learning in class, like North, South, East, and West; or Reptiles, Amphibians, Mammals, and Birds. Then select one student to be “it”, close their eyes, spin and point to one of the corners. If a student has unfortunately chosen the corner called out, then they’re out of the game and will have to sit down. The last student left standing's the winner of the game!
This is a good activity if you want a little peace and quiet — but, warning: it does involve throwing a ball in the classroom. Have each student sit criss-cross-applesauce on top of their desks. Then provide one student with a small, lightweight ball and have them toss the ball to another student. The trick of the game is that students can’t make any sounds while the ball is being tossed and they can’t drop it. If a student breaks one of these rules, they’re out of the game and have to sit back in their chairs. Similar to Four Corners, the last student left on their desktop is the winner!
This classic rainy day recess activity doesn’t involve anything other than a room full of active students. Have students stand with some space between each other — which may require moving a few desks around — and then call out different things for them to do, like "tap your head" or "jump on one foot." Add “Simon Says” before each command. If you give a command without saying "Simon Says" first and a student does the action, they’re out of the game. Tip: once you’ve exasperated yourself giving the commands, try passing the leadership role over to some of the students.
What’s better than a little dance break to get the blood flowing? When a rainy day keeps you all indoors, turn on some upbeat, dance music on and encourage students to start dancing. Stop the music in intervals and have the children freeze in their last dance pose, then start the music up again! But be careful, this activity gets kids pretty riled up. (On the bright side, they usually expend a lot of energy by the end of your playlist!)
Rainy day recess activities to students them thinking:
7. Play indoor tic-tac-toe.
This activity doesn’t take a ton of brain power, but your kids will enjoy doing something interactive while exercising strategy and problem solving skills. All you have to do is set up some tape on the floor in the pattern of a tic-tac-toe board. Then provide each student with a few objects that match and are uniquely their own. Plus, a carpet tic-tac-toe board is something you can keep on your floor year round, regardless of weather!
If you know a rainy day — or week — is approaching, buy some supplies ahead of time so your students can get crafty when it starts pouring outside! By stocking up on some borax, cornstarch, white glue, Ziploc baggies, and measuring tools (all items you can find in a grocery store), you’ll be prepared for an indoor project that’s not only fun but results in toys that students can take home! What’s better than using some science to create a new toy?
This rainy day recess activity will bring out the artist in every student! Dry beans, rice, and noodles are some of the common household items you’ll need, along with paper plates and markers. Tip: try to get some colorful dry foods so that the students have a vibrant color palette to work with. If you're unsure of where to start, we recommend having students create a self-portrait using kidney beans or a frog using lima beans!
10. Play Sparkle.
Want to get students spelling in a way they’ll enjoy? Sparkle — you may know it by a different name — turns your weekly spelling list into a game. Line students up in a circle and choose a word for them to spell. Say the word out loud and have the first student start off by providing the first letter. Then have the student next to them say the next letter in the word, and so on and so forth. If a student provides the incorrect letter, they’re out of the game. If a student says the final letter in a word and it’s been spelled correctly, then they turn to the person next to them and say “sparkle," eliminating that student from the game. This is a great way to add some “sparkle” to new words and a rainy day!
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This post was written by Sydney Moorhead, the catalog specialist at BookPal. She is currently reading The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah and Looking for Alaska by John Green.