Rainy day recess — bring on the fun!

So what’s a teacher to do when it is pouring down rain outside and it is time for recess? There are schools across this nation who may be lucky enough to have some enclosed pavillion which enables the kiddos to get all that energy out. My school doesn’t have such structure. So my students and myself are left with only one option….the classroom!

So when the rain is pouring and the old man is snoring, what can you do? There are a few safe and effective ways students can release the energy and just play for a bit. I have a few things I rotate periodically so the natives don’t get restless,especially when rainy day one turns into rainy day three.

Quiet Ball

To play quiet ball, you’ll need a small soft ball. My preferred choice is the splash balls for pools. It’s like a small bean bag and really can’t damage things if it hits something.

The students begin the game by forming a circle on the perimeter of the room. A “judge” is picked to maintain order and determine whether a throw or catch is fair during the game. Of course, we use the random feature of ClassDojo to choose the judge. After the judge is picked, that child throws out the first pitch to a student in the circle.

The object of the game is to be the last man standing. To be the last man standing, you must adhere to a few rules.

  • All tosses must be underhand
  • You can not toss the ball to the person next to you. Must be somewhat across from you.
  • If you don’t catch the ball, you are out. However, the judge can determine whether the ball was catchable. If it was judge uncatchable, the thrower is then out.
  • Once there are four kids left, they take position in the four corners of the room and the game continues.
  • When there are only two players left, they position themselves across from each other and the game continues until someone is out.
  • Try to stay quiet! If you are too loud or yelling, the judge can eject you from the game.

Now I know the last bullet is extremely difficult when the game gets really exciting. I get really excited when it gets intense. You have to allow for some level of rumbling. You just want to prohibit those “outside voices” from taking over your hallway.

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Cards and Board Games

My two boys have outgrown most of the board games we once played together. Instead of tossing them or looking for a good home, I brought them to my classroom. You might think Candy Land and Shoots & Ladders would be untouched by 5th graders. It’s just the opposite! They love those games. I also have decks of UNO and SKIP BO cards they can choose. I have to say there is just something magical about seeing my students spread out on the floor and engrossed in a game.

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Go Old School

Sometimes you just have to go back to your days in elementary school.

  • Heads Up Seven Up
  • Whole Group Hangman
  • Simon Says … of course with classroom modification due to space.

I am a strong believer in recess! I’m not talking a 5 minute brain break. I’m talking a full 15 to 20 minutes of time to just be a kid. We as the adults have a luxury of walking away from work when our brain is about to explode. For me to be at my best, I have to leave the thinking at the desk for a good amount of time and focus on something else for a while. I am much more productive and clear headed when I return to my desk. Our students are no different! It takes a lot of energy and brain power to learn. Just like us, they have to step away before their brains ignite into flame.