Back to school Kindergarten Teachers

10 Quick Prep Games for Indoor Recess Students Can Lead on Their Own (minimal work for teachers)

We all get those days! This post will show you some quick and easy Games for Indoor Recess that kids can play on their own. Indoor recess and indoor lunch are words that no teacher wants to hear even though we know that they are bound to happen. As much as we, as teachers love our little students just like they are our own kids – we, too need the break! And as an introverted teacher myself, I understand this concept quite a bit. Are you like me?

Games for indoor recess
Games for indoor recess

Independent Games for Indoor Recess

There are so many ways you can get kids to play on their own, but when it comes to 30 kids in a classroom well things can get quite chaotic. Here is a list of games you can try to get kids to play independently during recess or lunch (and hopefully keep your sanity and your tummy happy by eating your lunch in peace).

  1. I love this idea from Get some recycled cardbox containers or cereal boxes and let the kids go nuts ‘creating their cereal box house’ – each group can create their house independently or you can have the whole class create their cereal box house from a number of cardboard boxes. Of course, you will need the materials for this beforehand but they are easy to get your hands on. Collect them from home and keep them at school for any ‘kinder indoor games’ emeergency. 😉

Here are the materials you will need for this:

  • 4 or 5 cereal boxes or shoe containers.
  • coloured markers or crayons
  • old magazines
  • box of safe glue sticks
  • scissors or safety scissors (if your students are under 5)
  • decoration pieces and craft pieces to add to their houses like pom poms etc.

Here is a sample image from where you can find a cereal box cut into a house with windows and cute fence. The fence can be cut out from a magazine. This idea is not limited to houses, you can have them create funny faces from different set of eyes, mouths, hair etc.

Kindergarten Arts & crafts Activities: Make a Cereal Box House

Inside Recess Activities

Set up some simple roll and colour or roll and feed activities for the kids to do in small groups. They can be done independently during inside recess activities, because they basically practice their math and counting skills and consolidate the learning skills they’ve already been exposed to during class. Like this super simple Unicorn Mat Preschool Math Activities which you can differentiate and use with kids in preschool and kindergarten. This is a free printable which you can get from the post linked above or in the picture below.

Build a large ship: Brain Flakes Stem Challenge. Grab a large container of brain flakes and tell the kids that they will be building a large ship because of an impending earth catastrophe (you can create a little story on a whiteboard or on your digital whiteboard) to present this game as an escape room challenge. So much fun. The brain flakes can be found on the link here or on the picture below.

If you also do a quick google search, you will find lots of image ideas you can show your kids as a guide to create this ship right here.

Indoor Classroom Games

Have a set of playdough learning mats ready for this independent game or center. Have the kids use play dough to build letters, sight words, numbers and more with these easy to prep and use mats. When you have these on hand, they are the best way to engage the littles and the best part? You don’t need to supervise because they can work on these on their own on their tables or on the floor.

Play Dough Learning Mats

Meditation Mindfulness for Kindergarten: play a short video to inspire kids and show them how they can meditate and process their emotions. Personally, I love any opportunity to teach social skills and social and emotional skills. There are so many easy kindergarten videos you can find on YouTube for this idea. Here’s one embedded below.

Building Bricks with simple guide cards: use these super clever cards to help kids work on their fine motor and critical thinking skills to build different objects using building bricks. Here is an example image from The Printable Princess which gives you an idea on how to use the cards. print them and laminate. Have them ready for when kids come in for recess or lunch. Or you could do a simple search on google to have them create similar items with building bricks.

Fine motor games and a freebie! Fine motor development is an important part of early childhood. These fine motor games are perfect for PreK, Kindergarten, or First Grade students. They are easy to prep and can be used as an independent activity or fun partner game. Plus grab a superhero themed freebie to play with your students!

Pom Poms Building Set: this is a very similar idea to the one above. Kids can work independently on these and best fo all, students in preschool and kindergarten can work on these. Laminate the cards and have the kids build them independently in their little groups.

Fine Motor Skills Activities - Pom Pom Task Cards Winter

Movement Breaks in the Classroom

WHy do kids love movement breaks? Movement breaks encourage kids to take breaks from sitting and instead do some physical activity. Movement is great for children as it can help improve their cognitive skills, mental health, and social skills.

In the past, children were expected to sit still for long periods of time. However, recent studies have shown that this is not good for children’s development. In fact, it can cause a number of developmental issues.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children should be given a short break every 20 minutes. This breaks should allow them to move around and do some physical activity.

Kids need to be active and play throughout the day. They are often too hyper to sit still for long periods of time. Movement breaks can help them burn off energy, stay focused, and enhance their learning.

Activity breaks are also known as recess or physical education. They are usually scheduled in the middle of the day for about 15 minutes. Movement break kids should be encouraged to get up from their desks and move around during these times. This will allow them to release some energy, stay alert, and work better later on.

These indoor movement breaks for the classroom Videos for Independent play are perfect for bookmarking and adding to your arsenal of movement activities: these videos on YouTube will have your kids burning energy AND playing independently while they workout. Great way to get kids moving and centered when they return to ‘class time’.

Animal Dance and Freeze by Jack Hartman

Shake Your Sillies

Brain Breaks Action Songs for Kids – great for burning energy.

Mix of Brain Breaks for the Classroom – this is a great mix which you can play and leave on for the kids.

We all get those days! This post will show you some quick and easy Independent Kinder Indoor Games that kids can play on their own. Indoor recess, indoor lunch are words that no teacher wants to hear even though we know that they are bound to happen.

I hope these ideas set the wheels turning for you to prepare for Independent Kinder Indoor Games this year. You can always leave me a comment here to tell me what games you play with your kids indoors. I would love to add them to the list here!


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