Let’s dive into a collection of indoor recess games for elementary students that promise excitement and engagement during those rainy or chilly days.

Indoor recess days can sometimes feel like a challenge, especially when the weather keeps us indoors.

With a bit of creativity and some exciting games up our sleeves, indoor recess time can become a great way for elementary students to have fun. Plus they build social skills, and can stay active.


In this blog post, we’ll explore a variety of indoor recess games that cater to different interests and age groups. This makes sure that every student has a great time.

Classic Games for All Ages:

When it comes to indoor recess, classic games are always a great option.

Games like Simon Says, Duck Duck Goose, and Freeze Dance can be adapted for small groups or the entire class, ensuring that kids of all ages can participate.

These games not only provide a fun way to release excess energy but also promote social interaction and cooperation.

Simon Says: 

A classic game where one person (Simon) gives commands, and the others must only follow if the command begins with “Simon says.” If Simon doesn’t say “Simon says” and someone follows the command, they’re out.

Duck Duck Goose: 

Players sit in a circle, and one person walks around tapping others on the head, saying “Duck, duck, goose!” The tapped “goose” then has to chase the first person around the circle before they can sit back in the tapped spot.

Freeze Dance: 

Play music and have students dance around. When the music stops, they must freeze in place. The last one to freeze is out. Repeat until only one dancer remains.

Musical Chairs: 

Arrange chairs in a circle, one fewer than the number of players. Play music while students walk around the chairs. When the music stops, they must quickly find a chair to sit in. Remove one chair after each round.

Indoor Obstacle Course: 

Set up a simple obstacle course using items like hula hoops, paper plates for stepping stones, and soft balls for tossing. Students can navigate the course individually or in small groups.

Board Games: 

Classics like Monopoly, Scrabble, and Candy Land are great for small groups. Board games not only provide entertainment but also encourage strategic thinking and cooperation.

Card Games: 

Games like Uno, Go Fish, or Crazy Eights are perfect for indoor recess. They’re easy to set up and promote social interaction.

Scavenger Hunt: 

Create a scavenger hunt with items hidden around the classroom. Provide clues or a list of items for students to find. This engages their minds while having fun.

Treasure Hunter: 

Hide small prizes or objects around the room, and provide students with a treasure map or clues to find the hidden treasures.

Red Light, Green Light: 

One person stands at the front of the room as the “stoplight” and calls out “green light” for the others to move and “red light” to stop. Anyone caught moving on “red light” is out.

Chicken Dance: 

Have a dance-off where students mimic the movements of a chicken. It’s a silly and entertaining activity.

Nerf Ball Games: 

Set up a mini Nerf ball game, such as tossing the ball into a designated target or playing a simple game of catch. It’s a safe way to incorporate physical activity.

These classic games are not only enjoyable but also promote social interaction, teamwork, and physical activity during indoor recess.


Board Games and Card Games:

Small groups of students can engage in board games and card games.

Setting up a corner of the room with a variety of options can be a great way to encourage social skills and strategic thinking.

Classics like Monopoly, Scrabble, and Uno are not only fun but also help develop critical thinking and fine motor skills.

Active Games for Physical Activity:

For a burst of physical activity during indoor recess, consider setting up an obstacle course using simple items like hula hoops, paper plates, and soft balls.

Incorporating activities like the chicken dance or a nerf ball game can be a great way to get the whole class moving and burning off excess energy.

Indoor Obstacle Course:

Set up a series of stations with activities like jumping jacks, hula hooping, and crawling under tables. Students can navigate the course individually or in small groups.

Dance Party:

Play upbeat music and encourage students to dance. This is a great way to get everyone moving and having fun.

Yoga or Cosmic Kids Yoga:

Incorporate yoga or Cosmic Kids Yoga videos to promote flexibility, balance, and relaxation. It’s a fun way to engage in physical activity while focusing on mindfulness.

Balloon Volleyball:

Use a balloon as a lightweight ball and set up a “volleyball” game with a low net or simply by hitting the balloon back and forth. This ensures a safe and controlled environment.

Scavenger Hunt:

Create a scavenger hunt with physical challenges. For example, include tasks like doing five jumping jacks or running in place for 30 seconds at each station.

Fitness Bingo:

Use Fitness bingo cards with different physical activities (e.g., jumping jacks, lunges, or high knees). Students can mark off activities as they complete them.

Balloon Pop:

Write various physical activities on slips of paper and place them inside balloons. Students choose a balloon, pop it, and then perform the activity written inside.

Sock Skating:

Have students wear socks and “skate” on a smooth surface. This low-impact activity is a fun way to mimic ice skating indoors.


Set up a limbo station using a broomstick or a jump rope. Students take turns bending backward to go under the limbo bar without touching it.

Animal Movement Dice:

Create large dice with different animal movements (e.g., bear crawl, frog jump, crab walk). Students roll the dice and perform the corresponding animal movement.

Fitness Stations:

Set up different fitness stations around the room, such as a jumping station, a stretching station, and a balance station. Students rotate through the stations at their own pace.

Indoor Bowling:

Use soft or lightweight balls and set up a mini bowling alley with makeshift pins. Students take turns rolling the ball to knock down the pins.

Remember to consider the available space and the safety of the activities to ensure a positive and injury-free indoor recess experience.


Educational Indoor Recess Activities:

Indoor recess also presents a great opportunity to sneak in some educational fun.

Incorporate math manipulatives, word searches, or historical figure scavenger hunts to make the most of this free time.

This not only keeps the kids engaged but also aligns with the educational goals of the school day.

Math Manipulatives:

Provide students with math manipulatives like counting beads, cubes, or pattern blocks. Encourage them to create patterns, solve simple math problems, or practice counting.

Word Searches:

Create word search puzzles related to classroom topics, spelling words, or thematic content. Students can work individually or in pairs to find the hidden words.

Historical Figure Scavenger Hunt:

Hide pictures or information cards of historical figures around the room. Students search for the figures and learn about their contributions to history.

Book Titles Charades:

Write book titles on slips of paper, and students take turns acting out or miming the book without speaking. Others guess the title based on the performance.

Math Games:

Incorporate math games like “Math Bingo” or “Math Jeopardy.” These games reinforce math concepts in an interactive and entertaining way.

Science Experiments:

Choose simple and safe science experiments that can be conducted indoors. This could include making a volcano with baking soda and vinegar or exploring the properties of magnets.

Geography Quiz:

Prepare a geography quiz with questions about countries, capitals, or landmarks. Students can answer individually or in teams, enhancing their geographical knowledge.

Story Cubes:

Use story cubes with pictures on each side. Students roll the cubes and create a story incorporating the images. This activity fosters creativity and storytelling skills.

Educational Board Games:

Introduce board games that have an educational focus, such as “Scrabble,” “Math Bingo,” or “Bananagrams.” These games make learning enjoyable.

Math Puzzles and Riddles:

Create or provide students with math puzzles and riddles to solve. This challenges their critical thinking skills while reinforcing mathematical concepts.

Themed Art Projects:

Connect art with educational themes. For example, students can create artwork inspired by a specific historical period or recreate scenes from a book they’ve read.

Foreign Language Flashcards:

Use flashcards with words or phrases in a foreign language. Students can match the words with their meanings or practice pronunciation.

Interactive Storytelling:

Have students collaboratively create a story. Each student adds a sentence or paragraph, building a unique story together.

Educational Videos or Documentaries:

Select age-appropriate educational videos or documentaries that align with classroom topics. This provides an opportunity for students to learn in a different format.

Coding Challenges:

Introduce basic coding challenges using online platforms or offline activities. This fosters problem-solving skills and introduces students to the world of coding.

These educational indoor recess activities not only keep students engaged but also promote learning in a fun and interactive way.

Student-Led Fun:

Encourage student leaders by allowing them to choose and lead games. This not only empowers them but also fosters a sense of responsibility.

Whether it’s organizing a treasure hunt or leading a game of musical chairs, letting students take the lead adds an extra layer of enjoyment to indoor recess.

Treasure Hunt:

Assign a student as the “Treasure Hunter.” They hide small objects or treats around the room and provide clues for others to find the treasures. Rotate roles for each session.

Student-Designed Board Games:

Allow students to create their own board games. They can design the board, come up with rules, and teach their classmates how to play during indoor recess.

Musical Chairs:

Choose a student as the “DJ” who controls the music. They start and stop the music during a game of musical chairs. Rotate the DJ role for each round.

Fitness Relay:

Have a student leader organize a fitness relay with various activities like jumping jacks, running in place, or balancing exercises. They can time each participant and create a friendly competition.

Creative Arts and Crafts Corner:

Designate a student as the “Art Director” for the day. They can organize a crafting corner with materials for making simple crafts or artwork.

Storytelling Circle:

Choose a student as the “Storyteller.” They lead a storytelling session where each student adds a sentence to create a collaborative story. Rotate the storyteller role.

DIY Puppet Show:

Let students organize and perform a puppet show. They can create puppets from paper bags or other materials and put on a short play for their peers.

Memory Game Challenge:

Assign a student as the “Memory Master.” They organize a memory game where participants take turns adding items to a growing list. The Memory Master keeps track of the items.

Simon Says Challenge:

Allow a student to take on the role of “Simon.” They lead a game of Simon Says, coming up with creative and fun commands for their classmates to follow.

Dance Off:

Choose a student as the “Dance Leader.” They select the music and lead a dance session, encouraging others to join in and showcase their dance moves.

Digital Options for Variety:

On days when outdoor recess is not an option, consider incorporating online games or cosmic kids yoga.

These activities cater to different age groups and provide a fun and interactive way for students to enjoy their indoor recess period.


Kahoot! is an interactive quiz platform that allows teachers or students to create and play quizzes on various subjects. It’s a fun and engaging way for kids to test their knowledge individually or in teams.


Prodigy is an educational game that combines math practice with an adventure-style role-playing game. Students answer math questions to progress in the game, making learning fun and interactive.

Minecraft: Education Edition:

Minecraft: Education Edition offers a creative and educational environment where students can build and explore virtual worlds. Teachers can use it to create lessons or challenges related to various subjects.


ABCmouse is an online learning platform designed for young children. It offers a variety of interactive games and activities that cover subjects like math, reading, science, and art.

Wheel of Fortune:

Online versions of Wheel of Fortune allow students to play this classic word game individually or in small groups. It’s a great way to enhance vocabulary and word recognition skills.

Remember to ensure that the selected games are age-appropriate and align with the educational goals of the school.

Additionally, always consider the screen time recommendations for children during indoor activities.


Indoor recess is an important part of the school day, offering students the chance to unwind, socialize, and engage in unstructured play.

By incorporating a variety of indoor recess games that cater to different interests and age groups, we can transform these indoor recess days into a much-anticipated and enjoyable time for students of all ages.

So, the next time inclement weather keeps us indoors, let’s embrace the opportunity to have a great time with these fun and educational indoor recess ideas.

Before you go, here are more posts you’ll enjoy:

The Best Cooperative Board Games for Kids

15 Tips to Help Kids Make Friends

Free Snowman Craft for Kids


Indoor Recess Games for Elementary Students