12 Active Whole Group Indoor Recess Games for Rainy Days

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Rainy days can be a drag for teachers and students alike – no outdoor recess time means serious cabin fever that can have negative consequences on learning. Instead of resigning yourself to hours of indoor downtime, why not engage your class in active whole-group active indoor recess games that will keep everyone entertained? In this blog post, we’ll explore some fun indoor recess games and activities designed specifically for the classroom that encourage teamwork and physical movement, so say goodbye to rainy-day boredom!

Say goodbye to rainy-day boredom with these fun and engaging indoor recess activities for the classroom! Keep your students entertained and active with these teamwork-focused games. Check out our blog post for more ideas!

Whole Group Active Indoor Recess Games

Whole group indoor recess games are a great way to keep students of all ages entertained and engaged while they spend time indoors. Not only do these games provide an opportunity for some light physical activity, but they can also help build social and cooperative skills. Here are a few ideas for active indoor recess games to get you started!

Heads Up 7 Up Seven

Seven students stand in the front of the room while all other pupils lay their heads on their desks. The seven move around and each touches a single student’s shoulder, prompting them to put their thumb up. Upon hearing “heads up seven up!”, these chosen few get an opportunity to guess which one of the seven tapped them – successful guesses lead to a switch; they then become one of those standing in front!

Here’s another version This one too is played inside a classroom. All the students put their heads down on their desks and extend one thumb. The teacher then secretly chooses one person as “It.” This person goes around touching the thumbs of six other people. If a person is touched, he or she goes to the front of the room. When this has been accomplished, “It” yells, “Seven up!” Everyone raises their heads and tries to guess which of the seven people is “It.

Laser Eyes

One person goes outside the classroom. Everyone else sits on top of their desks. The person outside comes back in and looks at people with “laser eyes”. No one says anything while they look around. When they look at someone, that person has to sit on the floor. The other kid has to guess who is the laser eyes.

Roll the Dice

Kids think of a movement such as 10 push-ups or 15 jumping jacks and you write it on the dice. Roll the dice for each movement. Or have students think of a movement and then roll the dice for the number of times to do that movement.

Doggie Doggie where’s my bone

A kid goes to the hallway, and you give a student the “bone” (I use a marker) and hide it in their desk or under their legs. The kid comes back into the room and goes to the front of the room facing the board. Then they say, “Doggie, doggie, where’s my bone?” The kid with the marker barks. The other kid then turns around to guess who has it. If they guess right, they go again; if wrong, the kid with the marker goes.

Scrambled Eggs

To start, have one student leave the room. The remaining students should then switch desks before having another student hide in the classroom. When it is time to bring kids from outside of the room back inside, give them 2 chances and 10 seconds each to guess who has been hidden away!

Heads or Tails

Ready for a game that requires no real skill, but is still wild and fun? All you need is one coin. Gather your students in a circle: if they think the coin will land on heads, they place their hands on their heads; if tails, they put them on their hips. Flip the coin to see who guesses right—those who do remain standing while those incorrect get eliminated until only one student remains. It’s an exciting game where rounds go quickly so players aren’t “out” of the competition for too long!

Silent Ball

Silent Ball is a fun game that can be played indoors with a group of people. It is one of the students’ favorite active indoor recess games! The goal of the game is to pass a ball around the circle without making any noise.

To start, have all the players stand in a circle with enough space for them to move around. Each person should be equally spaced out from one another. One player is chosen to start with the ball and they should stand at the center of the circle. The person chosen should then throw or roll the ball toward any other person standing in the circle. That person must catch the ball without making any noise, and then proceed to throw or roll it toward another player.

This process should continue until everyone has had a chance to catch the ball. If at any point someone makes a sound while catching or throwing, they are out of the game until only one remains!

Good Morning Judge!

One person sits in a chair with their back to the group. You silently point to a student and they sneak up and knock on the chair and say “Good Morning Judge” but they have to disguise their voice. The person in the chair has to guess who it is! Get it right they stay, get it wrong whoever knocked gets in the chair. 


One student must take on the role of detective while all others in the room are suspects. We’ve been studying simple machines, so we’ll say that someone has stolen one! Every individual other than our thief builds an alibi for what they were doing when the crime occurred. Once the detective re-enters the room, each person shares their story – except this time around, only our “culprit” alters theirs slightly. It is up to our self-proclaimed sleuth to pinpoint who committed this dastardly deed by carefully listening and evaluating every account given!

Desert Island Game

The teacher selects a secret “theme” for the game, such as words with double consonants, liquids, animals, or even the student’s name – but never reveals it. Instead, they ask “I’m going to a desert island and I’m taking a _____ (fill in an example). What are you taking?” If the answer matches that chosen theme, their name is placed on the board while incorrect answers mean they cannot come. This continues until one lucky student guesses what rule was set by guessing correctly!

Poison Dart Frog

The game’s detective stands in the center of a circle, with two to three players acting as poison dart frogs. If one of the “frogs” flicks its tongue at another player, that participant will then drop to the ground and be out of play – leaving it up to the detective to identify who amongst them is guilty.

Guards and Statues

All but one of the participants must stand still like statues while a single guard circulates around them. The goal is for the players to move when they think that the guard isn’t looking, and if they are seen moving by the guard, they will be eliminated from the game. As I always tell my kids, whatever rules set forth by “the guard” goes! We can usually complete two or three games in fifteen minutes time. So sit down flat once you’re out, and let’s get started! Here is a link to alternative directions for the game.

More active indoor recess games

  1. Charades
  2. Simon Says
  3. Musical Chairs – use multiplication fact music or other educational music!
  4. What’s the Time, Mr. Wolf?
  5. Catch Phrase
  6. Memory Challenge
  7. Hot Potato
  8. 20 Questions
  9. Telephone Pictionary
  10. Duck Duck Goose
  11. I Spy
  12. Minute to Win It Games

YouTube Movement Videos

Make the most of your indoor recess time by incorporating fun and engaging Youtube movement videos. Through these videos, kids can stay active during their break while also having a blast! Not only will children be able to maintain physical activity indoors but they’ll also have an opportunity to learn new skills and express their creativity.

Coach Corey Martin is an inspiring fitness trainer and YouTube star who has made it his mission to make exercise fun and accessible for everyone. His videos are tailored to all ages, levels of fitness, and interests. Coach Corey Martin had a lot of awesome “chases” that have students moving, here is one.

The Fitness Hustle on YouTube is also a great way to liven up any indoor recess.

Four Corners Games

The Four Corners game is a fun and engaging exercise that can be done indoors. Here are two videos that explain how to play it

Cardio Desk Drumming

Cardio desk drumming is a fun way for kids to stay active indoors during recess. It involves using pool noodles to hit desks, chairs, and other objects to create rhythms. The beats can be accompanied by singing or clapping.

Not only will it provide a healthy dose of physical activity, but it also encourages creativity and musicality in children. Kids can work together to create elaborate beats and adjust their tempo as they go along. Cardio desk drumming can be done at home or in the classroom, making it an excellent option for indoor recess activities.

Would You Rather Brain Breaks

Would you Rather Workout videos are also a great brain break activity. These videos have a question and workout movement attached to each answer. They get kids actively up and moving while keeping some order to the chaos of indoor recess!

We’ve explored a variety of ways to keep students engaged and active during indoor recess, from movement videos and four corners games to brain breaks and cardio desk drumming. Each of these activities encourages physical activity while also providing an opportunity for kids to learn new skills, express their creativity, or just have some fun!

Keeping the learning process engaging with these types of activities can help children stay focused in class and be more successful overall. So why not give them a chance? Let’s get our kids moving – indoors or out!

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