Indoor Recess Ideas from Matt at Team Building Activities for Kids Central

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Indoor Recess Ideas from Matt at Team Building Activities for Kids Central
Hello, readers of Fern Smith's Classroom Ideas!
It's Matt from Team Building Activities for Kids Central. 
Fern was kind enough to let me guest post on her blog, and I'm very excited to share some indoor team building activities with you! 
For many of us, the last few weeks have been super cold, and we all know what that means: no outdoor recess. Students (and teachers!) may feel a little cooped-up and jittery after spending hours inside. So, we figured we'd share some of our favorite high- and medium-energy games to let students expel a little energy and get a little exercise. 
Activity #1: The Ha Ha Game. Great for groups of four to 100, for all ages, with no equipment needed. The game is a totally silly, and produces giggles about 100% of the time. 
How to Play: Clear a large space on the floor (a gymnasium is a great spot; if you can move the desks in a classroom, that could work too), and have your Student #1 lie down with his/her arms flat on the ground. Student #2 then lies on the ground perpendicular to Student #1, with the back in his head on Student #1's belly. Student #3 does the same, Student #4 does the same, and so on. When everyone is arranged in place, Student #1 has to say "Ha!", followed by Student #2, and so on. The goal is to see how far down the line the group can get without bursting into laughing (hint: you won't get far!). If that sounds confusing, here's a YouTube video that shows a bunch of grown-ups playing the game (note, too, that they can't get through the instructions without laughing!).  
Search for "The Ha Ha Game" on YouTube, and you'll find a ton of hilarious videos! Not a ton of educational tie-ins for The Ha Game, but it's a great way to get students cheerful! 

Activity #2: Sensory Table. A quieter game for smaller groups, but great for indoor-time during the winter months. This one takes a little prep, but it's an interesting game that usually keeps students interested. 
How to Play: The goal of the game is to have students guess objects not by looking at them, but by closing their eyes and using other senses. The teacher or instructor sets up bowls full of textured objects at a few different desks, with varying smells and surfaces, and the students go from desk to desk and try to guess what each object is. You can place objects in a large bowl with a cloth or piece of paper over it so that students don't ruin the surprise. Excellent objects are peeled grapes, rice, saltine crackers, marbles, pine cones, tennis balls... you name it! If you have children with sensory issues, they may not like the game, so that's something to keep in mind. But for most students, the activity poses a new way to experience some items that are otherwise very common. 

Activity #3: Keep the Beat. This is a very fun game, and LOUD! The activity is good for five to fifteen minutes of time, and works for groups of four or more. 
How to Play: Students use hands, feet, classroom objects, and whatever else they can find to create a beat box. To start, arrange the desks into a big circle, and have students start clapping in a simple "one / two / three / four" rhythm. After a few measures of keeping the beat, point to a student to who do the first "drum solo." S/he can do whatever rhythm s/he wants. After a few measures, the next student jumps in with a rhythm, and so on. You can vary the game by adding props: objects such as a coffee can full of dried beans create a really neat sound that participants can use. Some students LOVE this game, and will ask to play over and over again! It can be a great reward for good behavior. The game can quickly go awry, with different students breaking off into different beats---but that's part of the fun! Sometimes the drum circle sounds organized and even; other times it sounds a little chaotic. It's actually really interesting to see students work together to produce music. 
For more on this game, here is a great description of the activity

Wrap Up for Each Activity: The most important part of each of these games is the wrap-up. Take a few minutes and ask students what their experience was like and what they learned. You might be surprised at some of the insights you hear! The wintertime poses a unique challenge to teachers---we hope these games help round out the middle-of-the-schoolyear months!

Enjoy recess, and thank you again to Fern! 

Fern here ~ Thank you so much for some new and exciting ideas for my followers. I invite you to visit Matt's Blog for more great ideas.
I invite you to follow my Pinterest board, Indoor Recess Activities.

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