By Teachers, For Teachers
Whether it’s just too hot to go outdoors (lucky you, many of us wish we had that problem) or too cold because it’s winter and frigid outside, a day trapped in your classroom can feel like a lifetime.
While many of you have heard of brain breaks and probably use them throughout your day, it still may not be enough to ease some of that tension. Here are 10 teacher-tested classroom activities that will help you let out some of that pent-up energy in a controlled, yet fun way.
GoNoodle is not only usually the students’ first choice, but it’s the teachers’ first choice as well. This free website (which you can link to your Smartboard) has free games, interactive videos, and classroom activities that students just love. These short videos are perfect if you want students to get their energy out or even relax and calm down. Since each video or game is only a few minutes long, you can link several of them together. You can start out having students jump and dance, then end by having them do yoga and meditation. To make it even easier on teachers, GoNoodle made several mega mixes, which incorporate several activities into one video that can last anywhere from seven minutes to 20 minutes.
This classic game is still popular in today’s classrooms. It’s quite simple to play and even easier to teach. All students have to do is walk to a corner and hope their number is not called. Here’s a simple explanation of the rules.
This indoor classroom activity may be a blast from the past, but students still love it today. The easiest way to play is to have students each think of anything from an animal to an aircraft and write it down on a piece of paper and fold it in half. Then, all students place it into a bowl, and each team of students takes turns choosing a paper and acting out what is on it. The team with the most points wins.
If you want to get your students up and moving on a cold and wintery day, then playing freeze dance is the way to go. It will not only help them break a sweat, but it will get all of their energy out in a matter of a few minutes. To play, all you have to do is put on some music and tell them to let loose. When the music stops they must freeze. Anyone who doesn’t freeze is out of the game. The last one left standing wins!
This is a simple game of “Where is it?” One student is called to be the guesser and goes outside of the classroom, while another student hides a fake dog bone under their “bottom” while they are sitting on the floor. When the student re-enters the classroom, the students chant “Doggy, doggy where’s your bone, somebody took it from your home, guess who.” Then the child guesses which student is hiding it. Older students can do this as the hot/cold game and just hide the bone somewhere in the classroom instead of chanting the doggy song. Then the other students tell them if they are getting close (hot) or are not (cold).
This is a twist on the game musical chairs. Push all of the classroom desks to the side and place large circular stickers (ones that can easily be placed and re-placed on the floor) down onto the ground. Space them out like you would a chair. Start the music and have students walk around the circles just like they would if there was a chair there. But, when the music stops they don’t sit on a chair, instead they stand on a circle. The last person standing that is not on a circle sticker is out. The game continues until only one person is left standing.
Once a week on “Fun Friday,” or even once a month, ask students to bring in their favorite board game. Have students place all of the games in the front of the room for all to see. Then, allow students to vote for the game that they would like to play.
If you notice that the forecast for tomorrow calls for frigid temperatures, then instruct students to bring in a smock the following day. Take all of the art supplies that you can get your hands on, and let students’ imaginations run wild. Encourage them to make anything that their heart desires.
Mum ball is a great game if you want students to have fun, but in a quiet kind of manner. Have all students sit on the top of their desks and give one student a soft ball. That student must point to another student to throw the ball to. If the student misses the catch, they are out. If they catch it, it is now their turn to point to a student and throw the ball. If the person throwing the ball doesn’t throw it well, they are out. The last person sitting on the desk is the winner.
Yoga is the best, most relaxing way for your students to get their energy out while staying Zen. It’s engaging, but at the same time helps increase students’ energy and focus. Try GoNoodles version of it, or try teaching students a few poses on your own. Many teachers swear by the benefits of it.
Do you have any classroom activities or indoor games that your student’s particularly love? Please share your ideas in the comment section below, we would love to hear your ideas.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.