Need some indoor recess ideas? Tired of musical chairs? You’re in the right place! We all know that kids need to move to burn off excess energy, but it can be tricky when it’s too cold, hot, or wet to go outside.
Instead of dreading those days, here are more than 30 fun indoor recess ideas your students will love. These preschool games, music, and movement activities are perfect for indoors and still keep active preschoolers moving and having fun.
Indoor Recess Group Games
Many of these indoor recess games also help develop important gross motor and social skills – yes, please!
4 Corners: This classic indoor game is simple to teach and easy to play. Forgot how to play? Here’s a step-by-step guide to jog your memory. Use pictures of popular storybook characters if your kids aren’t ready for numbers.
Color Corners: Or use colors (indoors or out).
Duck Duck Goose – This classic game is a great way to get a little exercise in, but also helps children develop self-regulation skills and pay attention.
Popcorn! Parachute Game- This whole group game is great for students to learn how to work together. It’s also a great game for developing important gross motor skills.
Bluebird, Bluebird Through the Window – Watch the video to learn this classic song and movement game. Kids love moving and singing along to this fun game.
Row, Row, Row, Your Boat- Students can be partnered up to sing along to this classic song!
Huckle Buckle Beanstalk- Watch the video to learn how to play this 19th century game that still packs a powerful punch today.
What Time is it Mr. Fox? – The perfect fun game for developing important listening and self-regulation skills.
Red Light, Green Light – Students can work on their executive function skills with this preschool game.
Simon Says – 2 Versions
—Snowman Listening Game
—Bunny Listening Game
Do your kids need a little extra help listening and following directions? Then you need these simple Simon Says movement games in your life!
Freeze Dance: A classic game that’s not only fun, but helps kids develop self-regulation skills. Play a favorite song, the kids have to “freeze” when the music is paused. Use a variety of musical styles and tempos to encourage different types of dance and movement. Use your smartphone and a bluetooth speaker so you can pause the music without tipping off the kids. Everybody loves playing freeze dance!
Hot Potato- Your kids will have a blast with this fun, classic game while working on their listening and self-regulation skills.
Chicken Dance- Who doesn’t love the chicken dance? Watch the video to learn how to do this super silly and fun dance!
Limbo – An oldie but a goody! Watch the video to learn how to play this classic game.
Please Mr Crocodile- Please, Mr Crocodile is a fabulous game for all different sized groups, from small groups to large groups of kindergarten or preschool kids.
More Preschool Games
Zoo Animal Movement Game- Are you looking for a fun, easy game for your Zoo thematic unit that builds in following directions, listening, and movement? Roll and Move with the Zoo Animals will give your children multiple opportunities for learning while having fun too!
London Bridge –This one never gets old! Watch the video to learn how to play this classic preschool game.
Farmer in the Dell- This one is fun to sing and easy to teach. Watch the video to learn how to play this classic preschooler game.
Rolling Pin Races- Grab some rolling pins and have fun with these races!
Bowling with Plastic Bottles- Save those plastic bottles for a fun bowling game!
Paper Plate Ring Toss- Recycle some paper plates and make your own ring toss game!
Musical Chairs – This classic game is great for teaching children patience, gets students up and moving, and learning how to deal with frustration (a very important life skill!)
Ring Around the Rosy- Watch the video to refresh your memory of how to play this classic memory game!
Head Shoulders Knees and Toes- Watch the video and remember how easy it is to play this preschool game.
Hokey Pokey- Your preschoolers will have fun with this classic simple song.
Indoor Recess Songs and Activities
Cool Bear Hunt Movement Song- Students will learn work on their social skills and oral language skills as they go on a cool bear hunt.
Dr. Jean’s Banana Dance-Preschoolers will love joining in on the movements of this song!
Number Race Game- Your preschoolers will have better retention of their numbers since it pertains to their life.
What’s Missing?-Your students will love this game and it’s easy to set up. And it’s a great one for your toddler at a restaurant as well!
Glow Stick Hide and Seek- Did somebody say glow sticks? Grab some glow sticks and play this super fun version of hide and seek.
XO Hop-If you have a small space, but lots of energy then your preschoolers are sure to love this activity.
Animal Hide and Seek –This is the perfect rainy day activity!
More Movement Activities
Jump the Candlestick – Move like Jack in the nursery rhyme or think of other ways to move over or around the candlestick.
Dinosaur Movement Game – Incorporate a favorite interest as preschoolers roll and move like dinosaurs.
Weather Movement Game – Can’t go outside? Talk about different kinds of weather in this movement game.
Swatting Game – I guarantee your preschoolers will love swatting letters, colors, numbers, or whatever you choose in this DIY game.
Uno Movement Game – Use cards from a favorite card game to move around the room. Don’t have the game? These color and number cards could easily be created or you could adapt any type of number cards to move.
Dumpster Diving Game – No, don’t bring a dumpster inside. Fill a large box with recycled materials and a few toys. Kids will love searching for the “hidden” items in the box.
Block Basketball – Easily adaptable for younger or older preschoolers. Use materials on hand to create a fun adaption of basketball for preschoolers.
What are your favorite indoor recess games and activities? Leave a comment below, we’d love to hear from you and expand our list of awesome ideas!