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20 Ideas for Screen-Free Recess Breaks at Home

Indoor and outdoor activities for kids during quick breaks from remote school

Published on: September 24, 2020

20 Ideas for Screen-Free Recess Breaks at Home

girls jumping and dancing on furnture active at-home recess ideas for remote learning
Pretend the floor is hot lava.

Indoor fun that (mostly) won’t destroy the house

Sometimes it takes us more than 5 minutes just to get dressed to go outside, so that defeats the purpose of the short stretch breaks. Here are some ways to move that you can do the second the teacher says to turn off the camera:

  • Throw the couch cushions or the crib mattress on the ground. Instant trampoline!
  • Dance break! Crank up your music and then hit the pause button randomly for a game of “freeze dance.”
  • Wall ball is fun. All you need is a small bouncy ball and a wall. Or try stair ball: whack a bouncy ball or beach ball up the stairs and let it bounce back to you.
  • Animal race: How many different ways can you move across the room? Hop, gallop, crab walk, bear crawl...
  • Scatter throw pillows on the ground around the couch or bed to make a hot lava obstacle course.

boys playing with large cardboard box during a quick break from remote learning at home

  • Save the big cardboard boxes from your deliveries or ask a neighbor for one. It’s a rocket ship, it’s a fort, it’s a 3-D canvas. Find more ideas here.
  • If you have a garage, park the car outside and use the garage to jump rope, ride a scooter or play with outdoor toys.
  • boy playing with toilet paper tube marble run taped to wall during short at home recess break remote learning
    Credit: JiaYing Grygiel
    Tape empty toilet paper tubes together to make a marble run. You can keep adding to it over the course of the week.
  • Shove all the living room furniture against the walls, so you have a big open space in the middle for soccer. Use chair legs for a goal. Or toss balls into a laundry basket.
  • Get a hula hoop and practice hooping.
  • Build a skyscraper using anything you can scrounge up multiples of such as Dixie cups, empty yogurt containers or cereal boxes. Then you could try some indoor bowling!
  • Sensory tables will keep smaller kids busy for a long time. Make a bucket of anything you have on hand for exploration: shaving cream, rotini, water, dried beans… Yes, this has mess potential but it is also tremendously fun. If we get a decent amount of snow, and you don’t have time to deal with snow gear, scoop some into a bucket and kids can play with it like a sandbox on the kitchen floor.
  • Art activities are really relaxing for some kids. Leave out crayons and markers and paper for free drawing.

Page ahead for outdoor ideas!

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