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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

boys playing on the sidewalk navigating a chalk obstacle course at-home recess ideas
Draw an obstacle course in chalk in your driveway or on the sidewalk. Credit: JiaYing Grygiel

If you can get outside

Fresh air and focusing our eyes on something far away are the very best antidote to staring at a computer screen (this goes for kids and adults). Snatch up any chance you can to go outside. As the rain sets in, plant rubber boots and jackets by the door to make dashing outside quick and easy.

  • Get a playground ball and kick or throw it at targets on the side of the house, a fence, or a tree for points.
  • Draw a hopscotch course or obstacle course with chalk on the driveway or on the sidewalk in front of your house. Get more ideas for indoor and outdoor obstacle courses here
  • Play “Ghosts in the Graveyard”: The person who is “it” walks around. Every time the person who is “it” turns to look at you, you have to freeze, like the ghost in Super Mario Bros. See how long you can manage to stay “it.” It’s a great game for playing inside too, because it’s silent!
  • If you have two kids and a ball, have the kids toss the ball back and forth. Each time, they have to take a step back. (This football is ideal for kids learning to throw a spiral and catch a pass.)
  • Do an "egg and spoon" race around your house or up the block or to the next telephone pole. Siblings can race each other or one kid can try to beat their time without dropping the egg. (Tip: Try a small potato for considerably less mess — also a bit less thrill.)
  • Take a sneaky walk around the block pretending everyone's a secret agent. Try to hide behind shrubs or parked cars to remain unseen by passing vehicles or other pedestrians.
  • “Beat the clock” ideas: Fastest 10 laps to the mailbox or most jumping jacks (or burpees or cartwheels or ballet leaps or whatever) in 30 seconds.

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