Indoor recess activity ideas

Brrr- Baby it's cold out there!  Only a snowman is happy in the cold weather that is overtaking much of the US right now. So what to do when kids can't go outside after lunch? Here's some ideas to spark your creativity.

PickUp Sticks   (Ask parents to save and collect unused chopsticks- put colored tape on tips or decorate with markers)

Rug Square or Construction Paper Hopscotch Game
Gets students up & moving - which is a very good thing!
Pipe Cleaner Fun:  Make letters, shapes, animals, etc.
 then straighten out and use again!
Here is a link to our pipe cleaner special:  PIPE CLEANER SPECIAL
Block Design Copy: There are many games that provide both the blocks & design cards to copy. But if you're looking to DIY- start with any block you have on hand. Be sure each player has the same blocks. 1 designs then others copy. 

Marble & Boink - The Quiet Fidget

  • Boinks have been around in some form for over 30 years.
  • The newest creations are with marbles sewn in for quiet fidgeting. 
  • Use steady, calming, repetitive movements to slide the marble back and forth, back and forth... 
  • Comes with or without a clip. 
  • Clips easily & quickly to attach to book-bags, belt loops, purse handles, etc
  • Even clips to wheelchairs so seniors can keep idle fingers busy.
Available individually or in sets.

Quick Scissor Fixes

Scissors a bit dull or hard to open? 
Try these quick and easy steps before buying new ones.

Cut through several layers of aluminum foil folded tightly to sharpen the blades.*

Cut through sandpaper to sharpen (This will also diminish ruts and dings in the blades)*

Use a screwdriver to just slightly loosen the screw that holds the blades together.*

No screw or screwdriver? Try this old tailors trick: Open the scissor wide and carefully run the blades and intersection flat against your hair. The oils from your hair may help slightly lubricate the scissor just enough to get through your project.*

*Remember to wipe the scissor blades and handles before using again.

Have another tip? Please share it!

Thumbs Up- our favorite ways to play:

 Basic Play:

  •  Everyone randomly places a different colored ring on each finger of 1 hand EXCEPT the thumb.
  •  A design card is turned over revealing the order of colors.
  • Then the fun begins on the count of 3!   1, 2, 3. Go!
  • Players race to transfer the rings to their thumb using in-hand manipulation only.
  • No help from the other hand - elbow on tabletop as needed to force isolated in-hand skills be used.

Easy Play:

  1. Begin with no rings on. Players look at the card and race to put rings on their thumb.
  2. Each player gets their own design card to complete. No racing involved.

Advanced Play:
  1. Everyone randomly places a different colored ring on each finger of 1 hand INCLUDING the thumb. So when start is called, players must transfer the ring off the thumb if it is not the correct starting color.
  2. Everyone randomly places 2 different colored rings on each finger of 1 hand EXCEPT the thumb. (Colors will be repeated.) This will require more planning because rings will need to be moved around in addition to transferring them to the thumb.

Let's get organized, organized...

Storage ideas: The more you store - the less you carry!

- Use rubberbands, ribbon or shoestrings to secure box games. Then store them upright instead of stacked for easier and faster access. (Also sneaks in shoetying practice during cleanup time)

- File cabinets and old fashioned chalkboards make great vertical work surfaces and most are magnetic also. If not, suspend a cookie sheet from the top hooks.

- Add magnets to the bottom of anything and everything, then place on any metal surface. Great for those things you reach for everyday.

Magnetic Dots:
Peel and stick dots easily makes anything magnetic

Click here for more info.

Bottle caps & pompoms project, FLYING HAPPY FACE!

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101 Uses for Pompoms...
Pompoms are a natural attraction to children. They are bright, soft, fuzzy, a great size and just scream "touch me"!  They come in various sizes and colors and are so versatile. 
Simple Activities:
  • Sort by color or size
  • Fill numbered cups (2 pompoms in the cup marked 2)
  • Glue to outline letters, numbers, shapes, pictures.
  • Use with tools for hand strengthening (tweezers, clothespins, tongs, etc)
  • Use as a simple grasp and place in a container activity to address crossing midline, work on rotation, or core strengthening, etc
  • In hand manuipaltion or Squirreling- how many can you fit in the palm of one hand. Then using only that hand, bring one to fingertips and place in a bottle.
Tape baggies at the bottom of each tube for a color race. Then sort using a variety of tools. Great for pairs or work centers. 
Painters tape holds contact paper with sticky side in so pompoms stick or make a fuzzy picture.

Bottle Top Wall Art and Playboard:
Art project: Gluing bottle tops and bottle caps to make abstract art pieces is a creative recycling project that's easy to implement. It can be a class or school project that everyone participates in. It can be as large or small as you need. (Although real supports will be needed to hold the weight if large)
Bottle Top Bulletin Board: How about a bottle top bulletin board that can be actively used by students?  Glue the flat surface of the tops to a sheet of poster board attached to the bulletin board. This leaves the cap openings available to be filled. Try squirreling pompoms or beads, then bringing one to fingertips and use the subtle movements of the fingers (shift) to place them in the cap. This small movement is difficult to work on (similar to feeding a string through a straw), but addresses the muscle control used in handwriting.
Fun Gifts Ideas!