Your students are full of energy, and they need time and space to run, play and burn off that excess energy. But heading outdoors is not always an option. Whether it’s blistering hot, freezing cold or pouring down rain, there are days when you’ll have to stay inside and find creative ways to get students moving.
Well, look no further! We’ve rounded up 15 of our favorite indoor activities that are quick, easy to do and sure to make students break a sweat:
1. Hip Waddle
Challenge students to hold a ball between them as they waddle around. It’s much easier said than done! Pair up students, and give each pair a beach ball or balloon. Stand partners side by side, and place the ball between their hips. Have each pair walk to a finish line without dropping the ball. If it drops, they must pick it up and start over again. The first pair to the finish line wins!
2. Elbow Tag
Nothing beats a fun game of chase! Take students to the gym or a large, open space. Ask a volunteer to be “It.” Have students escape being tagged by linking together with another student arm-in-arm at the elbow. If a third person joins the pair by linking to an available arm, the person on the opposite arm must find a new partner before being tagged. Keep playing until everyone has been tagged!
3. Follow the Leader
This classic game gets the entire group moving! Encourage the leader to incorporate lots of movement, such as marching, hopping like a frog, twirling in circles or flapping her arms like a bird. Switch leaders every few minutes so that each student has a turn to lead the group.
This activity is a real-life balancing act! Give each student a paper plate. Challenge students to walk around the room balancing the plates on their heads. If a student drops his plate, he must freeze until another student picks it up and places it back on his head - while keeping her own plate in place, of course!
5. Jump the Creek
This competitive game is sure to be a student favorite! To play, place two strips of tape about one foot apart on the floor. Line students up, and have them take turns trying to jump over the “creek.” When everyone has jumped once, move the sticks farther apart. If someone lands on or in the creek, they’re out. The person who jumps the farthest without falling in wins!
6. Hand Hockey
This energy-busting game is designed to build students’ upper-body strength. Pair students, and have them face each other in the up position of a push-up. Each student will try to maintain the up position and score a goal by using one hand to push a puck or ball between his partner’s hands. A goal is scored each time the puck or ball slides past the partner.
7. Three-Legged Race
Here’s another activity that requires great teamwork! Pair up students and have each player stand next to her partner. Using scarves or fabric strips, tie the partners’ inside legs. Mark a starting line and a finish line, and at your signal, have the three-legged pairs race to the finish! The first pair who crosses the line wins.
8. Gorilla Thumping
Get your students’ heart pumping with this cool karate move! Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Thump your chest four times, gorilla-style, alternating arms. Then, squat down, slap the floor four times and return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times and gradually pick up the pace!
9. Knotty Affair
Can students work themselves out of a human knot? To begin, ask students to stand in a circle and blindfold themselves. On your call, have them slowly step forward and grab the hand across from them. Each student should hold another student’s hand. Tell them to take off their blindfolds and, on your call, untangle themselves back into a complete circle - without letting go of each other’s hands! Enjoy watching students go under and over each other as they have fun freeing themselves from the knot.
Put students’ strength and flexibility to the test! Have two students hold a long stick while the others take turns going under it, bending their bodies backward. The stick is lowered about an inch after everyone goes under it once. If they touch it with any part of their bodies, they’re out. The last person left is the winner! Optional: play the game on a mat to make sure students are safe if they fall.
11. Hoop-Hut Relay
This game requires both speed and strategy! Challenge students to build a hut out of large plastic hoops and to crawl through it without knocking it down. The first group to make it through successfully wins!
12. Photo Finish
With this fun activity, students will break a sweat while building teamwork skills! Line students up side by side behind a line on the floor. Students must cross the line and touch the ground with their feet at exactly the same time. If the group is out of sync, the leader must shout, “Click!” and the group must start over again. Keep going until the task is completed!
13. Animal Charades
What’s better than cute animals? Acting like one! To play, write the names of various animals on slips of paper and drop them into a jar. Have students take turns choosing a slip and acting out the animal until someone guesses the answer. Challenge them to act it out without using sounds!
14. Stuck in the Mud
This game puts a twist on the classic game of tag! Once tagged, players are “stuck in the mud” and must stand still with their legs apart. Players who aren’t stuck can free people who are stuck by crawling through their legs. Once players are freed, they can run around again.
15. Catch the Balloon
How long can your students keep a balloon from hitting the floor? In this variation of Group Juggle, students stand in a circle and toss a balloon in the air. Call someone’s name, and that person must catch the balloon before it touches the floor. If successful, she then tosses the balloon up and calls the next name! Keep playing until everyone has caught the balloon at least once.
How do you keep students busy while indoors? Share your activities with us in the comments!