When bad weather forces classes indoors or when there's a need for a quick break to refocus the students (or work the wiggles out!), teachers need some fun games to keep everyone entertained. These games should keep the kids entertained, help them build social skills, and, for some options on the list, get them up and moving.
So, we’ve put together a list of our favorite indoor games! And because we know you might not always want your students running around, we’ve added a few less active games your students can play at their desks. We got you!
Here are 16 of our favorites!
A classic, and for good reason, musical chairs is a great game for students to work out any extra energy. Just put chairs in a circle (one less than the number of students you have) and have your students walk around in a circle. When the music stops, the child without a spot is out. Then, remove another chair and restart the music. The game goes on until there's only one child left, who is crowned the winner!
However, because classrooms have limited space, we recommend musical 'spots' instead of using actual chairs. Instead of chairs, try taping pieces of paper to the floor.
Sometimes students just need a break! And a fun game played for a few minutes is the perfect option. You can use these breaks to start out the day or to refocus attention throughout the day.
The Slides With Friends deck Good Morning, Class offers a simple, versatile way to give your kids a break from their desks. With ratings slides, a poll, and word clouds, you can have your students share and engage with each other from their phones. Or customize the slides to make them class-specific. No matter which approach you take, your students will appreciate a little time to rest and refocus.
You know it, you love it. This game is best for younger students who might not be able to focus on something more complicated.
To play, have all the students sit down in a circle. Then, one student walks around the outside of the circle tapping each person on the head until they choose someone to be ‘it’. That person then gets up and chases the first person around the circle.
If they catch them before they sit back down in the free spot, then that person becomes ‘it’ and the game starts over. If not, then the first person gets to stay ‘it’ and try again.
You can have multiple games of hopscotch going in your classroom at a time, which is great for teaching cooperation between smaller groups of students.
Indoor hopscotch also has another benefit: No chalk!
Instead of using chalk, use pieces of paper or painters tape to mark out the boxes. Then use a stuffed toy or small bean bag to throw towards the boxes. If it lands in the box, students should hop over to retrieve it. But if it lands outside or on a line, start again from the beginning!
Another super easy game to play is to have a simple dance party. This game can be done with students standing right next to their desks and works really well for short breaks.
As the name suggests, turn on a song and let your students dance in place. For those who might be a bit self-conscious, encourage them to close their eyes while they dance through the song.
If you're looking for another desk-friendly game, try an airplane making and flying competition! Hand out supplies to the students and give them 10-15 minutes to come up with the best design for their airplane. Once everyone has a plane, line the group up and set the airplanes free! While you can of course give a prize to the airplane that flies the farthest, you can also give prizes to the most creative design or the best colored airplane.
To make this a cooperative game, break your class into teams of 3-5 and have them build a plane together.
This game is perfect for a movie-themed day or just when you need a break from the norm.
To play, have your students split into groups of around five people. Then give each group a list of movie titles. The first team to act out and guess all the movies on their list wins!
You could also do this with TV shows or books.
There are so many amazing benefits of taking a yoga break in the classroom. Leading your students through a series of stretches and poses is a great way to get any wiggles out in a structured, organized manner.
There are a lot of great videos and worksheets you can use to help you create a yoga break for your students, but we've put our favorite below.
A classic game that can be played with any number of students. Have one student be “Simon” and give them commands that the students have to follow. If they don’t do what Simon says, or if they do something when Simon didn’t say to, then they are out. The last person standing is the winner!
There are 2 amazing ways you can send your students on a scavenger hunt in the classroom. The first, which takes a bit more planning, is by creating a list of items in your classroom, giving the list to each student or a group of students and letting them loose to find the items.
The second way is easier, but just as much fun! You can give your students prompts the day before and have them use their phones to take pictures at home - Like their favorite snack or favorite book.
Another take on this option is to just let them use what they already have in their phones. Then, using the Slides With Friends Scavenger Hunt Challenge deck, follow the prompts (or make your own!) and see what the students share!
This game is played by having one student be “it” and stand at the front of the room. The rest of the student’s line up at the back of the room. “It” then calls out “green light!” and everyone starts walking toward him/her. When the “it” student calls out “red light!” everyone stops. If anyone is still moving, they are out. The first person to touch the student playing “it” is the winner.
Rainy or snowy days have you and your class dreaming of warmer fieldtrips? Well, this next game isn't as fun as an actual trip to the zoo, but it is close!
Use Slide With Friends Hangout at the Zoo slide deck to ask your students questions about animals. From rating slides to multiple choice questions, this game will keep your class entertained and maybe even teach them something!
Another dance option, this game is played by having students dance around to music, and when the music stops, they have to freeze in place. You can even add in some movement like “touch your nose” or “jump up and down” to make it more challenging. The last person to freeze is out, and the game continues until there is only one person left—the winner!
Can you tell we love a classic? This game can be played indoors as long as you have enough space. The rules are simple: one person is “it” and tries to catch other players. When the "it" student catches someone else, that person becomes "it". The game continues until everyone is tired or there is a clear winner.
You can hide fitness equipment or pictures of specific exercises around the room and have students go on a hunt to find all the items or activities.
Some of our favorite ideas for a fitness circuit are things like hula hoops, bean bags, and cones. Students should go to each station and complete the activity for a set amount of time before moving on to the next one.
The options for this game are endless and you can tailor it to any level of fitness!
Yes, it's another classic and we're not even a little bit ashamed. Pictionary is a super easy and fun game to play with the entire class. You can either create a list of things to draw yourself or use this handy Pictionary Word Generator.
Break the class into 2 groups and have a student from each group come up one at a time. Give them a set time to draw the item (30 seconds works!) and if their team guesses, they get the point! If their team doesn't get it in time, the other team has a chance to guess.
Then repeat, alternating teams, until one team makes it to a certain number of points.