Best indoor “recess” activity

The concept of “recess” and/or free time for students has long been a hot topic for debate in education. As a person, I think having some free time and taking breaks is important, so I think my students (who are also people) need some free time once and a while as well. Sometimes we go outside and walk the track, sometimes we go to the gym and play ball, but sometimes you just need to stay in the classroom. What to do then?

My very favorite indoor “recess” or rainy day activity is super easy and super useful for teachers as long as you have easy access to a sink, bucket or water. Here is what you need:

  • bored or restless students
  • 1 can shaving cream (now 99 cents at Target!)
  • tables
  • sponges
  • music (optional)

Have the students stand up out of their chairs and clear all their belongings out of the area. Rolling up sleeves s highly recommended, as well as removing dangling ID badges or other lose clothing items.

Explain to students that today we’re just going to have a little fun, but we need to be responsible with our fun. Once curiosity is peaked, take out the can of shaving cream and proceed to write students’ names (or whatever you want) on the desks or tables.

You can also write inspirational words instead of names if you’d like.

Then let the kiddos play with the shaving cream! It’s fun to play around with them, add in more shaving cream as needed, and just listen to their natural conversations when their more relaxed, child-like side takes over. This is a great opportunity for bonding, both between students and between students and teachers.

Now, here’s the best part. Once the shaving cream is all over the tables, you have to clean it off again. Give each student a sponge and bucket or directions to a sink. Not only do you end up with happy students, you get super clean desks too!

I recommend appointing one student to spray the tables with a diluted vinegar solution or Windex or another regular glass cleaner once all the shaving cream is off just to make sure the desks are not sticky at all.

That’s it. Easy, cheap, fun and well worth the little big of mess and controlled chaos involved.


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