Jumpstart Your Classroom Organization with this Freebie


Indoor recess can get a little crazy on a rainy day! Make sure you are ready with simple free choice activities and strong classroom organization by checking out these simple strategies and ideas in this blog post.

Here in the northeast, we are in the depths of “indoor recess season.” It stinks. Those kids need to get their wiggles out, but cold temperatures often keep them inside. Anyone else in the same boat? There isn’t a lot of time dedicated to recess so it is important to have systems in place that allow the kids to quickly set up and clean up the recess materials. Read below to grab some ideas!

This blog post will…

  • share some tips and ideas for how I manage this in my classroom as well as how I store the materials and games they use

Indoor Recess Ideas

  • When selecting items to use for indoor recess keep the allotted time frame in mind. Your students won’t have time to complete a game of Monopoly. Instead you want to stock up on games that are quick. Connect Four and  Guess Who are good options.
  • Puzzles are good for students to do collaboratively or on their own. I always put the pieces into a bag and discard the original packaging. This saves a ton of space as many puzzles can then be stored in a plastic shoe box.
  • Keeping all of the recess materials in one cupboard or bin will make it easier for the students to set them up and put them away. I use small trash cans to hold pattern blocks, wooden blocks and Legos. These can quickly be grabbed and taken to an area for a few friends to play with together. The open top makes for a fast cleanup and allows pieces that are found later to be put away easily.
  • Assigning a couple of students the classroom job of “recess helper” assists in making sure things get set up and put away efficiently. I strongly suggest picking students who are a good fit for such a role, train them well and have them do the job throughout the year. In my classroom I have two girls who are in charge of removing the containers of manipulatives, puzzles and games from the cabinet where they are stored and placing them onto a nearby table for the students to grab. The students then clean up the activity they were using and return it to the table for the girls to put in the cabinet. This ensures that the materials are always put away neatly in their labeled spots and are ready for the next day.
  • Although my students have their own art supply bags, I find it is better to use community supplies if they choose to draw and color during recess. I have baskets of crayons, markers and colored pencils dedicated to recess and choice times.


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As a classroom teacher, you have a lot of things to organize and store in your classroom. It’s hard to find storage solutions for your teaching essentials, never mind wondering “how to store recess equipment”. Because you are a teacher you know the importance of recess. However, most teachers report that there is not enough unstructured playtime for students.

This post will help you:

  • keep your classroom more organized
  • give your students longer recess breaks
  • provide students with fun opportunities to be physically active and practice important social skills outdoors

The secret to all of the above is making sure your students have quick and easy access to appropriate outdoor equipment and that there is a safe and practical way to store things like jump ropes, sidewalk chalk, balls, hula hoops and more.


The outdoor recess equipment you have will vary depending on your school rules and how much outdoor space your school has available.

  • Find a way to get the recess equipment stored somewhere other than your classroom. Many schools now use community equipment. You could write a DonorsChoose request or ask your PTA to fund something like this:

If communal equipment is not an option and you need to store it in your classroom, these tips will help…

  • Plastic laundry baskets are a great option for holding larger items like balls. I like them because you can easily stack multiple baskets into each other when not in use. Also, because recess items have a tendency to get dirty it is nice to have a container that can be hosed down or wiped easily.
  • Smaller baskets with handles work well for jump ropes. The handle makes it easier for students to carry it to and from the playground.
  • If your students use sidewalk chalk you’ll want to store that in a container that has a lid. This will keep moisture out which will preserve the chalk. It will also prevent chalk dust from taking over your classroom.
  • If students bring balls from home I have them keep them with their coats and other personal belongings.
  • Establish procedures and routines for getting the equipment to and from the playground. Consider making this one of your classroom jobs. Having consistent expectations will result in quick classroom transitions which are essential for maximizing their recess time as well as learning time in the classroom.

Indoor recess can get a little crazy on a rainy day! Make sure you are ready with simple free choice activities and strong classroom organization by checking out these simple strategies and ideas in this blog post.

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Winter Opinion Writing FREEBIE!

Grab this freebie and engage your students in a fun seasonal activity. It’s a great way to practice opinion writing.