While our children at home learning virtually, it’s important to find ways to keep them active throughout the day. All HSE schools have a scheduled block for recess, but are we really dedicating this time towards some sort of recess or physical activity?

We have four children, one rambunctious two-year-old and three who are virtual learning from home. All three of them attend a different school, so you can probably imagine how busy our schedules are. I initially let them do whatever they wanted for a “brain break,” but I’m quickly realizing the amount of physical activity that has been lacking since being at home more.

Without traditional recess our children would originally be receiving in school, how can we as parents help them with this while they’re at home?

Here are some fun and creative ideas that will help keep our kids active and happy not only during virtual recess, but also during those small breaks in-between class sessions.

kid painting

Arts & Crafts

Save those toilet paper rolls, cardboard boxes, and other recycled materials! These items are great for open-ended arts and crafts, STEM building, and creative play.

  • Egg Carton Flowers
  • Coffee Filter Butterflies
  • Newspaper Collages
  • Bird Feeder Bottles
  • Box Forts
  • Toilet Paper Roll Characters
  • Recycled Robots
  • Tissue Box Guitars
  • Obstacle Courses
  • Plastic Cup Construction

TIP: Set out a large box by the recycling and start collecting items. Once it’s full, bring it inside and let your children explore!

boys creek stomping

Balloon Activities

Who knew balloons could provide so much entertainment? A bag of 10 or more balloons cost only $1 and can provide hours of fun for kids of all ages.

  • Don’t Let the Balloon Touch the Ground
  • Balloon Sports: Hockey, Volleyball, Soccer, Basketball, etc.
  • Balloon in the Spoon Race
  • Balloon Waddle Race
  • Hang a Balloon from the Ceiling
  • Catch a Balloon in a Funnel
  • Make Balloon Rockets
  • Make Your Own Balloon Yo-Yo

One fun way to get your kids moving is by creating an obstacle course using the furniture in your home. Set a balloon on the floor and have your kids blow it through the obstacle course. You could use a balloon pump or create a fan with paper plates to generate enough wind to blow the balloon through.

Board Games

Board games are always a good option to bring out during virtual learning breaks. They provide a simple way for our children to unplug for some screen-free time. They’re also a fun way to continue learning through play and have many surprising benefits:

  • Boosts Language Skills
  • Sharpen a Child’s Focus
  • Teaches the Value of Teamwork
  • Helps with Coping Skills
  • Soothes Anxiety

    Outdoor Exploring

    The short days and cold weather that winter brings shouldn’t deter your kids from exploring the outdoors. Not to mention, there are numerous health benefits of spending time outside during the winter months. Whether there is snow on the ground or not, here are just a few outdoor winter activities your kids will love:

    • Make Frozen Suncatchers
    • Make Nature Confetti
    • Create Chalk Art
    • Freeze Bubbles
    • Plan a Winter Scavenger Hunt
    • Paint the Snow w/ Food Coloring & Water
    • Build a Fort

    Kid-Approved Apps

    These awesome free resources, websites, and apps provide loads of movement activities and exercises that will help get your child moving during their virtual recess or in between break sessions.

    Go Noodle

    GoNoodle is a free resource designed for kindergarten through 5th grade that provides movement and mindfulness videos in an easy-to-use mobile app. Activities are interactive and will encourage your child to get movin’ and groovin’ right where they are!

    Cosmic Kids Yoga

    Cosmic Kids is a popular go-to movement resource for teachers, parents, and kids alike. Your children can stream interactive yoga adventures right on Cosmic Kids Youtube Channel.

    Sworkit Kids

    Sworkit Kids is a free app that will help get those wiggles out with fun and customizable workouts. These kid-friendly workouts are ideal for grades 2 through 8 and one of my favorite parts is that there are zero ads! No distractions or clickables that may interrupt your child while their exercising.

    SPARK Home

    SPARKhome was created out of the need for virtual P.E. and recess options due to the rise of distance learning in 2020. They have developed free plans featuring videos, games, and movement activities that your children can do for physical activity indoors.

    Super Stretch Yoga

    This free app provides a fun and interactive yoga experience for kids. The app pairs animation and storytelling with video tutorials to help make yoga a part of your child’s everyday life.

    I hope you find this assortment of recess activities helpful while your children are learning at home. If you’d like even more winter recess ideas, go check out my fellow Fishers Brand Ambassador Megan Gamble’s post on Winter Boredom Busters. She shares tons of ideas that could also be used for virtual learning recess.