10 Stuck-Inside Recess Games for Your Classroom


Stuck inside with students during recess? Here are alternatives to the usual…

By Barb Szyszkiewicz

When students need to stay indoors during recess, branch out from the usual checkers and chess, and try these games that build skills and entertain! These quick, small-format games pack big fun but don’t require a lot of space for play or storage, making them perfect for the classroom.

  1. The Neck of the Woods high-stacking giraffe game by Fat Brain Toy Co. boosts fine-motor and simple addition skills.
  2. Kathy Ireland’s Memory Match game series isn’t your typical memory game. The box doubles as the game board, with slots for the cards. Pull the cards up to see if they match, then place back in the slots for easy storage. These games are great for pre-kindergarten.

  3. Gamewright’s early-learning games store in small spaces but promise big fun for two to four players age 4 and up. They reinforce fine-motor skills, counting, and logical thinking.

  4. Match-up games and puzzles by Peaceable Kingdom are about the size of a deck of cards; each one doubles as a memory game and a floor puzzle.

  5. Eeboo Puzzle Pairs games. Find the matching pair (animal mother and baby, opposites, letters and numbers, rhyming words, and more), and put the matching puzzle pieces together.

  6. With Ion, up to seven players will combine strategy with basic chemistry facts in this game for ages 8 and up.

  7. Rack-O is a math game labeled “ages 8 and up,” but any child who understands number sequencing and can count to 50 can play.

  8. Rory’s Story Cubes allows wordsmiths 8 and older to play a game in as little as 15 minutes. They’ll be challenged to create stories based on images on the dice, building language-arts, literacy, problem-solving, and listening skills.

  9. Best Treehouse Ever lets students 8 and up compete to build logic skills, while figuring out how to construct a gravity-defying treehouse.

  10. Rolling America is a quick strategic dice game for ages 8 and up. It reinforces geography skills as players make their way across a map of the USA.

What are your favorite stuck-inside recess alternatives?

Barb Szyszkiewicz is a Secular Franciscan wife, mom, writer, musician, and school library volunteer from New Jersey. She is an editor at CatholicMom.com and has taught in Catholic schools at all levels, from kindergarten through college.

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