When bad weather strikes we have to think of ways to occupy our students and help them survive without recess. We can go to the gym for some activities. We can make sure they still get plenty of movement and exercise. But I also like to think of ways to let them relax a bit more in the classroom. I like to vary our days so that winter doesn’t seem like endless days of weary work.
By January most of my students are trustworthy and capable of independent work. They have also learned how to have fun without getting “out of hand”. So here are some things I add to our classroom routine to perk them up a bit and help them stay excited about learning.
1. Our “free choice” (after all morning work is completed) activities now include coloring on construction paper with chalk, or working in a new journal. The construction paper is very large and I use the sidewalk chalk. Both are a hit with my students. Their new journals are plastic binders with blank pages and coloring pages. I had something new each week. This week I added coloring pages of astronauts and rockets and stars for our space unit. They may write or color in their journals with anything, including markers, colored pencils, and stamps. (Previously they have had weekly journals which were only stapled pieces of paper and they could only use pencils or crayons on them.)
2. I add watercolors to the art center for daily use. We have used watercolors several times for projects and now my students can use them independently during centers. They get their own water, do their own cleanup.
3. We do our “handwriting” in shaving cream at least a couple of times a month. This is a great activity that also leaves everything clean. Use unscented!!
4. We play with “noodle blocks” during one recess period each week. I use those foam swimming pool “noodles” and cut them into pieces. The children love them because they are different. I love them because they are quiet and harmless.
It doesn’t take much to make things just a bit more fun until the sun shines again.