Schools like to get their children outside as much as possible, making sure they're wrapped up warm in chilliy weather, but sometimes it's just too rainy to let them play outside and they need to be entertained in the classroom instead.
Keeping the children entertained in a classroom they've already been working hard in through the day can be challenging, and instead of stretching their legs and running around outdoors they need to be engaged in indoor activities.
So we've put together a few ideas that will help keep the children entertained and their minds active, including some large classroom games that will help them stretch their legs and release some of that energy.
Key Stage 1 Wet Play Ideas
For the younger children in Key stage 1, colouring-in and dot-to-dot activities become a staple for every classroom and the little ones aren't quite as disappointed that they're not enjoying the outdoors.
Along with colouring sheets you can bring out word search books or sheets as this will also help with their literacy and encourage their love of words. You can even create a wet play book or folder full of activities that they can colour, draw and play, kept neatly in a drawer and brought out on rainy days.
With a range of abilities in each class, making sure you supply a range of material will keep everyone engaged and enjoying breaktimes.
Don't forget to have a reading corner to encourage ones who would like to sit quietly and read.
There will always be some children who would prefer not to sit down with drawing activities and are much happier playing games or being a bit more active. Access to the PE hall isn't always possible so you don't always have the space to let them run around and let off steam, so organising games such as Simon Says will keep them focused and moving at the same time, without needing too much space to run around.
You could invest in a few board games that are quick to set up and play. Dominos, large card games are tower games are brilliant for encouraging group play, and accessories such as bean bags or soft balls can create a whole range of different activities. Aim to throw the bean bags or soft balls into buckets, changing the position of the buckets to make it more challenging.
Jigsaws can be wonderfully engaging for children to do together or individually, so having a few different types of jigsaws with different scenes and appropriate to the different ages of the children will keep them busy during breaktimes.
Key Stage 2 Wet Play Ideas
As the children grow through their school years some children still love to sit quietly, colouring and reading. So it's a good idea to make sure you have some more advanced colouring activities, word searches or crosswords. You can also combine drawing games with our Decorate Your Own Teepee; the children can be challenged to make a theme for the classroom topic of the term, and it's easy to change and wash.
Key stage 2 is a big age range so multiple games and activities will cater for the different year groups and growing minds.
Keeping the kids involved and engaged will make sure they're refreshed for their afternoon lessons. Games such as I spy keeps them playing as groups, and using the whiteboard to play hangman or noughts and crosses is lots of fun for them.
Board games are great for the older children and they can have some exciting competitions.
The tower games are great for KS2 children, they set a real challenge for a group of children as they can play in teams; one player from each team takes their turn to choose a block and remove it without toppling the tower!
Noughts and Crosses
As well as playing this on paper or the whiteboard, the kids can become the counters in a 'life-size' version of this game! Set up 9 chairs or places on a mat, the children cross their arms if they are on the cross side so you know which child belongs to which team, and the teams work together to sit down as three in a row.
This works in the same traditional way but with children as the ships!
There are 2 ways to play Human Battleships;
1. Divide the playing area into 2, using something you can't see through.
2. Split the children into 2 teams; each team chooses a place to sit on their side. 1 player on each team is left to be the battleship bomber.
3. The players should sit with their backs to the divider so they can't see the opposite team.
4. The battleship bomber for the first team throws a soft ball over the barrier in the hope of hitting one of their opponent ships. If the ball does hit the ship, that ship must say 'sunk my battleship'. The teams take in turns until all the ships are sunk on one team.
Battleships with Coordinates
1. Divide the area into two using chairs in a grid of 24; 12 (4 x 3) each side. Each side faces the opposite direction so the children have their backs to each other.
2. The chairs are labelled on a sheet; A1 - A4, B1-4, C1-4, D1-4 on each side.
3. 6-8 of the team take a seat on a random chair within their team.
5. One player is the battleship bomber. This player stands with their back to their team and calls out a random coordinate. If a player in the opponent team is sat on that chair, they call out 'you sunk my battleship' and the coordinate is marked off their sheet.
6. The teams take in turns until 1 team's ships have all been sunk.
If you have enough room and want to get the children moving they can play Ladders. Children sit in pairs on the floor with their feet touching, they are either numbered or named, and the teacher or an elected child calls the number or the name. The 2 children then have to run up the ladder over the other children's legs and back to their place. The first one sat back down is the winner - a score keeper can keep track of the teams wins.
For the older children you can encourage them to use their strategic skills and keep them focussed and entertained at break or lunch with games such as Chess, Draughts or Giant Connect 4 games such as Maxi 4. As the children are playing and having fun either in teams or individually, they are also learning how to play strategically.
As the children are nearing the end of Key Stage 2 they can help with the younger children at wet play times, this gives them a responsibility and helps with their confidence to help others.