I have a love-hate relationship with indoor recess. I love it because I can check email or get some things organized in the room. I love it when I offer the kids new activities (before long we’ll be pulling out the broken electronics to take apart) and they go at them with gusto. I love it because it’s temperature controlled. I hate it because the kids need a chance for some gross motor movement. Too many days of indoor recess and things get ugly.
We only had two days of school this week (Monday was a holiday and today and yesterday were inclement weather days – I can’t call them snow days as there wasn’t too much snow but the cold was absurd as we had below freezing wind chills for most of both days and most folks in our area aren’t prepared to dress for that well). Both of those days, however, were indoor recess days.
I always throw out five to seven different tubs of things for indoor recess (legos, various types of blocks, dominoes, puzzles, magnets, and such). Kids also draw or create their own activities or sometimes get out their laptops (although that’s surprisingly rare). I never can predict what they’ll want to do on any given day so I try to be sure they have plenty of choices. On Wednesday these two girls had a blast with the magnets.
They began by sticking magnets to various things around our classroom, a common activity. Then they noticed that two of the horseshoe magnets would attract or repel each other depending on how they turned them. They also noticed that these ring magnets would grab each other or push away but it took them a bit to figure out the connection to the horseshoe magnets (even though they explained to me the basic science with the horseshoe magnets). Once they realized flipping the ring magnet would change whether it attracted or repelled, they worked to make them all repel and see what that did.
My role was simply to smile and nod and be excited when they showed me what they were doing and figuring out. An easy job when they had smiles like those on their faces! Sometimes I really do love indoor recess.