Indoor Recess? No Prob! We’ve got BOOKS for that!

Unbelievably, I’m on our front porch. It isn’t so unbelievable because I do — I love my porch. It is when you consider that at 9 in the morning it is about 88 degrees outside (and rising. I just read today will feel like 107. I think in reality, though, they expect it to be a mere 101). As is my custom, however, I’ve got the fan on and some iced coffee (I haven’t perfected my recipe yet – you have tips for this?) nearby.

Here is my view:

Despite the fact that the others have bloomed and are now sagging, we have one lone, stubborn sunflower yet to burst open. It's pretty much the only thing left alive in the front yard.
Despite the fact that the others have bloomed and are now sagging, we have one lone, stubborn sunflower yet to burst open. It’s pretty much the only thing left alive in the front yard.

In another week or so, school starts back up in these parts, and we teachers (and parents) are already thinking ahead: will we/they go out for recess? If the heat index in the middle of the day doesn’t go down any, it’ll be iffy. And yet, these kiddos – they need to run! Jump! Slide! Swing! Play! MOVE!

Mind you, in the middle of January, this will not be an issue in Houston. Other places might have endless snow days and restless children, while we’ll be throwing footballs and practically sunbathing. Not true, but we might be in short sleeves. Or jeans and flip flops. Because that’s how we roll.

Be it icy cold or ridiculously hot or perhaps stormy and rainy, books can sometimes be a handy solution to those indoor recess days. Books?! Yes. Books that encourage movement can be awesome to have in your back pocket for rainy days or even for a quick wiggle break in between lessons.indoor recess

Here are some of my favorites:


rain-pretend youre a catPretend You’re a Cat by Jean Marzollo

Pretend you’re a whole bunch of animals (including a cat, of course). As long as you have floor space, your kiddos can be an entire zoo before your very eyes and squirm all around.

rain-whohopsWho Hops? By Katie Davis

Hopping, slithering, flying – animals get around in a variety of ways, and when this book is read aloud, you can encourage your students to act just like them!

rain-how do you wHow Do You Wokka-Wokka? By Elizabeth Bluemle

A great way to have them moving and dancing – and laughing!

rainyogaYou are a Lion and Other Fun Yoga Poses by Taeeun Yoo

This might be on the calmer side of things, but still, it calls for movement! Get ‘em into some yoga poses!

rain-from head to toeFrom Head to Toe by Eric Carle

Stomp your foot, bend your neck, and in short, have a grand ol’ time behaving like an animal!

rain-canyou move likeCan You Move like an Elephant? By Judy Hindley

The title pretty much says it all. The narrative asks kids if they can move in all kinds of ways – it’ll keep ‘em busy.

rain scaryCan You Make a Scary Face? By Jan Thomas

Stand up! Sit down! Make a face! This books should come with a warning – once you read it, they’ll beg for it again and again. And, likely, it’ll be loud – but totally worth it!

rain-bear huntWe’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury

An oldie but goodie. Get your crew going on a bear hunt.


rain-five moneysFive Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow

You can do this on your hands –or, if you’re really brave – have your monkeys JUMP as you read the book and then fall to the ground when the monkeys fall out of bed.

rain-gboyThe Gingerbread Boy by Paul Galdone

There are tons of versions of this book – pick your favorite. When the gingerbread man goes on the run, have your tots run (in place) and chant the refrain (you know, the “can’t catch me” part)!

rain-if youre happyIf You’re Happy and You Know it! By Jane Cabrera

No better way to get a room full of kids moving and singing! Again, this is just one version of the book – there are others out there. Once you’ve finished reading it, ask for other suggestions to extend the activity (and maybe you could have some of your own that are super silly. They love it when the adult in the room suggests doing something outrageous).

rain-wheels on busWheels on the Bus (Raffi Songs to Read) by Raffi

Other people have written various versions of this book – find one that works for you and go on a rollicking bus ride!

rain-shake silliesShake My Sillies Out (Raffi Songs to Read) by Raffi

This one really gets the kids moving — and also allows for kiddos to offer their own ideas to extend the fun.


If you know of other books that should be on this list, please add your suggestion to the comments! We need all the help we can get when it comes to indoor recess, amiright?

Keep Reading,


P.S. Later, we’ll chat about books that are perfect for acting out, which can get kiddos moving. They also serve other purposes, so I’m giving them a separate post with special attention. To be continued!

Contact me at fplweb (at) frontporchlibrarian dot com


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