Wet playtimes and lunchtimes are always a bit of a challenge – so does it help if you have a box of games and comics that the children can use?
Let me say from the outset that I ALWAYS had games, lego and comics stored in my classroom for those wet days when the children could not go outside.
Playtimes and lunchtimes are those times of day when, as a teacher, you are glad of a personal break! I know many colleagues will now be commenting that they don’t get a break – but that’s the subject of another article so let’s leave that aspect to one side for the purposes of this discussion!
Not only do staff get to have a break (in theory!) but it is important for the children to be able to enjoy some fresh air – shake off the classroom atmosphere and to stretch their legs….in most cases noisily!
However wet playtimes and lunchtimes stop this aspect dead in its tracks and simply confine your class to barracks!
Dependent on how your school organises things then a variety of situations present themselves….
- Staff are able to go to the staffroom and TA’s will either stay with the children or a number of TA’s will move from classroom to classroom checking everything is ok.
- Staff grab a cup of tea and go back to the classroom for breaktime.
- Lunchtime supervisors will move from class to class checking that the children are ok and sorting out (hopefully!) problems and organising when classes go to lunch.
- Staff are not expected to be in their classrooms.
Let me make a suggestion at this point:- you may find that if you have a very difficult class then TA’s and lunchtime supervisors are not able to manage the class successfully during these times. It may be necessary for you to be in the class for breaktime (with your tea and cake) and for lunchtime (with your lunch). However much of a pain this might seem it is far less trouble than having to sort out an escalating level of problems that you know will occur. (yes this is from experience!)
To state the obvious – if the children are inside then they need something to do!
It is at these times that a collection of games, comics and possibly even lego can be used.
If these are stored in your classroom and are easily accessible for the children, then it provides things that the children can do either individually or together during wet breaks or lunchtimes.
But do remember that on these occasions there should be no requirement for teacher / TA / supervisor input and as such these provided resources should be “stand alone” when used. Even at the times when personally I sat with my class, I was not instrumental in the activities – merely there in a supervisory role.
Where do I get these resources from?
These are usually things that are collected over a period of time – if you change classrooms then as a teacher you will generally leave behind the basics of the games and comics etc as they usually “go with the classroom”…and as such would expect to inherit equivalent resources in your new classroom.
However if your classroom does not have these types of things or is light on what you do have, then there is a need to start collecting!
- Ebay is a good place to start – you can buy bundles of comics quite cheaply which make a great instant resource.
- Ebay again for lego – I have just found this huge box of lego for £14.00
- Jumble sales / second hand stores and school fayres – all great places to keep an eye on and you can find some great things to buy very cheaply. (Also great for reading books for your class library)
- Write a letter to parents asking for any games or books that they may not use anymore. You will be surprised how the opportunity of a clear-out brings in some wonderful resources.
Little by little you will start to build up a great collection of resources that the children will love to use during those wet, and freezing cold days!
I am a big fan of monitors in class as most of you reading this will know. Here again I use monitors to help with these things. In a normal class I have found that 3 monitors for this are about right.
Monitors can bring resources out and spread them out for collection but perhaps more importantly your “wet play monitors” are VITAL in getting things collected back in and stored away neatly. They will also keep you informed of any games etc that are getting misused or missing pieces and from time to time can do quick stock checks!…..as usual monitors are invaluable!
Indoor playtimes and lunchtimes can be difficult and challenging for staff and children at times. However it is a very useful time when children can learn how to play and interact together in perhaps a different way from the playground environment. At times it will become fractious and argumentative but gradually it will develop its own inertia and settle into its own pace.
In fact, far from being just a time to occupy the children, perhaps it becomes a lesson in itself involving the interaction, cooperation and relationships of the children in a situation that steps back from the formality of normal classroom life and presents the challenge of simply “getting along.”
So there you have it….a broad overview of the in’s and out’s of indoor playtimes and lunchtimes and the sorts of provisions that you may need to make or supplement to ease the whole situation along.
As we head more towards the winter so the occurrence of “indoor playtimes” becomes more of a norm – keep smiling and avoid the lego in bare feet!