Indoor Recess Ideas for Your Classroom




creative indoor recess activities

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As educators, finding engaging and entertaining activities for indoor recess can be a challenge. With limited space and resources, it’s important to have a variety of options to keep students entertained and active.

In this article, we will explore a range of indoor recess ideas that are suitable for the classroom, ensuring that students can make the most of their break time while staying indoors.

Indoor Recess Ideas for your classroom: 25 Ideas

creative indoor recess activities

Board Games and Puzzles

Indoor recess can be made more enjoyable and educational by engaging students with interactive board games and challenging puzzles. These activities not only provide entertainment but also promote critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and collaboration.

Here are four types of board games and puzzles that are perfect for indoor recess:

  1. Strategy games: Games like chess or Risk encourage students to think strategically and plan their moves ahead of time. These games require careful consideration of each move and provide an opportunity for students to develop their decision-making skills.
  2. Word puzzles: Crossword puzzles or word searches are great for improving vocabulary and spelling skills while keeping students engaged. These puzzles challenge students to find words and solve clues, helping them expand their knowledge of words and their meanings.
  3. Cooperative games: Games that require teamwork, such as Pandemic or Forbidden Island, teach students the value of collaboration and communication. In these games, students work together towards a common goal, learning how to effectively communicate and cooperate with their peers.
  4. Jigsaw puzzles: Working together to solve a jigsaw puzzle promotes patience, focus, and spatial reasoning skills. Students can take turns placing pieces and work together to complete the puzzle, fostering a sense of teamwork and accomplishment.

Art and Crafts

Art and Crafts are a fantastic way to keep students engaged and entertained during indoor recess. By providing them with basic art supplies, you can inspire their creativity and encourage self-expression. Let’s explore some fun and simple craft activities that can be done with these supplies.

One popular craft activity is Paper Mache. All you need for this project is paper, flour, water, and balloons. Students can create their own sculptures or masks by layering strips of paper soaked in a paste made from flour and water onto the balloons. Once dry, they can paint and decorate their creations.

Collage is another great craft activity that requires just a few materials: magazines, glue, and scissors. Students can cut out images and words from magazines and arrange them on a piece of paper to create a unique and visually interesting composition. They can also add their own drawings or paintings to enhance the collage.

For students who enjoy making accessories, Friendship Bracelets are a perfect choice. All they need is yarn, beads, and scissors. They can use different colors and patterns to create personalized bracelets to give to their friends or wear themselves.

Painted Rocks are another fun craft activity that can be done with just a few supplies: rocks, acrylic paints, and paintbrushes. Students can use their imagination to paint the rocks in various colors and designs. They can create animals, patterns, or even inspirational messages on the rocks.

These craft activities not only provide a fun and artistic outlet for students but also promote fine motor skills, creativity, and teamwork. By engaging in these projects, students can enhance their artistic abilities while having a great time during indoor recess.

Storytelling and Reading

Engaging students during indoor recess can be made enjoyable and educational by incorporating storytelling and reading activities into the classroom. Here are four ideas to make this time more exciting:

  1. Encourage students to use their imagination and storytelling skills by creating and sharing their own stories. This not only enhances their language and communication skills but also boosts their confidence.
  2. Reading is important for students’ development, so provide them with a variety of books, magazines, and newspapers to choose from. Reading helps improve vocabulary, comprehension, and critical thinking skills.
  3. Have students engage in creative writing exercises, such as writing their own stories, poems, or journal entries. This allows them to express their thoughts and ideas, while also improving their writing skills.
  4. Make reading interactive by engaging students in read-aloud sessions. Ask questions throughout the story to promote active listening and comprehension.

Dance and Movement

Indoor recess can be made more exciting and engaging by incorporating dance and movement activities. Dance classes and movement therapy are great options to get students moving and active. Not only does dancing promote physical fitness, but it also helps improve coordination, balance, and self-confidence.

To make it even more fun, you can organize dance competitions or dance games. Another option is to include dance workouts, where students can follow along with instructional videos or dance routines.

These activities not only provide a creative outlet for students to express themselves but also bring energy and excitement to indoor recess.

Yoga and Mindfulness

Incorporating yoga and mindfulness into indoor recess activities can have a positive impact on children’s well-being and overall development. Here are four reasons why these activities are beneficial:

Promotes relaxation:

  • Mindfulness activities help children relax and reduce stress levels, allowing them to recharge during recess.
  • This can improve their mood and increase their ability to focus on their studies.

Improves focus and attention:

  • Engaging in mindfulness exercises improves concentration, enabling students to return to their studies with renewed focus and clarity.
  • By practicing mindfulness, children learn to pay attention to the present moment and tune out distractions.

Enhances self-awareness:

  • Yoga poses and mindfulness activities help children become more aware of their bodies and emotions.
  • This fosters self-acceptance and self-care.
  • By understanding and accepting their emotions, children can better regulate their behavior and make healthier choices.

Develops emotional regulation:

  • Mindfulness exercises teach kids how to manage their emotions and respond to challenges in a calm and balanced manner.
  • By practicing techniques like deep breathing and meditation, children learn to pause before reacting, allowing them to respond to situations in a more thoughtful and controlled way.

To incorporate yoga and mindfulness into indoor recess activities, you can guide children through simple yoga poses, teach them breathing exercises, or lead them in short mindfulness exercises. You can also use resources such as books or videos specifically designed for children to make the activities more engaging and enjoyable. By introducing these practices during recess, you can help children develop important skills that will benefit them throughout their lives.

Science Experiments

Science experiments are a great way to keep students engaged and educated during indoor recess. These activities provide hands-on learning experiences that allow students to explore different scientific concepts.

Chemistry experiments, for example, can teach students about chemical reactions and the properties of substances. They can mix different chemicals together and observe the changes that occur. This not only helps them understand the basics of chemistry but also sparks their curiosity about the world around them.

Biology investigations, on the other hand, allow students to study living organisms and learn about concepts such as photosynthesis and genetics. They can conduct experiments with plants or animals to observe their growth and behavior. This helps them develop a deeper understanding of how living things function and interact with their environment.

Physics demonstrations are another great option for indoor recess activities. Students can explore concepts like motion, energy, and magnetism through hands-on experiments. They can build simple machines, conduct experiments with magnets, or even create their own mini roller coasters. These activities not only make physics more tangible but also encourage critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Environmental science activities provide a unique opportunity for students to learn about important topics like climate change, pollution, and conservation. They can conduct experiments to understand the impact of human activities on the environment or explore ways to reduce waste and conserve resources. These activities help students develop a sense of responsibility towards the planet and inspire them to make a positive change.

Lastly, engineering challenges are a great way to integrate science and problem-solving skills. Students can design and build structures using everyday materials or solve real-world problems using their scientific knowledge. These activities encourage creativity, teamwork, and critical thinking, all while applying scientific principles in a practical way.

Cooking and Baking

Cooking and baking are fun and educational activities that can keep students engaged during indoor recess. These hands-on experiences not only teach important life skills, but also promote creativity and teamwork.

Here are four ideas to keep your students entertained:

  1. Simple Cooking: Encourage students to prepare easy dishes like sandwiches or salads. This allows them to practice basic cooking techniques and learn about nutrition.
  2. Baking Adventures: Provide students with easy-to-follow baking recipes. They can make cookies, muffins, or even a simple cake. Baking helps improve their math skills as they measure ingredients and follow step-by-step instructions.
  3. Guest Chef Lessons: Invite a local chef or parent to teach a cooking lesson. This gives students the opportunity to learn new recipes and techniques from a professional.
  4. Culinary Creations: Encourage students to be creative and experiment with different flavors and ingredients. They can create their own unique dishes or modify existing recipes.

Music and Karaoke

Music and karaoke can be exciting activities for indoor recess that bring joy and creativity to your classroom. Engaging in music games like ‘Name That Tune’ or ‘Musical Chairs’ can challenge students’ musical knowledge in a fun way.

Sing-along sessions allow students to showcase their vocal talents and promote a sense of togetherness. Encourage students to bring in their own musical instruments for a jamming session or create homemade instruments using household items.

Organizing a talent show can boost confidence and stage presence for students to showcase their musical abilities. Additionally, a lip sync battle can bring laughter and entertainment to the classroom.

Music and karaoke not only provide a break from regular classroom activities but also foster a love for music and self-expression.

Indoor Scavenger Hunt

An exciting scavenger hunt in your classroom can be a fun and engaging indoor recess activity. This clue-based adventure won’t only keep your students entertained, but also encourage teamwork and problem-solving skills.

Here’s how you can set it up:

  1. Treasure Hunt: Hide small objects or rewards around the classroom and provide clues for students to find them. This will test their observation skills and make the hunt more challenging.
  2. Mystery Challenge: Create a series of riddles or puzzles that students must solve to uncover the next clue. Adding this element of mystery and excitement will make the scavenger hunt even more enjoyable.
  3. Puzzle Solving Adventure: Incorporate puzzles or brainteasers into the scavenger hunt. Students can work together to solve them and unlock the next clue, fostering collaboration and critical thinking.
  4. Hidden Object Hunt: Hide objects or pictures around the classroom and challenge students to find them using clues. This will engage their observational skills and keep them actively searching.

Building With Blocks

Building with blocks during indoor recess is a fantastic way to encourage students to be creative and develop problem-solving skills. By working together in teams, they learn the importance of teamwork and collaboration.

Building structures with blocks also helps students enhance their spatial awareness and visualize objects in three-dimensional space. It’s incredible to see how such a simple activity can ignite their imagination and lead to hours of imaginative play.

Providing students with the opportunity to build with blocks not only fosters their growth in multiple areas but also allows them to have fun and enjoy their indoor recess time.

Sensory Activities

Sensory activities provide a hands-on learning experience that will both entertain and educate young minds. Here are four sensory activities that will inspire creativity and exploration in your students:

  1. Sensory Bins: Fill bins with materials like rice, sand, or water beads for children to explore and play with. Enhance the sensory experience by adding small toys or tools for them to manipulate.
  2. Sensory Exploration: Set up stations with different textures, such as playdough, slime, or kinetic sand. Encourage children to touch, mold, and create with these materials. This will help them develop fine motor skills and stimulate their senses.
  3. Sensory Art: Provide various art supplies like paint, brushes, and different textured papers. Let children explore their creativity through tactile art projects. They can experiment with different materials and techniques to create unique artworks.
  4. Sensory Integration: Incorporate movement and sensory activities like yoga, dance, or sensory breaks to help children regulate their emotions and focus. These activities can also improve their balance, coordination, and body awareness.

Virtual Field Trips

These exciting online adventures allow students to explore new places and learn about different cultures without ever leaving the classroom. With just a click of a button, students can visit famous museums, historical landmarks, and even outer space. It’s a great way to expand their knowledge and broaden their horizons.

Virtual field trips not only entertain and engage students, but they also promote a love for learning and encourage curiosity. By immersing themselves in these digital excursions, students can witness the wonders of the world and gain a deeper understanding of different subjects. Whether it’s exploring ancient artifacts at a museum or taking a virtual walk through a national park, these experiences are sure to leave a lasting impression.

One great resource for virtual field trips is Google Arts & Culture. This platform offers virtual tours of famous museums and historical sites around the world. Students can explore the Louvre in Paris, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., or even the Great Wall of China. The interactive features and detailed information make these virtual tours both entertaining and educational.

Another option for virtual field trips is NASA’s website. Students can take a virtual tour of the International Space Station or explore the surface of Mars with the help of NASA’s Mars Rover. These virtual experiences allow students to learn about space exploration and the wonders of the universe.

Educational Apps and Websites

These digital tools provide interactive learning experiences and offer a wide range of resources for students to explore. Here are four great options that will engage students during indoor recess:

  1. Khan Academy: This online resource is a treasure trove of educational videos and exercises covering various subjects, from math to science. Students can easily access the content, watch the videos, and complete the exercises at their own pace.
  2. Duolingo: If your students are interested in learning a new language, Duolingo is the perfect app for them. It offers interactive lessons and quizzes to help students improve their language skills. With its fun and engaging interface, students will be motivated to practice and learn.
  3. National Geographic Kids: This website is a fantastic resource for students interested in animals, nature, and the world around us. It provides a wealth of information through articles, videos, and interactive games. Students can explore virtual simulations and learn about different ecosystems and habitats.
  4. Prodigy: Looking for a way to make math fun? Prodigy is the answer! This math game app combines learning with play, allowing students to practice their math skills through fun and engaging quests. As students progress through the game, they’ll tackle different math concepts and earn rewards for their achievements.

Theater and Role-Playing

During indoor recess, theater and role-playing activities offer a fun and creative way for students to express themselves and use their imagination. These activities include theater games, improvisation exercises, and role-playing scenarios, all of which allow students to step into different characters and explore different situations. By doing so, students develop empathy and understanding for others.

Additionally, these activities promote teamwork and collaboration, as students work together to create scenes and performances. Another exciting option is puppetry workshops, where students can make their own puppets and put on shows for their peers. Storytelling performances, whether scripted or improvised, help students improve their storytelling skills and captivate their audience.

STEM Challenges

These hands-on activities not only entertain students but also help them develop important skills like problem-solving and critical thinking.

Here are four STEM challenges that are perfect for indoor recess:

  1. Build a strong bridge using only popsicle sticks and glue. Test its strength by seeing how many small objects it can support. This challenge not only encourages creativity but also teaches students about structural engineering.
  2. Get creative and design a paper airplane that can fly the farthest distance. Students can experiment with different wing shapes and sizes to see which design works best. This challenge promotes innovation and a deeper understanding of aerodynamics.
  3. Use marshmallows and toothpicks to construct a structure. See if it can withstand different weights placed on top. This activity allows students to explore the concept of balance and learn about the stability of structures.
  4. Have students build a balloon-powered car using everyday materials. They can race their cars to see which one is the fastest. This challenge combines engineering and physics, as students learn about the forces that make the car move.

These STEM challenges not only provide a fun way to spend indoor recess but also foster teamwork and collaboration. Students can work together to brainstorm ideas, test their designs, and improve their projects.

Origami and Paper Crafts

These fun and creative activities not only entertain but also help develop fine motor skills.

Let’s explore five exciting ideas you can try with your students:

  1. Origami Animals: Teach students how to fold paper into various animal shapes. This activity not only fosters concentration and dexterity but also allows students to create their own mini-zoo!
  2. Paper Airplane Races: Get the competitive spirit going by organizing paper airplane races. Students can see whose airplane can fly the farthest. It’s a thrilling way to engage students and encourage friendly competition.
  3. Paper Flower Making: Let students express their creativity by making beautiful flowers using colorful paper. They can experiment with different shapes and designs, and even create a bouquet to brighten up the classroom.
  4. Paper Puppetry: Guide students in making puppets using paper and popsicle sticks. They can let their imagination run wild and put on imaginative shows for their classmates. It’s a great way to encourage storytelling and creativity.
  5. Paper Lantern Crafts: Teach students how to make decorative lanterns using paper. They can create unique designs and patterns, and even add LED lights for a magical effect. This activity not only inspires creativity but also allows students to bring light and joy to others.

These origami and paper crafts activities aren’t only engaging but also provide opportunities for students to serve others by sharing their creations.

Indoor Sports Games

You can use some fun and exciting indoor sports games to keep your students active and engaged during recess. These ideas promote teamwork, fitness, and inclusivity.

Team Building Activities:

Get your students working together and strategizing with a friendly basketball or volleyball tournament. This not only encourages teamwork but also helps develop communication and problem-solving skills.

Fitness Challenges:

Keep your students active and energized with a mini Olympics event or an obstacle course. Incorporate activities like jumping jacks, push-ups, and relay races to get their hearts pumping and their bodies moving.

Adapted Sports:

Make traditional sports like soccer or hockey inclusive for all students by modifying the equipment. Use soft balls or foam sticks to ensure everyone can participate and have a great time.

Creative Relay Games:

Add a twist to the classic relay race by including unique challenges. Have students balance bean bags, complete puzzles, or even dance their way to the finish line. These games not only test their physical abilities but also their problem-solving and coordination skills.

Cooperative Play Ideas:

Foster cooperation and teamwork with games like parachute play. Students work together to make different movements with the parachute, promoting communication and collaboration.

These indoor sports games aren’t only a great way to keep your students active but also to teach them important life skills such as teamwork, communication, and problem-solving.

DIY Science Projects

These hands-on learning activities aren’t only entertaining, but they also provide valuable learning opportunities. By incorporating interactive demonstrations and science exploration, your students will have a blast while learning important scientific concepts.

From simple DIY science experiments to more complex science fair projects, there’s something for everyone. For example, you can create a volcano eruption, build a homemade lava lamp, or conduct a water density experiment. These activities are designed to spark curiosity and encourage critical thinking among your students.

Puppet Shows and Theater

One of my favorite activities for indoor recess is hosting puppet shows and theater performances in the classroom. It’s a fantastic way to spark creativity and foster teamwork among students. Here are four ways to get the most out of these activities:

  1. Create Your Own Puppets: Encourage students to let their imaginations run wild by making their own puppets using recycled materials. This not only teaches them to be resourceful but also instills the importance of reusing materials.
  2. Write Your Own Scripts: Engage students in the process of writing scripts for their puppet shows. This helps improve their storytelling skills and allows them to express their ideas in a structured and organized manner.
  3. Play Theater Games: Incorporate theater games and improvisation exercises to enhance students’ communication and problem-solving skills. These games encourage students to think on their feet and collaborate effectively with their peers.
  4. Showcase Performances: After practicing and rehearsing, give students the opportunity to showcase their puppet shows or theater performances to the rest of the class. This boosts their confidence and allows everyone to appreciate each other’s creative talents.

Coding and Robotics

This activity not only promotes critical thinking and problem-solving skills but also introduces students to the world of technology and innovation. By participating in coding and robotics activities, students can develop their creativity and logical reasoning skills while having fun.

One option is to incorporate coding challenges into your indoor recess activities. These challenges are engaging coding tasks that require problem-solving skills. They encourage critical thinking and logical reasoning, helping students develop their analytical skills.

Another option is to host robotics workshops. These hands-on sessions allow students to build and program robots. Not only do they promote creativity and collaboration, but they also introduce students to the field of robotics and engineering.

You could also consider hosting coding competitions, where students can showcase their coding skills in a friendly and supportive environment. These competitions foster healthy competition and a growth mindset, encouraging students to improve and learn from each other.

For students who are just starting out with coding, programming tutorials can be a great resource. These step-by-step guides provide structured learning and skill development, allowing students to learn programming languages at their own pace.

Finally, coding games can be a fun and interactive way to teach coding concepts. These games make learning enjoyable and engaging, helping students grasp programming concepts in a hands-on and interactive way.

It’s important to create a supportive and inclusive environment where every student feels encouraged to explore and learn. By incorporating coding and robotics activities into indoor recess, you can turn downtime into a time for innovation and learning.

Movie or Documentary Screening

Hosting a movie or documentary screening for your students is a great way to add variety to indoor recess activities and engage their minds. It can also spark meaningful discussions. Follow these tips to make your movie screening a success:

  1. Choose age-appropriate movies or documentaries that are both educational and entertaining. Consider selecting films that align with your curriculum or focus on important themes.
  2. When it comes to documentaries, pick ones that explore topics your students are studying or promote critical thinking and empathy.
  3. Prepare discussion questions to encourage students to reflect on the messages and themes of the movie or documentary. This will help deepen their understanding and foster thoughtful conversations.
  4. Enhance the movie experience by providing movie snacks such as popcorn, fruit, and water. Create a cozy atmosphere with dim lighting and comfortable seating.

Remember to check the movie ratings beforehand to ensure they’re suitable for your students.

Indoor Gardening

Indoor gardening is a great activity to engage students during indoor recess. It not only adds beauty to the classroom but also teaches students about plant care and responsibility.

There are different ways to incorporate indoor gardening into your classroom, such as using hydroponic systems, vertical gardening, or creating an indoor herb garden.

One option is to have an indoor herb garden. Herbs have many benefits – they can be used in cooking to add fresh flavors and have medicinal properties. This provides an opportunity for students to learn about the different uses of herbs and how they can enhance their meals.

Another option is to have succulents in the classroom. Succulents are low-maintenance plants that require minimal care, making them perfect for busy classrooms. They also add a touch of greenery and create a calming atmosphere.

Flowers are another great addition to an indoor garden. They not only brighten up the space but also improve air quality. Flowers can create a more pleasant and inviting environment for students, making their time in the classroom more enjoyable.

If you want to take it a step further, you can have a small vegetable garden in your classroom. This allows students to learn about sustainable food production and healthy eating habits. They can witness the growth of vegetables from seeds to harvest, giving them a deeper understanding of where their food comes from.

In addition to these options, you can engage students in succulent propagation. This process teaches them about plant reproduction and growth. Students can learn how to propagate succulents and witness the growth of new plants from cuttings. It’s a hands-on activity that allows students to see the wonders of nature up-close.

Indoor gardening is a rewarding activity that fosters a sense of responsibility and connection with nature. It provides students with a valuable learning experience and helps create a more vibrant and welcoming classroom environment.

Language Learning Activities

Incorporating language learning activities during indoor recess is a fantastic way for students to enjoy themselves while honing their language skills. Here are some engaging and entertaining ideas to try in your classroom:

  1. Language Games: Encourage vocabulary practice and spelling improvement by playing games like Scrabble or Pictionary.
  2. Conversation Starters: Foster meaningful discussions in the target language by providing conversation prompts or discussion topics.
  3. Grammar Exercises: Help students practice specific grammar rules with interactive activities or worksheets that provide ample opportunities for application.
  4. Pronunciation Drills: Enhance pronunciation and fluency by incorporating tongue twisters and pronunciation exercises into your language learning activities.

Indoor Obstacle Course

An indoor obstacle course is a fantastic way to incorporate physical fitness, team building, and problem-solving skills into your classroom. Let’s explore some exciting challenges that will get your students moving and working together.

One challenge for your obstacle course is crawling through tunnels. This activity not only promotes physical fitness but also encourages students to work on their coordination and balance.

Another fun challenge is balancing on a balance beam. This activity helps improve core strength and stability while also enhancing focus and concentration.

For a bit more of a physical challenge, include climbing over obstacles in your obstacle course. This activity builds strength and endurance while also boosting confidence and problem-solving skills. And if you’re looking to get your students’ hearts pumping, add in some hopping on stepping stones. This activity improves cardiovascular fitness and coordination.

In addition to physical challenges, it’s important to incorporate team-building activities into your obstacle course. Cooperative games are a great way to foster teamwork and communication skills. Trust exercises, such as blindfolded guided walks, can help students build trust and develop effective communication.

To keep things fun and engaging, you can also incorporate creative indoor play into your obstacle course. Building forts and creating mazes can stimulate creativity and imagination while also promoting problem-solving skills. Playing charades and solving puzzles are great activities that encourage critical thinking and creativity.

DIY Sensory Bottles

Indoor recess can be made even more enjoyable with the addition of DIY sensory bottles. These bottles provide a wonderful opportunity for students to explore their senses and practice calming techniques. Best of all, they’re simple to make and offer endless possibilities for sensory play.

Let’s take a look at why DIY sensory bottles are a fantastic choice for indoor recess activities:

  1. Promotes Calmness: The slow movement of objects inside the sensory bottles can have a soothing effect on students. By focusing on the gentle motion, they can relax and find a sense of calm.
  2. Engages the Senses: Sensory bottles provide a wide range of sensory experiences. Students can explore different colors, textures, and sounds as they observe the contents of the bottles. This allows them to engage their senses in a controlled and safe manner.
  3. Encourages Creativity: Making sensory bottles is a fun and creative DIY project for students. They can choose their own materials, colors, and objects to include in the bottles, allowing them to personalize their sensory toys. This also promotes their problem-solving skills and encourages them to think creatively.
  4. Sparks Curiosity: Sensory bottles invite students to explore and discover the world around them. They can observe how different objects move, float, or sink in the bottle, stimulating their curiosity and encouraging them to ask questions. This fosters a love for learning and a sense of wonder.


When it’s raining outside and we’re stuck indoors, I love seeing my students having a great time during indoor recess. Our classroom becomes a hub of imagination and exploration, with cozy reading corners and creative art stations. The aroma of freshly brewed hot chocolate fills the air, adding to the warm and inviting atmosphere. It’s a reminder that even on gloomy days, we can find joy and creativity in any space.

During indoor recess, it’s important to provide activities that engage students and encourage their imagination.

While indoor recess may not be the same as playing outside in the sunshine, it provides a unique opportunity for students to explore their interests and develop new skills. By creating a warm and inviting atmosphere, providing engaging activities, and promoting a sense of community, indoor recess can become a magical time of exploration and discovery for students.

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