by Rachel Wells
As much as we try to plan out every detail of our day, there are going to be times when what you planned to teach doesn’t fill the time you have. No one wants to be in a classroom full of students, and have an extra 15 minutes left with nothing to do. Instead of sitting there staring at each other, try one of these time filler activities that are not only fun, but encourage students to interact in positive ways.
Would You Rather
Take turns asking ‘would you rather’ questions where everyone has to choose between 2 silly things. Would you rather…have one eye or two noses? Would you rather…ride an elephant or a dolphin? Would you rather…eat a dead bug or a live worm? Would you rather…be really strong or really fast?
One person starts a story, but doesn’t finish the sentence. The next person finishes that sentence and starts a new one to continue the story. This one can go on for a while!
One person finds an item they can see and says “I spy with my little eye, something…”, and the other players must try guess the item. You can search for colors, things that start with a certain letter, shapes, etc.
Someone chooses a category such as animals, food, or TV characters. The first person has 10 seconds to name something in that category that starts with the letter A. The next person has the same amount of time to think of something that starts with the letter B, and so on until you get to the end of the alphabet. If a person is unable to come up with a word in the category they are out of the game.
Guess The Song
Simply turn on the radio and play a few seconds from a song. The first person to name the song gets a point. The first player to get to 10 points wins. You can also play this game by having players sing the next line of the song after you play a few seconds of it.
All you have to do is have one player choose a person, place, or thing. Everyone else takes turns asking up to 20 yes-or-no questions in an attempt to figure out what the person is thinking of.
Don’t Say It – Yes or No
Set a timer for 3 minutes. Have students come up one at a time and ask them conversational questions. If they say “yes” or “no”, or any variation of those words stop the timer – they are out! See who can go the longest without accidently saying yes or no – it’s harder than you think!
I Packed My Bag
Tell your kids that they are going on a trip and will have to pack their own bag with anything they want. Players will take turns saying “I packed my bag and in it is…” Each time the player will have to repeat all the previous items in order, before adding a new one. The game ends when someone forgets all the items in order.
Payer 1: “I packed my bag, and in it is a toothbrush.”
Player 2: “I packed my bag, and in it is a toothbrush, and a stuffed toy”
Player 3: “I packed my bag, and in it is a toothbrush, a stuffed toy, and a blanket.”
Have students partner up and trace a letter or number of their partners back with their finger. See if the partner can figure out what they wrote.
Describe an animal or object with clues and see if your students can figure out what you are describing.
See who can go the longest without talking
Remove one item from the space in front of you and have students try figure out what’s missing.
Play Simon Says
Have students partner up and try to be mirror images of each other. Face each other, and choose one person to move, while the other person acts as the “mirror” and tries to copy every movement.
Have a Staring Contest
See who can make the other person laugh first.
Practice Counting Backwards From 100, or 78, or 214.
Play “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes”
But each time you do it, replace one body part with the word “hmm”. So for the first round you would say “hmm” instead of the times you would normally say “head”. The next round you would say “hmm” instead of times you would normally say head and shoulders. Continue on, one body part at a time, until you no longer say any body parts – just “hmm” for the whole song.
Make Paper Airplanes
Write number on pieces of paper and lay them all around the floor. Play music for students to dance to. When you stop the music, students must run and stand on a number. Call out a number and whoever is standing on it has to sit down. Continue until one student is left standing.
Grab some paper from the recycling bin, and write a math fact on each piece. Lay the math fact papers on the floor. Tell students an answer, and students will raise their hand if they can find the corresponding math fact. If they get it correct they get to crumple up the paper ball and shoot it into the recycle bin.
Similar to the scavenger hunt, but tell the first student to find something in the room that starts with the letter ____. After they show everyone what they found, the next person will need to find something in the room that starts with the last letter of the previous item.
Choose the Monster Master. Set a timer for 2 minutes while that student draws a simple monster face (don’t let anyone see). When the 2 minutes is up, the Monster Master will have 2 minutes to describe their monster with descriptive words to everyone else (including the teacher), while everyone tries to draw their monster using only the description given. When the 2 minutes is up everyone holds up their drawing, and the Monster Master will get to decide whose they think looks most like their original.
The Number Master writes down a number within a pre-determined range. Kids take turns guessing numbers, trying to figure out the one that the Number Master choose. Each time a child asks, the number master must tell them if their number is higher or lower than the one guessed. Children will work as a team to beat the Number Master, and figure out the number by the time the last person has their turn.
Choose one student to stand in the middle of the room and close their eyes. Label each corner of the room 1,2,3,or 4. When you say go, students must walk around and choose one corner to stand in. The player in the middle will choose a corner, say it out loud, and whoever is standing in that corner has to sit down. Keep playing until only one player is left.