5-Minute Time Filler Activities for Upper Elementary Aged Kids

5-Minute Time Filler Activities for Upper Elementary Aged Kids


by Rachel Wells


It happens to everyone; your activities are done, and you find yourself with an extra 5 minutes of class time. It’s always good to have a backup plan, and these no-prep 5-minute activities are perfect for whenever you find yourself with a room full of students and time to spare.


Pass the Chicken

Supplies Needed: Toy rubber chicken

Have everyone stand in a circle and give a rubber chicken to one student to hold and be it. The teacher or a “caller” says a category, followed by “pass the chicken”.

Some examples may include:

  • “Name five fast-food restaurants. Pass the chicken!”
  • “State five first names for boys – but none can be the names of boys in our class! Pass the chicken!”
  • “Name five presidents of the United States. Pass the chicken!”
  • “Name five addition facts that have a sun of 12. Pass the chicken!”
  • “Name five three-syllable words. Pass the chicken!”
  • “Name five animals that start with the letter L. Pass the chicken!

The student holding the children immediately passes it to the left (and around the circle). If the chicken returns to the original holder before he or she can name 5 items from the category the holder is still it, but if they name 5 things from the category before the chicken makes it around the circle and back to them then the person holding the chicken has to come to the center of the circle and do the Chicken Dance before becoming the new it.


Synonym Game

Supplies Needed: White board and markers.

Choose 4 or 5 students to play at a time on the board. Give students a basic word like “fun” or “pretty” and give them 1 minute to write as many synonyms as they can think of. When time is up have them compare answers. Any word that is repeated by more than one person is worth 0 points – meaning students only get credit for unique answers that only they wrote down. The person with the most points wins the round.



Supplies Needed: White board and markers.

Choose two students to be the “contestants”. Have them go to the front of the room and sit facing the rest of the class. On the board behind them write a secret word that everyone can see except the two contestants. The rest of the students raise their hands to give one-word clues that will help the contestants guess the word. The contestants can keep calling on classmates for clues until one of them correctly guesses the secret password. The student who guesses correctly stays in the front, and the student who gave the final clue comes up to become the new second contestant.



Supplies Needed: Nothing, but a sparkly magic wand makes for a fun addition.

Arrange students in a line or circle. Call out the first word. The first person in the line calls out the first letter of the word. The second person calls out the second letter. The third person calls out the third letter and so on. If a word is misspelled, the person who says the incorrect letter must return to their seat or sit down. Once a player has said the last letter of the word, the next person in the line has to say “sparkle!” to end that round and the next person in line must return to their seat or sit down. The leader then calls out a new word and continues until only one student remains standing.



Supplies Needed: Nothing.

Students must arrange themselves in order without making a sound! For example, you can challenge students to silently put themselves in order of height, in alphabetical order of their first or last name, or by birthdate.


ABC Game

Supplies Needed: Nothing.

Name a category or topic, and the class will work together to go through the alphabet naming items that start with each letter that match the category you named.


How Many

Supplies Needed: Individual dry erase boards and markers, or pencils and paper.

Every student needs a wipe off board or piece of paper and a writing utensil. Give students a topic to write about (names of states, proper nouns, names of colors, etc.) They write down as many as they can in a set amount of time given. When time is up, ask students to stand if they wrote at least 5…10…15…20… until you find the child with the most answers. If there is still time you can have that student read their list to the class.



Supplies Needed: Nothing.

Have your class stand in a large circle – but have one student wait out of sight and be it. Silently choose one student from the circle to lead the class to move in certain ways (clapping, stomping, doing a dance move, etc.) The student that was waiting out of sight returns and has to try figure out who the movement leader is. As the leader changes the movements, the rest of the class must follow along and copy them discretely without giving them away. The leader can continue leading the class in movements until the student being it figures out who the leader was.


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