Time-Filler Games for Every Classroom

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In the classroom, it's important to make every minute count. Even the most organized teachers, though, will occasionally find themselves with time to fill. We've all been there—your lesson has finished early, or there is only five minutes until dismissal and you are left without a thing for your students to do. These quick teacher-tested time fillers are perfect for keeping your students engaged during those awkward transition periods.

Current Events

When you have a few minutes to spare, read a headline aloud to the class and invite students to share what they think the story is about. If you have a few more minutes, read the whole story aloud and take turns discussing student opinions on the topic. Ask your students how they feel about what is happening locally as well as around the globe.

Give Me a Sign

Have you ever wished you could learn another language? Or better yet—sign language? Whenever you have some extra time, teach your students (and yourself) a few signs. Not only will your class start to learn sign language by the end of the year, but you will also get a few quiet moments in class.

Follow the Leader

This classic mirroring game is the perfect activity to do when you have a few minutes to spare at the end of the school day. Instruct students to mimic your actions. Once your students get good at this game, pass the baton and allow them to take turns being the leader.

Mystery Number Line

This quick math time-filler is a great way to teach or reinforce numeration. Think of a number and write it down on a piece of paper. Then, tell students that you are thinking of a number between ___ and ___. Draw a number line on the board and write down each student's guess on the board. When the mystery number has been guessed, write it down in red on the board and confirm that it's correct by showing your students the number on the piece of paper.

Things Found on a...

On the front board write one of the following titles:

  • Things found on a farm
  • Things found on a boat
  • Things found on a zoo
  • Things found on an airplane

Invite students to make a list of all of things that are found in the place you have chosen. Give them a predetermined number of things to reach, and when they reach that number reward them with a small treat.

Give Me Five

If you have five minutes to spare, this game is perfect. To play the game, challenge students to name five things that are alike. For example, you might say "Give me five flavors of ice cream." Call on a random student, and have this student stand up and give you five. If they can name five related things, they win. If they can't, tell them to sit down and call on another student.

The Price Is Right

This fun time-filler will be sure to grab your students' attention. Get a copy of your local classified section and choose one item that you want students to guess the price of. Then, draw a chart on the board and have students take turns guessing the price. Prices that are too high go on one side of the chart, and prices that are too low go on the other. This is a fun game that reinforces math skills and teaches students the actual value of items.