Fun Classroom Games to Play When You Have Time Before a Transition
By: edHelper Staff
Updated: May 2, 2022
Whether you're a regular classroom teacher or you're a substitute teacher, even the best-laid plans can leave you with empty gaps of time. Students may finish one activity earlier than you anticipated they would, which leads to boredom, and bored kids can get into a lot of trouble.
You can always do some silent reading, let the kids work on homework, or go outside for extra recess, but there are plenty of fun classroom games you can add to your repertoire. These games will keep the kids engaged when you have time to kill before a transition to another classroom or another subject, before lunch, or at the end of the day. Besides, they are also a lot of fun!
Two Truths and a Lie
Two Truths and a Lie is great for substitute teachers, especially long-term subs and teachers who are getting to know new classrooms, but you can play it any time of the year. There are always new things to discover about each other!
Students and the teacher take turns sharing three facts with the class. Two of the facts are true, while one is false. The more believable all three facts are-or the more outrageous all three facts are-the harder it is for everyone to guess the lie.
If your students are having a hard time coming up with truths and lies to tell about themselves, help them do so by creating a theme for the game. For example, you could play a version in which students have to focus on what they did during winter break, or you could play a version in which students share facts about their families.
White Board Bull's-Eye
White Board Bull's-Eye is a fun one to play, but it does require a little preparation ahead of time. You have to make sure you have a suction cup ball in the classroom in order to play.
All you have to do is draw a bull's-eye on the whiteboard and make a line on the ground. The closer a concentric circle is to the bull's-eye, the more points it is worth. Students can take turns throwing the ball at the whiteboard from behind the line to collect points. The student with the most points could get extra credit, a prize from a prize box, or anything else you think your students would appreciate.
There are many modifications that can make this game more interesting. Pass out different colored suction cup balls and let students throw them at the whiteboard in teams. You can also have them decide where they want to stand when throwing the ball (as long as they stand behind the line), or you could label the rings on the board with different prizes the students can try to win.
Four Corners is a classic that you might remember from your own childhood.
First, you must label each corner of the room from one to four. Taping large, numbered pieces of paper to the wall ensures that students can remember each number easily.
Then, let one student begin by closing their eyes and counting to ten. Other students have until the count of ten to run to one of the four corners. They can pick any corner they want.
While the student's eyes are still closed, they pick a number one to four, and all the kids from that corner must sit down. The game continues until there is one winner left standing.
There are things you can do to make this game more interesting. For example, each corner could be named Addition, Subtraction, Division, and Multiplication. It's also way more fun for the kids when the teacher plays too!
Guess Who I Am
This is a fun game if you want your class to get to know each other better, but it can also be a fun way to see how much everyone knows about each other already.
When playing Guess Who I Am, students must write down a fact about themselves on a slip of paper. The fact can be anything, as long as it's true and as long as it is appropriate for the classroom. If the kids are having a hard time figuring out what fact to write down, you can choose a theme. For example, the theme could be music. Kids can write down their favorite songs, their favorite artists, what instrument they play, or anything else that relates to music.
Once everyone is finished, they crumple their slip of paper into a ball and place it in a basket. If you want to have even more fun, have them throw their crumpled paper ball into a basketball hoop or an empty wastepaper basket.
Then, take a slip of paper out and read it. Students raise their hands and guess who wrote down the clue.
If you want to make it more challenging for an older group of students, have kids write their names under each clue. Then, students raise their hands and ask questions to clarify who it might be. For example, they might ask if the person who wrote it has brown hair or if they sit in the front row. Because they wrote their names on the slips of paper, you are able to answer their questions.
Don't have enough time to go through all the clues? Save them for later! You can read one or two every time you have an extra minute between subjects.
Color on the Whiteboard and Desks
There's just something about coloring on the whiteboard! If you're looking for a more independent activity, bring out extra whiteboard markers, and let the kids color on the board.
Students love to write directly on their desks, too! Students can color on their desks with dry erase markers, but you can also give them paint pens if they want their masterpieces to last a little longer. When it's time to clean up, you can go over the paint-pen drawings with an Expo eraser, and they should come right off.
There are tons of ways you can get your students up on their feet to burn some energy when you have a few minutes to kill. One of our favorites is Balloon Badminton.
It does require you to have a balloon handy that can be blown up at a moment's notice. Create a line in the center of the room, moving desks if you have to. Divide the class into two teams, and have them hit the balloon back and forth to each other. If you have paper plates handy, they can be used as paddles.
You can play this game with more than one balloon. Having two teams that keep track of multiple balloons can be a lot of fun!
You can also have students play one-on-one, with the losing student (the one who doesn't hit the balloon over the line) being taken out of the game until there are only two players left. They can go head-to-head to see who becomes the champion.
Running out of ideas? Ask the kids what they want to do with a couple of extra minutes between classes! Chances are, they have some great ideas that you have never heard before. You can add them to your list of fun classroom games that you can play whenever your class has a few extra minutes to kill. That way, you always have something to keep your class busy when a lesson ends early.