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10 Classroom Games You Can Play in 5 Minutes or Less

Sometimes teachers nail the timing of their lessons, and it’s a smooth transition to the next part of the school day. Other lessons run short, and teachers are left with an extra 5-10 minutes before it’s time to transition. This is a perfect example of a natural time for a brain break or quick classroom game. The benefits of quick academic breaks are endless: students will better focus after a break, quick games allow for community building, student work avoidance behaviours decrease as productivity increases, and more.



10 Classroom Activities You Can Play in 5 Minutes


Desert Island


I saw this all over TikTok and was totally sucked into playing it myself! In this wordy game, you or one of your students must secretly pick a rule of what items are allowed to come to an imaginary island. For example, maybe only items that start with a certain letter or that have a double letter are allowed on the island. Students then guess what can come to the island. If a student guesses an item that fits the rule, the word can be written up on the board so that students start to find a pattern. It's great fun!


One Word Answers


Another word game, but one that can be really revealing. Students sit in a circle as the teacher poses a question. Students must respond one at a time around the circle using only one word. You can even time it to see how long it takes to make it all the way around. Example questions might include asking about favourite foods or preferred streaming service. I also love this game for an end-of-day reflection activity, fostering kindness in the classroom with questions like, “Who is one person you helped today?”


Squiggles


Teachers can give students a random squiggle to copy over onto a whiteboard or blank paper. Challenge them to create a realistic image out of the squiggle. Give students about five minutes to create, then either the teacher can choose who is the winner or students can vote.



Categories


Similar to the game of Scattergories (a childhood favourite of mine), give students a category and 2 minutes to write down as many things as they can think of that fit into the category. For example, if the category is “weather words” students could write down, individually or in small groups, words like cloudy, temperature, snow, forecast, etc. When time is up, students share out their lists. As lists are read aloud, if other students/groups have the same word, they cross it out. Any unique remaining words count as one point to determine a winner.


Line Up in Order of...


The teacher or a student gives a category that students must then use to line-up silently in. For example, lining up by age or birth month. The only form of communication students can use is eye contact, hand signalling, or other body language. It is probably best to start out easy with height order or shoe size. This is also a great game to lead into a maths lesson or on exploring graphs and frequency.


Five Questions


This is a speedier version of 20 questions. A leader must secretly pick one item found in the classroom. Students then ask five yes-or-no questions to narrow down what the item might be. After five questions, a guess must be made.


Would You Rather?


Pose several “Would You Rather?” questions and ask students to stand for one answer or remain seated for another. Questions can be themed if it’s close to a holiday or other special occasion: Would you rather find a Leprechaun or get free chocolate for life? Would you rather meet Santa or The Easter Bunny? Switch it up by having students do different movements for their preferences, like kneeling, spinning around, or jumping twice.


4 Corners


I LOVED this game in primary school. This silent game is one of the most addictive classroom games for students. One student leads with their eyes closed. The others tip toe around the room to one chosen corner. Each corner should be labelled or known as corner 1, 2, 3 or 4 - or you could do colours, animals or foods. The leader calls out a corner number and anyone in that corner are out and must sit down. Students switch corners again before the leader calls out another corner. Play continues until one person remains! Tip: Once only 4 students are left, they each must be in a different corner.


These are also games you could use on an observation or during an interview! For more tips on how to Ace Your TA/Teaching Interview, check out my e-book which gives you all the guidance you'll need.



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