Inside: Top quick games to play in the classroom to kill time and have fun

I think after the year of homeschooling, many of us parents did… we are all well versed in killing time and energy on games these days. Do you know how many times I realized my kids were losing interest in the middle of a lesson? Nearly every day! That is when I found the power of quick games to play in the classroom.

Sometimes, all you need to get back on track is to get even FURTHER off track for a minute. Giving our brains a break is proven to actually help retain information and focus for longer, so I thought…why not have a little fun with it?

Anytime I noticed their focus dwindling… I would take a quick ten minute break for some fun.

Photo of kids in classroom

So whether you are a teacher looking for some extra tips, or a homeschooling parent in need of a way to burn off your kid’s energy…the list below is full of everything that you might need. Take it from me, these are amazing.

Classic Quick Games to Play in the Classroom

First up, the classics. You may have already thought of these, but I just couldn’t leave them out. So I figured I would get them out of the way first. 

1. Simon Says – A classic listening and movement game where the teacher gives instructions, and students must follow only if the instruction begins with “Simon says.”

2. Pictionary – Divide the class into teams and have students draw words on the board while their teammates guess what it is.

3. Charades – Similar to Pictionary, but students act out the words without speaking.

4. 20 Questions – One student thinks of an object, and the class has 20 questions to guess what it is (only yes or no questions allowed).

5. Word Association – Students say a word, and the next student must say a word associated with the previous one.

6. Hangman – Pick a word and have the class guess the letters one by one. Draw a hangman for each incorrect guess.

7. Math Bingo – Create bingo cards with math problems, and students mark the answers as they are called out.

8. Spelling Bee – Have students take turns spelling words out loud.

9. Memory Game – Show students a set of objects, then cover them and see how many they can remember. Check out these printable memory games that you can have on hand!

10. Story Cubes – Roll dice with images, and students create stories based on the images rolled.

11. Alphabet Race – Divide students into teams and have them race to write words starting with each letter of the alphabet.

12. Sight Word Slam – Call out sight words, and students slap the correct word written on the board.

13. Quick Draw – Call out objects, and students draw them on their whiteboards as quickly as possible.

14. Math Fact Relay – Divide the class into teams, and have them race to solve math problems relay-style.

15. Buzzer Game – Use buzzers or hand-raising to answer questions about a topic.

photo of kids looking down and writing

Games They’ll Love

Next up, I have some classic-adjacent games. These are ones that you have heard of, but you don’t play every day.

16. Guess the Sound – Play various sounds, and students guess what they are.

17. Who Am I? – Students wear sticky notes with names of famous people, and they ask yes or no questions to guess their identity.

18. Tic-Tac-Toe – Play a review game of tic-tac-toe with questions and answers.

19. Brain Teasers – Challenge students with riddles and brain teasers.

20. Crazy Sentences – Have students create the wackiest sentences using specific words.

21. Inference Game – Show students a picture and have them make inferences about the scene.

22. Musical Chairs – Play music, and students walk around chairs. When the music stops, they must find a chair.

23. Dice Math – Roll dice with math operations and numbers, and students solve the equation.

24. Name Game – Students say their name and something they like that starts with the same letter.

25. Classroom Bingo – Create bingo cards with classroom objects, and students mark them off as they find them.

26. Category Countdown – Pick a category (e.g., animals) and have students list items in that category in a countdown format.

27. Counting Challenge – Students count aloud, taking turns going around the room.

28. Group Storytelling – Divide the class into groups and have each group create a story collaboratively.

29. Noun-Verb-Adjective Challenge – Students come up with words for each category as quickly as possible.

30. Word Chain – Start with a word, and students take turns adding words that start with the last letter of the previous word.

Out of The Box Games to Kill Time

I am a sucker for reinvention, so I LOVE the games in this list. These are all out of the box and are garenteed to be a lot of fun.

31. Balloon Keep-Up – Students work in pairs to keep a balloon in the air without using their hands.

32. Tongue Twisters – Have fun with challenging tongue twisters.

33. Rhyme Time – Students take turns coming up with rhyming words.

34. Color Scavenger Hunt – Call out colors, and students find objects of that color around the room.

35. Pass the Ball – Students answer questions while passing a ball around the room.

36. Jigsaw Puzzle Race – Divide a jigsaw puzzle into pieces, and students race to assemble it.

37. Emoji Storytelling – Students create stories using emojis.

38. Odd One Out – Show a group of objects, and students identify the odd one out.

39. Vocabulary Auction – Students bid on vocabulary words with fake money, and the highest bidder explains the word.

40. Emoji Quiz – Create quizzes using emojis to represent words, phrases, or concepts. Check out these printable emoji quizzes that are SO MUCH FUN!

41. Geography Bee – Quiz students on geography-related questions.

42. What Comes Next? – Show a pattern, and students determine what comes next.

43. Opposite Day – Students answer questions using opposite meanings.

Photo of kids in a group setting

44. Team Countdown – Divide the class into teams and give them a topic to list as many items as possible within a time limit.

45. Act It Out – Students act out situations or emotions without using words, and the class guesses what they are portraying.

Fun & Quick Games to Play in the Classroom

And lastly, I saved my favorite games in this article for here. They are truly timeless, and I know that not only your students will love these, but you will too.

46. Spelling Relay – Divide the class into teams and have them spell words relay-style.

47. Fact or Fiction – Read statements, and students determine if they are true or false.

48. Mini-Debates – Have students debate simple topics in pairs or small groups.

49. Scavenger Hunt – Create a list of items for students to find around the classroom.

50. Word Search – Hand out word search puzzles with educational terms.

51. Classroom Trivia – Create a trivia game based on classroom topics.

52. ABC Story – Each student adds a sentence to a story, starting with the next letter of the alphabet.

53. Emoji Charades – Students act out phrases or idioms using emojis.

54. Name Acronyms – Students create acronyms using the letters of their names.

55. Bubble Gum Blowing Contest – Have a fun contest to see who can blow the biggest bubble.

56. Sentence Building – Provide word cards, and students create sentences with them.

57. Animal Sounds – Play animal sounds, and students guess the animal. Or you can just play full on animal charades!

58. Human Knot – Students stand in a circle, join hands, and try to untangle themselves without letting go.

59. Nursery Rhyme Quiz – Ask questions about well-known nursery rhymes.

60. Group Drawing – Students work in groups to create collaborative drawings.

61. Word Swap – Choose a common word and challenge students to replace it with synonyms in a paragraph.

quick games to play in the classroom

Honestly, I sometime will play these even on days that my kids don’t have school. I have found that my days feel a lot more fun when I make time to just play with my kids. Life can be pretty busy, but I cherish these moments.

I hope that these games help you create awesome memories with the kids in your lives, whether they be your own or just your students. You might be surprised what kind of benefits adding a little bit of play to your routine has.

And for all the parents out there wondering what to do with their kids during break, check out these games to play at the park!