Games in the classroom use the potential of play to supplement learning. They can enhance learning, be a reward, and break up tedious learning tasks. They can be a fun and valuable activity to encourage good classroom behavior. Sometimes there is extra time in class, especially at the end of the day or assignment. Nothing wrong with letting students have a little fun. These games have been modified to get the whole class involved. One of the worst things you can hear is, "I never get picked." The popular kids claim they don't get picked enough, the unpopular kids complain they never get picked. These games solve the problem.(If you need ideas specifically for Brain Breaks, visit: Brain Break Ideas)
Always a classroom favorite. You need a nerf ball or very soft ball.
Students sit on desks and toss the ball around. If they talk, they are "out" and must sit down. If they drop the ball, throw it so it is uncatchable, or interfere with a throw or a catch, they are out and must sit own. If they drop a catchable ball, they are also out. Soon, hopefully, all but 1 student is left as the winner. You can modify this if you wish. One problem is students sitting down get bored.
Bored student=loud student. You can have it so nobody gets out, just needs to be quiet. Tossing a ball around in the classroom is its own reward! You need more rules, however to make it safe:
-If you drop the ball, then you ARE THE ONLY student to go and get the ball and give it to a random player, then sit down.
-No standing, waving hands, calling out, or other unsafe practices.
-You need to keep a handle on this game as it can do some harm to the classroom.
- cannot toss the ball back to the same person that tossed it to them
Use a stuffed animal instead of a ball.
Boy must toss to girl, girl must toss to a boy. Read: How to Motivate Your Students.
If the ball is small enough, and soft enough, have kids put one hand behind their backs.
You can make teams and have students stand in two groups facing each other. A student dropping the ball sits down. Then roots for their team.
Have shorter games by not having all students play. You can say something like, "All students wearing red will play this round." You can also eliminate a bunch of students at one time by calling the same thing during the game, having them sit down.
Pass out a worksheet to all students before the game with basic math facts. Maybe twenty problems grade appropriate, like times tables. When a student gets out, they sit and complete the problems to get back in. They only get back once.
To get all students involved, keep an eye out for those not getting enough chances. Let's say Amanda is being shut out. At a random time, after a student catches the ball, say something like, "Toss the ball to Amanda."
You can come up with any ideas on your own!
If you have a whiteboard, you can use 3 markers, if not use a chalkboard and 3 pieces of chalk. On the board you write the numbers 1, 2, and 3 near the top. Basically as high as an average child in the classroom can reach while straining.
Don't write it at normal writing height. Space the numbers about 2-3 feet apart. Enough room so 1 kid can stand under a number and have elbow room. You also set up a chair at the opposite end of the room from the boards.
Pick a student and sit them in the chair. Turn the chair so the person sitting in the chair looks away from the board. You don't want them to see the ones who you will pick now.
Pick 3 kids now. Being silent as to not give away who the child is. (You'll see why) The first kid picked goes to 1, second to 2, third to 3. If you need to point and remind, go ahead. If you use 3 different colored markers, you can write the numbers using a different color. That way, it is obvious who goes where. Okay.
So now you have 3 kids up at the board and 1 at the back. You instruct the ones at the board to "Draw a ____." Fill in the blank with your choice! Cat, dog, tree, mouse, etc. Something fast and simple. Give them 30 seconds to draw. When they are finished, they sit down quietly.
The person at the back turns around and picks their "favorite." It will not always be the best! Whoever has drawn that picture is the new "judge." From the other two, choose 1 to erase the board (leaving the numbers) and choose the other to pick the 3 next players, waiting of course until the "judge" turns the other way. Read: How to be a More Creative Teacher
And you pick something else to draw, and continue on as long as you like! *Note: You can use the ticket system that is described for Heads Up 7-Up below. Since 3 kids are "used up" each each time, you can quickly go through the whole class.
You know the game. Pick 7 students. 1 is the leader. They come to the front. The leader says, "Heads down, thumbs up." The 7 go around and touch 1 thumb each. Then when all are back to the front, leader calls, "heads up, 7 up." The 7 chosen students stand and one by one are asked to guess who picked them. If they are right, they switch places with 1 being part of the picking students.
If they guess wrong, they sit down. After all guess, students reveal who picked who. And it starts again. *Ticket system: Cut out colored pieces of construction paper, about the size of a raffle ticket. Pass 1 to all students who are not part of the first 7 chosen. Instead of touching a thumb, the 7 students take a ticket. Collect them in a pile or can each round.
So, for each round, instruct the group of 7 that they need to pick ones with tickets. They don't need to pick all tickets all the time. Just some tickets all the time. When all tickets are used, each student has had a chance. Pass out the tickets again, and do the same thing. That way, all students get picked, multiple times, no matter what! You can even do 1 extra round after all tickets are gone to give students a free choice if you wish.
You pick one student to be "it." They sit in a chair and face away from the class, closing their eyes. You need a closet or cabinet or wall that a student can "hide" behind and not be seen by the person in the chair. You quietly point to a student to "hide." While they are hiding, you count to 10. The rest of the students change desks. At 10, all must sit down. You can speed up the count if you need to maintain the chaos. You then ask the person who is "it" to turn around and guess who is missing. It is actually harder than it seems. Sometimes I found myself forgetting who was hidden. What makes it hard is that all students are mixed up now. If they guess right, they get to stay. The person who was hidden picks the next hider. If they guess wrong, they pick the next student to hide then sit down. You can make a max number of right guesses allowed so a good guesser does not hog it all. I like 3. If they guess 2 in a row, they get to play just one more no matter what. That way, you use up a lot of students and keeps it moving. Again, you can use a modified ticket system to keep track of who has been chosen. This used to be called Kid in the Closet, but I would refrain from putting a kid in the closet.
Put the numbers 1 to 4, fairly large on pieces of paper. That is, one number per paper. Tape one paper in each corner of the classroom. Sometimes a cupboard will block the corner, so tape it accordingly. You then have 4 corners, each numbered from 1 to 4. Cut a paper into 4 equal pieces. Put the numbees 1 to 4, one on each piece. Fold them up and put these 4 papers in a box, bag, can, or similar. Now, you tell all students in the class to go to a corner. You pick a number from the bag and read it. All students in that corner must sit down. You tell the class to switch corners. The rule is they cannot stay at the same corner. You count to 10 (or less) and pick another number. Remember to put chosen numbers back in the container. Again, all students at that corner sit down. You keep repeating this until you have 4 or less. When there are 4 or less, on each draw they must switch their corners and they cannot be at the same corner as someone else. Sometimes at the end, you will need to draw a few times as some corners will be empty. Eventually, you will call the last corner with a student in it and the other student will be the only one left--the winner! You can then play again, with the winner picking numbers.
More Teaching Strategies at: