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Thread: Time filler games

  1. #1
    Backwater Blonde Rachel1404's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
    The Lost World

    Default Time filler games

    Does anyone know any good games that I can use to fill 5/10/15 minutes of a lesson with.
    One of my teachers only ever wants me to come up with fun games. I don't know about my kids but I'M getting bored to death playing shiritori, various forms of scattegories, jeopardy and hangman/vanishing man.

    I know there are loads of other games like that but I just can't remember them - help a person out please!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Time filler games

    If you only need a couple of minutes, play class rock, paper, scissors. Just have the students stand up and do rock paper scissors, with you as their opponent. If they lose they have to sit down, winners and those with the same can stay standing. Keep playing until there's only one left, and give them a prize.

  3. #3
    Smashes through the wa Miss_igirisu's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009

    Default Re: Time filler games

    1. 2 truths one lie. Get each kid to think of 3 sentences, one being a lie. Stand up one by one and try to guess which is the lie.

    I am from the UK
    I have eaten crocodile
    I like natto

    Try to make them as difficult as you can.

    * a variation on this is to write one truth about yourself on a piece of paper. Screw it up and have a massive snowball fight. Shout stop and everyone takes a piece of paper, reads and tries to work out whose paper it is.

    2. A bit of a lame one but works sometimes. Write the alphabet on the board. Go round asking students one by one to name animals/foods/whatever beginning with a letter that's still up.

    3. Discribe the object game. Get your JTE to stand with their back to the board. Draw a banana. Get the kdis to discribe the banana without saying "banana". I've got JHS students and they need prompting like "is it an animal???? what colour is it????? what animal eats it??" Swap the JTE and yourself for kids once they've got the idea of the game. I usually keep it to animals and food, but get one kids along the way to do Doraemon becuase it's usually funny.

    For high school students, in a class where there is ne or two students who finish way before everyone else, give those students a dictionary. Tell them to find a word in it that you don't know. It's good for their vocabulary and the words that they think are hard really aren't so it'll keep them busy for a while.
    Quote Originally Posted by tenderRondo View Post
    they said your uk blood has extremely high levels of tea and crumpets in it.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Time filler games

    Board Race:

    You need some print-out "game pieces," I use 4 Mario characters. Put the pieces on the blackboard and then draw a path for each character with the same number of spaces, with a goal at the end of the path. Split the class into 4 groups, once for each character. Choose one student from each group or have them go in order, have those students stand up, and play rock paper scissors with you. The winner has to answer a question. If they're correct, their team's character goes forward one space. The first team to get to the goal wins.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2007

    Default Re: Time filler games

    If you don't already do criss cross, that's a good one. I'm sure you'd already know it, but just in case you don't... All the kids stand up and you ask a question ("How's the weather?" "What time is it?" whatever they need for their level). If they can answer, they raise their hand. The kid who answers correctly can choose to have their row or their line sit down with them (or diagonal, if you want to add that variation). Play until everyone is sitting. You can also play with the variation that if a line/row chosen to sit down already has someone sitting in it, the sitting person has to stand up again. You can also change it up by telling the students answers, and they have to ask the question. It's good for them to get practice asking, not only answering (So, you say "It's cloudy." and they have to say "How's the weather?").

    You can also play a "no good" word game. I learned this one at orientation... but I don't know if it's a go-to activity that others will have heard of. Before class, you make a 3X3 grid with words of a certain category, and one no good word. So for example, your grid for "colors" might look like this:
    orange pink green
    blue red purple
    white black brown
    No Good: yellow
    Draw a blank grid on the blackboard, and have the students make small groups. Tell them the category is "colors." The first group gets a chance to guess a word. If their word is on the grid, they get 1 point. If they say the no good word, it's -2 points. If it's not on the grid, just move on to the next team. When a team finishes a line (say that orange and blue have already been guessed, and a team says "white"), they get 2 points (if they finish multiple lines with one word, I give them 2 points for each line).

    You can do question relays where each line is a team, and the first person asks the second person a question (something you write on the board or tell them to ask), second person answers and then asks the third person, and so on, until everyone has asked and answered the question (the last person in line asks the first person), and the team sits down. The first team sitting down wins the round. Watch out for cheating.

    Depending on the liveliness of your class (no good with a shy class or students who aren't interested in English and start using Japanese), you can play "Hot Seat." One student sits in a chair facing the class, with their back to the blackboard. You write a word behind them ("Apple") and the other students have to give them hints in English so they can guess what's behind them ("It's red." "It's a fruit." etc.). When they figure it out, they can choose the next person to sit in the front, and they can write a word behind the new person.

    Whisper Down the Alley is good, too. Once again, each line is a team. Make a space on the blackboard for each team. Have the person from the back of each line come outside and listen to a sentence (tailor it to their recent grammar, if you like, but don't make it too long for them to remember). Once they've heard it a few times and preferably repeated it back to you, send them back in. When everyone is back at their own seat, tell them to start. The person at the back whispers the sentence to the person in front of them, and so on, until it gets to the person at the front, who writes it on the board. You can judge it by speed and correctness, or just correctness.

    You can do a spelling relay, shiritori-style. Say a word, and the first person in line writes the first letter, second person writes the second letter, etc.

    You can do a simple counting game if they could use some practice with numbers. Pick a number, like 30. Students make pairs or groups. Each member of the group takes turns counting. Each person can say UP TO 3 numbers. So the first person can say "One," or "One, two," or "One, two, three." The second person does the same, and so on around the group until one person is forced to say 30. They lose.

    For practice with prepositions, have students make pairs. They both draw a picture (you can give them an idea for a scene, like "living room" or "at the beach"). Then they take turns describing their pictures to each other. The student who is listening to the description has to draw the picture. Compare the original to the one drawn from the description.

    Do a pictionary type game. Give a student (or multiple students, and do it in teams, if you prefer) a word in English. They have to draw on the blackboard and get the other students to say it. It can be something really easy, like "boat" (just draw a boat) or something that takes a bit more thinking, like "seasons" (they'll probably have to draw things relating to all 4 seasons, like a snowman, flowers, a beach scene, and a tree losing it's leaves or something).

    Check out these sites when you have a lot of free time:
    ESL Cafe's Idea Cookbook - Table of Contents
    ESL games (I don't know what level you're at, but this has stuff for all of them, not just elementary as the site leads you to believe).
    In fact, just browse the sites in this thread, and things will pop up:
    A lot of the activities at these places will be too long for what you need, but like I said, when you have a lot of free time for sifting...

    Er, anyways, sorry to go on and on. Hopefully some of these sound useful for you, and if you already know most of them, sorry!
    Last edited by Sorccy; February 2nd, 2010 at 09:23.

  6. #6
    Backwater Blonde Rachel1404's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    The Lost World

    Default Re: Time filler games

    Hey thanks everyone!
    I'm at senior high school so maybe a couple are too easy for them but I think most of them sound really great.

    (Oh and please keep em coming if people have anymore )

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    I am currently living in Chiba, Japan.


    This only works for about 5 minutes at the most.It's called "find it". You open the text book to a random page, say an object on the page and the students have to hunt through the book and call out the page number in English. Correct answers get to sit down.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Time filler games

    I used these with SHS... Can only think of two, atm!

    - Phone game: split the class into groups (I used 5) and have them stand in a line. Give them a sentence (I used English proverbs) and have the first person in line read it, memorize it, then they pass it down their line. Last person in line races to the board to write the sentences. Team with the most correct sentences at the end wins.

    - Story game: Say a sentence. (Such as: "Once there was a boy who lived in the woods.") Go around the room and have each student add one sentence to the story.

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