One of the most challenging aspects of teaching is finding ways to keep the children entertained and engaged. Children, especially young children, learn best in a hands-on and kinetic environment, so having a few classroom games for kids in your pocket is not a bad idea. While there are scores of app-driven and web-based games, in this article, we’ve steered towards games that get kids engaged with one another instead. These games foster active participation, get them out of their seats, and help reinforce your traditional lessons. When dealing with a group of hyper and playful students, these entertaining activities might just be the key to harnessing the focus and enthusiasm your classroom has been missing.
Developing a Stronger Family Bond
Classroom games for kids may boost engagement at school, but what about when the kids are at home? You can still keep them engaged and learning. Strengthen family bonds through thought-provoking discussions, meaningful interactions, and engaging activities with Adventures From Scratch: Family Edition. With over 50 scratch-off challenges meticulously crafted to promote unity and fun, this activity book will keep your family busy all year long! From weekend excursions to rainy-day, at-home activities, we’ve got you covered.
The 32 Best Classroom Games for Kids
Incorporating playtime into the school day is important. It serves as a stress reliever, aiding in mental focus after prolonged periods of attentive listening. Play fosters collaboration and provides valuable support to children’s budding confidence and communication skills, but games should be educational as well and focus on reinforcing your current curriculum. We’ve outlined the best classroom games for brief interludes between lessons, but don’t get locked into the exact details. Remember, most games can easily be altered to fit your teaching style, age group, and current curriculum.
1. Treasure Hunt
Create a treasure map, or devise a series of instructions that young adventurers can follow to uncover hidden treasures. Discreetly stash coins or treats accompanied by clever clues pointing to the next discovery throughout the classroom. For an added touch of intrigue, craft the clues as riddles with questions from the day’s lecture, adding a layer of challenge to the scavenger hunt. We love this classroom activity because it prompts students to work together as a group, encourages new critical thinking skills, and gets them moving about.
2. Blind Artist
This game is played in pairs and engages a child’s imagination and ability to describe things. Pair the children back to back. Give one child a picture or an image. The second child has to recreate the picture on a piece of paper while their partner describes it without revealing what it is. The only supplies you need are sheets of paper, pencils, pens or sketch pens, and drawings or images. The goal is to recreate the image as accurately as possible without seeing the original image. It’s an excellent exercise in communication!
3. Simon Says
The rules are simple: Children are prompted to execute your directives when prefaced by the phrase “Simon says.” Whether it’s “Simon says jump” or “Simon says turn around,” they follow along. To keep them on their toes, you’ll interject commands that lack the “Simon says” preface. Any child who carries out the instruction is eliminated from the game. The game continues until only one person remains. The winner earns the opportunity to step into the role of Simon. This game helps your students work on their listening skills in a fun, interactive way.
Charades is an enjoyable classroom activity that sparks the imaginations of your students. Each child has the chance to step into the spotlight at the front of the room and enact a scene, whether it’s from a movie, a history lesson, or a simple everyday scenario, but they can’t use words. The thrill of enacting without words prompts a range of emotions, laughter, and a hint of competitive camaraderie.
5. Tape Balancing Beams
All you need for this engaging game is an assortment of colorful tape. Secure it onto your available floor space in any pattern you please. Encourage children to navigate the tape as they would a balance beam. This will promote motor skills and coordination. To infuse the activity with even more excitement, assign distinct actions for each tape color. For instance, as they walk on the blue pathway, students might need to hop, while the red route could inspire a spontaneous dance. You can also have them “freeze” on command and answer a lesson-based trivia question before they are allowed to move again.
Craft your very own bowling alley using readily available plastic bottles or cans as pins. Armed with a tennis ball or a suitable alternative, children can step up and take their shots at toppling as many pins as they can. If you want to add a little math game along with some healthy competition, tally up scores on the whiteboard. Bowling can be an incentive, offering the promise of post-lesson playtime for well-behaved students at the end of the day.
Dominoes offers lots of game possibilities within the classroom. Arrange them in intricate patterns, explore a range of train games, or try and come up with your own. Domino games boast an array of advantages for children, focusing on spatial awareness attributes and math skills.
8. Freeze Dance
Play music out loud in your class, and encourage children to dance. As soon as the music stops, children have to freeze on the spot, holding whatever position they’re in. It’s a great game for getting everyone active and can be used for a quick break when you notice your pupils getting bored.
9. Would You Rather
Create a line dividing the classroom in half, and arrange the students along it. Pose intriguing “would you rather” dilemmas, prompting them to make choices by hopping to one side or the other. For instance, you might inquire, “Would you rather munch on moldy macaroni or savor sugar-coated spiders?” The more extreme and unconventional your questions become, the greater the mental engagement as the students ponder their answers.
If you need ideas, check out “The Ultimate List of Would You Rather Questions for Kids.”
10. Musical Chairs
This timeless classic game never ceases to entertain the class. If the presence of physical chairs presents spatial challenges, consider opting for a chair-less version by using floor dots. By eliminating actual chairs, any concerns about potential accidents are alleviated as well.
This classic game is great for breaks, English lessons, vocabulary words, and end-of-the-day activities. Children can take turns standing at the board and writing down the missing letters on the board. You can link the game to any subject—just ask children to come up with a word related to the topic. Hangman is a fun team activity during which the whole class can contribute.
12. Touch and Feel Box
Arrange an assortment of diverse objects in a shoebox, strategically incorporating various textures and shapes. Craft a hole in the box’s lid, sufficiently sized to accommodate a hand. The children must rely solely on their sense of touch to deduce the identity of the concealed object.
13. Pass the Rubber Chicken
A rubber chicken is always a winner among the students! Use the chicken as a timer—students will pass it in a circle before another student can completely answer a question. Questions like “Can you name seven mammals?” are perfect and will give the students a chance to pass the chicken around. If the speaking student cannot complete the task in time, they will have to do the chicken dance. Show them an interactive video to learn the dance beforehand if needed!
14. Fly Swatter
This highly customizable game requires two teams. Teams line up, and the students in front each get a flyswatter. On the whiteboard, you’ll add several possible answers to your prepared questions. Ask a question, and students will race to be the first person to swat the correct answer on the board. This game works best when using categories—that way, you won’t have to change the answers between each question. For instance, your answers might be “carnivore,” “omnivore,” and “herbivore.” You would name an animal and have them race for the correct category. You can also use a squishy ball that students can throw at the correct answer if you want to avoid running.
15. 100 Cup Challenge
Divide the participants into small groups, equipping each with a set of 100 plastic cups (or a suitable number based on availability). Their task is to engineer the tallest possible structure using these cups. For an added challenge, tailor the activity to older students by introducing specific requirements, such as “the structure must be capable of bearing weight.” This prompts them to flex their creative muscles and strategize effectively to fulfill the given criteria. The endeavor not only focuses on teamwork but critical thinking, problem-solving, and engineering ingenuity.
16. Playdough Pictionary
Allocate a brief window of time for students to fashion creations from playdough, setting a timer for around 30 seconds to a minute. The challenge lies in their ability to craft something recognizable within this limited span. After the crafting frenzy, the rest of the class engages in a guessing game to decipher the nature of their playdough handiwork. This engaging activity not only promotes quick thinking and artistic exploration but also adds fun to the classroom atmosphere.
17. Heads Up, Seven Up
For an easy and fun classroom game, seven students are chosen to stand in the front. All other students close their eyes and put their heads down and one thumb up. The seven standing students then roam around the class, each picking one student to put their thumb down. Once they are done, the teacher says, “Heads up, Seven up,” and the seven seated students whose thumbs were touched stand up. They have to guess who picked them. If they guess correctly, they can swap places with that student.
18. Indoor Obstacle Course
Design an engaging challenge circuit using pillows, hoops, chairs, tables, and other classroom objects. Participants will navigate through the course within a set timeframe. For an added twist, blindfold one participant, and the others can guide them through the obstacles. This activity is designed to enhance participants’ motor skills, coordination, and teamwork.
19. Board Games
Classic board games can be a much-needed break from the virtual overload on our kids today. Explore the ups and downs of Snakes and Ladders, put knowledge to the test with trivia challenges, or engage in a battle of wits through a game of chess. Monopoly helps budding entrepreneurs learn about money management, and Scrabble enhances vocabulary and language skills. By offering a diverse range of board games, you can cater to various preferences and provide an enjoyable and educational pastime for all your children.
Enhance the fun in your classroom with a few picks from our list of the best board games for kids!
Bring the allure of the classic party game into an educational environment. Mafia is a fun game cherished by people of all ages—it’s great for high school students. It accommodates up to 36 players, making it inclusive for the classroom. Students engage in a battle of wits, skillfully navigating the art of deception to avoid being wrongly accused. Should the physical game be unavailable, an adaptation can be achieved by inscribing roles on paper or employing a standard deck of playing cards.
21. Minute to Win It
Create an exciting sequence of challenges, and ask students to conquer each of them within a minute. These high-energy games not only infuse excitement but also offer an inclusive platform for team-based competition. From the suspense of magnet fishing to the thrill of unwrapping a concealed gift with oven mitts or unraveling a rubber band ball, the activities can encompass a diverse range of skills. These rapid-fire challenges ensure that every participant gets a shot at victory.
22. Twenty Questions
Select a topic or category. As an example, let’s choose animals. Mentally choose an animal, and hold on to it confidentially. Within the span of 20 inquiries, children embark on a quest to unveil the mystery creature. They can only ask yes or questions, however. The first student who picks the correct animal takes your place and chooses the next animal. This engaging activity promotes analytical thinking, memory, deductive reasoning, and collaborative learning in a playful manner.
23. Two Truths and a Lie
In the spirit of camaraderie, students choose two truths and a lie and take turns presenting them for the class to decide which is which. This engaging icebreaker is a perfect game to start a new year and help the students get to know one another. Once the students figure out which is the truth and which is the lie, the next person is ready to give theirs.
Unveil an endless array of gaming possibilities with a deck of cards. Whether the chosen game is 21, Go Fish, Spades, solitaire, or a score of others, a deck of cards is a must in the classroom. Great for working on memory, numerical sequences, and critical thinking, card games are old school, but they’re still a hit with older kids. These games are easy to adapt to your class size, as well, being easily adaptable for pairs, small groups, or the whole class.
If you teach young children, have them line up, placing their hands on each other’s shoulders to form a train. You will start as the conductor and give instructions, such as “go slow,” “back up,” “make a wiggle train,” etc. This is a simple and fun game that lets them get some energy out while enhancing listening skills and teamwork abilities.
26. Toothpick Tower
Students construct towering structures using toothpicks and either Blue Tack or marshmallows. Form groups of four to six pupils, setting a countdown timer for 5 or 10 minutes. As the timer concludes, whichever group has made the tallest tower that can stand up on its own is the winner. To make the activity more interesting, introduce a new rule like “each tower must be able to support an egg without falling.” It’ll be a fun problem-solving and team-building activity for your students that might spark a love for architecture or design!
Engage students in an interactive quiz with Kahoot! The kids can connect to the website under the code you give them. You’ll post questions, and they select the answer anonymously or in teams. You can opt for a lighthearted, non-academic quiz to let kids unwind and have fun, or you can tie it into your lesson plan. Regardless of your choice, this time-limit quiz is guaranteed to be a hit among kids.
28. DIY Catapult
Enhance your students’ creativity by building DIY mini-catapults. Gather up lollipop sticks, plastic spoons, or whatever else you’ve got lying around to craft catapults, and challenge the students to see who can launch a bouncy ball the farthest. Kids Activities has an excellent list of simple-to-make catapults for kids!
29. Four Corners Game
Put up a sheet of paper in each corner of the class, each with a number or color on it. One student stands in the middle with their eyes closed or blindfolded. The rest of the students choose one of the four corners. The student in the middle calls out one of the numbers or colors while their eyes are still closed or covered. All the students in that corner are then eliminated. The game continues until you’ve found the last student standing. They then move to the center and become the leader.
30. Baseball Review
Divide your class into two teams. Team 1 will stand at the front of the classroom, “at bat.” They can choose questions that are worth one, two, or three bases. You’ll “pitch” them the question using flashcards corresponding to the base difficulty level. If they get it right, they move a member to the base physically or on a drawing board. If they get it wrong, the defending team can answer, earning an out for the correct answer. After three outs, they change sides, just like in real baseball. Play until you hit ten runs or complete nine innings. It’s a simple game to teach as most know the rules of baseball, and it works great for test review!
31. Add to the Story
Initiate the narrative by designating a storyteller to fashion the opening sentence, capturing attention with an intriguing line. As the storytelling baton circulates around the classroom, each child contributes a sentence, weaving together a fabric of imagination and creativity. You can record the story and replay it for the class once the game is over.
32. Friend Bingo
Everyone loves the classic game of bingo. Distribute a self-crafted bingo worksheet with a characteristic in each square. A few examples include
- Plays the guitar
- Has a pet fish
- Has been to another country
- Has a big sister
- Lives on a farm
Have the children roam around the room as they ask friends the questions. When they find someone who “plays the guitar,” they will have that friend initial the box on their worksheet. The first child to get a bingo will come to the front and tell the class what they found out. It’s a great icebreaker for the first week of school!
These classroom games for kids not only break the monotony but also nurture essential communication skills, camaraderie, and creativity in young minds. By blending entertainment and education, you’re providing your students with valuable experiences that extend far beyond textbooks. As the laughter echoes and the excitement lingers, these moments of play will leave a lasting impression, making your classroom a place where learning is fun!
If you need some ideas for special days in the classroom or at-home birthday parties, check out our new list of fun party ideas for kids.
Frequently Asked Questions
Kahoot! is a great way to use technology in class. The web-based, communal quiz can be run as a competitive game or in anonymity and can be simply fun or catered to the curriculum.