Have you ever finished a lesson and realized you have an awkward amount of time before class is officially over? You know exactly what I’m talking about! There’s not enough time to start a new lesson but too much time to waste (or let students run free). These twelve time filler activities are perfect for those lessons that run a little short.
#1 Exit Tickets
Exit tickets are great filler activities because they give you insight into what students know or still need help with. The exit tickets don’t have to relate to your most recent lessons either. You can use them as a spiral review to keep knowledge fresh.
If you want some ideas for your exit tickets, check out my Nature of Science Exit Tickets.
#2 White Board Review
For this activity, give each student a whiteboard (or use sheet protectors with printer paper inside) and easily fill a few minutes with meaningful, no-prep review. You can ask them questions from the lesson, quiz them on vocabulary, or review past units.
#3 Current Events
It’s not always easy to find time for current events, so this time filler activity is always nice to use. Find a current events article or video and lead a class discussion. You can use student-friendly sites to find videos, so you don’t have to worry about graphic information. This is the current events template I use in my classroom.
#4 Gamify Your Classroom
We know students love playing games, and there are lots of ready-made review games on websites like Kahoot!, Gimkit, and Quizziz that make great time filler activities. Students will have fun while reviewing, so it’s a win-win!
#5 Brain Breaks
Short brain breaks are perfect for those extra five or so minutes of a class period. Brain teasers, riddles, or puzzles will keep students engaged and actively using their critical thinking skills. You can play games like Wordle or Contexto, too.
Have students complete a self-reflection to assess what they have learned and what they may still have questions about. If you’re looking for reflection templates, you can grab these in my interactive science notebook kit.
#7 Digital Activities
Digital activities work well as time fillers because the setup time is minimal. Don’t worry about students completing the entire activity, either. They can always come back to the activity next time a class period runs short.
Want ready-made digital activities? Check out the integrated science bundle, which has activities for Earth, Space, Life, and Physical Science.
#8 STEM Challenges
You do have to prep these STEM activities in advance, but they can be a whole lot of fun. You can select STEM challenges that fit with your current units as an added bonus. Just make sure you have all the supplies and instruments ready to go.
#9 Concept Map
This is a quick time filler activity. Create a concept map on the board and have students fill it in with you. You can do this with a content-related word or theme, or you can make it fun by having students choose a random theme.
I love this for a time filler activity because you can do as many rounds as you need to fill the time. Have students act out vocabulary terms while the class guesses or choose a fun category like Disney movies.
#11 Play a Game
Pick any game your class loves. A tried-and-true game for my class has always been Science Jeopardy! You can also whip out a quick board game like Jenga or Connect Four.
All you need for this crowd-pleasing review game is a trash can, a ball (or a balled-up piece of paper!), and some questions. There are all sorts of ways to set up teams and scoring, but the basics are that you ask a review question, and the first person to get it right gets to shoot the ball.
Time filler activities help make the most of every minute in class, and we know how valuable that is! Plus, using that time for these engaging activities might just solidify your Favorite Teacher status.