Some days you just need a break from the monotony!
Preparing for exams, transitioning to a new unit, days when half your students are gone for a basketball tournament or field trip… you know what I mean!
Classroom games are great for those days because they’re the best of both worlds: your students get to have fun; you know you’re still covering content.
Try out these 6 different super easy games for test review, trivia contests, introducing a unit, or anything else you can think of!
If you’re an ELA teacher, check out this game bundle with a huge question bank of 144 terms and definitions, and matching cards, all ready to print and go!
How to Play BINGO as a Review Game
Before you dismiss this as a boring grandma game, try this educational twist for a fun and easy review! Supplies needed:
- One blank BINGO sheet for each student (grab them here for free!)
- Two different colors of writing utensils for each student
- 22 review questions with simple (1-3 words) answers
- Pass out BINGO sheets- be sure students have two different colors to write with.
- Project or write on the board the 22 answers to the questions (just the answers!).
- Instruct students to write one answer per square on their BINGO cards. They should write their answers in a random order that they choose. There are 24 available spaces. They should choose 1 answer to write on their cards twice, and one answer to write 3xs. (This creates 2 bonus opportunities.) Note: it’s important that each student’s card is as unique as possible, to avoid ties.
- Read one question at a time. Have students use the other color utensil to mark the space with the answer to the question.
- If the answer to the question is one that they chose to put down 2 or 3 times, they can mark all of those squares.
- Keep asking questions until someone yells “BINGO!”
- The first student to achieve a BINGO (a consecutive, straight row of 5 correct answers, either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally) wins! (Have your answer key on hand to verify the BINGO.)
- To re-use the same cards for multiple rounds, have students mark squares differently for each round (e.g.: mark with a star in Round 1, and an X in Round 2, etc.). Start the next round with questions you haven’t used yet, and ask the questions you’re repeating in a different order.
Card Match-Up Race – Version 1
This game is super simple, but it provides opportunities for collaboration, movement, and quick-thinking.
- A copy of the same set of term and definition or question and answer cards for each team (Teams of 2-5 students work best.)
- A copy of the answer key for each team
- Use any space that has enough room for each team to spread out and match up their cards. Tables or the floor works great.
- Shuffle each set of cards well.
- Divide the students into equal teams.
- Select a team captain for each team and give him/ her the set of cards.
- Teams work together to correctly match up the terms/ definitions or questions/ answers in their set.
- When they have finished, have the team captain check their answers.
- The first team finished with 100% correctness wins!
Card Match-Up Race – Version 2
This version is equally as simple, but offers even more opportunity for movement and interaction. Supplies needed:
- A copy of the same set of term and definition or question and answer cards for each team. (This is probably best done with just 2 teams, but feel free to try it with more.) You will need one card per student. (If you have an odd number of students, have one duplicate term or answer card available.)
- A copy of the answer key
- Use any space that has enough room for each team to move around and meet up in pairs. If you can, try playing this in a space outside of the classroom, just for variety.
- Shuffle each set of cards well.
- Divide the class into 2 or more teams.
- Give each student one card- they are not allowed to look at the card. Be sure the number of cards exactly matches the number of students.
- Teams work together to correctly match up the terms/ definitions or questions/ answers in their set. They must move around and talk to each other to find the person with the card that corresponds to theirs. (If you have a team with an odd number of students, warn them that they will have one group of three.)
- When they have finished, check the pairs for correctness.
- The first team finished with 100% correctness wins!
This game is not my creation! But I had to include it, because it is a student favorite, from 6th-12th grade. It’s oh-so-simple, but the kids really get into it. Get the FREE download of directions here from Math in the Middle.
- White board or large paper
- Plenty of review questions, preferably those that can be asked and answered verbally
- Divide your class into 3-5 teams. I found that simply dividing by rows was easiest.
- Grab the free download for full directions and ideas on variations!
How I play:
- Select one student from each team to draw a castle on the board. (It doesn’t have to be a castle- we have done turkeys at Thanksgiving, snowmen in the winter, etc.) Give them a time limit, but tell them to draw their best to represent their team.
- Ask review questions to individuals- their team cannot help them answer. If the student answers correctly, they get to “attack” the castle (or whatever) of the team of their choosing. Once a castle has been attacked 5 times, it has fallen. That team cannot win, but they can seek revenge on the others! Last castle standing wins!
This game is a student favorite, and lots of fun, but is not extremely content-heavy. Use this game when your students are needing a break from the mundane, or when you don’t have a ton of deep material to review.
- 2 different-colored balloons, inflated (Have a couple more on hand in case these pop.)
- Optional, but recommended- 4 or 6 fly swatters (Use brand new ones! :)) (may need more for a class of more than 20)
- A variety of prepared review questions (It’s usually easiest to use ones that can be given and answered verbally, although you could require students to have pen and paper ready to solve problems, etc.)
- Divide your classroom seating area in half, creating 2 teams with equal numbers of players. (No need to move furniture- just designate where the two halves are.) All players should be seated for the duration of the game.
- Give one balloon to each team.
- If you’re using the fly swatters, assign 2 or 3 players on each team to use a swatter. Everyone else will use their hands.
- Give your teams 1 minute to pick a team name. (Sometimes giving them a theme to stick with is fun. E.g.: “You have 1 minute to come up with food-related team name! Go!”)
- Write your team names on the board to keep score.
- No talking! (When I play this with students, I find that a strict no-talking rule keeps the game moving faster and way more under control. Don’t feel like this rule takes the fun out- it adds another dimension of challenge- you’ll see. But if you hate the no-talking rule, this one can be optional.)
- Stay in your chair completely, and keep all 4 feet of your chair on the floor. (Again, not to take the fun out, but to simplify game play, and add another layer of challenge.)
- You can hit the balloon with any part of your body (as long as you’re completely seated!) or the fly swatter.
- Do not touch another player or the other team’s balloon.
- The balloon must remain in motion, in the air, for the entire round, until the teacher calls “Stop!”
- Your goal: Keep your team’s balloon in motion and off the floors, tables, desks, and away from the other team, all while staying seated and silent!
- Every time a balloon flies out of reach, touches the other team, the floor, table, or desk, anyone talks, tilts their chair off the floor, or leaves their seat (even partially), game play stops. The teacher will call “Stop!” and the offending team will have to answer a question.
- Questioning: The most effective way to ensure participation is to ask a review question of an individual on the offending team. Go in order of seating arrangement. Each time game play stops, a different student answers a question.
- Points system: Points scoring is backwards in balloon tennis- points are undesirable. When a team is forced to answer a review question, they have one chance to give a correct answer (set a timer also, if needed). If they answer incorrectly, they get a point. If they answer correctly, nothing happens. The team with the fewest points wins the game.
- Resume play after the question is answered. You’ll find that all the strict rules cause play to stop often, giving you more chances to fit in more review material. 🙂
- This game can be as long or as short as you want- I’ve used it as a quick filler for an extra 10 min. at the end of a class period, or as review game that lasted nearly the entire hour. It’s up to you!
This one you probably already know about, but I wanted to include it for those who may not!
Kahoot does require technology- a projector for you and at least a few devices for the kiddos. But it is another student favorite across all grades for sure!
To give you a brief idea of how Kahoot works… A multiple-choice question is projected on the screen, along with 2-4 answer choices. Each answer choice has a corresponding color and shape. Students interact with their phone, tablet or laptop, and all they see on their screen is the color/ shape combos that represent the answer choices. From their device, students select their answer. Results are displayed in real-time on the projected screen. The student who answers the most questions correctly and the fastest wins. Each question is timed, so students have to think fast! Team play and other modes are also available.
It’s always free to play, and there are tons of games already created by other teachers that you can browse. If you don’t find what you need, making your own game is easy and fun.
If you’re new to Kahoot, check it out here!
Language arts teachers, don’t miss this low-prep resource packed with content and resources for use with these games, variations of these games, and more!