Those end of the year wiggles can drive students to distraction and make teaching challenging. How do you keep them interested, shake the ants in their pants out and have fun all at the same time? Well, we have some great end of the year activities that do it all! Check out some of the classroom game ideas submitted from elementary teachers across the country!
Classroom Games for Elementary Kids
Cheryl, a 1st Grade Teacher from North Charleston, South Carolina, knows that a little mystery piques a lot of curiosity. “For this activity, all you need is an opaque bag (like a fabric lunch sack) and a page printed with simple directions telling the child to select one “secret object” from home to place into the bag and return to school,” she explains. “Back in class, have students take turns formulating questions to pose to their classmate so they can figure out what’s in the bag. Or, have the student holding the bag offer a series of clues until the class guesses the bag’s contents.”
The Magic of Movement
Here is a collection of ideas that really work to both calm and focus wiggle worms of all ages. In fact, three separate teachers suggested variations on the same idea! Kristen, a Kindergarten Teacher from Green Valley, Arizona may not know Stephanie, a 1st Grade Teacher from Palmyra, New York or Susan, a 3rd-5th Grade Teacher from Bend, Oregon, but all three know how beneficial movement can be in the classroom. Here are their ideas:
“One great way to “take a break” and boost attention levels in Kindergarten is to flip on the CD player and encourage the kids to move and groove along to classic selections like, ‘Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes’ or ‘Itsy Bitsy Spider.’ These tunes never fail to get kids moving and prepared to move forward to the next activity – not to mention that the song lyrics and movements are a learning experience in and of themselves!
You might also try playing a game that supports reasoning skills and memories called, ‘Who’s Hiding?’ To play, just declare one student to be ‘IT’ and send that student into the hallway while you choose another student to hide behind the cubbies. The student who is IT then comes back to the room and has to deduce who’s hiding.
You can also invite students to have fun multitasking as they bounce and catch a ball while practicing spelling skills and/or math drills. Older students can opt to challenge themselves even more by standing on a balance board while bouncing the ball as they ‘skill and drill.'”
Don’t Bug Me!
“Holding a first graders attention is always difficult so I introduce an insect unit which lasts a week,” says Julie N. “We first watch an insect video that mentions going on a bug hunt. I say, ‘A bug hunt? I love a bug hunt.’ The class started cheering as I got out a box of magnifying glasses. We went out on the playground and surrounding areas looking for bugs. We didn’t find many but it didn’t matter. They had fun and were excited about our next unit of study. Each student was assigned an insect to research with a partner in books and on the computer. They made a poster with the information learned and then made a presentation to the class. Everyone had a great time, learned about different insects, and practiced their public speaking skills.”
What are some of your favorite classroom games? Share with us below!