Classroom Time Fillers - FREE Cheat Sheet for Teachers @
The Secret to Classroom Time Fillers!

It doesn’t happen very often, but nothing is worse than having five or ten minutes left in class….when you are finished with your lesson.  What about transition times?

Sometimes teachers just need a time filler.  The term “time filler” gets a bad rap, but let’s face it, there is a time and place for using a small window of time for a quick “unplanned” activity.

So, what is the secret to using time fillers without them being a complete waste of time?

Or better yet, what is the secret to using time fillers so that you don’t lose points on your observation?

Time filler activities for teachers.
Secret to using classroom time fillers

It’s actually pretty simple.  If you want to give your kiddos {and yourself} a little brain break without wasting everyone’s time, you need to remember these four simple words:  think, talk, easy and play.

  1. Think:  Focus your activity around using higher level thinking strategies.  Now, that may sound complicated, but it’s really just the opposite because they will be doing all the work.
  2. Talk:  Provide your kiddos with a quick oral communication activity…get them talking about something they also have to THINK about.
  3. Easy:  If it’s not simple for you to pull together and do in a moment’s notice, just forget about it!
  4. Play:  No.  I’m not talking about real playing.  I’m talking about doing a very simple activity that makes your students think they are playing.  Over the years, I learned how to turn anything, a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g into a game!

The trick here is to use your “game” voice and act a little more happy than usual.  Try it.  It seriously works.

Here are some of my “go-to” classroom time fillers / transition activities:


Time filler ideas and activities for teachers.


Would You Rather?:  This is one of my very favorite activities to do quickly, and your students will LOVE it!  Here is a quick example:

Would you rather clean your room for five minutes every single day, or clean your room once a year for 30 hours straight, WITHOUT stopping?

The key to getting your students to think deeply while playing Would You Rather is to make them explain WHY that is their answer.  It is very easy to come up with your own Would You Rather questions, but if you are short on time, click here to see mine.

What Am I… Vocabulary Edition:   Students will take a word from the vocabulary word wall {if you don’t have one up yet, start keeping the vocabulary words you are working on for the week on an anchor chart}.  Without saying the word, they will describe the word as if they are the word themselves.

Here is an example:  I am something you do when you need to drop something off.  A mailman also does this too.  {deliver}

{Teacher Tip}  Another idea for What Am I, is to write vocabulary words on index cards in advance.  You can continue to add words to the list as you learn new words throughout the year.

What Am I… Number Edition:  Students will come up with a number.  Give them some kind of guidelines here, otherwise the rest of the class will be guessing numbers like 17,489,121… Without giving away too much information, they will give one clue.  The student will continue giving clues until someone guesses the correct number.

Example:  I am a number between 17 and 44.  I am an even number.  I am less than 33.  I am 8 plus 10.  {18}

{Teacher Tip}  Teach your students to always begin with the statement “I am a number between __ and __.”  Also, train them to start with the most elusive hint first and then give easier and easier hints.  If you will do this a few times at the start of a mini-lesson, they will catch onto the concept pretty easily.

How to fill empty time in your classroom.
I Need 10!:  Tell your students, “I need 10 __” {fill in the blank}. Call on a student to try and give you 10 __.  If they can get all 10, they get to come up with a topic.

Example:  I need 10 kinds of desserts. {cake, pie, candy bar, donut, fruit, ice cream, jello, pudding, cookies, milk shake}

Here are some other topic ideas for I Need 10!:
  • names of toys
  • words that rhyme with fun
  • kinds of animals
  • colors
  • ways to make the number 20
  • words that mean nice
  • odd numbers
  • words that begin with the letter q
  • holiday traditions
  • things to do in the summer

These are just a few ideas for I Need 10!, you can tweak it to make it more FUN or to focus on the things you have been working on in your classroom {you are reviewing and they don’t even know it}.

{Teacher Tip}  For working with younger students, you may want to have them only come up with 5…so the activity would be…I Need 5!  Also with Kinder – 2nd grade, you can continue to give them the topics.

When you download your free Classroom Time Filler set, here are the activities that are explained:
  • Would You Rather?
  • What Am I… Vocabulary Edition
  • Pass the Story On
  • Act it Out
  • What Am I…Number Edition
  • Around the World
  • Vanishing Vowels
  • It Doesn’t Add Up
  • How Many Words?
  • Scramble Spelling
  • I Need 10!
Time filler activities for teachers.
Time fillers for teachers
Time filler activities for teachers.
Time fillers for teachers
Time filler activities for teachers.
Time fillers for teachers

In order for time fillers to work for you and not against you, have a simple game-plan ready to go in advance.  Jot down a few of the time fillers I shared, or some of the ones that have already worked for your classroom.

In my freebie, you will also find a printable form for listing the classroom time fillers that you plan to use with your students.

It is always best to be prepared when it comes to ANYTHING IN EDUCATION!

Keep your new list handy so that you can refer back to it when you need it.

Time filler activities for teachers.
Time fillers for teachers
Classroom Time Fillers - FREE Cheat Sheet for Teachers @
I would LOVE to hear what activities you like to use as time fillers.  What has worked in your classroom?

Best wishes!


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