Short Activity Ideas:
1. 4 Corners: This is my students' favorite! They love this simple game. It begins by assigning a number 1-4 to each corner of your room. For example, my students know that the corner by the door is 1, the corner by the window is 2, the corner where my desk is, is 3, and the reading corner is 4. All students get up and chose any corner to stand in. I then take a die and roll it. Whatever number I roll, is out. They have to sit down. Now, every other child still standing can either stay in their corner or switch corners. (My students have a theory that you have the best odds if you go to the corner that was just rolled.... that doesn't always work out the best for them.) We continue doing this until there are only two children left standing. They each pick a different corner and the one I roll, loses. The last one standing gets a prize, or in my class, gets to add a dollar to their class account.
2. Man the Lifeboat: For this activity you just need some music to play... anything boat or water related makes it that much more fun! Students meander around the room while you play music. After 30-50 seconds, stop the music. Students then freeze. You call out "Man the lifeboat.... and then any number." Students must hook arms and create a group that is made up of the number of students you called. For example, if you called out "Man the lifeboat, six," students would get into groups of 6 by hooking arms. If they are not in a group or if there is not enough people to make a complete group, they are out. You can continue this a few times until it gets down to just a few people. As the number of people left gets lower, I find my students guessing what number I will call based on what the multiples of that number are. They know I want a few people to get out each time. This game makes students group-up with kiddos that they may not normally hang out with or like. They have to befriend anyone around them to make their lifeboat!
3. Black Socks: This is a game that I learned through a "Great Expectations" workshop. I am not sure where it originated.
The students start by sitting in chairs, in a circle. One student is in the middle, without a chair. They sing the following song aloud:
They never get dirty.
The longer you wear them,
The stronger they get.
Sometimes I think I should wash them,
but something inside my keeps saying
Not yet, not yet, not yet.
Then the whole groups says:
Child's name, Do you love your neighbor?
The child says:
Yes! But especially my neighbors who.......
At this point, the student in the middle names something that the group may have in common such as wearing purple. Then, anyone wearing purple must get up and switch chairs with someone else that is standing. I have rule that they must go at least one chair away. By stealing chairs, one child is always left standing to be in the middle. Some children will intentionally not grab a chair so they can be in the middle. A few other ideas for the child in the middle to call out are: neighbors who love pizza, hate spelling, enjoy fishing, wearing a necklace, etc.
4. Dances: This one is a no-brainer, but my kiddos love them! There are so many songs that have dance moves the kids already know! Some of the ones that my kids love are: The Cupid Shuffle, Peanut Butter Jelly, Ice Cream and Cake, and Cha Cha Slide. If there are any of these that you don't know, you can always look them up on Youtube and find the music and dance moves for you. There are also a lot more if you Google "line dances." Just be sure to listen to the music first to be sure it is school appropriate. You can also look for a chipmunk version, in which you can't understand the words, but can still hear the music.
So, do you have certain games that your students love to play at the end of the day or during a few free moments?