Classroom Activities

By — McGraw-Hill Professional
Updated on Oct 10, 2011

Classroom Fillers

Fillers—or sponge activities—use the time between lessons on activities in a fun yet educational way. These short activities absorb the short bits of time that occur throughout the school day. Several suggested classroom fillers are included below.


  • Keep fillers related to academic work, but fun and simple, too.
  • Use fillers when there are only 5 to 15 minutes left in the period or at the end of the day.
  • Use fillers for rainy or snowy day schedules, when the students have to stay inside during recess and lunch.

Around the World

Around the World is a whole-class game where students answer questions or give answers for flash cards. They work their way through the group to get “around the world.”

  • Students stand behind their seats.
  • Choose a starting person and the rotation to be used.
  • The first student in the rotation stands beside the second student in the rotation at the second student’s seat.
  • The teacher holds up a flash card.
  • The first student of the pair to answer correctly moves to stand beside the next student in the rotation.
  • The student who did not answer remains where he or she is.
  • This continues until at least one student makes it completely “around the world” (around the entire rotation or class).


  • An alternate setup is for students to stand in a circle, and the student who answers correctly moves to stand behind the next student in the rotation.
  • This activity works well with vocabulary, math facts, picture cards for foreign language learning, and other content-based material.


This is classic bingo with an educational twist.

  • Print a blank bingo card for each student.
  • Provide a list of items to be entered on the bingo cards, such as a range of numbers, vocabulary words, or pictures of items.
  • List more items than can fit on the cards so that each student’s card will be different.
  • Students fill out their own cards from the list provided.
  • Read the problem or definition out loud.
  • Students cover a correct answer with a bingo chip.
  • The game continues until someone gets a complete row across, down, or diagonally and can shout out “Bingo!”



  • Choose items by using a set of flash cards to randomly select math facts, picture cards for vocabulary, lists of spelling words, definition cards for vocabulary, or lists of synonyms and antonyms.

I Spy

Students can play the classic I Spy game in a version that has an educational purpose. There are many variations of this basic game that can be used in the classroom.

  • “Spy” an object.
  • Say “I spy something ... ,” where you complete the sentence with a clue to help students guess the object.



  • Use the game to teach colors, shapes, and sizes. For example, “spy” right angles in the classroom after teaching the concept in math.
  • Identify items around the classroom when teaching basic vocabulary to ESL (English as a Second Language) students.
  • Develop a group of items to be “spied” by having students write down item names or draw pictures of items on small sheets of paper.
  • Divide students into teams to play the game as a friendly competition.
  • Play the game with a goal in mind, such as cleaning up scraps on the floor after an art project.
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