And whoever welcomes a child like this in My name welcomes me. Matthew 18:5

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Waiting Game

 Class is ending, you're passing out snack, everyone is settling in, you check the've ended early! WHAT DO YOU DO WITH ALL THESE KIDS FOR 10, 15, OR, LORD FORBID, 30 MINUTES?! 
 Not to fear my fellow teachers, I've been there...almost every Sunday. lol.  
 So, how do we occupy kids for a significant amount of time? Well, if you're like me, and attend a small or average size church, then we don't usually have the luxury of an indoor play area. So, I recommend games. Believe it or not it's that simple. Most of the time I let the kids pick what they want to do that day. If it's nice out and I've had a well behaved class that day I don't mind letting them go outside and play for a while. But, since that's only an option for about four months out of the year here are some ideas for the other 8 months.
Option 1.

 If you're dealing with a younger group, play dough is a quick and simple crowd pleaser. Just be prepared for a bit of a mess. It's also a good idea to have hand sanitizer for after so you don't send kids home smelling like play dough.

This is also a really good one if you're teaching about creation. Let the kids create something like God did.

Option 2.
 These little beauties are...excuse the pun...a ball in class. These are Throw and Tell balls from The kids toss the ball around hot potato style, you call time, and whoever has the ball has to answer the question under his or her left thumb. Throw and Tell balls come in lots of different themes, and they're also great for lesson review. If it isn't in your church budget to purchase one you can go to the dollar store, get a beach ball and a sharpie, and achieve the same thing for less money. 

These are also great for getting a new class to learn 
about each other. 
Option 3.
 If you have a significant amount of time on your hands, and a white board or chalk board in your room, I let the kids play Pictionary. For those of you who don't know what Pictionary is, it is a game like charades, but with drawing. The kids, without using words, draw pictures while the other kids try and guess what they're trying to say.

 If you're a "prepare ahead type of person", you could even write out ideas that correspond with your lesson for the kids to draw. 

Option 4.
 I can't believe I'm saying this, but the kids ask to play musical chairs allll of the time. Now, even though is an oldie it is still a goody. If you don't know what musical chairs is, then clearly you never went to an elementary school birthday party. Basically, you line up chairs based on the number of kids in your class, if you have 10 kids put out 9 chairs, turn on music, the kids will begin walking in a line around the chairs, they will keep doing this until you stop the music, whoever isn't sitting in a chair when the music stops is out, you then take 1 chair away. You will keep doing this until there is only one chair left. Pretty simple, and great if you only have a few minutes of free time. 

This is a great way to introduce Christian music to 
your class, since most won't hear it very much
outside of church.
Option 5.
If you're looking for a cute, silly, quick game, that requires few supplies then this is for you. The Why/Because game. This game has the potential for some laughs with your students. You will give each student two small pieces of paper and a pen or pencil. On one card, each person should write a question that begins with the word ‘why’. Then on the second piece of paper, each person should answer his or her question starting with the word ‘because’. You will collect all the why’s in one pile and all the because’s in another. Mix up each pile and then read one why card with one because card. You will get some crazy and silly combinations that are sure to have you and your classroom laughing all the way to the parking lot.

This is also a great icebreaker, perfect for 
a new class to get talking.

Well, these are just a few ideas, and I'm sure you will come up with your own. In time you will find exactly what time fillers best fit you and your class. If you have anymore time filler ideas please leave a comment below. I would love to hear about them!

Thanks and God Bless, 


  1. I just discovered your blog! (because it's Saturday night and I don't have a lesson prepared, so I am desperately searching for an idea!)
    Thank you for sharing your ideas. We modified musical chairs slightly - you still start out with one less chair than children, but instead of being "out", the child without a chair sits on someone's lap. Each round you take away a chair. The game usually ends with everyone giggling in a pile on the floor. I like this version because everyone gets to keep playing.

  2. Fantastic Ideas!! Love Love Love all of them!! Great because you can end them when ever you need to!! I just discovered your blog and you are a wealth of information and ideas!! Bless You as YOU are a blessing to me and my Sunday school program!! I can not wait to share these ideas with my very tired and worn down teachers (after 10 years...this years group of wiggly 1st and 2nd grade boys are putting them over the edge)
    Thank You Thank You!!
    Gratefully Yours
    Mary in Smithtown, NY

    1. I absolutely understand. My class is about 80% boys this year too, and I've had to modify my methods quite bit. Wish I could bottle up all their energy for myself. haha.