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Classroom Activities and Games for the New Year

Janelle Cox

Group of young students standing in a line in a classroom stretching their arms.The New Year is upon us, and if you’re looking for a few new ways to engage students in learning while making it fun in the process, then partaking in classroom games is the way to go. Games can teach students a variety of skills, such as how to communicate and work with others, resolve conflicts and even make positive decisions. They also are an excellent way for students to get to know each other better which is great for community building in the classroom.

Classroom Activities and Games

A simple way to engage students in learning is to make it fun. Here are a few fun classroom games and activities to use in the classroom this New Year.

Spot It

If you’ve ever heard of the matching game Spot It, then you’ll like this classroom adaption. Just like in the original game, the goal is to be the first person to spot the correct answer. To play, first come up questions related to a topic students are learning and at least two answers, with one being the correct answer. Once you have your questions and answers, students must form two teams and stand in line with one student behind the other. On your go, one person from each team races to spot the correct answer on the board. The game continues until only one person is left. This fun review game is great because it can be adapted for any grade level.

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Three Cups

Three Cups is another classroom game where students are divided into two relay race teams. However, for this game they are taking turns one group at a time. To prepare for this game, you must create a questionnaire based on any current topic students are learning. To begin, each team takes turns answering questions. If the student gets the answer correct, they get to throw a ball at one of three cups. Each cup is worth a certain amount of points, which you can determine at an earlier time. If the student knocks down the cup they aimed for, they receive that amount of points for their team. The team to get the highest amount of points at the end of the game wins. 

Read My Mind

Read My Mind is a classroom game that can be used to reinforce learned skills, as well as help students build their vocabulary. To begin, the teacher thinks of a topic and ten words related to that topic. The teacher then gives students the topic and sets the timer for one to three minutes, during which students write down as many words as they can that relate to the topic. Students receive one point for each word that matches the teacher’s. Topics can be practically anything, from what students are learning about, such as planets or presidents, to simple topics, such as types of sports, fruits, or automobiles.

Without a Voice

If you’re looking for an alternative classroom activity where students are learning without talking, this game is for you. While it can be quite difficult for students to stay quiet throughout the entire game, it will teach students that they can still communicate with others without the use of their voice. There are a variety of different ways that students can partake in this activity. For example, you can challenge students to arrange themselves in alphabetical order or from shortest to tallest without using their voice. Another idea is to spell out a vocabulary word with each individual letter on a sticky note and place one sticky note on each student’s shirt. Then ask your students to arrange themselves with the correct spelling without talking. To make it even harder, you can set a timer.

Spin It to Spell It

Spin It to Spell It is a spelling review game for elementary students. The only preparation for the game is to have a spinner, which is used to determine how many points each word are worth, and a list of the week’s spelling words. To play, divide students into two teams. Students can move their desks in two half-moons facing each other or sit on the carpet. To begin, teams take turns spinning the spinner and spelling a word off of the spelling list (which is directed by the teacher). The first team who gets a set amount of points wins!

Classroom activities and games are a great way to engage students and break up the monotony of your everyday routine. Try and incorporate one of these fun games at least once a week, and you’ll see students’ motivation and engagement rise.



Janelle holds an MS in Education. 

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