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Two Surprisingly Simple Yet Incredibly Fun Class Activities

Updated on May 30, 2015
Elementary school kids enjoy class activities
Elementary school kids enjoy class activities

When your young students need a break from sitting down for long periods and being bombarded with information, here are a couple of quick and easy class games to finish a lesson and put some spirit back into your kids:

Heads Down, Thumbs Up

A personal favorite from my elementary school days.

Step 1: Announce to the class that you’re about to play a fun classroom activity called ‘Heads Down, Thumbs Up,’ and they all need to put their books away and sit quietly before you begin.

Step 2: With all the children sitting at their desks, choose four students at random to come stand at the front of the class. These four students make up your thumb-pressing dream team.

Step 3: Now ask the rest of the class to fold their arms on the table in front of them with thumbs sticking up towards the ceiling and rest their heads on their arms with eyes closed.

Step 4: Direct your dream team to walk around the classroom on tip toes and select one person each. Slowly and gently, they will press down the thumbs of the person they have chosen and quietly return to the front of the class.

By the way, some of your brighter kids will figure out how to get an advantage in this game. First, they will take a mental picture of the footwear worn by each member in the dream team. Second, they will place their arms and head at the edge of their desk so that they can see the floor, and more importantly the person’s feet, directly below. This is what I did when I was at school and it worked a treat every time.

Step 5: Once all four of your dream team have returned to the front, ask the class to open their eyes and lift their heads. Now ask the four students who had their thumbs pressed down to raise their hands. They will each guess who it was that pressed their thumbs down.

Step 6: If a student guesses correctly, they can now take the presser’s place on the dream team. If not, then the presser stays in the dream team. After all four have guessed and the new dream team is finalised, you can now begin another round of this fun classroom game.


For more role play ideas designed to help you encourage your students to interact more in the English classroom, try Role Play Scenarios for English Classroom Activities

Chinese Whispers

Step 1: When your students are getting a bit too noisy and you want to settle things down, tell them you are now going to play one of the coolest and most secretive class games ever called ‘Chinese Whispers.’ But for this game to be fun, everyone needs to sit quietly.

Step 2: Unlike the previous game, this one needs a quick summary of the rules, which helps get the kids enthusiastic about this activity. Explain that you want everyone to pass on a very top secret message to each other.

Step 3: Begin by using a low voice to whisper a short sentence to the first student that includes verbs, nouns, and adjectives. Add a little fun into the sentence and it will get them giggling as they pass it along.

Step 4: The student will then whisper the message to the student sitting next to them. The message continues along the line and around the whole classroom until it’s passed to the final student.

Step 5: When the final student receives the message, ask him or her to speak it out loud for the whole class to hear. This sentence will likely be incredibly hilarious and nothing at all like the original. (But fair play to any teacher who gets their kids to pass the exact message all the way to the end.)

Step 6: Now tell the class what the original sentence was and compare the results. If the class enjoyed themselves, then go for another round. This time pick someone from the class to come up with the starting phrase.

NOTE: If you try this with teenage students, don’t be surprised if you get some ‘not so suitable for class’ phrases at the end. Don’t take any insults to heart; teens will be teens.


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