Ten 5-Minute Classroom Games That Students Love

Sometimes, during the regular school day, you may feel the need to break the monotony of teaching and provide your students with opportunities to relax and have fun.

However, finding time for such activities can be challenging.

This is where 5-minute classroom games prove valuable.

These games serve as excellent brain breaks or short interludes between lessons that can be utilized with students of all ages.

They offer students a chance to stretch, unwind, and enjoy themselves.

Importantly, integrating these games helps improve focus because students can redirect their attention to their work with increased concentration after taking time to relax.

What’s more, 5-minute classroom games…

  • engage students,
  • provide a quick energy boost,
  • reinforce learning,
  • promote collaboration and communication,
  • enhance retention and retrieval,
  • may offer formative assessment opportunities, and
  • build a positive classroom culture.

Make these short, but effective, games part of your classroom management or regular teaching routine.

5-Minute Classroom Games

Sentence Relay

Divide the class into two teams. 

Provide each team with a sentence written on a piece of paper. The first student from each team runs to the board, writes the sentence correctly, and then runs back to tag the next person in line. 

The game continues until all team members have written the sentence. The team that finishes first with the correct sentence wins.

Hot Potato

The hot potato game is a fast-paced group activity that requires students to pass a “hot potato” quickly before it “explodes.” 

Students form a circle and a small object, like a ball or stuffed toy, is passed around while music plays. 

The goal is to avoid being caught with the potato when the music stops. When the music pauses, the student holding the potato is out of the game. 

The game continues for 5 minutes or until only one player remains.

Word Association

Choose a starting word and have students take turns saying a word that is associated with it. 

For example, if the starting word is “food,” students can say “pizza,” “apple,” “spaghetti,” and so on. 

Keep the game going for five minutes and see how far the associations can go.


To start, divide the class into teams. 

One student from each team comes to the front of the class and is given a word or phrase to draw on the board. 

Their team members have to guess the word within a time limit, usually one minute. 

The team that guesses correctly earns a point, and the game continues with new students drawing.

Heads Up, Seven Up

Heads Up, Seven Up is a classic classroom game that involves a group of students. 

The game begins with seven students being selected as “it” by the teacher. 

While the remaining students put their heads down and close their eyes, the “it” students move around the room, tapping the thumbs of chosen participants. 

Once the tapping is complete, the class raises their heads but keeps their eyes closed.

The “it” students then take turns guessing who tapped their thumbs. If guessed correctly, the roles are swapped.

The game continues for a few rounds.


Select a word related to a topic you’ve covered. 

Draw a series of dashes on the board to represent each letter of the word. Students take turns guessing letters to fill in the blanks. 

If they guess a correct letter, write it in the corresponding position(s). If they guess a wrong letter, begin drawing a hanging gallows. 

The goal is for the students to guess the word correctly before the hangman is completed within the five-minute time limit.

Name a City, State, or Country

For this fun 5-minute classroom game, all students are standing at their desks. 

The teacher randomly selects a letter of the alphabet and then chooses a student to start the game.

The selected student must name a city, state, or country within 5 seconds that begin with that letter 

Once the student answers, the teacher moves on to the next student.

The game is fast-paced, with each new student receiving a different, random letter from the alphabet.

The students need to think quickly to come up with an appropriate answer. If a student fails to respond within 5 seconds, he or she must sit down. 

The game continues until only one student remains standing.


Choose a category, such as animals, fruits, or countries. 

Start with a student who names something that fits the category, and then move to the next student who has to name something that starts with the last letter of the previous answer. 

For example, if the category is animals and one student says “elephant,” the next student can say “tiger,” and so on. 

Continue until the time is up.

Brainstorm Relay

Divide the class into teams and assign a topic or category. 

Each team has five minutes to brainstorm and write down as many words or ideas related to the topic as possible. 

When the time is up, teams take turns sharing their list of words or ideas. Award points based on the relevance of the contributions.

This or That Questions

The “This or That” 5-minute classroom game involves students making choices between two options. 

Present students with a series of questions, and they must choose between the given options. 

Allow each student a chance to answer a this or that question before the game ends. 

See a list of high-interest this or that questions

Final Thoughts On 5-Minute Classroom Games

Incorporating 5-minute classroom games into your teaching can have a significant positive impact on students’ learning experience as they provide an opportunity for students to take a break from academic tasks, allowing them to recharge and refocus.

Not only do they add an element of fun and excitement to the classroom, but they also serve as effective brain breaks and fillers during transitional periods.

By implementing these games, you will enhance classroom management, engage students, and create a more enjoyable learning environment.