Activities/games for 30 rowdy elementary school kids

I have to teach a half hour class every Monday to 30 very energetic elementary school kids.
The lesson is not in a classroom, so whiteboard games are out of the question.
I’ve had a look on sites like (they’ve got quite an extensive list of games), but the games there seem to mostly for smaller groups of kids.

Any ideas?

There are several kinds of activities that work well that don’t require a whiteboard.

#1: Run to a certain area of the room based on commands/dialog.
This can be directions, based on an object in that area you are teaching, labeled with a flashcard, or an arbitrary area.

Example 1:
Children chant: “How do you go to school?”
Teacher/Ghost/It: “I go to school by bicycle!”"
(All the children go to the area labeled bicycle. The teacher, or whoever is “it” tries to catch the person)

Example 2 (colored eggs):
(children are standing in 2-4 different “safe” areas)
Ghosts chant: “What’s your favorite color?”
Children: “I like blue, what about you?”
Ghosts: “I like RED!”
(All children wearing red have to leave the “safe” area and run to another safe area. Children who are caught join the ghosts.)

These are specific examples. You can adapt the wording and the procedure to match the material you are teaching.

#2: Simon Says style activities. This can be done with a lot of variations. Limit the vocabulary “Simon” can use to new material and things you want to review. Begin with a large group and then break the class up into smaller groups each with its own “Simon”


  1. Make it an “opposites” Simon Says. Where if Simon doesn’t say it, you have to do the opposite.
  2. Use flashcards and a limited number of actions-- fly, stand on your chairs, jump. Then show the flashcard and make a sentence or pronounce the word-- if it matches the word they do one action, if it doesn’t they do another. An example would be parts of speech: for verbs the kids should jump, for nouns stand on their chair, adjectives sit down, etc.

#3: Relays. With 4 teams going you can have 7 or 8 kids in a team. You can pass balloons only using one hand or just have kids repeat a pattern. You can also do “grapevine”. The important thing is that children get repetition repeating target language.

The problem with most of these activities is that they don’t lend themselves to individual assessment and children will often develop bad habits of cheating by copying whatever the brighter kids do. But they can be done with large groups without a classroom.

Dodge Ball

Lawn Darts

2 Mile(4 Kilometer) Relay Races

Full Contact Mah Jong

Local Temple Scavenger Hunts

Whisbe Bottle Toss

Catch the CocoNut

Thanks for the practical and not-so-practical :wink: tips.

Will give it a go today.

What time is it, Mr. Wolf?

The kids make a wide circle with ‘it’ (Mr. Wolf) in the middle. The kids ask, “What time is it, Mr. Wolf?” The wolf can say any time - 1 o’clock, 2 o’clock, bedtime, playtime, etc. Each time the wolf answers, the others take one step closer to the wolf. Finally, when the wolf answers “Lunchtime!” the children run away. The first one tagged becomes the new Mr. Wolf.

Broken Telephone

Make two lines of students with each student having a partner facing across from them. One side of the line has a few sentences (if they are different from another group’s even better) on paper. The other side has paper and a pencil. It helps to put two tables to separate them. On go, the group with the sentences have to dictate them by whispering to their partner on the other side of the room. They can use body language to help convey their meaning, but no voices above a whisper. First team to get their sentences down correctly wins. You can do this with a list of spelling words with the order randomized for each team so they won’t have the same answers or to do sentence corrections where one partner whispers erroneous sentences while their partner has to fix it. You could even set it up as an information gap (well, more so of one) where they have to complete each other’s sentences.

The Picnic Game/Going on a Trip

The first person says, “I’m going on a picnic/trip, and I’m bringing…”
The second person has to say, “_________ is going on a picnic/trip and he/she is bringing a/an ________. I’m going on a picnic/trip and I’m bringing a/an…” with each progressive person adding onto the chain. For a bonus, when it gets to the end, the first person has to name what everyone is bringing.


The first person names a noun or word, depending on your focus. The next person has to name a new word that begins with the first word’s ending sound and so on…for example -

This chain works: banana-apple-ledge-jump

This chain doesn’t: banana-apple-elephant