Fun activities to teach

Interactive Classroom Activities | Sheridan Center

Students learn through their participation in the attainment of knowledge by gathering information and processing it by solving problems and articulating what they have discovered. Each activity below provides students with opportunities to deepen their learning by applying concepts and articulating new knowledge and many of these activities also provide the instructor feedback about the students’ learning.

Entry/Exit Tickets

Entry & Exit tickets are short prompts that provide instructors with a quick student diagnostic. These exercises can be collected on 3”x5” cards, small pieces of paper, or online through a survey or course management system.

  • Entry tickets focus student attention on the day’s topic or ask students to recall background knowledge relevant to the day’s lesson: e.g., “Based on the readings for class today, what is your understanding of ___________?”
  • Exit tickets collect feedback on students’ understanding at the end of a class and provide the students with an opportunity to reflect on what they have learned. They can be helpful in prompting the student to begin to synthesize and integrate the information gained during a class period. For example, a muddiest point prompt: “What was the muddiest point in today’s class?” or “What questions do you still have about today’s lecture?”.

Advantages of entrance and exit tickets include: participation of each student, prompt for students to focus on key concepts and ideas, a high return of information for the amount of time invested, important feedback for the instructor that can be useful to guide teaching decisions (e.g., course pacing, quick clarification of small misunderstandings, identification of student interests and questions).

Free Writing/Minute Paper/Question of the Day Exercise

These are activities that prompt students to write a response to an open question and can be done at any time during a class. Writing activities are usually 1-2 minutes, and can focus on key questions and ideas or ask students to make predictions. These activities give students the opportunity to organize their own thoughts, or can be collected by the teacher to gain feedback from the students. Advantages include developing students’ abilities to think holistically and critically, and improving their writing skills.

Ice Breakers

Ice Breakers are low-stakes activities that get students to interact and talk to each other, and encourage subsequent classroom interactions. They can be useful at the beginning of the semester: for example, asking students to introduce themselves to each other and what they would like to learn in the course. Advantages of icebreakers include: participation of each student, the creation of a sense of community and focusing students’ attention on material that will be covered during the class period.


This type of activity first asks students to consider a question on their own, and then provides an opportunity for students to discuss it in pairs, and finally together with the whole class. The success of these activities depends on the nature of the questions posed. This activity works ideally with questions to encourage deeper thinking, problem-solving, and/or critical analysis. The group discussions are critical as they allow students to articulate their thought processes.

The procedure is as follows:

  1. Pose a question, usually by writing it on the board or projecting it.
  2. Have students consider the question on their own (1 – 2 min).
  3. Then allow the students form groups of 2-3 people.
  4. Next, have students discuss the question with their partner and share their ideas and/or contrasting opinions (3 min).
  5. Re-group as a whole class and solicit responses from some or all of the pairs (3 min).

Advantages of the think-pair-share include the engagement of all students in the classroom (particularly the opportunity to give voice to quieter students who might have difficulty sharing in a larger group), quick feedback for the instructor (e. g., the revelation of student misconceptions), encouragement and support for higher levels of thinking of the students.

Case Studies and Problem-Based Learning

Case studies are scenarios that apply concepts learned in class to a “real-life” situation. They are usually presented in narrative form and often involve problem-solving, links to course readings or source materials, and discussions by groups of students, or the entire class. Usually, case studies are most effective if they are presented sequentially, so that students receive additional information as the case unfolds, and can continue to analyze or critique the situation/problem.

Guiding questions lead students through the activity. The questions should be designed to develop student’s critical thinking by asking students to distinguish between fact and assumptions, and critically analyze both the process they take in solving the case study as well as the solution itself. Example questions include:

  • What is the situation? What questions do you have?
  • What problem(s) need to be solved? What are some solution strategies? Evaluate pros/cons and underlying assumptions of these strategies.
  • What information do you need? Where/how could you find it?
  • What criteria will you use to evaluate your solution?

There are many collections of case studies publically available in a variety of disciplines.

Problem-based learning activities are similar to case studies but usually focus on quantitative problems. In some cases the problems are designed to introduce the material as well as provide students with a deeper learning opportunity.

The advantages of problem-based learning activities and case studies include developing students problem solving and decision making skills, develop student’s critical thinking skills encouraging critical reflection and enabling the appreciation of ambiguity in situations.


Engaging in collaborative discourse and argumentation enhances student’s conceptual understandings and refines their reasoning abilities. Stage a debate exploiting an arguable divide in the day’s materials. Give teams time to prepare, and then put them into argument with a team focused on representing an opposing viewpoint. Advantages include practice in using the language of the discipline and crafting evidence-based reasoning in their arguments.

Interview or Role Play

Members of the class take the part or perspective of historical figures, authors, or other characters and must interact from their perspective. Breakdown the role play into specific tasks to keep students organized and to structure them so that the content you want to cover is addressed. Preparation work can be assigned for outside of class, so clearly communicating your expectations is essential. Advantages include motivation to solve a problem or to resolve a conflict for the character, providing a new perspective through which students can explore or understand an issue and the development of skills, such as writing, leadership, coordination, collaboration and research.

Interactive Demonstrations

Interactive demonstrations can be used in lectures to demonstrate the application of a concept, a skill, or to act out a process. The exercise should not be passive; you should plan and structure your demonstration to incorporate opportunities for students to reflect and analyze the process.

  1. Introduce the goal and description of the demonstration.
  2. Have students think-pair-share (see above) to discuss what they predict may happen, or to analyze the situation at hand (“pre-demonstration” state or situation).
  3. Conduct the demonstration.
  4. Students discuss and analyze the outcome (either in pairs/small groups, or as a whole class), based on their initial predictions/interpretations.

Advantages of interactive demonstrations include novel visualizations of the material and allowing students to probe their own understanding by asking if they can predict the outcome of the demo. They are also a venue for providing applications of ideas or concepts.


A Jigsaw is a cooperative active learning exercise where students are grouped into teams to solve a problem or analyze a reading. These can be done in one of two ways – either each team works on completing a different portion of the assignment and then contributes their knowledge to the class as a whole, or within each group, one student is assigned to a portion of the assignment (the jigsaw comes from the bringing together the various ideas at the end of the activity to produce a solution to the problem). In a jigsaw the activity must be divided into several equal parts, each of which is necessary to solving a problem, or answering a question. Example activities include implementing experiments, small research projects, analyzing and comparing datasets, and working with professional literature. The advantages of the jigsaw include the ability to explore substantive problems or readings, the engagement of all students with the material and in the process of working together, learning from each other, and sharing and critical analyzing a diversity of ideas.

24 Fun Classroom Activities for Middle School Students

In a rush to complete your lesson plans on time, it is easy to overlook the importance of incorporating fun activities during teaching time. Planning for interactive games and activities for students is extremely helpful because it fosters a sense of togetherness and encourages creative expression. Moreover, it helps break the monotony of the school day, which in turn helps their overall focus and attention span. Here are 25 fun activities to try with your middle schoolers!

1. Name, Place, Animal Thing 

This classic game needs only a piece of paper and a pencil. Tell your class to divide their paper into five columns as shown above. Then, randomly call out any letter from the alphabet. The challenge is to think of a name, place, animal, and thing beginning with that letter within 60 seconds. At the end of a few rounds, the person with the most points wins!

Learn more: Instructables

2. Jeopardy Style Revision

Have a quiz coming up? Spruce up revision by asking them revision questions in a jeopardy style format. Divide the class into teams and turn the whole thing into a game show. This fun classroom game is bound to capture everybody's attention!

Learn more: Play Factile

3. Exit Ticket

These are great to immediately engage with your students and how they're feeling. Towards the end of class, distribute these cute-looking templates and ask them to give you feedback- it can be a question that they have about the class or something that they thought they wanted to be done differently, etc.

Learn more: Canva

4. Role Reversal

These are great to immediately engage with your students and how they're feeling. Towards the end of class, distribute these cute-looking templates and ask them to give you feedback- it can be a question that they have about the class or something that they thought they wanted to be done differently, etc.

Learn more: Canva

5. Guess What?

Write out some key concepts that you're teaching in class on pieces of paper. Separate students out into groups of 3-4 students. One person from each team will come and draw something that visually represents the concept on their paper. The team with the most points wins! The best part is that this can also be played as an online game if your class is virtual.

Learn more: The Teacher Toolkit

6. Dancing Competition 

This is a great way to release all your students' stress and energy. Ask for a few volunteers to come in front of the class and do a 30-second dance one by one. The rest of the class can vote on who they think should win!

Learn more: Kidz Bop

7. Write a Poem 

Give your students a prompt to write a poem on a certain theme. For example, you can choose Astronomy as your broader sub-topic and tell the students to come up with a poem on the sun, moon, stars, and planets.

Learn more: Every Star is Different

8. Make a Musical Instrument

Teach your students about how sound travels and the rules of acoustics. This activity involves challenging them to make musical instruments from items commonly found around the classroom and at home!

Learn more: 30 Skill-Developing After School Activities for Middle Schoolers

9. Spelling Race 

This is more effective for younger middle schoolers who are struggling with their spelling. Give everyone a set of paper letters and start calling out spellings one by one. Set a time limit - the person who can make the most words the fastest gets a prize!

Learn more: Confidence Meets Parenting

10. Cabbage Science Experiment

Get some Cabbage and juice it. Since cabbage juice is a pH indicator, adding items to it will help determine whether they are acidic in nature or alkaline. This experiment has many benefits for students as it gives them practical exposure to important science-based concepts.

Learn more: What Do We Do All Day

11. Make a Pen Pal! 

Revive the age-old tradition of having a pen pal in a different country. The best part is that it's all virtual now and you won't have to wait for weeks for their letter to arrive! There are websites that will allow students to safely communicate and collaborate with students from other countries.

Learn more: Penpal Schools

12. Make a Thaumatrope 

This is an excellent visual and tactile science project to teach students about how our brain processes visual cues and motion. Making this old-school toy will not only improve their art skills but also develop their motor skills.

Learn more: What Do We Do All Day

13. DIY Projector 

Improvise your own smartphone projector by using an old shoebox and some magnifying glass. This is a very simple project in terms of materials required, but it does require some concentration skills on the part of the person making it.

Learn more: The STEM Laboratory

14. Spell Using Yarn!

This activity is bound to encourage even the most reluctant student to practice their spelling. Grab some colorful pieces of yarn and distribute them towards the end of your class period. Call out the spellings you want them to practice and get them to write the letters in yarn. The yarn is reusable for every word and the word can be customized according to the age group.

Learn more: Homeschool Hideout

15. Marshmallow Challenge!

This is a brilliant way to teach students the basics of Physics. Divide the class into groups of 4-5 students. Give them a marshmallow, some tape, and a few pieces of spaghetti. The aim is to build a structure that can support the weight of their marshmallow. The first team to successfully do so wins!

Learn more: Digital Lesson

16. Anime Drawing

Teenagers these days are very into anime. Get them to brush up on their artistic skills for something that they love. Have a competition where you ask them to draw their favorite anime character in under a minute. The best drawing gets a small treat!

Learn more: Teen Services Underground

17. Cooking Club

In the quest for knowledge and education, it is unfortunate that schools have stopped focusing on developing basic life skills such as cooking. You can undo that by getting a hot plate and starting a cooking club in class. Once a week, pick an age-appropriate recipe and teach students the basic skills necessary to survive in the kitchen.

Learn more: S&S Blog

18. Comedy Skit

Staging comedy skits is a wonderful way to get your introverted students out of their shells. Working as a team to put up a show encourages camaraderie and boosts confidence.

Learn more: Ice Breaker Ideas

19. Blog!

Social media is the future. Encourage students to publish their blogs and write in them regularly. They can pick any niche of their choice. This will sharpen their technical skills and hone their writing skills. Who knows, if they work at it regularly enough, they can even monetize their blog down the line.

Learn more: Cool Tools for School

20. Chess

Bring out a large chess board and give the students a lesson in strategy as you teach them some basic moves. Divide the class into groups of 2 and have them practice moves on a smaller chess board.

Learn more: Chess Site

21. Debate Club 

Build your students' communication and argumentative skills by encouraging live debates. Try to have a few controversial topics ready for debate- the more relevant to the current political situation, the better. Remind students to be respectful as they try to convey their point of view. Award points based on the quality of the argument.

Learn more: Thought Co.

22. Plan an Entrepreneurial Venture

Build your students' communication and argumentative skills by encouraging live debates. Try to have a few controversial topics ready for debate- the more relevant to the current political situation, the better. Remind students to be respectful as they try to convey their point of view. Award points based on the quality of the argument.

Learn more: Venture Lab

23. Create a Product

Somewhat similar to the previous activity, invite your students to think about what product they think the world lacks. The challenge is to create a new product from scratch, something that does not currently exist yet and something that the world needs.

Learn more: Venture Lab

24. Community Service

It's important to teach children empathy and selflessness, and what better way to do that than to dedicate one lesson to an act of community service. This could include a field trip to an old age home or hospital, but you do not even need to leave the school- make the kids volunteer to pick up trash from the football field at school, or give the janitor a break and make them clean and sweep their own classroom!

Learn more: Kid Activities. net

11 fun activities to prepare your child for reading

Try these activities to teach your child the four key components of successful reading: understanding syllables, understanding words and sentences, rhyming, phonemic awareness.

We have prepared for you a colorful poster with these exercises for printing (download links below, under the text)!

1. Collect the word (Understanding syllables).

Explain that syllables are parts of words. Demonstrate by saying the word and pushing one block in a row accentuating each syllable. Gather the cubes back into a pile before saying the next word. Instead of blocks, you can give the children small paper squares for a group activity. Prepare a list of words to practice. For example, you can practice words related to something your child is currently learning.

2. What's in the box (Understanding syllables).

Collect several items in a box or basket. Be sure to include items that differ from each other in the number of syllables in their name. Invite the child to close their eyes, choose an object from the box, and name it (for example, “This is a pencil”). All children must repeat the name of the chosen subject and clap their hands, emphasizing each syllable. Then ask the class to say in chorus how many syllables they heard.

3. I went to the store (Rhymes).

Have students sit in a circle and give them something to throw, such as a small ball or a pillow. To start the game, say "I went to the store to buy meat", then toss the ball to the student. The student should repeat the phrase and add a rhyming word at the end, for example: “I went to the store to buy kvass (or a vase, lasso, blot, etc.)”. Then the student should throw the ball back to the teacher, who repeats the original phrase with a new word that needs to come up with a rhyme (for example, “I went to the store to buy cheese (or fat, kefir, figs”). Maintain a fast pace so that the children do not lose interest.


The ship is loaded ... (Rhymes).

Have the children sit in a circle and make sure you have something to throw, such as a ball or pillow. To start the game, say "The ship is loaded with cheese." Then throw the ball to one of the students. This student must come up with a rhyme (for example, “The ship is loaded with kefir”) and throw the ball back to you. After repeating the original phrase, throw the ball to another child. Continue the game in this way until the children run out of rhymes. Then name another cargo on the ship and continue the game. Come up with new game situations to expand the list of possible rhymes.

5. Listen to the words in a sentence (Understanding words and sentences).

Give each child six or seven bricks, Lego bricks, or construction paper squares that they will use to represent the words in the sentence you will make for them, one brick for each word. Brainstorm with the children by showing them how to repeat your sentences to themselves, word by word, with clear pauses between each sentence. Invite the children to arrange the blocks in order from left to right so that they begin to master the orientation. After they have laid out the blocks, have the students repeat your sentence, pointing to each block as they say the word it represents.

6. Name the animals (phonemic perception).

Use animal cards or photos cut from magazines. Give the students pictures and ask them to name the animals. Ask: “What sound do you hear at the beginning/end of this animal’s name?” This game can be expanded with more pictures on different topics and students can play it in pairs.

"Thanks to advances in neuroscience and technology, not only do we now understand why experienced readers read well and others struggle with reading, but we can also help any reader on their journey from early language acquisition to reading and reading comprehension “It all happens in the brain!”

7. Guess who? (phonemic perception).

Have the children sit in a circle and say, "Guess whose name I'm going to say now." Then choose one of the students and clearly pronounce only the initial phoneme of his name. For names that begin with a plosive consonant, such as Danya, the phoneme must be repeated over and over again, clearly and distinctly: “/d/ /d/ /d/ /d/ /d/”. Fricative consonants should be stretched and repeated (for example, “/s-s-s-s/ / s-s-s-s / /s-s-s-s/ /s-s-s-s /”). If several children's names start with the same phoneme, have the children guess all the possible options. This will show the children that each phoneme appears in many different words.


Simple words (Isolation and identification of phonemes).

Give yourself and each child three colored cubes. Begin by saying a two-letter word (such as "yes"), clearly separating it into parts: "y ... a." Ask the children to repeat what you said. Then all children have to represent the word with two blocks of different colors to show that it consists of two sounds. Further explain that words can consist of more than two sounds. To demonstrate this, say the word “gift,” “d...a...r,” and have the children repeat the word in unison. To represent the third phoneme, place a new block to the right of the other two blocks, saying the entire word, phoneme by phoneme, pointing to each block in turn from left to right.

9. Funny words (Isolation and identification of phonemes).

Show the children the sound and ask them to substitute it for the sound at the beginning of their names or any other words. The teacher might say, “A funny sound is /b/. Change the first sound in your name to /b/”, for example, Masha will become Basha, and Stas will become Btas.

10. Conversation with the robot (phoneme fusion).

Pronounce the word, stretching it out, pausing about a second between each phoneme. Then ask students to repeat the whole word to you. For example, when a teacher says: “/h/.../e/.../r/... /n/.../s/.../d/”, students respond: “Black!”

11. Head-girdle-legs (Segmentation of phonemes).

This is a great activity to help students identify inner sounds. Say a three-sound word, such as "cheese." Students then stand up and touch their heads with the first sound (/s/), their belts with the second sound (/s/), and their toes with the last sound (/p/). Then touch your belt again and ask, "What sound is that?" Continue practicing sounds in positions that are difficult for students to identify on their own.

Does your child have a reading disability?

Thanks to the FAST FORWORD method, the child will catch up with the age norm in reading in just 20-40 hours of play-activities!

Learn more about the methodology and sign up for online trial classes, help your child overcome reading difficulties quickly and permanently!


You can print the 11 Fun Reading Activities for Kids poster in high resolution and display it in a prominent place in your home or daycare to follow these simple yet important guidelines were always in front of my eyes.

Click on the pictures below to download.

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