Relief Teaching Ideas

Sharing ideas to help make relief teaching fun, enjoyable, and meaningful.

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I Spy With My Little Eye


Perfect to play when the students have packed up & you still have 5 minutes until the end of the day.
Either put up on the Smartboard, Data Projector or print & enlarge onto two A3 pieces of paper.

This would also make a fantastic barrier game. Hand out the sheet to all students. Students pair up & put upright books in between them so they can’t see each others page. They then take turns calling out instructions for both of them to do – eg: “Colour the love heart yellow.” When time is up they can compare their pictures to see if they’re the same.

Link to the ‘Just Something I Made’ page & PDF:

Click to access 27117572-JSIM-I-Spy-Fun-sheet.pdf

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Sight Word Race

Split the class into two teams. Have them line up in their teams in front of the whiteboard.
Teacher writes sight words on board. Write each word more than once.
Hand the first student of each line a whiteboard eraser.
Teacher calls out a word.
First student to rub out the correct word gets a point for their team.
The erasers get passed to the next students in line.
Teacher continues calling out the words until all words are erased.
Team with the most points wins.

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Race Against the Ball

Equipment: Ball

1. Divide the class into two teams.
2. One team stands in a circle, arm span apart. The other team stands in a line, to the side, near the circle.
3. When teacher blows the whistle or says “Go”, the team in the circle passes the ball around the circle. *Teacher will need to keep count how many times they pass the ball completely around the circle.
4. The other team take turns running around the outside of the circle, tagging the next person in line when they return & then sitting down.
5. Once the running team have all gone around the circle, stop the throwing team.
6. Swap over.

>The team who passes the ball around the circle the most is the winner!

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I’m Going Into Space

Packed up a little early? Have a spare 5 minutes? Here’s a game that requires no equipment & can be adapted to suit the class.

Tell the students that you’re going into space. You have an empty rocket that has room to fit them all but they need to bring something special on board if they want to be allowed to come along.
This something special fits a special rule, that you have predetermined, but cannot reveal. They need to guess what it is!

Some Example Rules:
– needs to start with the letter ‘D’ (“Can I bring dog?” ” Yes you can come in my rocket into space.”
“Can I bring icecream?” “Oh! I love icecream! But no, you cannot come in my rocket!”)
– needs to start with the same letter as their first name
– has a double letter in the word
– has only 3 letters
– is something you can eat

If they get stuck you may need to give them a few examples of what they CAN bring, to see if they can work out the pattern.

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Golden Child

This is a game well known & loved by the kids at the school I last worked at & still do relief work for…

– You will need access to a basketball court & ball
– Split class into two teams
– One team lines up in front of the basketball hoop (shooting team)
– The other team (the running team) lines up to the side, on the corner of the basketball court, & must choose a “Golden Child” who will be their last runner and stand at the end of the line.
– When the teacher blows the whistle to begin, the shooting team takes turns shooting for a goal. At the same time the first person in line on the running team starts running around the outside of the basketball court. When they return they tag the next runner.
– If the shooting team gets a goal the teacher will either yell stop or blow their whistle to signal to the runner to stop & bob down wherever they are on their way around the court. The next runner in line for the running team then starts running.
– When all other runners have had a turn it is the “Golden Child’s” turn to run. As they run around the court they can tag their team members, who have had to stop & bob down, to free them so they can continue running around the court to the end.
– Meanwhile the shooting team will be madly taking turns trying to get a goal to stop the golden child & all the other freed runners from crossing the finish point!
– Teams swap over

Winning team is the team who has the most runners to get all around the court.

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Beetle Dice Game


Split class into pairs or groups of 3
1 dice for each group
Paper & pencil for each player

Students take turns rolling the dice.
If they roll:
1 – draw the body*
2 – draw the head**
3 – draw a leg (need six legs)
4 – draw a wing (need two wings)
5 – draw an antenna (need two)
6 – draw an eye (need two)

*need to roll a 1 & draw the body before they can draw any other part!
**need to roll a 2 & draw the head before drawing the eyes or antennae

First student to finish drawing the beetle is the winner.

**I also saw a ladybug version of this game here:
This game would go well with the book ‘Ten Little Ladybugs’ by Melanie Gerth.

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Good Afternoon Judge

Choose one student to be the judge. They stand up the front with their back to the class & their eyes closed.
Without saying their name, choose another student to say “Good afternoon Judge” in a disguised voice.
The student up the front then turns around & has three guesses of who they think said it.
If they get it right they have another turn, if they can’t guess the student who managed to trick them becomes the new Judge.

Simple idea but kids love it!

They love being the detective but most of all they love coming up with silly voices to try to trick the Judge!

Great way to end the day after students have packed up the classroom.

You can find more of my favourite quick classroom games here:

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Read the Teacher’s Mind!

– You can have students play this vocabulary game individually or in small groups.
– Teacher writes a category on the board (eg: ice cream flavours, weather, animals that use camouflage, types of transport, space)
– Teacher then writes 5 or 10 words associated with the topic on a sheet of paper that students cannot see. These can be typical words or a little obscure if you want to be tricky!
– Then give students 5 minutes to write down as many words as they can that relate to the topic.
– When time is up, teacher shares the words on their list. Students circle any of the teacher’s words that appear on their lists.
– Give each student/group a point for each word that matches a word on the teacher’s list (you choose if spelling needs to be correct).
– Play another round, keep a points tally. The group or student with the most points is the winner!

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The Ummm Game

The classroom teacher that I did relief work for today, reminded me of this oral language game I used to play when I was a classroom teacher.

-Write topics on small pieces of paper (eg: food, weather, birthdays, homework) & place in a container.
-Choose a student to come up to the front & select a piece of paper without looking.
– The student then has to talk about this topic, as the teacher times them.
– Time stops & the student is out as soon as they say “um” or “uh”.
– Choose another student to come up to choose a topic & have a go. Keep choosing students for as long as you’d like to play the game.
– Winner is whoever can speak the longest without saying “um”.

It’s harder than it sounds!!! I’ve had some students who can’t believe that the first word out of their own mouth is (yep, you guessed it!) “um!”

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Egg, Chicken, Dinosaur

Quick Game – Egg, Chicken, Dinosaur

Years ago, a wonderful student teacher of mine taught me this game. It’s now a favourite of mine!

It’s a good warm down game after fitness, requires no equipment & can be played indoors or outdoors.

The goal of this game is to work your way up, by beating other players at Rock-Paper-Scissors, to the “position” of king or queen.

The order you work up through is egg, chicken, dinosaur, prince or princess and finally to king or queen.

Demonstrate to students:
– Eggs waddle on the ground in a little ball
– Chickens walk and squat while flapping their wings and “clucking”
-Dinosaurs “roar” standing up
– Princes/princesses “prance” around holding an imaginary scepter – Kings and queens stand to the side, regally & waving royally

How to play:
-Everyone starts out as an egg. You find another egg and play Rock-Paper-Scissors.
-The winner “grows” into a chicken who finds another chicken to play against. The loser remains an egg & has to find another egg to play against.
-Whoever wins between the chickens grows” into a dinosaur. The loser remains a chicken & finds another chicken to play against.
-Once a dinosaur you must find another dinosaur to play against. If you lose you remain a dinosaur & find another dinosaur to play against.
-The next step is becoming a prince or princess, which of course means playing against another prince or princess.
-If you win you become a King or Queen and stand off to the side. If you lose you remain a prince or princess & look for another to play against.

The game is either played until students tire or there is only one egg, chicken, dinosaur and prince. All other players will be kings or queens.