We’ve all been there—a few minutes left at the end of class but nothing planned. Or, you may even have an entire class thrown at you at the last minute and don’t have time to prepare. That’s where time filler ESL activities and games come in. Kill some time in style with these ideas! We’re here to help!
Time Filler ESL Games and Activities
Let’s get to the best ESL time-filling ideas. Have some fun with those few extra minutes in your class with some of these ideas. You may also want to check out these last day of school activity ideas.
#1: 20 Questions
This is the ultimate time filler ESL game! Not only does it take up a good amount of time but it definitely has an educational value as well.
Higher-level students can play the game as you normally would. For lower-level, I reduce the number of questions and restrict it to a certain category such as animals. Check it out:
#2: Would you Rather?
Have some time to fill in your TEFL class? No problem! Just play a few rounds of would you rather. You can make the questions or have students come up with some for the class. Learn more:
#3: Picture Prompt
Showing some pictures in class (Google Images) can be a nice way to fill some time in English class. Students can shout out some vocabulary words that they know, make some sentences about what people are doing, or even use it as the basis for some writing.
There are a ton of ideas. Have a look here:
#4: Just a Minute
This is the ultimate time-filling activity in that it requires nothing in the way of preparation or materials and can be adapted to just about any level. Have a look right here:
#5: 5 Senses
This is a quick writing or speaking activity that makes a nice time-filling ESL activity. Show students an object of some kind and they have to use some words to describe how the 5 senses relate to that. Have a look here:
#6: Chain Spelling
Have some time to kill in your language class? Why not work on some spelling in a fun way. Have a look at this activity:
#7: Watch some Videos
If you have some time to fill in your ESL class, then videos always make a nice option. I find looking on YouTube for appropriate ones overwhelming, so generally head over to English Central for this.
#8: Let’s Draw a Picture
This is the ultimate time-killer for your ESL class because it requires nothing in the way of materials or preparation. Students have to describe something (a monster or alien) to another student who has to draw it without looking. The results are usually hilarious. Check it out:
This is a classic time filler ESL activity that students of all ages seem to enjoy. I prefer making a spider or a face because something hanging in a little bit gruesome!
#10: Charades Time-Filler
If you want to fill some time, then consider this classic party game. Quickly jot down some words or phrases on pieces of paper and get to it! Find out more here:
#11: Disappearing Text
Try out this quick activity to fill some time at the end of class. It’s a nice way to review key concepts as well. Write down a sentence on the board and students have to say it out loud. Erase 1-2 words and students say it again. Keep going until there’s nothing on the board but students are saying the entire sentence. Try it out:
#12: The Expert Time Killing Activity
If you have at least 10 minutes to kill, then you may want to consider trying out this activity with your higher-level students. In pairs, students have to have short conversations about things that they’re an expert in. Find out more about it here:
#13: Phone Show and Tell ESL Time Killer
Want to use up lots of time in a fun way? Tell students to get out their phones and find an interesting picture from their gallery. If you have a small class, students can show everyone and talk about it. With a bigger class, do this in groups of 3 or 4. It’s like show and tell, 2021 style!
#14: Never Have I Ever
I’m sure you’ve played the drinking game, Never Have I Ever. You can also use this as a time-filler ESL game to find out who’d had the most interesting life. Learn how:
#15: Dictation Review
Okay, so dictation is kind of old-school but it certainly does have some value. Say a sentence and students have to listen and then write it down.
To increase the difficulty, I’ll often say a question and students dictate it and then answer it. Or vice-versa.
A nice activity to fill some time that requires almost nothing in the way of prep is to have a small debate. Choose a silly, fun or controversial topic and students can discuss it in pairs, or as a class. Here are some of the best topic ideas:
Did you like these Time Filling ESL Activities?
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- Smith, Jennifer Booker (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 133 Pages - 03/31/2016 (Publication Date)
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Time-Killing Activities: Join the Conversation
What’s your top pick for a time-filler activity? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you.
Also, be sure to give this article a share on Facebook or Pinterest. It’ll help other busy teachers, like yourself, who are looking to fill a few minutes of class time.
Last update on 2021-02-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API