5 Minute Fillers

Have a little extra time in class?
Here are some quick activities you can do that will have your kids using their higher level thinking skills and problem solving abilities!


Sprouts is a dot and line game played with just paper and pencil. Students draw a small set of dots to begin (even two dots is enough). The object is to continue connecting those dots with lines.

  1. Connect two dots with a line (curvy is fine).
  2. Put a new dot somewhere on that line.
  3. Repeat.
  4. Each dot can only have three lines connected to it.
  5. Lines may never cross each other.
  6. You lose when you can’t draw another line

In this sample, there is only one dot remaining in the end with fewer than three connections, so the player cannot make a new line.


This game is called Domineering. All you need are paper and a pencil. Graph paper would be a luxury.

  1. Set up a grid of any size. Try 3×4, 4×4, or 5×4.
  2. Both players place a 2×1 block on their turn
  3. Player 1 must place his horizontally
  4. Player 2 places hers vertically.
  5. The last player to be able to place a block wins the game.

Let’s look at a sample game on a 4×4 grid. Player 1 (blue) wins because he was the last to place a piece. Player 2 is stuck since there are no spaces left for her vertical pieces.

Hink Pinks

Hink Pinks are sometimes also called rhyming pairs. Students are given a silly definition. They must come up with the rhyming pair that answers the definition. Can you find the answer to these Thanksgiving Hink Pinks?

  1. A musical vegetable cob
  2. A mashed potato topping that ripples
  3. A male pastry cook
  4. A margarine knife
  5. After dinner treat alarm

Word Winks

Word Winks, also known as Rebus Puzzles, are verbal visual puzzles.  They usually contain a hidden word, idiom or common phrase.

There are strategies that you can use to help you solve the puzzles.

  1. Word position -If a word is over or under another word, or if one word is within another word, then that probably has something to do with the solution.
  2. Color- If a word is a different color than the others (or even just a different color from black) that might be a clue.
  3. Size- If the word is unusually large or small.
  4. Quantity- If a word or letter is repeated, then there is a probably a number involved in the solution.   

Word Ladders

The rules are simple: change the starting word to the ending word one letter at a time! Each step must be a valid English word.

Give your students the following information: the starting word, the ending word, and the number of steps it takes.


  • as -> if
  • hot -> dog


  • boy -> man
  • top -> hat

Check Out More 5 Minute Fillers in the
NPE GT Resources Course

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