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Fun Friday

Fun Friday Ideas

Fun Friday
Photo for Fun Friday Ideas blog header with pictures of student drawing sea turtle.

So as we know – the 2020-21 school year has been crazy and not like any other. Many things have needed to be revamped including how I do Fun Friday. I typically have all kinds of building activities out for the kids to work on, but obviously that is not an option with social distancing. So I’ve come up with a few new Fun Friday ideas that can be used in the virtual classroom, in-person classroom, or hybrid classroom.

Name Change – Mystery Time

First, Fun Friday has gone through a name change in my classroom. It’s now called Mystery Time. At the beginning of the year when everyone at my school was virtual, Mystery Time was built in to everyone’s schedule for the last 30 minutes on Friday. Mystery Time is pretty much Fun Friday except it’s a mystery each week what it will be. So every Friday it’s a different activity and throughout the day I give clues about the activity. Students then guess and get to see if their guess was correct at the end of the day. The kids love the suspense and every Friday during Morning Meeting they start hounding me for clues, so it definitely motivates them and keeps them engaged.

Ideas

Here are a few ideas that I have used for Fun Friday or Mystery Time in my classroom:

Virtual Field Trip

Virtual Field Trips are a lot of fun virtually and in-person since field trips are off the table this year. One of our favorites was the Nickelodeon Slime in Space trip. Everyone love slime and space and it was cool to see what happened when astronauts played around with the slime.

Picture of green slime on paddle for virtual field trip for Fun Friday Ideas.

Themed Breakout Rooms

I got this idea from Carolyn over at A Primary Kind of Life and it is a fantastic way to build community and provide the kiddos at home a chance to socialize. I’ve only done this one virtually, but I’m sure you could tweak it a bit and do it in person.

For Themed Breakout Rooms, I first had a discussion with my class about fun themes they’d like to talk about. Pokemon, Minecraft, Legos, arts and crafts, music, and toys all made the list. Then, I would narrow it down to 2-3 themes for that specific Fun Friday time. I would let the kids know the themes – say for example – Legos, Arts and Crafts, and Toys and they would tell me which room they would want to go to. Then, I would assign them to that specific room and the kids could just hang out, talk, share Legos, create art, and more together. I then popped in and out of the rooms to make sure things were running smoothly and staying on-topic. They honestly did great with this and I think they were so excited to be able to socialize with each other since that piece is often missing from distance learning.

Art Hub for Kids

This is one of our favorites! They have many different pictures you can draw and the kids love learning how to draw different animals, foods, places, etc.

Photo of Art Hub for Kids lesson for Fun Friday activity.
Photo of student drawing of sea turtle.

Building Projects

While students can’t build projects together in a group, they can still build on their own. We had a think outside the box challenge where students had to use a box and materials from home to create something they could wear. This could also be done in-person with students bringing in items from home that they could use to create their project.

Games

Games like Pictionary, Scavenger Hunt, This or That, and Finish the Doodle are also fun for Fun Friday.

Google™ Creations

Sometimes I assign my students a blank Google Slide™ with a specific task to complete with it. We’ve used a blank slide to create a jack-o-lantern, a disguise for a turkey, a snowman, and more.

Photo of Google Slides™ Create a jack-o-lantern activity.

For more ideas, be sure to follow me over on Instagram @teamjclassroomfun.

Fun Friday Ideas

Fun Friday
For many years now, I’ve been able to have my class participate in a Fun Friday every Friday.  Now, I know some schools do not allow it or there isn’t time for it (I’ve had this before too), but I’m very grateful that my current school has a flexible schedule that allows for a little bit of fun on Friday afternoons.  Now, Fun Friday typically doesn’t last more than 30 minutes and sometimes can be less if we don’t get packed up in a timely manner.  It’s something the kids look forward to every week and something I enjoy as well.  It’s a good positive reinforcement for students who get all of their homework done and for those who have good behavior.  I’ll explain how I determine that a little later in the post.
To keep Fun Friday fresh, I do different things every week. If kids have the same Fun Friday activity every week, they lose interest and this is something I want them to look forward to each week.

-Game Time – I’ve picked up many games over the years and am still picking up more as I go. Some weeks I pull the board and card games out and kids can play them with a friend.  Some of my favorite games include: Uno, Battleship, Sorry, Trouble, Monopoly, Connect 4, etc.

-Playdoh and Coloring – Some weeks I have a station system set-up for Fun Friday. I’ll have two tables that are set up for Playdoh with many colors and Playdoh toys and then I’ll also have two tables set up for coloring with fun markers, colored pencils, and stickers. Students work for 15 minutes at one station and then I have them switch.

-Heads Up 7 Up – Now, this one is an oldie but a goodie. I remember loving this game when I was a kid.  When we’re short on time I’ve found this to be a good one. It doesn’t take long to set-up and you can play as many rounds as time allows.
-Creation Stations – This was a favorite of my class this year! For Creation Stations, I pretty much set out some random stuff around the room and let them just create.  The most popular part of Creation Stations were the snap cubes.  You can check out some of their creations below! In addition to snap cubes, I would also put out pattern blocks, foam pieces they could make art with, and cups for them to build with. My class this year loved to create and had great imaginations.  They asked for this a lot for Fun Friday throughout the year.
-GoNoodle Dance Party – When we needed to get the wiggles out on a Friday, GoNoodle indoor recess was to the rescue.  They have many different indoor recess mixes ranging from 8 minutes to 20 minutes.  Perfect for a Friday afternoon.
-Bookflix is another fun activity for Fun Friday.  Bookflix is online and can be projected onto a white board or Smart Board. It takes Scholastic books and makes them animated. It also pairs fiction books with nonfiction.  It’s a fun way for kids to hear and watch some of their favorite stories.  This does require a subscription.
-Netflix – On rare Fridays (not much for movies), we would use Netflix to watch Magic School Bus Videos. I always try to tie the video to something we’re covering and learning about in class.
For a super special Fun Friday that they earned as class, we completed two STEM activities that I found on Pinterest.  The first activity we did was a cup building challenge.  I gave each group 50 cups and they had 10 minutes to work together to build the tallest creation with the cups.
The second activity was the Marshmallow Challenge.  Specific directions can be found here on A Learning Affair’s TPT page.  The kids had a blast with this.  It is also a great activity for a teacher to observe.  You learn a lot about each student through critical, challenging activities like this.
This school year I want to have one Fun Friday each month dedicated to a different STEM Activity. If you have some favorite STEM activities or ideas, please share them in the comments below.
So, this is the sticky part of Fun Friday. How do you decide who gets to participate?  I’ve come up with a way that works for me. I know each teacher is different, but I have found this works and also helps kids make better choices throughout the week so they can participate.  
Behavior – I use the Clip Chart in my classroom. If a child is on green (Ready to Learn) or above all week, they get to go to Fun Friday. If a child has one yellow (Think About It), they still get to go to the whole Fun Friday (everyone makes mistakes and I want kids to know that just because they have a mistake in their week doesn’t mean it’ll be held against them forever). If a child has lower than yellow or more than one yellow, then they owe time.  I decide the time based on what their color was throughout the week. Often kids will owe 5-10 minutes of the time unless it was extreme behavior. I have found that sitting out is not fun and it makes the kids want to make better choices the next week so they don’t have to miss any Fun Friday. After the child has sat out a few minutes, they are then allowed to join the Fun Friday activities. I never have a child miss the entire Fun Friday.  
Homework – This year, I had difficulty getting homework completed by some students especially our online homework (MobyMax).  It often was the same kid or same few kids each week. So, if you had missing homework, you spend your Fun Friday finishing it. Once it is complete, then the child may join in on the activities.
As I mentioend, this is what works for me. I know every teacher has their own behavior system and reasons for how they handle behavior. I have found for me that Fun Friday is a positive that kids look forward to and they want to participate in it.  Having that positive activity to look forward to at the end of the week has helped some kids improve their behavior choices.
So, that’s how I handle Fun Friday in my classroom.  Write me in the comments below – Do you use Fun Friday?  What activities do you have kids work on in Fun Friday?  Look forward to reading everyone’s responses.

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