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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