Low-Prep Minute to Win It Games for Middle School
At the end of every school year, my school does an Activity Day. Each teacher comes up with their own activity, and students rotate around to the different activities all day. For the past few years, my activity has been Minute to Win It! It’s really fast-paced and fun for students and teacher! You do need some supplies to play the games, but I tried to choose games that were low-prep and used some commonly found items so that I didn’t have to spend much money on it. Read on to learn how to play my favorite fun, low-prep Minute to Win It games in your own classroom!
To set up my room for the games, I put two tables end-to-end to make one long table down the middle of my room. This was where all the games took place! I put my desks together into 5 groups of 4-5 desks around the middle tables so that every group had a good view and easy access to the tables. I had another table off to the side of the room where I kept all the supplies organized for each game.
At the start of the rotation, I explained to the students that they could send one person from their team to compete in each challenge. They had to take turns, so they couldn’t take a second turn until everyone in their group had taken a turn.
For each challenge, the students have one minute to complete the assigned task. It’s not about who completes the task first; every team that finishes within the one minute will receive a point for their team. I kept track of team points on my whiteboard.
In the past, I’ve made the first challenge to come up with a team name and given them 1 minute to do so. I only had 30-minute rotations this year, though, so I left that part out and just called them Team 1, Team 2, etc.
I created a playlist on YouTube of 1-minute countdown timers that I use. Click here to access it! Sometimes YouTube removes videos, so please let me know if the videos seem to be missing from the playlist. After going over the rules of each game and asking for any questions, I start one of the timer videos. The intense music really adds to the atmosphere and the fun!
#1 A Bit Dicey
- 1 jumbo popsicle stick for each group
- 5-6 dice for each group
For this game, the student will put the popsicle stick in their mouth. To complete the challenge, the student needs to stack all of the dice on the end of the popsicle stick and balance it for 3 seconds. I have done it with both 5 and 6 dice per team – this year I used 5 dice with 5th and 6th graders and 6 dice with 7th graders.
#2 Suck It Up
- 2 cups per team
- 1 straw per team
- 10 M&Ms per team
Place one cup with 10 M&Ms in it on your main table. Place the other empty cup at the group’s table (or another location across the room). The student will suck up an M&M on the end of the straw and carry it across the room to the other cup. They have to get all 10 M&Ms into the other cup within the time limit. My students only had to travel a distance of 4 feet or so – if yours will have to go a longer distance, you may want to decrease the number of M&Ms. If one falls on the floor, they have to put it back in the starting cup and try again.
#3 Noodling Around
- 1 piece of uncooked spaghetti per group
- 3 uncooked penne pasta noodles per group
This one is always a favorite! The student must put the spaghetti in their mouth and use it to pick up all 3 penne noodles. I let them position their penne noodles however they want before the game begins, but once it starts they are not allowed to use their hands at all.
#4 Face the Cookie
- 1 cookie per team (Oreos or other sandwich cookies work well)
This one is really difficult, but it’s really fun to watch! The student places their cookie on their forehead to start. Using only their facial muscles, they have to move the cookie from their forehead to their mouth – no hands! I always tell them that the key is to go slowly. If it falls, they just put it back on their forehead and try again!
#5 Chopstick Challenge
- 1 bowl per group
- 10 mini-marshmallows (or other small object) per group
- 1 empty plastic water bottle per group
- 1 set of chopsticks per group (I found some at Walmart)
This game takes the most supplies, but my students really enjoyed it! To complete the challenge, the student must transfer all 10 marshmallows from the bowl into the water bottle using only the chopsticks. I had to warn them that they could not stab the marshmallows – I’ve heard of playing this game with cereal piece instead, which would avoid the stabbing issue!
#6 Stack It Up
- 25 pennies per group
The directions for this one are pretty simply: the student must make a single stack of all 25 pennies. To make it more difficult, I had them use their non-dominant hand only – the other one had to be behind their back.
#7 Scoop It Up
- 2 bowls per group
- 10 M&Ms per group
- 1 spoon per group
Place the two bowls side-by-side with the M&Ms in one bowl. The student must place the spoon in their mouth and then transfer all 10 M&Ms from one bowl to the other without using their hands. If the bowls start to slide across the table from them, I do let them pull them back, but that’s it for hands.
And those are the 7 games that I use! In my 30-minute rotation, I am able to get through all 7 and even have time to repeat a few of their favorites. If you have any other favorite Minute to Win It games, I’d love to hear about them in the comments!
These are great ideas with very thorough explanations. Thank you so much for sharing his with us!
I always look for new and interesting ideas – and these ones are amazing!!!!
Thank you for sharing 🙂
These are great! I’m going to use them as a motivation resource to complete at the end of my therapy sessions. I’m going to do 1 per session. Thanks so much for sharing.
Math With Meaning
Love that idea, Tonya!
These are fantastic little ice breaker activities! Thanks for sharing.
These look like so much fun AND you have explained them really well. I’m excited to use them in my classroom when Covid-19 crazy is finished!!
Thanks for posting these! They are sooooo much fun! My special Ed class will love them!
Math With Meaning
Hi Chris! I hope your students enjoyed them!