14 Five-minute fillers

Quick activities for when there's just a little bit of time

Zoe, Digital team
10 May 2018

Originally published 23 March 2018, updated 10 May 2019

Quick activities that pack in the fun 

We asked our members to share their top five-minute fillers. So next time you're looking for a quick idea to warm you up or have five minutes to fill - and a room full of energetic girls - give one of these a try.

1. Bring me...

Jackie suggested playing a game of  'bring me'. Simply shout out an item to be brought to you and the first team to bring you the item gets a point:

Sweeping brush, white shoelace, a specific badge that is likely to be on a uniform, a portrait of the queen is always a good one (coins or stamps...).

2. Storytellers

A few of you shared games with a literary theme. Volunteer Trudy suggests getting girls to create a story one word at a time and Julie-Anne says:

Write a story a line at a time. Start them off, for example 'once upon a time there was an angry dragon'. The first girl writes something (only a word or two ) then folds the paper so no one can see. Each girl does the same then when the last girl has finished, unfold the paper and read the story. Sometimes very funny.

3. Getting to know you

Jenny's game is perfect for seeing how well girls know each other - but with the added tricky element of making them work things out in silence:

In silence ask girls to get themselves in age order, house number, the day they were born, time in guiding - anything that's numerical! 

4. Hokey-cokey on your back

Give this classic a new lease of life with Sarah's novel approach:

We recently introduced the hokey-cokey but lying on your back. It looks ridiculous, everyone will laugh and it definitely works your core, but being ridiculous together helps solidify friendships and being part of a group. When we had five minutes at the end of an outdoor meeting last term, the girls all requested it again. 

5. Untied three-legged racing

We loved Caroline's idea for a three-legged race but without the need for rope:

Just what it says! Check for suitable footwear. Any pair of girls not keeping the third leg together is disqualified. 

6. Fortune sticks of doom!

What to do with a spare five-minutes? Turn to your fortune sticks of doom of course! Volunteer Karen shared:

We have the the fortune sticks of doom. The girls have come up with a selection of five minute activities - silly things like 5 minute art, paper aeroplanes, games. They are all written on lollipop sticks. If there is a spare gap in the evening the sticks come out and the ‘law’ states the activity has to be completed. The girls absolutely love the element of risk and there are no arguments because the sticks have spoken.

7. Sketch it

Spark girls' imaginations with volunteer Claire's dramatic idea: 

With Guides we sometimes get them to make up a little sketch or TV advert for a random item from the leaders car or the meeting place. They then perform it  or make up new actions for a song they know.

8. From A-Z

We really like the ease of Heather's game - you can have limited space and don't need any props:

Think of a place name, colour, language, girl's name, food for every letter of the alphabet.

And Tracy had an idea that went from A-Z too:

In teams, give girls a topic, such as items you’d find in a supermarket, animals, things in a zoo. Then they have a set time to find a thing starting with each letter of alphabet. At time, each team gets  a point for each thing that nobody else had. Good filler if the whole unit isn’t finished the activity.

9.  The key game 

Find out how quiet you can be with Victoria's suggestion:

One person is blindfolded in a chair with jangly keys under it, in the middle of a circle of girls. Two girls tiptoe round the edge of the circle trying to grab the keys unheard.

10. Get the giggles

Volunteer Claire has a sure-fire way to get everyone giggling:

Put the girls into pairs and ask them to sit down back to back with arms linked. The girls them need to stand up but they need to keep arms linked. We always get so many giggles.

11. The play-doh game 

Leader Alex suggested a super quick modelling game, a bit like a 3D version of pictionary:

It's rapidoh but we call it the play-doh game. Work in teams. One person in the team makes something out of play-doh and the others have to guess what it is. 

 12. Circle of care

Girls stand in a circle with one girl in the middle. Choose a ‘protector’ to guard her from the rest of the group. Girls in the circle then roll the ball towards the one in the centre and the protector tries to stop it hitting her. Find out more in Circle of care - a fun way to get girls looking out for each other and working together. 

13. Rainbow colours

We liked Lesley's Rainbow colour twist on the classic five-minute filler I spy:

This one's for Rainbows: Play I spy but with colours. So 'I spy with my little eye something the colour...'.The girl who guesses correctly gets the next turn.

14. Or...simply catch up with friends

For lots of girls, one of the best things about guiding is the friendships. So, as a few of our volunteers suggested, catching up with your friends can be the perfect way spend a spare five minutes.