Fun and Effective Test Prep Activities

Fun and Effective Test Prep Activities by The Teacher Next Door

If I had to describe the very best test prep, it would be simply giving quality instruction throughout the year and spiraling concepts to keep skills fresh.

To give kids an extra test prep boost though, right before testing time, there are lots of fun activities you can do in the classroom which reinforce so many of the concepts they’ve learned!


I’ve listed some of my favorites here:

1. Shaving Cream on Desks

After placing a good-sized dollop of shaving cream on each child’s desk, ask a question and kids write the answer in the shaving cream. They LOVE doing this and it makes the room smell so good!

A few tips… get your shaving cream at the Dollar Store to keep costs down (you’ll need A LOT of it), and do make sure to allow plenty of time for clean up too!


2. Dry Erase Markers on Desks

This is so simple but some kids find it so much fun! After you ask a question, kids can write the answer on their desks! If you need some new ideas for erasers for dry erase markers, I wrote a quick blog post you might like.


3. Game Show Format

With a little creativity using a whiteboard or Powerpoint, or by doing a google search for a game template or online version, you can play review games like Jeopardy, Deal or No Deal, or Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.


4. Four Corners

For this game, I labeled each corner of my classroom near the ceiling with an A, B, C, or D sign. Besides being a fun Four Corners indoor recess game, it works really well for multiple choice types of questions. Kids sit at their seats until I ask a question and give the four possible answers, then they move to the correct corner.

If you have too many kids, you can alternate with half of the class at a time doing the moving, while the other half observes and then switch for the next question.


5. Stand Up/Sit Down or Jumping/Jacks

For questions with only two possibilities (like yes/no, true/false, fact/opinion…), students stand up for a yes or stand up and sit down quickly for a no.

The same idea may be done with the Jumping Jacks version. Kids who want to say yes do the first part of the jumping jack (hands touch above the head, feet apart), and kids who want to say no do the first part and complete the second part (arms at sides, feet together). Adding movement is so beneficial for kids!


6. Board Games

Board games can be added to questions or task cards to make an instant game! I love using games like Sorry, Trouble, Hi Ho Cheery-O, Connect Four, and Jenga.  Click here to find out more about how to add task cards to board games.


7. Task Cards

One of my very favorite teaching tools are task cards and they are perfect for test prep! There are so many ways to use them, from Quiz, Quiz, Trade, to Tic-Tac-Toe, Scavenger Hunts, and more! Find out 16 ways to use task cards here!


8. Test Prep Stations

This is probably one of my very favorite test prep activities! I love to get baskets ready with different activities (task cards, games, learning puzzles, sorts…) and place them in certain spots around the room. I create groups of students and send them to different baskets on different days. Kids get to practice lots of different concepts in a fairly short period of time.

With test prep stations, you can decide whether you need to walk around the class monitoring and helping as needed, or if it would be more effective to pull small groups of kids to work on specific skills like long division, multi-step word problems, or finding the theme.


9. Team Sports Games

To play test prep football, baseball, or soccer, you can create a simple whiteboard drawing, or PowerPoint slide or use a ready-made online template or game. Once you put the students into teams, ask them questions. When answered correctly, the team moves a certain amount across the field or moves to a new base.


10. Trashketball or Nerf Ball

To play trashketball, have kids answer questions on paper and then if correct, the student crumples up the paper and tosses it into the trash (or recycling bin) for team points. Kids do love this.

A paperless alternative is to play Nerf Ball. In Nerf Ball, the idea is the same except that you’ll to start, you’ll need to set up a Nerf Hoop in your classroom (you can take it down after the game). Also, I would suggest that you have several Nerf balls so you don’t spend a lot of time between shots chasing them down.


11. Dry Erase Boards

I use dry erase boards daily but they work well for test prep too! Just ask a question, wait for kids to write down the answer, they keep the board close to their chests until you say show me, and then they turn their boards towards you, so you can easily see who gets it (and who doesn’t) at a glance.


12. Team Dry Erase Boards

Have students sit in groups with one whiteboard and dry erase marker. After you ask a question, teams are able to discuss the answer and once they agree, one person (rotate the scribe) writes the answer on the whiteboard. Each team that is correct is awarded team points!


13. Some Computer Test Prep Options

There are lots of websites, both free and paid, that students may use. These can work well if you are 1:1, have a computer lab, or even if you just have a few computers at a center in your classroom. Here are some you might want to check out: – This site is pretty amazing! You can add your own questions or choose from their library. It is very similar to Kahoot but is self-paced.

Kahoot – Such a versatile site! You can add your own questions here too or choose from their library. – Great site for math and reading! It also allows you to add questions or to search their library. – I really like this site! It was created by a teacher in Iowa and has lots of practice texts for all levels and grades!


Need some practical test prep tips? I wrote another post you might like.

Click here to read The Best Test Prep Tips for Upper Elementary.


If you’re looking to invest in resources that may be used year ’round, and especially at test prep times, I would recommend these bundles from my store. They cover EVERY STANDARD (either reading, grammar, or math) for the ENTIRE YEAR!

Reading Games Bundle for 3rd Grade (Print and Digital)

Reading Games Bundle for 4th/5th Grade (Print and Digital)

Grammar Games for 3rd Grade (Print and Digital)

Grammar Games for 4th Grade (Print and Digital)

Grammar Games for 5th Grade (Print and Digital)

Math Task Cards Mega Bundle for 3rd Grade

Math Task Cards Mega Bundle for 4th Grade

Math Task Cards Mega Bundle for 5th Grade


Looking for more paperless resources? These digital reading units can be completed in Google Slides or PowerPoint and include ALL standards for reading using a fun format!

4th Grade Digital Fiction and Nonfiction Reading Bundle

5th Grade Digital Fiction and Nonfiction Reading Bundle


Thanks for stopping by!

The Teacher Next Door - Creating upper elementary resources that target standards for busy teachers

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The Teacher Next Door - Creating upper elementary resources that target standards for busy teachers

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