Substitute Teacher Activities Without Photocopies or Technology – 2023

Are you looking for quick no-prep substitute teacher activities? Sometimes you are in a pinch and need a quick activity to finish your sub plans or to assign students while you get pulled into a last-minute meeting. Add these 5 substitute teacher activities to your toolbox so you are ready whenever the unexpected happens. Check them out below!

5 No-Prep Activities for Substitute Teachers

Below are 5 ideas for activities substitute teachers can do that don’t require photocopies or technology.

1. Read Aloud

Invite your substitute to pick a book from your book collection and read it to your students. Encourage the sub to stop, think, and discuss the story. Learn more about read alouds and check out this list of read aloud books for substitute teachers.

2. Card Making

Have your substitute teacher ask your students to make a card for the school principal, guidance counselor, custodian, or someone else in the school community. They just need a pencil, sheet of paper, and coloring utensils (crayons, colored pencils, or markers).

3. Writing Prompt

The third on the list of activities for substitute teachers is have students do a response to a writing prompt. Jot down a simple writing prompt and ask your students to write a response. Some examples include writing about a place they have been, a food they like to eat, and something they like to do outside. Students just need a pencil and lined paper. My emergency sub plans resource includes activities like this!

4. Class Exercises

Invite the substitute teacher to lead 10 minutes of exercises. Some exercises include jumping jacks, toe touches, arm stretches, lunges, and balancing on one foot. If the sub gets tired or runs out of ideas, they can pick a child who is making good choices to lead the exercises.

This blog post has so many ideas and tips for simple sub plans to leave during an emergency. The best part is they don’t require worksheets or technology. I want to try some of the easy tips for reading, writing, and science activities the next time I take a sick day. You’ll want to save these no prep ideas for yourself too! #subplans #sickday #teachertips

5. Whole Group Brainstorm

The last on this list of substitute teacher activities is to do a whole group brainstorm. My emergency sub plans resource includes activities like this! Is there a science or social studies topic that is coming up? Ask the substitute teacher to lead a group brainstorm around it or perhaps about a general science or social studies topic (e.g. U.S. presidents, insects, weather, and magnets). The sub will just need a white board marker and your classroom white board or anchor chart paper and marker.

1st grade sub plans resources2nd grade sub plans resources3rd grade sub plans resources
4th grade sub plans resources5th grade sub plans resourcesemergency sub plans

In closing, we hope you found these no-prep and no-tech substitute teacher activities helpful! If you did, then check out these other blog posts about planning for a substitute teacher, download the free Clutter-Free Classroom’s Guide to Preparing for a Substitute Teacher, and check out my emergency sub plans resources!

I love these ideas for sub plans that don’t use worksheets in case of an emergency. I would hate to as a substitute teacher to make copies for me. The Clutter-free Classroom shared ideas for science, reading and writing activities to leave when you take a sick day. The best part is there is no prep for you! All teachers should read this post! #sickday #sustituteteacher #fluseason

Share it:


Winter Opinion Writing FREEBIE!

Grab this freebie and engage your students in a fun seasonal activity. It’s a great way to practice opinion writing.