What to Do When Bored in Class with Friends

Being bored in class is a rite of passage for many students. While you’re supposed to be paying attention and learning, it’s easy to check out mentally – especially if it’s a subject that just doesn’t grab your interest. And it’s even harder to stay focused when your friends are right there with you. So what can you do to pass the time without getting in too much trouble? Here are over 20 ideas for staying entertained when boredom strikes in class with your friends.

Pass Notes

One classic way to chat with friends when you’re supposed to be listening is by passing notes back and forth. You can write what you’re actually thinking about rather than taking notes on the lecture. Just be discreet – the last thing you want is for the teacher to catch you! Stick to tiny scribbles on scrap paper that you can quickly hide if needed. Leave the full page letters for after class.

Doodle or Draw

If you have any artistic ability at all, doodling or drawing can be a fun way to keep your hands busy while also sort of paying attention. You can sketch what the teacher is discussing or drawings related to the subject. But let’s be real – you’re probably drawing silly comics or doodling your friends instead. Just be careful not to get too elaborate and tune out the class completely. Crumple up drawings if the teacher starts coming your way.

Play Tic-Tac-Toe or Hangman

Simple paper games are always a good standby for boredom. Tic-tac-toe is easy enough you can focus on the game and class at the same time. Hangman involves a bit more concentration but is still discrete if you keep the drawings small. Play quietly on a tiny scrap of paper and erase or hide it fast if needed. You could even try a game of Battleship if both you and your friend can focus on class and your imaginary grids at the same time!

Guessing/Trivia Games

Quiet games that don’t require paper can also work great. Try whispering trivia questions to your buddy related to the class topic and see who can answer first. Or play a guessing game where you describe people, places, or things and they try to figure it out. I Spy works well too for scanning the room. Stay engaged enough in class talks so you’re not completely oblivious.

Texting Under the Desk

While discouraged, texting is a hard habit to resist for bored students. If you must text, keep it discreet under the desk where the teacher can’t see. Try to keep messages brief so you don’t get too engrossed. And silence your phone in case of accidental sounds! Stick to relevant class discussions or jokes with friends nearby. I don’t recommend lengthy personal conversations that detract from instruction.

Play Footsie/Tag Games

Sneakily poking or tapping your friend with your feet is a classic covert classroom activity. You could play tag under the desks, try to startle each other, or aim poking games at nearby classmates too. Just be sure not to disrupt anyone or draw the ire of strict teachers. Footsie fights require finesse to pull off without notice.

Stream or Game on Your Phone

When really desperate, some daredevil students may opt to stealthily watch streaming videos or play simple games on their phone with the volume off and brightness low. I can’t recommend this route since getting caught means big trouble. But bored teens will be bored teens. At least mute it and only peek occasionally versus full on watching or gaming through class.

Sing or Play Instruments

If you happen to have musical skills, challenge your pal to a game recognizing songs just from your humming, whistling, beatboxing or quiet instrumental playing under the desks. Go through your shared playlist or pop music hits library. Just be mindful of volume so not to interrupt others. No full fledged drum solos please! This could turn your everyday phones into virtual instruments too with music apps.

Study Each Other

While class isn’t really meant for socializing, you could sneakily study and critique each other versus studying the actual lesson. Give your friend fake report cards on their outfit, hairstyle or how gracefully they take notes. Or rate each other on a scale of 1-10 for things like whose laugh is louder or who dozes off first.

Discuss Class Material

On the slightly more studious side, you might try whispered discussions actually related to the course content. Speculate on upcoming test questions, compare notes on difficult concepts or debate the teacher’s views. This engages you mentally in the class topic at least part of the time versus complete detachment. Plus you could potentially help each other understand or remember things better. Just watch the volume so not to disrupt others learning as well.

Plan Group Projects

Projects assigned in class are a great time to brainstorm and strategize your approach with classmates. Even if a project isn’t due for weeks, the planning period allows some social time.exchange contact info for collaboration later. Bounce ideas off each other and start an outline or rough draft via quiet notetaking collaboration if the teacher allows group work time.

Explore Cool Class Resources

If the class involves online content, program software, equipment or research databases, explore them together during independent work periods. Teach each other shortcuts, share interesting finds and probe all the features. You might even learn something while having fun. Just check with the teacher that independent use of class resources is okay during that time.

Do Creative Writing

Journaling, poetry or short stories are private ways to flex creative juices. Write descriptions of the classroom from different character’s perspectives. Penn silly academic satire pieces. List imaginative questions that will never be on the test. The ideas are endless if you have an active imagination and writing skills to transform boredom to entertainment under the radar.

Pretend to be Elsewhere

Let your mind wander freely with transportation games. Mentally plan an extravagant vacation through daydreams while still sort of listening to key words that could relate it back to the class topic – like learning about world geography in social studies. Or pretend you are famous people in elaborate scenarios entirely removed from the dull classroom walls. Act out adventures solely with facial expressions if sitting near friends also playing the game.

Conduct People/Classroom Watching

Curious students can discreetly observe the people around them and speculate. What’s really going on in other student’s lives based on appearances and mannerisms? Do fake play by plays of conversations at other desks. Invent backstories for passersby seen outside the door. Analyze the room décor, posters, stains, you name it. People watching and room analyzing wastes time creatively!

Have Dance Parties

While staying fully seated and still, challenge friends to silent dance parties. Take turns mimicking dance moves, facial expressions and motions to reenact choreographed routines you know well. Give each other ratings as the “music” plays in your heads. Play charades with music video reenactments too for an added challenge. This engages your body without disrupting learning.

Learn a Language Online

If you have laptops or access to classroom computers, make use of free language learning apps or websites together. This provides an educational distraction from boredom and you may gain valuable skills while learning the vocabulary, phrases and alphabets of a new tongue. Look for apps geared toward friendly competitions to stay engaged with each other versus solo exploring.

Play Card/Board Games

If permitted, quietly playing portable card games like Go Fish, War, Slapjack or Crazy Eights under the desk allows a mental challenge compared to passive zoning out. Micro solo travel or portable board games like Checkers, Chess or Backgammon in a tin or in an app provides discreet interactive fun too while still semi-paying attention. Be mindful of volume and disruption potential though.

Inventory Class Supplies

If a class involves lab materials, art supplies or equipment, challenge your pal to an inventory game. See who can name all the items faster just by quick glances around the room. Occupy your time noting any new, rare or weird things in stock. Organize mystery grab bags of assorted educational widgets to test each other or just fidget with fiddly bits. This works best in relaxed, project-focused classes.

Develop Class Superlatives

Quietly vote on who would most likely for various made up class awards like “most likely to sleep through a fire drill,” “class clown” or “teacher’s pet.” Tally the winners in your notebook to reveal later. You could even make little doodle trophies on scrap paper to hand out. Roasting classmates lightheartedly passes time engaging your creative comedic skills.

Play I-Spy Extreme

Spice up the classic I-Spy game by setting extreme parameters beyond just colors and basic objects. Challenge your accomplice to spot things like items starting with X, reflections of the ceiling, or clues from textbooks being subtly glimpsed on other desks. Or amp up the competition with subject specific twists – find geometry terms in the architecture for example. Get creative!

Journal Class Theories

Whether doodling or with full paragraphs, write down wild conspiracy theories and alternate universe scenarios involving the class, teacher, room or topic. Imagine everyone swapped personalities overnight. Hypothesize what really happened to cause that strange stain on the wall based on detective clues. Invent dramatic backstories and theories to perplex future readers of your journal