Sub Plan Activities That Don't Require Photocopies or Technology

Are you looking for a quick no-prep activity for a sub to use in your classroom? 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 activities to your toolbox so you are ready whenever the unexpected happens.

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

This blog post will…
  • recommend sub plan activities that don’t require photocopies or technology
  • suggest 5 ideas to help you when you are in a pinch
  • offer a free resource to help you with planning for a sub


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 here and check out this list of 50 quality read aloud books.

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).

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.

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, she can pick a child “who is making good choices” to lead the exercises.

Whole group brainstorm: 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.


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

Here are some resources to check out...



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