Teacher Resources

10 Engaging First-Day-of-School Activities for Elementary School

The first day of a new school year is an exciting time! It’s also the perfect opportunity to foster a sense of community and camaraderie among your students. To help you create a welcoming and engaging environment, here are 10 fun and interactive activities designed to get your students laughing, moving, and most importantly, getting to know each other from day one!

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CLASSMATE BINGO

Give each student a bingo card with squares containing statements such as “has traveled to another country” or “has a pet.” As students move around the room to mingle, they will find a classmate who matches each statement and write that classmate’s name in the corresponding square. The goal is to fill their bingo card and help students get to know each other on the first day of school!

BEACH BALL TOSS

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The Beach Ball Toss is a classic icebreaker game and an enjoyable way for students and teachers to get to know each other. Using a permanent marker, write a question on each panel of an inflatable beach ball. Students can stand or sit in a circle and throw or roll the ball to one another. When a student receives the ball, they will answer the question facing them before passing or rolling the ball to someone else.

ALL ABOUT ME SHEET

Get to know your students by having them complete a classic ‘All About Me’ sheet. This allows them to share unique facts about themselves, personal interests, and hobbies. Deepen engagement by encouraging students to present their sheet to the class. Students will practice their public speaking skills and gain a better understanding of their peers! Download our free and printable ‘All About Me’ sheet here.

SNOWBALL FIGHT

For this activity, students write one fact about themselves on a piece of paper and crumple it. Next, they start a “snowball fight” by tossing the papers around the classroom. After the “snowball fight,” students will pick up the closest snowball to them and try to find the owner based on the fact. This is a fun icebreaker that allows students to move and laugh while learning about their peers!

CLASSROOM CONSTITUTION

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Use the first day of school to set the tone for a year of mutual respect and shared goals! Empower your students to take an active role in shaping their classroom by collectively establishing rules and expectations. Through this activity, the students will develop a sense of ownership and responsibility for their classroom. This activity also sets the tone for a year of mutual respect and shared goals on the first day of school!

MUSIC MINGLE

Each student writes a question for their classmates on an index card. For example, “What is your favorite movie?”. Next, students mingle around the classroom as music plays. When the music stops, students pair up with the nearest person and ask their questions, with both answering.

Start the music again, and repeat the process several times until everyone has had a chance to interact!

JENGA 

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To prepare, write get-to-know-you questions or prompts on Jenga blocks and stack them accordingly. As students carefully pull a block, they will respond to the question or prompt on it. This activity provides a fun and interactive way for students to get to know each other.

DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN EMOJIS

Invite students to introduce themselves using emojis. If you’re teaching online with Google Classroom or Zoom, students can use the text feature to share information about their families, pets, hobbies, and more with emojis. If computer access isn’t available, have students draw their own emojis to express themselves.

TWO-WAY INTERVIEWS

In this engaging icebreaker, students pair up to interview each other and then introduce their partner to the class. This activity fosters important skills such as active listening, information retention, and public speaking. By learning to ask insightful questions and present their findings, students build a strong foundation for classroom communication and collaboration!

MARSHMALLOW CHALLENGE

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The Marshmallow Challenge is an engaging team building exercise, perfect for the first day of school! Split your students into groups of four or five and provide each group with 20 pieces of uncooked spaghetti, a yard of string, a yard of masking tape, a pair of scissors, and a marshmallow. Their task is to build the tallest possible structure using only these materials within 18 minutes. The catch? The marshmallow must be at the top of the structure, and the structure must be standing when the timer goes off!

This activity offers valuable insights into their collaborative skills and problem-solving abilities. Plus, it’s a fun way for students to work together right from the start of the school year!

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