30 Fun Back to School Games and Activities


back to school games

Prepping for a fun first day back to school for your students? To help set up the year and start on a good note, it’s a good idea to prepare some fun back to school games and activities to relieve any anxiety and have all the students start making friends from the first day. If you’re not sure what kind of games to play and activities to prepare, we’ve got you covered.

Here are 30 super fun back to school games and activities that will solidify you as a cool teacher and set the atmosphere of your classroom for the next year!

1. WOULD YOU RATHER

Would You Rather Questions

Would You Rather is a very simple game that works as a fun ice-breaker on the first day of school. To play this game, you simply give the classroom two options and ask the classroom what their preference would be and why. Some examples include:

  • Would you rather drink melted ice cream or eat cold fries?
  • Would you rather be super strong or super fast?
  • Would you rather have a pet unicorn or a pet dragon?

Here are some more Would You Rather question ideas to help get you started.

2. TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE

back to school games and activities two truths and a lie

Another great ice-breaker game perfect for the first day of school is Two Truths and a Lie. In this game, sit everyone down for introductions. When introducing themselves, each student must say their name and state three “facts” about themselves, one of which must be a lie.

Everyone must then guess which statement is the lie. The student can then reveal which statement was false and which two were correct!

3. CLASSROOM SCAVENGER HUNT

Want to help your students get to know your classroom? Why not play a little classroom scavenger hunt? You’ll need to print out a scavenger hunt for each student or pair them up to work together.

Here are some examples of what you can write on the classroom scavenger hunt:

  • Write the title of a book in the book corner.
  • Find the dictionary and write a word you do not know.
  • Count how many plants there are in the classroom.
  • Find the name of the class pet.
  • Where is the pencil sharpener?
  • What is for lunch on Wednesday?
  • Spell the teacher’s name.

4. DRAW A SELF-PORTRAIT

back to school games and activities - draw a self portrait

How much will you change over the course of a year? Have every student draw themselves on a piece of paper and write their names. Allow the students to be as creative as they want and color the portrait to the best of their ability. Then, place these self-portraits on a wall to display all of the students in the class.

5. CLASS TIME CAPSULE

back to school games and activities - class time capsule

One of the best back to school activities is a class time capsule. Hand every student a worksheet that covers facts about themselves. The worksheet can include information such as:

  • What are your goals for the year?
  • What are your favorite things?
  • What do you want to be when you grow up?
  • If you could be an animal, what would you be?

Once every student has filled out the worksheet, put it all in a time capsule that can only be opened at the end of the year!

6. BINGO

Bingo is a classic game you can play in any situation and is a great game to play on the first day back to school. But instead of playing classic bingo, allow the students to get to know each other a bit more by creating bingo cards with human questions, such as:

  • Find someone who has two siblings.
  • Find someone whose name starts with M.
  • Find someone with the same birthday month as you.
  • Find someone who likes to play soccer.
  • Find someone you’ve never met before.

7. I SPY

back to school games and activities - i spy

This is the perfect game for the first day back to school, as it allows students to become more comfortable with their classroom. Plus, it teaches some fun new vocabulary and spelling challenges. To play I spy, students take turns saying, “I spy with my little eye something beginning with…” and ending the sentence with the letter of the object they see in the classroom. The student who guesses correctly is the next player to say something they spy.

8. DECORATE THE CLASSROOM

back to school games and activities - decorate the classroom

Why not do a nice team-building activity to make a new classroom your own? Simply grab some crafts, such as paper, scissors, and markers, as well as decorations like streamers, and decorate the classroom together. Spend an hour or so decorating the classroom with the students to create the ideal learning space for the children.

9. SIMON SAYS

Simon says is a classic classroom game for a reason. It’s a great way to get the energy up in the classroom and help your students build some confidence as well. To play, act as the leader by standing in front of the classroom and giving actions to the other players, but you must say “Simon says” before an action. If you do not say “Simon says” before an action, the students must ignore the action and continue the previous action instead. Whoever fails is out!

10. GET TO KNOW YOU JENGA

back to school games

You can be super creative with Jenga blocks. To turn Jenga into a super fun back to school game, color the blocks in 5 to 6 different colors before the first day of class. Then, to play the game, set up the Jenga game as you normally would. Students take turns removing a block from the Jenga tower. But the catch is that anytime they remove one block, the student must introduce themselves and answer a question according to the color of the block.

You can assign the colors in the following manner:

  • Red: What is your favorite color?
  • Blue: What is your favorite sport?
  • Green: What is your favorite summer memory?
  • Yellow: Do you have any pets?
  • Purple: If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
  • Black: When is your birthday?

Write down multiple questions for each color to allow students to choose which question they want to answer.

11. MAKE CLASS RULES

back to school games and activities - make class rules

To ensure your students follow your class rules, instead of going over them together at the beginning of the school year, why not create them together? The students would be more likely to follow and abide by the rules if they had a hand in making them. After you determine the class rules, write them down on a board or large sheet for the students to decorate.

12. DICE BREAKER GAME

back to school games and activities - dice breaker game

As you might be able to guess from the name of the game, dice breaker game is an ice breaker perfect for students to get to know one another at the start of the school year. All you need to play is one dice.

Students take turns rolling the dice. After rolling the dice, the student must introduce themselves with their name and answer a question according to the number they rolled on the dice. The questions can be as follows, but feel free to edit however you like:

  1. What is your favorite food?
  2. What is your favorite color?
  3. What is your favorite book?
  4. What is your favorite hobby?
  5. What superpower would you like?
  6. What is your favorite subject at school?
back to school games and activities - name search

Who doesn’t love a word search? If you want to get the school year started with a fun word search, create one with everybody’s names hidden inside! Students will have fun finding their won names and getting to know their classmates’ names with this fun little back to school activity.

14. CLASSMATE SCAVENGER HUNT

back to school games and activities - classmate scavenger hunt

Another great way to break the ice is to do a classmate scavenger hunt. With this game, the students are forced to get to know each other. In this scavenger hunt, students will have to find someone who wears glasses, someone who has a pet, or someone who has a brother. Prepare the scavenger hunt for students to find 10 unique classmates that fit the bill for each item.

15. BEACH BALL GAME

back to school games and activities - beach ball game

To play the beach ball game, all you need is a beach ball and a marker. On the first day of school, write a question on each side of the beach ball. Then, have all the students stand in a circle and toss the beach ball around. As each student catches the ball, they must introduce themselves and answer the question their thumb lands on.

16. RED LIGHT, GREEN LIGHT

red light green light

Another super fun back to school game that will have everyone moving around is red light, green light. Choose a student to act as the stoplight. The stoplight stands at one end of the room while everyone else stands at the other. The stoplight then turns around away from the other students and yells, “Green light!” Everyone else can now move toward the stoplight until the stoplight turns back around toward the other players and yells, “Red light!” At the red light, every other player must stop moving. Whoever is caught moving has to go back to the starting line. The first player who manages to tag the stoplight wins and is the next stoplight!

This is also a great outdoor game for kids to play!

17. FREEZE DANCE

back to school games

Freeze dance is a fun back to school game similar to red light, green light. But in this game, there’s some music involved! To play, everyone should spread out and start dancing to the music. Then, you, the teacher and DJ, can turn the music off at any point. When the music turns off, everyone must stop dancing and freeze in position. If any of the players move when the music is off, they are out! As the DJ, turn the music on and off until only one player remains.

18. DUCK, DUCK GOOSE

duck duck goose

Duck, duck, goose is one of those childhood games that have survived the test of time. You will have played it growing up, and kids are still playing it today. While you can play the traditional game, you can make it more suited for a back to school activity with these rules.

Instead of “It” simply saying “duck” until they say goose, “It” must say the student’s name! This is a great way to get to know your students’ names and test everyone’s memories. And instead of “goose,” say the teacher’s name!

19. HOT POTATO

hot potato camp game

Hot potato is a classic classroom game that is a perfect back to school activity to help soothe anxieties and start having fun from the first day back! Have the entire class sit in the circle, then quickly pass around a beanbag or ball. As the teacher, you are in charge of the music. When the music is playing, all the students must pass the beanbag or ball to the person next to them. But once the music stops, whoever is left holding the “hot potato” is out! Keep playing until there is a winner who remains.

20. IN THE NATURE OF THE ADVERB

back to school games and activities - in the nature of the adverb

A really fun classroom game that you may have never heard of is In the Nature of the Adverb. This is a great game to play if you want to get the kids learning from day one. This game is best suited to older kids who understand what an adverb is.

To play, one student is “It.” It goes to the other side of the class while everyone else discusses what adverb It must guess. Examples include: funnily, happily, and angrily. After deciding on the adverb, It comes back and must ask the other students to perform an action “in the nature of the adverb.” For example, It could ask:

  • Jump in the nature of the adverb
  • Sing a song in the nature of the adverb

It gets 3 tries to guess the adverb. The last player to perform an action in the nature of the adverb is the new guesser!

21. BACK TO SCHOOL SNOWBALL FIGHT

back to school games and activities - snowball fight

If you want to make sure the kids have fun and get to know each other, what better activity to play than a snowball fight? But this back to school snowball fight is not your standard snowball fight. To play this, all students must write a fact about themselves on a sheet of paper – make sure no one puts their names! Then, crumple up the paper and start the snowball fight! Continue fighting for a minute or two. Finally, all students must pick up one snowball, read what’s inside, and try to find the student who wrote on the snowball.

22. ROCK PAPER SCISSORS TOURNAMENT

back to school games rock paper scissors

What better way to get the school year started than a rock paper scissors tournament? To play, all students walk around the class playing rock paper scissors against their fellow classmates. Whoever loses must tug along behind the winner like a snake! Once only two players remain, all other players should be creating a long snake line behind either player. The two remaining players play rock paper scissors, and whoever wins that round is the ultimate winner!

23. CHARADES RELAY

back to school games charades relay

Charades is a super fun game to play for the first day back to school, but kick it up a notch and play charades relay! First, prepare this game by writing some things to act out on small pieces of paper and putting them in a bowl.

To play this fast-paced version of the game, divide the class into small teams. Each team should line up and decide on the order of who goes first, second, etc. On go, the first person of each team runs to the bowl to pick out something to act out. They must run back to their team to act it out. Once their team guesses correctly, the second person on the team runs to the bowl and comes back. The team who guesses the most cards wins the game!

24. WINK MURDER

back to school games and activities - wink murder

A fun back to school game that doesn’t involve kids running around the classroom is wink murder. Have everyone sit in a circle and close their eyes. You, as the teacher and moderator, will walk around the circle and choose a detective and murderer by tapping on their heads and announcing that you’ve chosen them.

Once chosen, everyone can open their eyes. The detective heads to the middle of the circle. The murderer must make eye contact with other players and wink at them. After winking at the player, the player must count to 5 and then die as dramatically as they want! The detective must try their best to find the murderer before everyone is killed!

25. TELEPHONE

back to school games telephone

Another super fun game to play that will get all the students more familiar and friendly with one another is telephone. Also called Chinese whispers, this popular classroom game requires no introduction. But in case you need a refresher after the summer, have all the students sit in a circle.

Then, either give a phrase or word to give to the first player or have the first player make one up on their own. This phrase gets passed down player by player, by whispering the phrase or word into the ear of the player on their left. The final person in the circle must say the phrase or word out loud!

26. PASS THE BALL

back to school games telephone

Want a cute exercise that will help all the students get to know each other’s names? Pass the ball is a very simple game that involves throwing the ball from one player to another while everyone stands or sits in a circle. But the trick is, before you can throw the ball, you must say the other player’s name!

27. AUTOGRAPH HUNT

back to school games and activities - autograph hunt

Give every student an empty table to write some things, such as their favorite sports, colors, and what they did over the summer. Once everyone has filled out their sheet, the remaining spots on the table are to find other students who also love the same things and to get their autograph! And if they find another student, that student must autograph inside the corresponding box. This is a great way for students to get to know each other in a fun manner.

28. HEADS DOWN, THUMBS UP

back to school games and activities

Heads down, thumbs up is a super classic classroom game that is perfect to help pass the time. To start playing, choose 7 players to come up to the front of the class. All other students must sit down, put their heads down, close their eyes, and put a thumb up, hence the name of the game. The 7 students at the front must then roam around the classroom and choose a thumb to push down. Once all 7 students have put down another student’s thumb, they go back to the front of the class.

The 7 students whose thumbs have been pushed down must guess who pushed their thumb!

29. FINGER TIP HULA HOOP

back to school games and activities - finger tip hula hoop

A great team-building exercise, finger tip hula hoop is a simple but deceptively difficult game. To play, divide the class into teams and provide one hula hoop per team. Each team must stand in a circle around the hula hoop and use only their index fingers to hold it up without hooking their fingers. The challenge is to lower the hula hoop to the ground without dropping it!

30. M&M GAME

back to school games and activities - m&m games

Why not start the school year with a yummy treat? The M&M game takes advantage of the fact that the candies come in different colors. Have each student secretly pick an M&M and show it to the class. Each color represents something the student must reveal about themselves. For example:

  • Red: Tell us about your hobby.
  • Orange: Tell us about your family.
  • Yellow: Tell us about your favorite holiday.
  • Blue: What did you do this summer?
  • Brown: What do you want to be when you grow up?
  • Green: What’s your favorite food and drink?

The best thing about this game? Everyone can eat their M&Ms after introducing themselves!

Mia Kim
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