15 Back to School Activities your Students will LOVE

Back to school activities that you will find here are not only a great amount of fun but will help everyone get to know each other.

Back to School Activities that are fun yet engaging can be found right here!  It's time for your students (and you) to head back to school and start planning! Whether you're starting the year online or in person, you'll want your back to school activities to be engaging and fun for your students! Skip the curricular content for the first day or two and get to know your students with these 15 Back to School Activities your students will love strong!

 Back to School Activities
Online and In-Person Learning

Fun back to school activities

1. Categories

Categories is one of the first back to school activities that works perfectly for an in-person or for online classroom games. First, you name a category. For example, favorite book, favorite color, song title, and more. Next, students will write their answers down. Finally, after categories have been called out and the time ends, students will share their answers.

2. Hot Tamale

Ice breaker classroom games are so much fun and help everyone get to know each other.

Remember the old "hot potato" game? This works the same way! First, students will form a big circle standing side by side.  When the music starts students will pass the hot tamale to each other.  When the music stops, whoever is holding the hot tamale has to answer a question the teacher reads. Don't worry about coming up with questions! They're all included in the back to school activities bundle.

3. Why, But Why

Next, this is a fantastic back to school party game to build classroom community. First, students pick their favorite thing from any category. Next, a student will ask “Why?”. The original student will respond, and then you will respond, "Tell me why."  The back to school party game will go like this.  

George's favorite animal is a dog.  The first student asks “Why?"  Then, George responds because he has a dog.  Then the teacher can ask “Tell me why.”  Then, George gives another reason.  His reason might be that dogs are cuddly. Continue the game until all students have a chance to give their favorite! Twenty-four questions are included with the Back to School BUNDLE!

4.  Balloon Galore

This is one of my favorite back to school party games to get kids moving! First, each student writes their name on a balloon and three facts.  When the buzzer goes off, students throw their balloons in the air.  The buzzer goes off again, and students pick a balloon.  Then, call on a student to read the name and one interesting fact from the balloon they picked up. Students learn so much about each other with this fun, engaging back to school party game!

5.  THIS or THAT

First day of school game gives everyone a chance to take off the nervous edge of starting a new school year.

Everything you need for this back to school party game is included in the Back to School Bundle. First, students look at the picture card and pick “this” or “that” (whatever their preference is between the two cards).  Next, students write their answers on their answer sheet.  Finally, you display each “this or that” card and ask students how they choose.  This is a good game for students to discover how they can relate to their classmates.

6.  I wish my teacher knew...

What I wish my teacher knew activity is a powerful, meaningful activity. Don't skip this one!

Back to school activities can help meet our students' social-emotional needs as well. This is an individualized activity where students can share anything they want you to know. The Back to School Bundle includes a digital and PDF version.

7.  Student Interview and Reflection

Back to school activities for 4th graders that are no prep for the teacher. The beginning of the school year is busy enough without having to come up with activities for back to school.

Next, this back to school activity comes with 14 questions for students to ask one another. Participating in distance learning? Why not share this resource on Seesaw! Students can post their video or audio responses along with the written interview questions and answers.

8.  True or False Game

Next, you give students statements (included in the Back to School Bundle), and have them determine whether they are true or false. The false statements come with explanations, and this is a great way to introduce discussion techniques in your classroom.

9.  All about my TEACHER!

Back to school activities for 5th grade are essential when starting a new school year. Show your students you can still have fun, even in the 5th grade.

Of course, you want to get to know your students, but let them get to know you too! The Back to School Bundle has everything you need to introduce yourself to your students! Have them guess the answers to the included questions before you share them.

10.  Roll & Share

Back to school ice breakers will help ease the first week of school for everyone.

This B2S BUNDLE works as an online classroom game or back to school party game. Simply roll physical or digital dice. The number that comes up is the number the question your student or students will answer on the handout provided. Questions are low risk (favorite food, favorite subject, etc.) and tons of fun!

11.  Back to School B-I-N-G-O

Welcome back to school activities are a great way for students to get to know you, and vice-versa.

A student favorite, this activity can be done while social distancing or as an online classroom game as well! You'll shout out a statement. If the students can relate, they mark it on their Bingo card. Once their card is full, they'll yell "BINGO"! You can also facilitate discussions about the statements. The cards and questions are included as a back to school party game.

12.  Writing Prompt

Activities for the first day of school that requires no prep from you and students will love.

I am constantly looking for creative writing resources that build community and allow students to share without pressure. With this bundled writing prompt back to school activity, students will choose the setting, two characters, three problems, and four objects from the included writing prompts. Share the stories online or in-person!

13.  Would you Rather...

This back to school party game always gets my students giggling. Share some "would you rather" questions and poll your class. Questions can range from ridiculous: "Would you rather swim in mashed potatoes or spaghetti sauce?" to academic "Would you rather be a character in Harry Potter or The Lightning Thief?" This also works well as an online classroom game!

14.  Dirty Words

No, you aren't teaching your students naughty words! Explain the concept of "dirty words" to your students. These are fixed mindset words or phrases like "I can't" or "This is too hard". Have them write them down then rip them up symbolizing transitioning to a growth mindset. This is a perfect back to school activity to introduce growth mindset and goal setting.

15.  Snowball

Similar to the balloon activity but without "popping", have students write down a fact about themselves on a piece of paper, ball it up, throw it, then retrieve a "snowball". The student that finds the snowball will read it aloud while the class tries to guess who wrote the snowball. This is another great way to build community.

Bonus Game Ideas
Math Quest

An exciting math-themed treasure hunt that challenges students to solve various math problems and clues hidden around the school. Integrating critical thinking and problem-solving, this game ensures that students return to school with their math skills sharp and ready for the year ahead.

Bonus Game Ideas
Alphabet Scavenger Hunt

A thrilling scavenger hunt where students work in teams to find objects around the classroom that begin with each letter of the alphabet. This game promotes letter recognition, boosts observational skills, and adds an element of adventure to the learning process.

These back-to-school games for elementary teachers are not only loads of fun but also valuable educational tools. By incorporating these games into your lesson plans, you can create a positive and engaging learning environment for your students, setting the stage for a successful and memorable school year. So, let the games begin, and may this academic journey be filled with joy, growth, and learning for both you and your students!

Although some of these back to school activities lend themselves to in-person teaching, there are many that can be used as online classroom games! I love getting to know students through back to school party games like these. What other back to school activities would you add to the list?