Get to know you games for kids are great not only to engage students on the first day of school, but also to warm up conferences, inter-school events, and clubs.
The first day of school is always a special date, a day of stress, joy and fear for both students and teachers.
A few creative back-to-school ideas will help you clam emotions and ease everyone back into the school schedule. First day of school activities help you get to know each other and familiarize both parties with school life.
Without further ado, let’s get into it.
Get to Know You Games for Kids
1. Candy Introductions Game
This game is great to spark deeper connection based on students’ characteristics.
Arrange for some different candies, associate each with a character trait, and ask the group to pick out five, one of each. Then they can reveal things about themselves according to what each candy is about. It can be played best in a group of 10 to 12.
2. Toilet Paper Game
Pass the toilet roll to the first person and give the group to take as much tissue as possible. Prepare for some laughter as they take what they think they need. After everybody has taken their share, tell students that for every square of toilet paper they tore off, they have to say something about themselves.
An ideal game for large groups, it can be played even by kids.
Divide people in equal groups, and let them find out 5 or 6 similarities among themselves, excluding physicality and clothes. The group that finds all six from every member first, wins.
4. Word Search
Using your student’s names as hidden words, create a word search with the help of a puzzle maker and place a copy on each desk. Let the exercise begin; engage learners in searching for their names and that of their classmates.
During the task, you realise that leaners get fascinated and this will boost their conversation as they solve the puzzle.
5. Connection Stories
This is an icebreaker for small groups, preferably 6-8 people.
Each group has to share a funny/memorable story using events that can also relate to their own experience. You can also keep tabs on the turning point of the story. The group with the best story can win the game.
6. Fabulous Flag
It is an interesting indoor game.
Each member can draw a flag, which represents their passion or individuality, whatever they want to be associated with. It can be an animal, instrument, or symbol of their choice. The group can also design a flag that represents all of them as a whole.
7. Human Bingo
The objective of this game is for students to wander around the room and to obtain the signatures of their classmates who have the facts listed on the bingo sheet.
Once a person successfully obtains a full row (5 in a row), whether horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, he or she shouts “BINGO!” and wins. This is one of my favorite get to know you games for kids!
8. Four Corners
This game is an awesome activity for students especially for those have a creative streak.
Each person gets a paper divided in four squares and draws four things about themselves. The categories can be pre planned or spontaneous, but through the drawings they reveal something important about their personalities.
9. Identity Circles
Identity Circles is a valuable game for an in depth personality assessment.
The members sit in two concentric circles and face each other, pairing up with the person in front of them. Using at least 10 cards each; write your identity for e.g. race, religion, nationality etc. After discussing traits with your partner, you have to tear up one card which is of least value to you. Then rotate in your circle and discuss why you tore that one trait with the new partner.
10. Interview Games
The aim of this game is to collect maximum information with precise and direct questions conducted one on one.
Each pair has one interviewer and one subject; the former asking 3-4 well designed questions that uncover interesting facts from the latter, within a set time limit. Both partners get the chance to be interviewed.
11. Personal Artifact Game
If you want to really know the people around you, this is the game.
Each member can bring or take an artifact of theirs and share stories behind it, explain its value to the group so they know something about their personality. It can be played in groups of six or less to be more memorable.
12. Memorable Catchy Names
Simple and fun get to know you game for kids, Memorable Catchy Names can work best in medium sized groups.
Each member of the group introduces themselves with a fun adjective that describes them, but it has to begin with the same letter of their name, like Funky Fred.
13. Never Have I Ever
Want to have an enjoyable time while learning more about your team?
Sit in a circle of 10 to 15 people, holding out all ten fingers and say things you have never done, and each person who has done that thing will have to fold one finger. The one with the most open fingers can win at the end.
14. Paper Airplanes
An innovative take on the get-to-know-you, this game is a bit unusual.
Take a group of 10-12 members, ask them to write their names and two questions they want to be asked, make the paper into an airplane and throw it in the air all together. Each person must find a plane with someone else’s name, and then ask the questions on it.
Scavenger hunt in the classroom encourages the students to work together and know each other more. The exercise involves learners to find things within the classroom or even learn what their classmates did most during the holiday or finding out about anything else.
On paper, print the things that need to be discovered, a space to write a short description and where an item was found. Besides, you can use the custom-made materials for the exercise.
16. String Game
This is an introduction based game, which prompts the speaker to talk about themselves.
Take a roll of string, cut in uneven lengths and jumble them. Now offer these pieces to each person, who then has to talk while wrapping the string around their finger. Some introductions will be short, while others may go on a bit as the strings are long.
17. Story Prompts
This game works as an ice breaker with lots of creative juices.
Take a stack of cards and write a few story beginnings like ‘once I saw a…’ and distribute it among the group. Ask them to create their version of the story, or bring in fresh ideas. The best story can be read among larger groups for encouragement.
18. Two Truths and a Lie
This game enables groups to have fun while getting to know each other better, thereby creating a lasting impression.
The group can be medium or large, sit in a circle and each person tells two truths and one lie about themselves, in any order. The rest have to guess which statement is a lie, and get to find out about each other.
19. Word Chain
This game is a challenge to memory as well as an ice breaker.
You get to be competitive as you play in a large group of people, set a time limit and pick a theme. The chain starts with the first word, and every member has to add another word and repeat the words before it too. The game ends when someone doesn’t remember the correct chain of words within the time limit.
20. Lost on Deserted Island
This get to know you games for kids is a wonderful way for team building, promoting cooperative attitude.
With 4 to 6 members each group struggles hypothetically to survive on a deserted island, where every person has one object that can help them in this situation. Creative and imaginative methods get the most points.
21. Time Capsule
Create a time capsule as soon as school reopens. Let students write about their goals for the year or term. For instance, the grades they want to attain, the co-curricular activities they wish to join and so forth.
Before you lock their answers in a box, allow them to tell the class of their answers. Open the time capsule by the end of the school year.
22. Beach Ball Introductions
Sit your students in a circle and throw a beach ball at the closest student. Students will share information about themselves using the sentence that both their pointer fingers are nearest to.
You can use a marker pen (preferably permanent markers).
- Write the first half of the sentence on one side of the ball
- Write the word for the second half of the science on the opposite side.
- Left side: This vacation I ________
- Right side: During
- They can answer with something along the lines of “This vacation, I went to the zoo during the month of December)
23. Autograph Scavenger Hunt
Give the scavenger hunt sheet and sit back. Your students will work themselves into a frenzy as they attempt to find a new classmate for each activity. It is bound to get loud (not that there is anything wrong with that) and it won’t just break the ice but completely smash it open!
24. Silent Line-Up
Silent Line-up works well as both a first day of school activity and for when your kids need a break from the books.
Simply ask your students to line up by the day of their birth (January to December). The plot twist? They can’t talk. They will have to use sign language, their fingers or a combination of it all to line up in the right order. Be warned, for younger kids, it can take some time to line up!
Once they have finally lined up in the right order, ask them to do it again in the opposite order (December to January) but allow them to talk to each other. As you may suspect, the second task with talking will finish quicker. When it’s done, discuss how tasks and activities can be completed sooner when people effectively converse and communicate.
The day of birth isn’t the only criteria you can use; shoe size, height, and first name in alphabetical order are some other ideas to consider.
25. Everyone loves a compliment!
This is a light hearted confidence boosting activity that will encourage everyone to share compliments with each other.
Tape a blank sheet of paper to every student’s back. Each classmate must then think of a compliment to write on it. When it’s done for everyone in the class, instruct your students to remove the paper and read out the compliments to the class!
26. Discover each student’s learning style
If you are handling an older grade, this is an excellent activity to try out. Use the first day of school to find how each student learns. You can find several learning style inventories with a quick search online. Use a multiple intelligences assessment to find the different ways that students learn.
Other than the obvious benefits to you, this motivates and encourages students who have constantly struggled with studies as they will discover things they excel at. In addition to that, it’s a great opportunity to address the common “I am dumb/he is dumb” accusations that crop up sooner or later.
27. Decorate the classroom
One of the most productive get to know you games for kids is classroom decoration. Invite the students to help you decorate the classroom in their style. This sends a message that you value their ideas and welcome their efforts.
Split the class into groups of four (depending on how many walls you have!) and designate a wall to each group. Give them the necessary materials like markers, tape and posters. To really personalize it, ask them to come with a goal and summarize it in a couple of words. If it’s good, you can go ahead with it.
28. Back to School “Survival” Bags
Another great idea for the first day of school is to make treat bags for your students. It does sound like a lot of work but it can go a long way in proving to your new students that the classroom for the upcoming year is one that is both caring and welcoming – it can go a long way in easing nerves and ensuring everyone gets along with each other. I would generally place the bags on the desks early on before students walk into class. Each bag has the student’s name on it with a note that says “Your Grade 3 Survival Kit!
This mysterious note ensures they remain excited and curious as to what is inside the bag but don’t let them open it until they are about to leave for the day. At the end of the day, take the items out one by one and discuss the meaning it’s supposed to convey. Do make sure that the items you choose will put students in the right frame of mind and indicate to them that they are in a caring classroom.
By now, it is very clear that smartphones and social media are going to dominate the lives of every generation. This fun little activity reminds the students of this fact. As this Pinterest pin shows, there are plenty of ways to be creative and create your very own art-phone. You can switch it up; ask students to make an Instagram wall, social media profile or chat session, the options are endless!
30. Fit in puzzle
Begin by creating a large blank puzzle that you can adorn the classroom wall with. Hand a blank piece to every student in the classroom and ask them to decorate each piece with something that appeals to them. It could be their favorite superhero, animal or a little fact about themselves. Once everyone has completed, piece together the puzzle with the students and hang it up on the wall.
Here are 30 activities which you can use to help your students with start-of-the-school socialization. With the mentioned activities, you and your learners’ first days in school will be fantastic!