Activities for Kids

20 Fun and Engaging First Day of School Activities for Kids

The first day of school is an exciting time for kids, full of anticipation and a mix of emotions. It sets the tone for the rest of the academic year, making it crucial to start off on a positive note.

Incorporating fun and engaging activities can help students feel welcome, reduce anxiety, and build a sense of community in the classroom.

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To help ease the transition and make the first day memorable, here are 20 fun and engaging activities tailored for kids in preschool, kindergarten, 1st grade, 2nd grade, and 4th grade.

First Day of School Activities for Kids

1. Name Tags and Introductions

Preschool & Kindergarten: Provide fun, colorful name tags that children can decorate with stickers and drawings. This helps teachers and classmates learn names and provides a creative outlet for the kids.

1st, 2nd, & 4th Grade: Let students create their own name tags with their names and a small drawing or fun fact about themselves.

2. Icebreaker Games

All Grades: 

Name Bingo: Create bingo cards with different personal facts (e.g., “Has a pet,” “Loves pizza,” “Has been to another country”). Students walk around and find classmates who match the facts, filling in their bingo cards. This helps kids learn interesting things about each other in a fun way.

Two Truths and a Lie: Each student shares three statements about themselves—two true and one false. The rest of the class guesses which statement is the lie. This game is a great way for students to share a bit about themselves and practice listening skills.

3. Story Time

Preschool & Kindergarten: Read a popular children’s book and discuss the story. Follow up with a simple craft related to the book.

1st, 2nd, & 4th Grade: Choose a book that fits their reading level and encourage students to share their thoughts and predictions.

4. Classroom Scavenger Hunt

All Grades: A scavenger hunt is a fantastic way for students to familiarize themselves with the classroom and school. Create a list of items for students to find, such as the library, the bathroom, the teacher’s desk, and various classroom supplies. This activity not only helps students get to know their environment but also encourages teamwork.

5. All About Me Posters

Preschool & Kindergarten: Provide a template with spaces for drawings and simple facts about themselves.

1st, 2nd, & 4th Grade: Give students larger posters to fill with more detailed information, including hobbies, favorite books, and family details.

Once completed, each student presents their poster to the class. These posters can be displayed around the classroom, adding a personal touch and helping students get to know each other.

First Day of School Activities

6. Friendship Bracelets

Preschool & Kindergarten: Use large beads and string to make simple bracelets.

1st, 2nd, & 4th Grade: Introduce more complex patterns and bead designs.

7. Circle Time

Preschool & Kindergarten: Have a circle time where each child shares their name and something fun they did over the summer.

1st, 2nd, & 4th Grade: Include sharing goals for the school year.

8. Puzzle Time

All Grades: Work on a large classroom puzzle together. It’s a great way to encourage teamwork.

9. Art and Crafts

Art projects can be a great way for students to express themselves and relax on the first day. Provide materials for a simple craft.

Preschool & Kindergarten: Simple crafts like coloring or making handprint art.

1st, 2nd, & 4th Grade: More advanced projects like creating self-portraits or decorating folders.

These activities promote creativity and give students something tangible to take pride in.

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10. Class Rules and Expectations

All Grades: While it’s important to have fun, setting the tone for classroom behavior is also crucial. Engage students in a discussion about classroom rules and expectations. You can even involve them in creating the rules, which helps them feel a sense of ownership and responsibility.

11. Sing-Along Songs

Preschool & Kindergarten: Sing classic children’s songs together.

1st, 2nd, & 4th Grade: Incorporate songs that relate to what they will be learning.

12. Get-to-Know-You Games

All Grades: Have the students sit in a circle and take turns sharing something about themselves, such as their favorite hobby, a fun summer memory, or what they’re most excited about this school year. This activity promotes a sense of community and helps students feel more comfortable with each other.

13. Goal Setting

1st, 2nd, & 4th Grade: Encourage students to set personal and academic goals for the year. Provide templates or journals where they can write down their goals and the steps they need to achieve them. Discuss the importance of setting goals and working towards them. Revisiting these goals throughout the year can help students stay motivated and focused.

14. First Day of School Photos

All Grades: Set up a photo booth with fun props and a backdrop. Let each student take a “first day of school” photo. These photos can be printed and sent home or used to create a class photo album. It’s a fun way to capture the excitement of the first day and create lasting memories.

15. Classroom Tour

All Grades: Take a tour of the classroom and school, pointing out important areas like the library, bathroom, and playground.

Fun and Engaging First Day of School Activities for Preschool

16. Team-Building Activities

Preschool & Kindergarten: Use building blocks for free play and encourage students to work together.

1st, 2nd, & 4th Grade: Incorporate a challenge to build something specific, like a bridge or a house.

17. Personal Bookmarks

All Grades: Have students design and create their own bookmarks to use throughout the year.

18. Buddy Reading

Preschool & Kindergarten: Pair students together to look at picture books.

1st, 2nd, & 4th Grade: Older students can read to younger ones or partner up to read aloud to each other.

19. Simple Science Experiment

All Grades: Conduct a simple, fun science experiment, like mixing baking soda and vinegar to make a volcano.

20. Memory Book

All Grades: Start a memory book where students can add drawings, photos, and notes throughout the year to document their experiences.

Conclusion:

Starting the school year with Fun and Engaging First Day of School Activities for Kids can help kids feel more comfortable and excited about what lies ahead.

These activities not only make the first day of school fun but also help build a sense of community and set the tone for a positive and productive school year. Here’s to a fantastic start!

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