4 Fun First Day of School Activities to Break the Ice

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first day of school activities

The first day of school is always exciting, but it can also be a little awkward for students who have yet to get to know each other. Make the first day of school fun with a lineup of activities designed to break the ice and help elementary and junior high students get acquainted from the get-go.

The Name Game

The Name Game is an excellent way for you and your students to start learning everyone’s name. Have students sit or stand in a circle, choosing one student to go first by stating their name.

The student to the right then states their name, along with the name of the first student. The game continues, going around the entire circle, with the last person tasked with naming each student in the circle.

Make the game even more entertaining by having each student choose a description that starts with the same letter as their name, such as “Happy Henry” or “Marvelous Miranda.”

The Guess Who Game

Guessing games can be another terrific way to break the ice, such as an amusing round of The Guess Who Game. Pass out notecards to every student, and then have each student write down two fun or interesting facts about themselves without putting their names on the notecards.

Collect the notecards, shuffle them up, and then give each student a notecard. Go around the room with each student reading the facts on the card they have and other students guessing who wrote them.

Wheel of Fortune Variation

If you want to really pump up the excitement, you can set up a Wheel of Fortune game. On the first day of school, try filling the prize slot areas with different letters of the alphabet. If you have 12 prize slots, for instance, each slot could hold two or three letters to fit in all 26.

Have students take turns spinning the wheel. Students whose names begin with the letters in the prize slot where the pointer lands get to come forward and say their name and a fun description of themselves. Keep it up until all letters have come up and the entire class can name each other.

The Would You Rather Game

This game gives students a chance to ask creative questions while getting to know their classmates. Form two lines of students, with students facing each other. Students will interact with their classmate directly across from them, asking a question that involves two options.

For example, a student may ask “Would you rather go to the moon or the bottom of the ocean?” or “Would you rather have a pet monkey or a pet rhinoceros?” After several minutes, move one line down so each student gets a new partner. Repeat as desired.

In addition to first day of school activities that help students get to know each other, you can always keep a collection of motivational gifts on hand to give your students, or create motivational welcome posters for the classroom to keep students engaged and excited all year long. Visit PaperDirect for all your first-day-of-school icebreaker needs!