50 First Day of School Classroom Activities

The first day of school brings a rush of excitement and nerves, as students reunite with friends and meet their teachers.  

To kick off back-to-school season we asked teachers to share their favorite first day of school activity on social media for a chance to win $100. We were excited to receive dozens of great responses with genius ideas such as icebreaker activities, dance parties and books to read aloud. Check out these ideas to start the  new year off with learning and fun! 

  1. I love fun dance parties! I have made a playlist of fun classroom jams. I love to just be silly and dance with the kids! Whitney Michelle Reynolds 

  2. We make "all about me" posters and play a find a friend activity. Kristen Elizabeth 

  3. Specific grade level "survival kit " that contains useful items that also have symbolic meaning, with a written explanation included. Sandi Colautti 

  4. My students always love playing two truths and a lie. We mix the papers up with a "snowball fight" even though it's 100+ outside in Texas. Tiffany Benton 

  5. I read First Day Jitters (students love the plot twist) and then students draw emojis showing how they're feeling about the first day. Tina DeSelm 

  6. Personalized newsletter to welcome parents and students with positivity and goals for the year! Build an early connection. Cicely M Artis 

  7. I love reading "The Pigeon HAS to Go to School!" with my littles! I put it on the Promethean Board, so I can read along with them while they take turns reading and/or sounding words out. And, if the class behaves and completes the book, the Pigeon will "wake up" and come visit the students. (I take the Pigeon plush out of my filing cabinet lol) Then we do an Art Project drawing and Painting our Pigeons. I've had some pretty great readers and artists over the years! Rachel Rougeau 

  8. A scavenger hunt around our school to tour our new building! Laura Cancienne Cangiamilla 

  9. I love challenges! Ways to build community! Saving Fred, Twizzler tying, putting pringles in the shape of a stacked circle, minute to win it games! Amelia Riehm Cook 

  10. I love to do "Find a Friend" Bingo. Students have a Bingo card filled with different information on each square like "I have a dog" or "I like to skateboard." They have to go around class and ask each other if these squares apply to anyone. If so, they put that student's name in the square it applies to. It's a fun "get to know you" activity. Meghan Stoss Newell 

  11. Help lead an all-school assembly to welcome back students and staff while wearing the mascot costume and cheering everyone on, getting them excited for the new school year! Debbie Dvorak 

  12. I love to do the "Saving Fred" activity for team building. The kids absolutely love it and have so much fun with it:) Meghan Lockwood Cole 

  13. We love team building activities like minute-to-win-it games. Love having students record their first day of school worries and then replaying them at the end of the year and recording their thoughts on it! Another fun thing we do is a scavenger hunt around the school. Cyshelle Koborsi 

  14. I love to read "First Day Jitters" and make our own jitter juice out of sprite and Hawaiian Punch! Alicia Lawson O'Brien 

  15. Every year we do an all about me bag. I share mine and the kids do theirs the rest of the week. They get to show off their families, favorite books, favorite foods, and favorite animals. Elizabeth Brazelton 

  16. I love to go around and let every student say their name, share 2 of their favorite things, and tell us one thing they like doing when they're not at school. It's a great way to get rid of tension and get to know each other. Christian Jordan 

  17. I love to read "Our Peaceful Classroom" and create self-portraits. Amie Zimmerman Wagner 

  18. Wall measurements on day one (or during the first week) and then doing it again the last week of school to see how much they've grown! (PreK) Carley Fowler 

  19. We sit in a circle. Each student gets to hold our classroom "Pet Monster," while they tell us their name and their favorite part of school. Our "Pet Monster" is passed around the circle until each student has a turn. Jodi Starr Cook 

  20. Absolutely love doing the collaborative activity of "Save Fred!" Or "Help Harry" Both encourage cooperative learning right at start of the year; teammate work! Sarah Luisa 

  21. We are going to play a game where they roll a dice and each side will correlate to a question they ask their partner. They rotate partners several times to get to know more classmates. Brittany Lackey 

  22. First day of school can be both exciting and scary for most students. So, I usually have them draw and decorate their name tags, desk bags, and their "welcome" book. I find drawing usually helps relax my little 1st graders. Wen Wu School of Martial Arts 

  23. All about me posters and classroom bonding activities to create student friendships. Some students are too shy to interact at first so giving them stations with activities is a great way to help them create those friendships. Alyssa Queen 

  24. The Pete the Cat Scavenger hunt around the school! It's a fun way to learn about the school! I teach Kindergarten! Tiffany Jade 

  25. I take a first day of school picture and I try to send one to each parent so that they can have one if they forgot to take it or had to work. Anneke Thompson 

  26. I always read the book First Day Jitters (by Julie Danneberg). We then talk about our jitters that we have on the first day (including myself). Then we have jitter juice and talk about what we can't wait to happen/learn in second grade. Nicole Albert Howard 

  27. I like to create an All About Me bag with artifacts that represent me so students get to know me as a person and then the next day, they can bring their own bags so I can learn about them! This helps us connect as a community and allows students to see which other students have similar interests. This helps break the ice! (Not to mention building speaking/listening skills from day 1!) Julie Weaver 

  28. I do sprinkle confetti for the night before Kindergarten and then we do the classics with crafts: The Kissing Hand with jello hands and Hershey kisses, Pete the Cat Rocks his School Shoes and pop rocks, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom with apples, presets rods, grapes, and alphabet cookies!!! Amanda Macon 

  29. We do a word search with all of the students' names in it so they can get to know their classmates. Doris Lee Mason 

  30. "Find someone who" and "this or that"! Kelsey Huff 

  31. I welcome them with a treat with a special note attached. I mean who doesn't love a treat!? @michellecbender 

  32. Really big high fives and a smile! @boettnerkyle 

  33. As a 3-6 year old teacher, I love to get them acquainted with me as their teacher and each other as peers with the name game! We also do collective meditation and yoga together ending with deep breathing, which gets them feeling safe in the space. @regeiger 

  34. Three truths and a lie. Love activities to get them talking in their groups. @kgrimmy07 

  35. Team building activity in 5th. Using dry spaghetti and marshmallows to see who can build the strongest, tallest structure. I want to create a family environment in my classroom. @dartsdaughter 

  36. We read a welcome story during carpet time and each student decorates a superhero cape template. We talk about how they will get to use their "super knowledge" and "super strength" this year to rock the school year together." @heathafeatha012 

  37. Island survival - Students first think of their favorite thing or items then they work in small group by sharing their items and how they would use everyone's item to escape. @_missimani 

  38. Create a map of their favorite places in the world and combine those maps. Look at it as a class to see how far the students have been/love. @bwatson087 

  39. Having students share what their favorite book was that they read over the summer. @theresamoeggenberg 

  40. A cool chemistry demo always gets my high school students excited about the year ahead. @tiffany_a_kay 

  41. Paper chain team building task - each team gets one piece of paper, one pair of scissors, and one roll of tape. They first come up with a plan, then attempt to build the longest paper chain possible. Each team gets a different color paper. I then link all the chains and they hang around our classroom all year. @willietrumie 

  42. Have students talk about what they did all summer and what is one thing that they most enjoyed the most and why? @juanta86 

  43. We have a full day and I'm new to 3rd grade, but I'm thinking of making class family bracelets. @allyssakerby 

  44. Classroom scavenger hunt and encouraging mantras! @art_with_ms.shaylene 

  45. Having students share a favorite (school appropriate) song to create a classroom playlist for the year! @marla.carie 

  46. I like to start with a classroom scavenger hunt to help the students become familiar with their new second home. Then we do a sticky note activity and graph how everyone is feeling on their first day. That leads right into a story and craft about feeling nervous. The book is called The Kissing Hand. @justnoley 

  47. 7th grade math here…We do a 100# group activity! @kdanay7 

  48. I love playing the 4 corners game. I also take a beginning of year picture for a time capsule. @jandk_adventures 

  49. Parachute time! @amylynperkinson75 

  50. A beach ball with get to know you questions! Toss it around and where the person's thumb lands who catches it answers the question then throws it again. @208_isreallygreat 

Try some of these first day of school activities to make memories and get your year off to a brilliant start. Thank you to all the amazing teachers who responded - check out the comments on our Facebook and Instagram posts from July 31, 2023 for more smart ideas.