Five Fun Back-to-school Activities for Your Classroom!
All across the country, kids are folding themselves into new outfits, packing new backpacks, and crossing their fingers that they'll find a friend or two in their new classroom. It's the start of another year of school!
It's an exciting time for teachers, librarians, and homeschooling parents, but it's also a very important time. The old saying goes, “You don't get a second chance to make a first impression,” and in some ways the first week of school can set the tone for the rest of the year. If your week is calm, inspiring, well-structured, creative, and inclusive, you can expect more of that to come. If you get off on the wrong foot with your students, you might face even more work making up for a tough first experience.
Some teachers like to start off the school year by making sure their kids know what to expect in terms of discipline and academics. Others want to make sure the kids see them as a resource, not just for learning but for personal problems as well. Others use these first few days to get to know their students' academic interests and abilities.
Whatever your needs, try one of these back-to-school activities for your classroom to get the year off to the right start!
The marshmallow challenge is a fun way to get kids collaborating and introduce them to a creative use of STEM learning. Assign children into groups of two or three and hand each group a set of supplies. They get 18 minutes to build the tallest structure possible that can hold the marshmallow on top. It's a tough challenge! Remind your students that success always requires lots of mistakes, so if at first they don't succeed, they know what to do! Don't forget to measure and take pictures of the results.
20 pieces of spaghetti
1 yard of tape
1 yard of strong
Check out the original Marshmallow Challenge here!
Create the Tallest Cup Tower
Cup stacking is an old activity that has gained new popularity! There are even cup stacking competitions that measure how fast people can stack and unstack plastic cups. Try presenting your students with the challenge of creating the tallest structures. All it takes is a set of plastic cups! Have them work in groups so they can collaborate with each other and learn more about their new classmates. And remember—the crashing cups are part of the learning process!
Poor Fred the worm is stuck on top of his over-turned boat, while his life preserver is under the boat! How can you save Fred without touching him, the boat, or the life preserver with your hands? All you can use is four paper clips. This activity will get brains working and students talking to each other! You can learn more about the activity and see pictures here.
Have your students help each other through a maze! Mark a four-by-four grid on the floor with masking tape or tape sheets of paper to the floor in a grid pattern. Tell your students where the starting block is. Have them take turns trying to get through the maze—every time they step on a wrong block, blow a whistle. Their turn is over and the next person tries to remember all the correct steps while not repeating the mistakes of past players. Have the group try and help each other remember where to go!
Toilet Paper Game
Introduce a roll of toilet paper into any classroom and you'll immediately get some laughs. Have each child pull off several squares of toilet paper (just tell them to take as much as they need without telling them what they'll need it for). During circle time, each child tells as many things about themselves as they have squares of toilet paper. If you have three squares, you tell the group three things about yourself. You can limit the sharing by categories (foods you like to eat, places you want to visit, favorite books/movies/video games) or leave it open ended and see what the kids come up with!
And extra activity for the parents!
At open house or orientation, create QR codes for parents to scan that lead them to the forms they need, contact information, or places online where they can find more information. Post these QR codes around the room so parents can learn more about their kids' classroom experience!
Don't forget: Nomad Press offers Teachers' Resource Guides for most our books!