A perfect way to begin the school year is to play some active and fun getting-acquainted games. Here are some of my favorites:
Snowball Partners – Get enough sheets of plain white paper for each student. Write the same number on two sheets of paper, and continue until each paper has a number on it. If you have an odd number of students in the class, the teacher may join the game. Give each student one sheet of paper. Have the students wad the paper into a snowball. Play some music and let the students have a wild and crazy snowball fight until the music stops. Then each student may pick up one snowball from the floor and open it. The students need to find their snowball partner by searching for the students with a matching number on the paper. The partners may go somewhere in the classroom to get to know each other. Students can then introduce their snowball partner to the rest of the class. Students LOVE this game! It’s a super fun and active way to start the school year. Variations: You may write shapes, words, problems and answers on the pages for the students to find the match depending on the grade level of the students. This is a great game for any grade level.
Friendship Card Tower – Place students in small groups of 3-4 and give them a stack of index cards. Have the students take turns telling about themselves to the other students in the group. Then the students may write or draw one thing the whole group has in common on one index card until they have several index cards. Working together the students will build a tower with the cards. They may fold the cards in any manner so they stack better. If they think of more similarities, they may add more cards. The teams will see how tall they can build their towers. After the towers have been constructed, members of each team may share with the rest of the class what they learned about each other. This game is a great way for students to engage in a teamwork project as they are are getting acquainted.
Double Circle Walk – Have students wear name tags and divide them into two groups. One group will be in an inner circle and the other group will be in the outer circle. You could have students bring chairs to make the circles, or you may place tape on the floor showing where the students will stand in the circles. As you play some peppy music have one circle move to the music clockwise while the other circle moves counter clockwise. As students pass each other they can wave and say “Hello Ben, Hello Kate, etc.” When the music stops the the students will stop and turn to face another student. Give the students a few minutes to talk to each other. You might even have a question for them to answer like What is your favorite food? or How many people are in your family?, etc. Start the music again and continue in the same manner. A fun and peppy song I like to use for this activity is “Round, Round I Get Around” by the Beach Boys.
Balloon Conversations – Inflate balloons in several different colors making sure there is one for each child. Write a get-to-know-you question on each balloon with a permanent magic marker, such as What is your favorite food? What makes you laugh? What is your favorite book? What do you like to do? What can you do really well? What is your wish? Who is your hero? Give each child a balloon and have the class play balloon catch and toss with all of the balloons. Then have the students grab one balloon until each child as a balloon. The students with the same color balloon with meet together somewhere in the room and take turns answering the questions on their balloons. Then the balloon toss and catch can begin again. Peppy music may also be used with this game to add more excitement.