BlogActivities for Kids31 Best First Day of School Activities for Students

31 Best First Day of School Activities for Students

The first day of school can be challenging for educators as students start to pour in and get reoriented to the goals and expectations of the school year. As a teacher, you can face several challenges in setting the right tone, which is why the first day of school activities is important to plan out and execute.

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You can focus on in-class decorations, fun introductions, educational games, show & tell activities, and other fun activities that can instill a sense of enthusiasm and playfulness. You can even create fun group mission statements that your class can fill out as a way of expressing intent and vision for the rest of the year.

Related Reading: How to Prepare Kids for the First Day of School

21 Best First Day Of School Activities

Teacher holding pamphlet with students in class

1. Friends Diagrams

You can pair up students in the classroom and ask them to find similar interests to fill out a Friendship Venn diagram. This can be a unique way to help students understand how math can be used for practical applications.

Age Range – 6 years and older

Tools Needed – Venn diagram template

Special Note – Add prompts to help kids understand better

2.  My ideal day chart

You can have your students design their ideal first day of school and convert their ideas into a pie chart. You can add instructions on how to color, categorize, and label different parts correctly to have the chart represent their day.

Age Range – 6 years and older

Tools Needed – Pie chart outline, colors

Special Note – Stickers will help label different categories

3. Introductions all around

Introductions are some of the most fun first day of school get-to-know-you activities, and you can have your students share a few facts that their classmates didn’t know about. You can also use an instrument to turn introductions into songs. 

Age Range – 3 years and older

Tools Needed – Instrument

Special Note – Rhyming introductions will be more fun

4. Name tags for kids

You can make customized name tags for everyone to get to know each other better. Your students can also use name tags to stick onto toys, books, and other objects. This personalizes the first day of school, which can overwhelm some students.

Age Range – 3 years and older

Tools Needed – Stickers and labels

Special Note – Initials will also be helpful

5. Designing a classroom crest

Elementary students writing on a paper

A memorable first day of school activity can be around designing crests that represent the classroom’s mission and vision. You can prepare templates for kids to draw into, along with a motto and symbols representing different aspects.

Age Range – 6 years and older

Tools Needed – Template, colors, labels, stickers

Special Note – Explaining the utility of crests will keep them engaged

6. Get to know your teachers!

The first day of school can be stressful for kids who are more introverted and shyer. By having fun facts about yourself listed out, along with hobbies, interests, and favorite books, you can encourage everyone to talk to you about anything on the first day.

Age Range – 3 years and older

Tools Needed – Printable sheets

Special Note – Talking about relatable traits and hobbies will be key

7. First day of school time capsule

You can add fun mementos, toys, stickers, and other unique objects to help kids understand the value of archiving and storing memories. You can also make unique time capsules for each child to take home at the end of the school year.

Age Range – 4 years and older

Tools Needed – Toys, stickers, notes, labels

Special Note – Having the students fill up their capsule will be more impactful

8. Book reading activities

Teacher reading a book to the children

Instead of jumping straight into the curricula, you can take the first day of school to read books aloud and engage kids in storytelling. You can make the first day more magical and awe-inspiring, bringing the joy of reading intently back into their mindset.

Age Range – 4 years and older

Tools Needed – Story-rich fiction books

Special Note – You can find the right book by referencing the Lexile score

Related Reading: How the Lexile Framework Can Strengthen Kids’ Reading Abilities

9. Share a compliment

You can have your class add blank stickers to their backs as students write compliments on them anonymously. This can significantly uplift children’s morale on the first day of school.

Age Range – 4 years and older

Tools Needed – Large stickers, pencils

Special Note – Adding prompts for compliments will be ideal

10. Would you rather questions

You can have your students unpack the first day of school with would you rather questions. You can ask them what they’d like for lunch, what they want to study, what they’d like to play, etc. This can be a group activity as well, with kids voting on what they’d like.

Age Range – 5 years and older

Tools Needed – Voting sheets, pencils

Special Note – Making the questions as unique as possible will garner specific responses

11. Individual promises

Your students can fill out a promise sheet about what they plan to do and what promises they plan to keep by the end of the school year. You can customize each sheet to the strengths and exploratory areas you’d like each child to focus on.

Age Range – 4 years and older

Tools Needed – Template

Special Note – Adding blanks where kids can fill out promise sheets is ideal.

12. Two truths and a lie

Teacher giving lesson and children raising their hands

This is a fun first-day-of-school activity that asks kids to get creative and imagine unique lies and specific truths. You can have them write it down and read it out loud for the entire class to guess.

Age Range – 5 years and older

Tools Needed – Paper, pencils

Special Note – You can provide examples of truths and lies

13. Self-portraits

You can have your students draw self-portraits and add what they love to the paper layout. You can have them make it unique and personalized by adding their names at the top of the sheet.

Age Range – 3 years and older

Tools Needed – Paper, colors

Special Note – Ask your students to be as colorful as possible

14. Sticky-note expectations

You can have a paper board on the wall and ask students to add what they expect from their class for the year. They can write their thoughts on a sticky note and place it on the board directly.

Age Range – 5 years and older

Tools Needed – Sticky notes, board, colors

Special Note – Asking specific areas, such as subjects, topics, goals, etc. will be ideal

15. Printable coloring worksheets

You can create coloring sheets around each student’s personality and hobbies and have them fill them out with colors, prompts, and answers to questions. This can be hung up on the classroom wall to make each child feel special.

Age Range – 4 years and older

Tools Needed – Paper sheets, colors, templates

Special Note – Focusing on unique traits and hobbies will be key

16. Art session

By organizing a few easels and painting supplies, you can start the first day of school with an art session. You can ask students to express themselves through art and give them a memorable experience for the start of the school year.

Age Range – 6 years and older

Tools Needed – Easel, painting supplies, props

Special Note – Giving them specific direction will make the session more impactful.

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17. Trivia Day!

You can host a Kahoot-style Trivia Day session, asking questions about what they’ve learned during their break. You can also focus on specific subjects, such as math and science, to get them into the right mindset to return to learning.

Age Range – 4 years and older

Tools Needed – Trivia questions

Special Note – Making the quiz specific to subjects or goals will be the right way ahead

18. I-Spy Back to School

An I-Spy game with back-to-school elements will make the first school day more interesting. You can have students guess the right answers or write them down for rewards. You can also make the activity more academic by asking kids to solve puzzles for the prompt.

Age Range – 6 years and older

Tools Needed – Props, quiz list, paper

Special Note – Having distinct items spread across the room will make the activity more dynamic.

19. Birthday boards!

Birthday boards are a great first day of school activities elementary students will enjoy as something fun to look forward to. You can plan special celebrations around each child’s birthday and make it a fun activity for everyone.

Age Range – 4 years and older

Tools Needed – Board, paper, buttons, calendar templates

Special Note – You can make paper cutouts of the kid’s names and stick them on specific dates.

20. Role-playing on the first day

Teacher helping young girl with writing in class

To make the first day of school more exciting, you can assign different roles, professions, and jobs to kids and have them role-play for accomplishing specific tasks. You can have some kids be ice cream vendors while other kids are comedians.

Age Range – 6 years and older

Tools Needed – Paper, colors, tasks list

Special Note – Asking what your students want to be when they grow up can help you customize the professions and task lists.

21. Making FDoS welcome bags

Your students can make welcome bags for other classrooms for the first day of school. The activity can help students across different classrooms feel connected to each other. You can also have students fill out these bags however they like.

Age Range – 6 years and older

Tools Needed – Paper bags, ribbons, stickers, labels, colors, props

Special Note – You can ask students to think about how they’d feel when they receive a welcome bag

Let’s check out the first day of school activities for remote learning classrooms

Photo of boy video calling with a woman

Remote learning is quickly emerging as the new norm worldwide, with teachers having to bring out hybrid activity ideas for the first day of school. These fun-filled and engaging online first-day-of-school activities will help you get your classroom excited for the school year.

Related Reading: How to Make Online Learning Work for Kids

1. Holiday Snapshots

In this activity, students can prepare snapshots of their vacation with different activities, things they learned, places they visited, and other fun memories they’d like to share. You can make the activity even more interactive by having them present their snapshots in class.

Age Range – 4 years and older

Tools Needed – Snapshot template, colors, pencils, online video software

Special Note – Customize the snapshot according to grade

2. Emotions check-in

This activity is great for remote learning classrooms as it allows you to measure your students’ emotions without overwhelming them. You can develop a creatively designed survey sheet that asks your students about how they are feeling about the first day of school.

Age Range – 3 years and older

Tools Needed – Editing software, template, interactive tool

Special Note – Add emojis or cute animals for younger children

3. Virtual sing-alongs

Girl in pink shirt sitting on the table waving on video call

One of the best ways to make your students feel joyful and enthusiastic is to conduct virtual sing-alongs. You can also have your students print and cut out fun props, such as microphones, hats, masks, animal cards, etc.

Age Range – 3 years and older

Tools Needed – Templates, high-quality microphone, virtual meeting software

Special Note – Going with familiar songs will be ideal

4. Virtual icebreakers

You can create virtual icebreaker questions, asking your students to name their favorite animals, their deserted island books, or their favorite activities. The answers to these questions can be shared with everyone in class, giving each student a chance to learn something about each other.

Age Range – 4 years and older

Tools Needed – Ice-breaker questions, online Q&A tool, presentation tool

Special Note – Encouraging students to build friendships over common interests can be helpful.

5. Online scavenger hunt

You can create a digital scavenger hunt based on what your students have learned over the past year. These questions can also help reflect how much information has been retained by your students.  

Age Range – 5 years and older

Tools Needed – Rules sheet, outlines, rewards

Special Note – Focusing on math or science-related prompts will be key.

These 5 take-home activities will be great for your classroom!

Children reading poem book at home

Take-home first-day-of-school activities can also help students become excited about school and what they can expect for the rest of the year. You can also customize take-home activities with a smaller class and add stickers to make them unique and special.

1. Classroom Decor ideas

You can have your students decide how to decorate the physical classroom space by giving them take-home templates. They can choose the seating arrangements, the decorations, the daily affirmations/notes, and the placement of toys & books.

Age Range – 4 years and older

Tools Needed – Empty classroom template, stickers, rewards

Special Note – Giving students the exact categories of decoration will help

Related Reading: 5 Classroom Organization Ideas to Make Teaching Productive

2. Word puzzles

Puzzles are a great way to help students improve their confidence across subject areas. You can make amazing puzzles that reflect what students may have learned over the last year as a fun home first-day-of-school activity.

Age Range – 4 years and older

Tools Needed – Puzzles template

Special Note – Giving them crayons and pencils will make it more engaging

3. Math worksheets

Math worksheets are great tools to help you analyze knowledge retention and understand how your class performs against standardized measures. It’s one of the more comprehensive take-home first-day-of-school math activities that provides a fun challenge to students across grades.

You can download a free math worksheet from thousands of options here on our platform

Age Range – 4 years and older

Tools Needed – Access to worksheet template

Special Note – You can use different worksheets for different objectives

4. What are your hopes & dreams?

An interesting first-day-of-school activity is to ask your students what their hopes & dreams are. They can carry the template sheet home and fill out what they hope to achieve during the year, their dreams, and where their interests reside.

Age Range – 5 years and older

Tools Needed – Printable sheet, pencils

Special Note – Adding prompts or examples will provide more clarity.

5. Awesome STEM activity

A great way to get the ball rolling on the first day is to engage them in a STEM activity. You can give them seed kits, cardboard car cutouts, parachute and egg-basket kits, and other fun science-based projects. 

Age Range – 6 years and older

Tools Needed – STEM activity kit, instructions, access to tools

Special Note – The simpler the experiment, the better the results

Get Started With The Preparations!

These are the best first-day-of-school activities for students that you can use to make the day that much more memorable. You can use these activities and games to keep their spirits up and help shyer children come out of their shells. 

These games are also versatile, with some of them being given as homework for kids to work on. You can use them in conjunction and come up with your own unique games that can excite children for the first day of school.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

What areas should I emphasize on the first day of school?

You should start the school year on a bright and positive note. You can introduce fun activities, games, and online learning sites to help kids ease into the lesson plan for the week. You can also focus on ensuring active participation with group activities and sing-alongs.

How should I schedule the first day of school?

You can start slower in the first half of the day with some introductions, games, and group activities. You can schedule multiple breaks and leisure time to keep them engaged. You can then introduce concepts and subjects by covering them on the surface level and recommending books to help them get acquainted.

How do you make the first day of school interesting?

There are several things you can do to make the first day of class enjoyable.

  • Having activities planned around the first day.
  • Focus on introductions and social playtime.
  • Mention the objectives for the year.
  • Prepare schedules for your students to follow.

How do you engage students on the first day of school?

You can make the first day more memorable and engaging by using multisensory strategies, such as music, reading, and kinesthetic experiences.

Brian Lee
Brian Lee is a writer and parent of 3 spirited children. He loves writing about his parenting experience, the lessons his kids teach him every day and parenting hacks and tricks he’s picked up along the way.