The best back-to-school activities for KS1 and KS2

After a seemingly endless summer, it’s your first day back at school. On top of organising your classroom and creating fantastic new wall displays, you may also find time to wonder – what’s the best way to greet my new class and settle everyone in?

The activities below all require minimal preparation and are ideal for children in KS1 and KS2. Take a look to discover some great ways to welcome your pupils and let everyone get to know each other!

Activities for KS1

1. Fantastic fact files

These fact files are a great way to calm nerves and gently ease children into their first day. Hand each child an A4 page with eight questions in eight boxes, with enough space for them to draw or write their answers. These questions could include:

  1. What’s your favourite animal?
  2. What’s your favourite colour?
  3. What’s your favourite food?
  4. What’s your favourite subject?

At the end of the lesson, put up the fact files on the wall and show them to the class in a show-and-tell format. Not only do these make a colourful wall display, they’re also a great way to help your pupils to get to know each other.

2. I-spy safari

Introduce your pupils to their new classroom and show them where everything is by playing a game of I-spy! 

Why not make the game more exciting by hiding a few unexpected items around the classroom, such as a toy giraffe wearing a woollen hat? This is guaranteed to spark some surprise and will leave your pupils smiling!

3. Colourful collage

Give every child a square of paper and ask them to draw a picture of themselves. Then, put each pupil’s picture above their name on a wall display. This is another great way of helping your pupils get to know each other. Be sure to add your own self-portrait to the display! 

Activities for KS2

1. The name game

Ask everyone to write their name in large letters on a sticky note and attach it to themselves. Then, go around the classroom and ask everyone to tell the class their name, followed by an object beginning with the first letter of their name – the weirder the better! For example, you might have a ‘Lizzie lettuce’, ‘Samuel soap’ and a ‘Dustin doughnut’!

After going once around the class, ask everyone to hide their labels. Now the fun begins – challenge your pupils to see if they can remember what object each person chose, and then if they can remember their name.

At the end of the game, ask your pupils to draw a picture of their item onto a name label, and prop these up on their desk for the first week of school. This will make it much easier to learn each other’s names.

2. Amazing ages

This game is perfect for children in Years 5 and 6. Ask the class to organise themselves into a socially-distanced line, starting from the person with the first birthday in the academic year and ending with the last birthday – all without speaking to each other! 

From using their fingers to represent numbers to using nods and shakes of the head, this game is a great light-hearted icebreaker and is a fantastic way to develop communication skills.

3. Dice trivia

Create a list of six questions and number each. Then, encourage your pupils to roll a dice and answer the question for the number they roll. These questions could include:  

  1. If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
  2. If you could only eat sweet or savoury food, which would you pick?
  3. Would you rather travel to space or to the deep depths of the ocean?

4. The ultimate Doodle challenge

Finally, what better way to start working together than by setting a Doodle challenge!

Throughout the day, encourage every child in your class to spend 10 minutes working in DoodleMaths, either playing a game or completing an exercise. At the end of their time, ask them to make a note of how many stars they earned on your whiteboard, and as the day goes on, ask everyone to add their stars to the total.

At the end of the day, look back on just how many stars have been earned – congratulate your class and be sure to emphasise how much teamwork can do, which will be really important for the year ahead.

DoodleMaths automatically creates every child a personalised work programme tailored to their strengths and weaknesses.

With over 40,000 interactive exercises to enjoy, it empowers children to catch up in their learning and ensures continual progression through the curriculum for KS1 and KS2. Discover how Doodle can benefit your school today!

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