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5 min read

10 back to school activities: Easy transition day activities for your class.

Children running to class

It’s the first day of school after the summer break, and you want to start the year off with a bang. But not a glitter-filled bang that will have you peeling the children off the ceiling. Your school may have a transition day on the first day back, or may have get to know you activities throughout the week. Whichever way you organise it, we have you covered.

 

We share 10 easy back to school activities for you to try with your new class.

 

Why are back to school activities important?

Each class you have will have different dynamics, usually due to the personalities of the ‘main characters’. Some pupils may need activities that set out expectations in a fun and engaging way, whilst others may need a chance to come out of their shells. Regardless of personality and confidence level, each child in your class should feel a connection with you. A connection sparked through similar interests, music tastes or maybe favourite subjects.

So, why are back to school activities so important? Have you heard of Maslow’s Hierachy of Needs? Maslow is an educational theorist who suggested that all humans have basic needs, and in order to self-actualise and be successful, the basic needs must be met, including the feeling of belonging.

 

Marlows Hierarchy of needs

Marlows Hierarchy of needs diagram

 

Very few of us enjoy change; children are no different. The change to a new classroom, teacher and curriculum content can cause anxieties and worries. Transition day activities for children are important to help settle the nerves and reassure them they belong, are safe and will be supported through the next academic year.

 

There are lots of different benefits to taking part in back to school activities; here are a few of our favourites:

  • Including in the class community (feeling of belonging).
  • A chance to set out expectations and class charter rules.
  • Opportunity to learn valuable relationship-building information about each child.
  • Insight into family and home lives to build a bigger picture.

 

How to choose back to school activities for your first class.

It is worth thinking about the personality, motivation, and energy differences in your upcoming class. You will have undertaken a transition handover from the previous teacher, but it is always useful to see the class dynamics for yourself throughout these activities. If you are an Early Career Teacher (ECT) and this is your first rodeo, here are four things to consider when choosing the perfect transition day activities for your primary school children.

  1. Different class interests: you may have a class that is particularly arty or sporty or work exceptionally well together. Harness these interests, but don’t worry your subject, skill, or passion will soon become their next favourite!
  2. Ensure inclusivity: look at your handover notes before planning your getting to know you activities. If you have a class with a high proportion of Literacy-based learning difficulties, a letter to your new teacher may not be the best choice. 
  3. Show your personality and interests: love ed-tech? Utilise it in your transition day activities. Have a strong passion for Taylor Swift? Get her involved with some introduction music- be prepared for some potential opposition! 
  4. Decide your expectations beforehand: the getting to know you activities should be a fun way to set out and implement your expectations; these can sometimes be known as your class charter too. Decide what your main golden rules are before you undertake the activities. It will help you to set the tone of your classroom early on (fair and fun).

 

Back to school activities for KS1.

Moving from F2 to Year 1 is a big jump for children; a more formalised learning structure and interaction with the big kids can be daunting! There are lots of ways you and your school team can support anxious children and their parents; well-organised transition activities help.

Getting to know you activities for KS1 might include crafts, stories, group projects and tours of the school. It can be useful to avoid anything that relies too heavily on fine or gross motor skills for the first week, until you know who can and can’t use scissors independently. 

 

Getting to know you activities for KS2.

Transition week activities for KS2 children can involve technology and resources that require a higher level of fine motor skill control. These activities can build a good foundation for a working relationship with your class.

 

Let’s look at some favourite transition week activities for your new class this September. 

 

10 easy back to school activities to try.

  1. Partner drawing: one child will be the drawer and the other the describer. The describer will give clues to the image they are thinking of in their head. For example, if it were a house, it is square with a triangle on top… Once the child has finished drawing, they can compare and swap over (you can give them easy shapes and images for inspiration to ensure the drawing has an end point!)

  2. Octopus tag: a group game for outdoors. This is a good activity to see who has developing leadership skills and how the class interact with each other socially. One person is ‘on’. Once they tag other children, they join their tentacles. The winner is the last child to join the octopus.

  3. Totem pole all about me: draw a simple totem pole and split it into 5 sections, and encourage the children to fill in each section about their life. You may want to encourage them to share who they live with at home, hobbies, favourite colours and friendships. 

  4. Magic box: you will need the net of a cube for this transition day activity. The children will decorate the outside of the cube and write goals and ambitions for the coming academic year on each of the faces. Hang the cubes from the ceiling or make a welcome back display and then read the goals at the end of the year to reflect on their successes. 

  5. Class charter: a staple for every first day back in September. Discuss the rules and considerations the whole class should follow together and then decide on a class charter. These may be positive behaviours and actions to live by for the year. Give the children more ownership by encouraging them to sign the class charter if they agree to the behaviours and actions. 

  6. Hula hoop team building game: a great back to school activity for KS2, the children can be in groups of up to 10 children (the hall or outdoor space might be more suited for this activity). They will all hold hands in a circle and place a hula hoop in between two children. The aim is to pass the hula hoop around the circle without breaking hands and reach the start point. Teamwork, communication and patience are key for success here. 

  7. Personalised word search: there are several free word search creator websites you can use to create a class name word search. Depending on any specific learning difficulties like Dyslexia, you may want to include all children’s names or just a selection. Or stick to the topics you will be learning about for the year as a clue for the year ahead. 

  8. Two truths and a lie: a simple time filler game that is flexible and can be used throughout the first day back. Ask the children to jot down on a post-it note 2 truths and a lie about themselves. You can circulate throughout the day to discover more information about each child. 

  9. Kahoot: Kahoot is an online quizzing website, where you can use other quizzes created by others or create your own. A free account can be made really easily and the topic of the quiz can be about meet the teacher, some topics you will be covering in foundation subjects or even animal or Disney based. It is worth noting that the quizzes created are not regulated or monitored so be careful of incorrect answers, typo errors or any swear words from pre-made quizzes. 

  10. Diamond cricket: for the sporty class, this activity is a great way to encourage team work expectations from the get-go. You can find additional rules here, it requires minimal equipment and is best played with some running space. You can make this more inclusive by having a selection of bat and ball sizes. 

 

As with any new class, it is important to check that you are back to school ready (health and safety edition). Be prepared and know all children’s medical history, allergies and prescribed medication (including inhalers). 

 

Medical Tracker is the UK’s leading online accident book for primary schools. To find out more and book a free demo, get in touch today.

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