20 Getting to Know You Ideas for Back to School

Age Range: 5 - 11

20 Getting to Know You Ideas for Back to School

Try some of these games, activities and resources to get to know your children better at the start of a new school year!

  • Ask your children to write a postcard that describes one activity they completed during their most recent break from school. Use the blank picture side of the postcard to draw an illustration of what happened. A template is available for you to download below.
  • Use one of the resources in our Goal Setting Pack to help children plan goals and targets for the coming year.

Goal Setting Teaching Pack

  • Challenge your students to think of ‘two truths and one lie’, i.e. two things that are true about them and one thing that isn’t true. Get them to share these three things with the class and see if other students can work out which one is the lie.
  • Take a photograph of each child’s head and stick this onto a larger piece of paper. Get them to draw pictures of their family, friends, interests and hobbies inside thought bubbles around their photo.
  • Make a holiday recipe to share what children have been doing in the holidays.
  • Ask the children to plan a timetable for ‘the best week of school ever’. Which activities would they like to complete? They could also come up with activities that may not be possible (e.g. dragon-riding lessons, space exploration) and explain why they would like to try these.
  • Make your own 3D name illustrations, using this technique, and draw pictures of your hobbies and interests around your name.
  • Complete our Magic Lamp template (available to download below) and write about (or draw) three wishes that you would love to come true.
  • Ask the children to work in pairs. In each pair, Child A should have two minutes to tell Child B all about themselves. Child B should then tell the rest of the class everything they learned about Child A.
  • Try some of the resources in our Transition Pack. You could complete some of the ‘About Me’ templates, complete the picture frames in our ‘Memories and Ambitions’ sheets or discuss a variety of scenarios using the ‘What would you do next?' Cards.

Transition Teaching Pack

  • Challenge children to turn themselves into story characters and make character profiles based on their life and personality. There is a blank template in the Bonus Pack on our Teaching Packs site.
  • Print out cards that children can use to pair up (you could print two sets of our Pets Vocabulary Cards, for example, or our Triangle Matching Pairs for older children) and give them out. Ask the children to find the person with the card that matches theirs, without talking, and pair up with them. When everyone is matched up, ask each pair to find out three things that they have in common. It can be helpful to give them prompts like “Find a food that you both like” or “Find a place that you have both visited” to get them started.
  • Play How do you do? to discover new facts about each other.
  • Put children into pairs, and number them 1 and 2. Give the children about 10 seconds to look closely at each other, then call out “1” or “2”. Those children turn around, while their partner changes something about their appearance. For example, they could roll up their sleeves, or undo a button. When their partner turns around, they have to spot what has changed! After each partner has had a turn, change partners and play again. 
  • Put the children in a circle, ideally on chairs, or place markers. Play “When the Warm Wind Blows”. The adult uses the sentence structure “When the warm wind blows…” and adds a characteristic such as “all the children who have a pet dog” followed by an instruction, such as “change places with each other”. Children have to listen carefully and follow the instructions. After a few turns, ask children to share with the person next to them something they have learnt that they did not know before.
  • When outside or in a large indoor space, line the children up along one side. Ask children to listen carefully as you call out the months of the year. When you call out their birthday month, the children run to a given spot and back again. When everyone has run, ask them to find the other children who share their birthday month. (For younger children make sure you have a printout of their birthdays to check!) Extend this by asking the children to put themselves in the order of their birthdays.
  • Another good game for a large space is to designate one side of the space “Yes” and one side “No”. Stand the children in the middle of the space. Ask them a question with a yes or no answer, such as “Do you like ....?". The children run to the corresponding side of the space. Repeat several times with different questions.
  • Put the children into two circles, one inside the other, facing a partner. Ask the whole class a “Would you rather?” question. There are plenty of ideas on this page. The children have thirty seconds to discuss the question. Then all of the children in the outer circle move one space to the right. Repeat the activity until the outer circle has moved all the way around. 
  • Write some questions or prompts on a beachball, such as “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Children form a circle and throw the ball to each other. When you give a signal to stop, the person holding the ball gives a response to the question or prompt under or nearest to their left hand.
  • This activity is best done in a large space. Give each child a piece of paper and a pencil. Ask them to write a question (or more) that they would like to ask people in the class on the paper and form it into a paper aeroplane. Once everyone is done, the children throw their aeroplanes and pick up a different one. Children take it in turns to open up the aeroplane they have now and answer the question.

Do you have any other great ideas for helping teachers and children get to know each other at the start of a new school year? Let us know in the comments below.

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