Starting Off Right: Back to School Activities

It’s that time of the year! Summer is coming to an end and the new school year will be here before we know it. As we enjoy our final days of summer break, we also need to start thinking about our students and fun, creative ways to kick off the school year. What follows is a list of various icebreakers, activities, and games to get your students acclimated and excited to start the school year. Enjoy!

My Favorite Things (Source: Lesson Planet)

This is a great worksheet that I love to use with my classrooms as I am just getting to know the kids and meet many of them for the first time. The student draws and writes about their favorite toy, animal, food, activity to perform at school, etc.

As a teacher, therapist, or other classroom staff member, you can create your own template based on what you are interested in learning about any new students. This is a great way to also look at children’s writing skills, drawing skills, pencil grip, and fine motor coordination. At the end of the activity, I have each student come forward to the front of the room and share their interests with the class. This also expands on the student’s social skills and enables them to learn about their fellow classmates who they may be meeting for the first time.

Colors of my World

This is a fun icebreaker I like to do with kids at the beginning of the year to share some information about themselves with their classmates. I purchase a bag of candy with multiple different flavors ex.) starbursts, skittles, jolly rancher, etc. I then tell each student to pick two of whichever flavors they want. After everyone has picked, I bring out a color-coded table like the one pictured below. You can create this table any way you’d like to fit the specific candy you are bringing in and the topics you want the student to share with the class. I then have each child share with the class depending on what colors/flavors of candy they picked. If they picked two of the same flavor, then they can list an additional answer to the question.


Share with Class


One hobby you enjoy doing


Your favorite food


One fun thing you did this summer


What you are most excited about this school year


Gross Motor Bingo (Source: Inspired Treehouse)

This is another one of my favorite activities to perform with students. It enables you to assess their gross motor, bilateral coordination, and hand-eye coordination skills all at once. The Inspired Treehouse provides 3 different templates for BINGO cards with over 20 different gross motor activities. They also provide you with a list of all of the activities to keep track of as you are calling them out. Before each child can mark their BINGO card, they must perform or attempt to perform the activity (if capable).


Author: Courtney Gansho, OTR/L

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