Welcoming new students with Back to School games is a sure-fire way to get them excited about the upcoming year! There are different types of games that you can play with preschool children during Back to School time. Some are meant to learn names and others are for getting acquainted with each other. Read on for examples of both for your preschool children!
Children love to play Back to School games that help them learn the names of their new friends in class. Try these games below with your new students!
Name Puzzle - Using a large piece of tagboard, write each student's name spaced apart randomly across the whole sheet. Draw puzzle pieces around each name so that each piece will have 1 name on it. On the opposite side, you can draw a colorful picture of with your class name ("Miss Lindy's "), attach a clip art picture, or you could leave it blank. Cut out the puzzle along the lines you drew. Give each child the piece with their name on it (great for name recognition!). If you left the opposite side blank, you could have the children color and decorate their piece. Then have the students gather together on the floor and fit the puzzle together. You can talk about how each child is their own piece of your class, but you can all fit together as a team!
Hot Potato - Make a large name tag for each student. Have them sit in a circle on the floor, and start by holding a small potato, bean bag, or soft ball. When the "potato" is tossed to you, you say your name. As a variation, you can have the child first say their name, then the name of a classmate, who they then toss it to.
Who's Missing? - This is a fun game to play when most of the children know each other's names! Start by having all students close their eyes or put their heads down on a table. Quietly ask one child to step out of the room. Then the rest of the children have to guess who's missing. When he or she is guessed, have them come back and play again until everyone has had a turn. If you want to make it harder, choose several children to leave the room at one time!
These Getting to Know You Back to School games will help you learn more about each student, as well as help the children get to know each other.
Matching Shapes - Prepare for this game by cutting out pairs of matching shapes or pictures. Hand out shapes to students in a brown bag, so they cannot see which shape they receive. At the start of the game, have the children take out their shape and then mingle around the room to find the partner that has the matching shape. When they find their match, they can sit down and talk to each other to get acquainted.
Yummy Introduction - Sit in a circle with your students. Pass around a bag of M&M's* or other small candy, and instruct children to take anywhere from 1-5 pieces (but don't eat them yet!). When everyone has their candy, go around the circle and have each student share one piece of information about themselves for each piece of candy they have. They can eat the candy after they share!
*Please be sure you are aware of all allergies before doing this activity. Even the plain M&M's should NOT be used if you have a child with a peanut allergy as both plain and peanut M&M's are made on the same conveyor belts.
Face & Name Matching - On the first day of school (or at Open House), take a picture of each student. Print out the pictures and mount them on a large posterboard, with the child's name underneath. Print out another set of pictures and cut them into individual squares. Write each child's name on another piece of paper (like an index card). Laminate the posterboard, picture squares, and name cards for durability. For this game, have children match the picture squares with the same face on the poster. Next, have them match the names as well. Great for learning who's who and name recognition!
Variation: Attach the pictures and print their names to different shapes and laminate. Use them to place on spots at Circle Time! The children find their face or name before sitting! Or, the children find their name shape from a basket and then go and choose a place to sit for Circle Time!
Whatever Back to School games you choose to play, have fun getting to know each other and you'll make it a great year!