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Five Team Building Activities for Back to School

As a second-grade teacher, I get many students who struggle with social skills and working with others.  I like to start the beginning of the school year with plenty of activities to build those important skills.

Back to School - Here are five easy "get to know you" activities that can be used at any time to encourage working together.

Here are 5 ideas for Back to School Team Building Activities!

1. Musical Shoes - While sitting in a circle, have everyone take of their left shoe. As the music plays, they pass the shoe to the right while taking the shoe being passed from the left. As the shoes dance their way around the circle, stop the music randomly. Whatever shoe they are holding, they need to find the owner and make sure they know that person's name. They also have to find their own shoe, so there should be a good deal of chatter and giggles as they hobble on one shoeless foot. Teachers can choose for the kids to exchange different information such as their favorite book, number of children in their family, or their birthday month.

2.  Silly Songs - There are plenty of silly songs out there. You can find them on Youtube (like My Aunt Came Back above - guaranteed giggles and requests for repeats) or on CDs, or perhaps you know some from summer camp! Here are some I've had success with:  

John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt
There's a Hole in the Bucket
On Top of Spaghetti
Going on a Bear Hunt
Madalina Catilina
The More We Get Together
Found a Peanut
The Hokey Pokey
This Land is Your Land
Make New Friends
I've Been Working on the Railroad

Even if you don't consider yourself a singer, the kids will always remember these songs. Plus, there are even more advantages to group singing: There have been studies that show when people sing together, their hearts start to beat to the same rhythm.

3. Introductions - Children should work in pairs to learn 3 things about each other. After some practice, they come back together to do formal introductions of each other. It might sound like this:  "This is my new friend Mary. She likes gymnastics, reading, and the color pink."

4.  Cooperative Musical Chairs - This is like the traditional Musical Chairs, but with a twist. The game starts with one less chair than children. When the music stops, they all find a chair, but when there's someone left, someone must make room for this student. Remove chairs each time, so the students will keep having to find a way to include everyone in the group. Beware: Giggles will follow!

5.  Who Am I? - Make up cards with famous names on them that the kids will be sure to know. (Book characters are fine!) Each child wears a card on their back so that others know who is Children have to ask questions of the other children to try to figure out the name of the character they're wearing.  (With my little ones, I give loads of hints, and sometimes show them all the cards ahead of time to narrow it down. We want them to be successful!) 

For more ideas on Team Building, see the post HERE.

Looking for more ideas? Check out this video or see: 60 Team Building Games and Activities.

What Team Building Activities do you use in your classroom?

Team Building Activities for Back to School - Here are five easy "get to know you" activities that can be used at any time to encourage working together.


  1. I'm going to keep these at the ready for those extra minutes before and after lunch. Great to have these on paper and not just memorized because I can even put these IN MY SUB folder and tell him/her to use as an incentive!!!! I should write down some of the ones that I just have memorized!

  2. Thanks for sharing these fun ideas! I love what you said about singing together! Our first day is Monday, I am totally trying some of these things next week!!
    Laura ~ First Grade Spies

  3. Love these ideas, thanks for sharing them. I'll be using these activities for sure in Sept.

  4. Who Am I? Is a great game for every age. We played it during the first week of classes in some of my college classes even! I have never tried it with little ones but I like the tip about showing them the choices ahead of time. Very smart!

    Rooting for Third Grade

  5. Thank you, Sally! Love this post. I really like the cooperative musical chairs. Sounds like fun! I haven't tried musical chairs that way and will give it a go this week during our team building time in the afternoons. Have a great school year!-Yvonne Sassy in Second

  6. Thanks for sharing Sally, these are great and the new ideas I'll add to my reportoire.

    Have you seen http://www.playmeo.com ? it features hundreds of great fun student games for team-building and just having fun. Check it out....


  7. That good article, thank you very much for sharing it with us

  8. I am going to try these with my brownie pack

  9. I like your blog post. Keep on writing this type of great stuff. I'll make sure to follow up on your blog in the future. corporate team building activities .

  10. How about ideas for the middle of the school year when team building activities have been forgotten and things are falling apart ?


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