We are officially on the countdown here for school starting in the fall! However, since we start mid-August, that’s technically late summer… Needless to say, school prep is in full swing at our house with my daughter starting preschool in 6 short weeks and myself trying to decide (just like every year) if I want to substitute teach a few days here and there.
With going back to school also comes “get to know you games” that I am certain each teacher starts googling as they get closer and closer to that first day of school. Well never fear, I have a list here of great get-to-know-you games that you can pull out for students to get to know each other, and for YOU to get to know them.
Would You Rather
Materials: A list of “would you rather” questions.
How to play: Come up with, or even google search, a list of “would you rather” questions. These are questions like “Would you rather eat only vegetables all day, or only fruits all day?” or “Would you rather have indoor or outdoor recess?” You can come up with your own questions that you’re genuinely curious about, or find silly ones online!
For them to tell you their decision, they choose a side of the room. You determine which side is which for each question, and the students all move to that side of the room to choose their answer. You can determine if you want the middle of the room to be “neutral” or if they MUST choose a side and cannot remain neutral.
Drop The Cloth
Materials: A big blanket or sheet, not see-through and fairly wide.
How to play: Split the class into two teams. Choose two students as your “helpers.” These students can be swapped out throughout the game to make sure everyone has a chance to play. Create a line in the middle of the floor either with the blanket or a long piece of tape, and have the two teams sit on either side of the line, on the floor. Your two helpers will lift up the blanket, creating a barrier between the two teams so that they cannot see each other. Choose one person from each team to move forward and sit right in front of the blanket. On the count of three, the helpers drop the blanket and the two chosen students have to race to say the other student’s name before the other person. Whichever student says the opposite student’s name first, wins a point. Bonus, you as the teacher jump in with one of the teams to see how many names you can remember!
How to win: You can either say “first to _____ points wins” or play as long as the game naturally goes, or until every student has a turn, and see which team has the most points in the end.
Age range: 2nd grade- high school (or once your entire class can read fairly well.)
Materials: Plenty of paper, a large open space (a classroom can work fine, but somewhere like the gym or field outside can be better).
How to play: Write out one “get to know you” question for each sheet of paper. You’ll need at least one question per child, but having 10-15 more is also beneficial to have a good variety of questions. You can either write these out yourself or if your students are older, you can have them submit their own get to know you questions.
A distinct divider will need to be in the middle of the space you are playing in, whether that be a line on the gym floor or a strip of tape on the classroom floor. Divide your class into two teams and dump the crumpled pieces of paper into the middle of the floor. Give the students 30 seconds to a minute to then throw the “snowballs” across the room to the other team.
*A great rule to have in place for this game is to only throw one snowball at a time. Don’t learn this the hard way as I did!
Their goal is to have the least amount of snowballs on their side of the room when the timer goes off. Once the timer goes off, every student takes a seat where they are standing and grabs the nearest snowball to them. Then they uncrumple a piece of paper and answer the question to the class. Bonus if they say their name before answering the question! Go around the room until each student has read a question. If time permits, reset the game and play again!
How to win: Whichever team has the least amount of snowballs on their side when the game ends, wins! You can do one round, or the best one out of three, three out of five, etc. This is also a great game for students to practice their listening skills as you quickly go around having students answer the questions.
Two Truths and a Lie
How to play: Each student must come up with two truths and one lie about themselves. They can be provided with a paper to write them down if you feel like they will forget by the time the game is around to them. They’ll say the two truths and one lie out loud to the class in whatever order they would like, and the rest of the class has to determine which one is the lie. Here is an example.
I love orange juice. (lie)
My favorite color is blue. (truth)
I traveled to the Oregon coast this summer. (truth)
Go around the room until every student has had an opportunity to say their own two truths and a lie.
How to win: This can be a simple “get to know you” activity where it’s just all fun and games with no winner. Or you can play individually where each person tracks their own points. Another way is to break the class into groups and have each of them decide together what the lie is, to bring in a little teamwork! And then keep score to see how many each group gets correct.
Roll the Ball
Materials: A small ball
How to play: The whole class sits in a circle. The teacher starts by rolling the ball across the circle to a student and asks the student a get to know you question.
*Tip- sample questions can be written upon the board for students if they need to reference them.
The student catches the ball, states their name, and answers the question. Then this student rolls the ball across the circle to a different student, repeating the process. Go until each has had a turn to answer questions.