Team building is such a fun way to get your class acquainted with each other, while learning to work together. Incorporating these types of activities can enhance your classroom community for the entire YEAR! There are SO many important skills wrapped into team building such as collaboration, effective communication, and learning how to respect one another.
I love using these activities at the beginning of the year when our big goal is building our community. These first few weeks of school I actually shy away from getting into the curriculum solely to focus on creating a foundation for teamwork and family vibes in our classroom. You can read more about that HERE. But right now let’s get into some awesome fun and engaging team building activities that are sure to be a hit!
To play, each student takes a turn in the “Hot Seat” for about 3-5 minutes depending on your time. While in the hot seat, students take turns asking as many questions as they can to get to know the student. The child in the hot seat can take the reins on how to get their questions asked. They could have their classmates raise their hand and feel awesome calling on who they want, or simply have their friends shout out their questions. It’s totally up to you! This is a great team building game to be played over multiple days as time fillers over the first couple weeks of school. Students absolutely LOVE this activity and getting to know one another. Of course the teacher takes a turn in the hot seat too!
Two Truths and a Lie
This is a fun, mysterious way to get to know each other! Begin this activity by modeling how it is played to students. Provide them with your own two truths and a lie (you may want to plan this in advance so you’re not thinking on the spot). For example, I have three kids, I have backpacked six countries in Europe, and Target is my favorite store. Depending on the age of students, you can either write them or tell them verbally. After the class spends time trying to guess which of yours are true and which is the lie, it is their turn to play. You can group students in twos, threes, or fours. Each student will have a turn while their partners try to work together to guess which is the lie. You may want to provide a few minutes of think time for the students to gather their own thoughts. Again depending on the age of students, you can either have them write them down or verbally share them. Providing sentence stems can also support students. Have fun learning all the new things about each other and laughing about the lies we’ve tried to trick everyone into believing. By the way, I have two kids, not three. Hubby and I would not like to be outnumbered!!
Would You Rather
This is a simple activity that is TONS of fun! It is an easy and engaging way to get to know one another and have some pretty interesting conversations. There are also so many ways to make this interactive! You can add movement by having them run to either side of the classroom based on their answer. You can have them pair up with someone with the same or opposite answer as them and talk about why they chose that answer. Do as little or as much as you want with this activity depending on the amount of time you have and have fun!
Who doesn’t love stacking up a bunch of cups? For this activity, students can be grouped in threes, fours, fives, or sixes. Each team is given 5 cups to work with. First, allow students to work together to just stack the cups to make one structure using their hands. Give them about 5 minutes then each group talks about how they worked together and what they made. Then they will complete the activity again. But this time, they are not allowed to use their hands to move the cups.
Give each group a rubber band with pieces of string or paper clips attached. You’ll need as many pieces of string or paper clips as you have students in the group. Now they have to figure out how to work together and use the rubber band to move and stack the cups. Afterwards talk about the difference of being able to use their hands versus not and how they had to work together to get the cups stacked.
Back to School Charades
Here’s a twist on the charades game we all know and love! This one is school themed and the kids get to learn how to work together! You can divide the class into two large groups or into three or more smaller groups of students depending on how you’d like to play. Provide the picture/word cards for students to act out, while the other students in the group have to try and guess the answer. This is a great way for students to get to know one another, problem solve, and improve verbal and nonverbal communication! You can have students play until each team has a certain number of points or simply set a time limit. If you love this idea you can grab it FREE for subscribing!
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Just Like Me!
This has to be one of my favorite back to school games. It is so simple and so much fun! Normally, it’s played with everyone sitting in a circle. Someone starts by saying something they love. For example, “I love to eat ice cream.” Anyone else that loves ice cream would then jump up and shout, “Just like me!” It’s a fun way to get to know one another, while also getting some energy out. This can also easily be taken outside to provide a nice change of scenery.
Back to School Scoot
This is another good way to get some high energy out and learn more about each other. You can set up this activity around the classroom OR get them outside! Set cards up around the area while they scoot to answer the get to know you questions. They can each have their own recording sheet to bring back as a large discussion at the end or you can have a large piece of paper with the questions so they can all see each other’s answers. You can also have students work in pairs to take turns answering the questions, while learning more about each other. Be creative and have fun!
Find a Friend Bingo
Find a friend bingo is always an exciting game and it’s another gem to get your little ones moving around. Each student is given a bingo sheet, clipboard, and a writing utensil. They move around the classroom getting to know each other by finding different people to fill in their bingo sheet. This activity is always a fan favorite and you can grab a fun editable print AND digital version HERE!
Rock, Paper, Scissors Championship
Who doesn’t love a good game of rock, paper, scissors? This is an exciting tournament style twist on this classic game! Students pair off to play a game of rock, paper, scissors. If they lose, they become a cheerleader to the person they lost to. The winner will then find another opponent with their cheerleader by their side. By the end, there will only be two players left, each with an awesome support group! This championship is such a fun way to cheer each other on and have a little competitive fun! It also provides so many valuable skills like learning how to support one another and being a good sport to name a few. This is also a great opportunity to insert some social emotional lessons if students struggle with their feelings with losing. This blog post talks all about the importance of these lessons and you can grab my Social Emotional Learning Growing Bundle here for all the fun hands-on activities!
Poison Dart Frog
Sometimes we need a quick fun time filler or something to do as an end of the day activity after everyone is packed up. I’ve got you covered. Have everyone sit on the floor in a circle facing one another. Choose a student to be the detective, who you send into the hallway and waits quietly to be called back inside. Then, you choose a student to be a poison dart frog. The job of the poison dart frog is to stick their tongue out at people in the circle without the detective seeing. When they stick their tongue out at another student, the student gets to lay down and “die” dramatically. They LOVE it! It can be helpful if you’re the poison dart frog first so they can see how it’s played. Once you’ve practiced a bit, call your detective back in and begin the game. The poison dart frog wants to poison as many people as possible without the detective seeing them. The detective stands in the middle of the circle and tries to guess who the poison dart frog is. They only have 3 guesses and then the round is over. Play for as many rounds as you have time for!!
For this activity, provide each student with a blank puzzle piece. These can be found at Michaels or on Amazon. Students are then given materials such as markers, paints, or crayons to uniquely decorate their puzzle piece to represent who they are. After everyone has finished decorating their puzzle pieces, gather all the students to work together to complete your classroom puzzle! It turns into a beautiful reminder of teamwork and who the class is, together and individually, that could be displayed throughout the entire year.
Highest Tower Building Challenge
This activity can be completed with a number of different materials, such as dry spaghetti noodles, index cards, pipe cleaners, marshmallows, toothpicks, gumdrops, etc. Students are grouped together in threes, fours, or fives. They must work as a team to create the highest tower they can, given the materials they have. You could also provide tape or glue depending on your preference to help them adhere some of these materials together. This is a fun STEM activity that provides a good challenge and calls for LOTS of teamwork!
Team Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunts are always SO much fun and it’s another great way to facilitate teamwork amongst your students. Depending on the school protocols, this can be played in the classroom, around the building, or outside! Split the class into teams of threes, fours, or fives and provide them with their list of things to find. Have them work together to hunt and gather all the items. The first team back with everything wins!
The Line Up Game
This is a fun way for students to learn some fun facts about each other while working together in a challenging way. Break students up into fives or sixs and then tell students how you’d like them to line up: by age, birthday, height, alphabetically, etc. The fun and challenging part is that students have to work together to line up quickly but SILENTLY! Yep. That’s the challenge. No talking whatsoever. Once they have finished, they can shout out loud that they are done. Once every team has had a turn, give them a real challenge and do it with your entire group!
Virtual Escape Room
When you need to insert instant engagement in the classroom you only need two words: ESCAPE ROOMS. These mysterious challenges lure you in from the mission and kids are so eager to crack the codes they need to “escape”. Students learn each other’s strengths, get great problem solving practice in, and they have fun while learning! Check out this special Back to School Escape Room to help students work together and get to know each other!
All of these activities put students at the forefront to get them working and thriving TOGETHER! Want even more fun for your beginning of the year? Check out this ULTIMATE kit that will prep you with the ENTIRE first week of school planned for you. It includes detailed lesson plans, activities, checklists, linked mentor texts and more! You can read about how to rock the first week of school like a boss! Want all these team building activities for your classroom? Check out the jam packed bundle below!
I hope you feel more comfortable bringing one or all of these activities in your classroom. A student centered classroom is the way to go and you too can have a community where kids have fun, learn how to problem solve and work together, while also being independent and growing. Want to know more about building a student centered classroom where students are in charge of their own learning? Check out my Building a Student Centered Classroom course that goes into extensive detail on how to successfully set up your classroom for the ENTIRE year. You’ll learn how to successfully set up your classroom in a way that flows and stays organized, strategies for building a positive classroom community, and all kinds of information on classroom management and instruction! This will have you SET and help take some of the stress and pressure off.
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