The first few days and weeks of Kindergarten can be a tricky time for both kiddos and teachers. With so much emphasis on routine and getting your love bugs acclimated to being big elementary schoolers, sometimes it can feel more like boot camp than a kindergarten classroom. Your little ones are adjusting to a longer day, more academics, new teachers and friends, and lots of big kid rules. One of the absolute best ways to squeeze some joy and fun, along with community building into those first few days is a class game or activity, either in morning meeting, or at the end of the day.
These are my favorite giggle-inducing activities for those first few weeks. They are straight-forward and relatively easy to reign-in if things start to get a little silly. I notice a HUGE difference in student comfort in the classroom and with their new friends after playing these games.
Would You Rather
When playing “Would You Rather” in kindergarten, I have kids move to one side of the meeting carpet for option A, and the other side of the carpet for option B. It gives students a chance to move their bodies, and get a little silly in a contained environment.
Some big hits for Kindergarten “Would You Rather” have been:
Be a dog or a cat? (great starter to model the rules of the game.)
Have Blue Eye Brows or a Blue Tongue?
Be able to Fly or Read People’s Minds?
Eat only Ice Cream forever or Mac-And-Cheese forever?
Have to always walk backwards or walk on your hands?
Live underwater or live on a cloud?
Swim in Jello or swim in peanut butter?
Find the Clothes Pin
This one is way more fun than it has any business being. The idea is that all of the students stand in a circle and clothes their eyes. The teacher then clips the clothes pin somewhere on one of the student’s clothing. Students open their eyes and try to silently find the clothes pin without moving out of their spot. When students spot the clothes pin, they put their hands on their heads. Then the teacher can call on someone to point out where the clothespin is! Later in the year, it is fun to expand this game to “find the clothes pin in the classroom,” and students can wander the room to find the hidden clothes pin.
Spot the Change
A huge hit among the under seven crowd. One child is chosen to stand in the middle of the circle and do a spin so that everyone can see what they are wearing. The child then goes into the hall and changes one thing about their appearance. This can be subtle, like moving a bracelet from one wrist to another, or more obvious, like turning a shirt around so that it is being worn backwards. The child then comes back in and students raise their hands if they think they have spotted the change. The teacher calls on a raised hand, and whoever guesses correctly is the next student to take a turn changing. This one offers insight into those young brains—it’s amazing how clever some of your kindergarteners will be!
Follow the Leader
For this game, students will once again be seated in a circle on the carpet. One child is selected to go out into the hallway. Once they are gone, a “leader” is chosen. That child chooses a motion that the other children copy, such as patting their knees or shoulders. The motion is repeated several times, and then the leader switches to another motion, with the other children following along. The child from the hall returns, watches the group, and tries to guess who the leader is! Kids love having turns both being the guesser and the leader. Pro Tip- if the leader switches to moves too quickly without enough repetition, it is really difficult for the others to follow along and for the guesser to figure out who is leading. When the game is too hard, it is not so fun, the kids aren’t so happy, and the teacher has to drink more… coffee.
Guess the Animal
A classic. In the beginning of the year, I like to be the one in charge. I choose and animal and give three clues to the kids. For example, if the animal was a TIGER, I would say, “This animal has whiskers. This animal has sharp teeth. This animal has stripes.” When students think that they know the animal, they put their hands on their heads. Then I call on students to guess. Once they figure it out, I have students move like that animal to another spot on the rug. Then we play again. Later in the year, I will chose a student to pick the animal and give clues.
This is my all-time favorite group activity in Kindergarten. Students start out in their spots on the rug. I say, “I see… and then name an animal, plant or thing.” Students can then leave their spot to act out what “I see” without making any noise. Some of my favorites are:
Palm trees swaying in the wind
Tigers walking through the jungle
Waves in the ocean
Snakes slithering in the grass
Rock stars playing guitars
Monkeys swinging from trees
Caterpillars crawling on a leaf
Mountains standing tall
Kittens sleeping on the floor
Students ready to learn
Whenever I saw “I see,” students return to their rug spot to listen for the next direction for acting out.
Get ready to keep a straight face while kids try their best not to spoil surprises and do their most excellent animal impressions. Bring on the giggles!