20 Back to School Games Your Students Will Love - Virtual Escape Rooms (2024)

As educators, we know that the start of a new academic year is the perfect time to build a vibrant classroom community. To help you kick off the year with a bang, we’ve compiled “20 Back to School Games Your Students Will Love.” These activities are designed to foster collaboration, critical thinking, and a whole lot of fun. From virtual escape rooms to online games to printable puzzles to creative “Minute to Win It” challenges, this list has something for every classroom.

Whether you’re looking for a high-energy tournament or a thoughtful icebreaker, these games are sure to set a positive tone for the year ahead. We provide detailed instructions, resource links, and templates to make implementation a breeze. So, get ready to add some excitement to your lesson plans with games that are educational, interactive, and memorable.

Plus be sure to scroll all the way down to check out the bonus PDF printable Back to School Puzzles and Games Activity Pack!

20 back to school games your students will LOVE!

1. Escape the Classroom Virtual Escape Room

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Get ready to start the year with a new, fun and FREE virtual escape room. In “Escape the Classroom” your students are locked in (virtually, of course), and the only way out is by solving challenges and cracking clues.

It’s a race against the clock to solve the puzzles and find that elusive 4-digit codeto freedom.

Get more back to school escape rooms!

Get 50% off when you buy all three! Use code “Back2School” at checkout.

  • Catch the Bus! A Back to School Escape$4.99Add to cart
  • Back to School Breakout: A Team Building Virtual Escape Room$4.99Add to cart
  • Alien Among Us! A Back to School Escape$4.99Add to cart

2. Hedbanz Game

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Setup: Give each student a headband and a game card with a back to school related vocabulary word. The card should be placed in the headband, or held against their forehead, so that the student cannot see it, but their classmates can.

Objective: The goal is for each student to guess what’s on their card by asking yes-or-no questions. Once students know how to play you can use this game withvocabulary words related to your current curriculum.

The Game:

Choose a student to go first. They flip over, or start, a timer and start asking questions to the rest of the class about their card.

  • Questions must be answerable with a simple “yes” or “no.” For example, “Am I an animal?” or “Do I have wheels?”.
  • If a student guesses their card correctly before the timer runs out, they get a point.They then get a new card to try get another point.
  • They continue to guess and grab more cards until the timer runs out.

Alternate ways to play:

To encourage teamwork, have students play in pairs or small groups, where they can discuss and decide on the questions together.

3. Rock, Paper, Scissors Tournament

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Everyone knows how to play rock paper scissors. And even if they don’t it’s easy to learn. This is a fun twist on the classic game of rock paper scissors. It turns this simple game into an exciting tournament that will have your class cheering!

Getthe rules and instructions on how to play.Icebreaker: Rock Paper Scissors Extreme from Guide Inc.

4. Pictionary

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This one is one of the most loved team building activities among students!Divide your class into teams and have them take turns drawing pictures while their teammates try to guess what they are drawing. You can have the word list be anything but making it school related, like supplies or different locations, makes it especially perfect for back to school.

You can use thisRandom Word Generatorto generate random words for your own Pictionary game or use our Pictionary game cards to play a fast and easygame with your class.

5. Classmate Bingo

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Classmate Bingo is a spin on your typical Bingo game. Prior to the activity have students share a few facts about themselves on an index card with their name on it. Create bingo cards with students’ names in each square. You can useCanva’s Bingo Card Generatorto create a unique card for each student. Read a fact from the index card and have students guess who it is.

The first few times you play be sure to tell them who the facts are about so they can mark off the name on their card. If you play more than once you can rely on students to remember the facts about their classmates as you play.

6. Tarp Flip Challenge

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In this activity the objective is to flip a tarp so that the side touching the ground and the side being stood upon are reversed. The catch is that everyone on the team is standing on the tarp and can’t step off. To play all team members stand on a flat tarp (or blanket) and they must flip over the tarp so that they are standing on the other side without stepping off or touching the ground.

Get detailed directions, pictures and a video of this activity atFit Kids Healthy KidsfromSportmanitoba.ca.

7. Find Someone Who

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The Find Someone Who Game CardfromKami.is designed for students in grades 1st through 6th. It’s a fun and interactive way for students to learn about their classmates and make new friends.

The Bingo card includes various prompts that encourage students to find someone in their class who matches the description on their card. It’s a great icebreaker and team-building exercise that promotes social interaction and community within the classroom.

8. Scavenger Hunt

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A classroom scavenger hunt is a fun, interactive activity where students search for specific items or information within the classroom or school grounds.

You can easily create your own in Google Slides or edit one of thesescavenger hunt templates in Canva.

Don’t want to create your own? Download the PDF version of our classroom scavenger hunt to print and use with your students.

9. Class Word Search

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With Flippity’s “skip the spreadsheet” option you can input your class roster into their site and create some fun customized games for your class. Here’s how:

1. Go to Flippity.net/WordSearch.htm

2. Choose Option 1: Quick & Easy

3. Delete the list of name

4. Paste your class roster (separate each name with a comma or line breaks)

5. Create a title then click “Generate”

10. Classmate Crossword Puzzle

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This activity is not only engaging but also serves as a great icebreaker and community-building exercise. It can be tailored to any age group and can be made more complex by including more detailed clues or using a theme related to what you’re teaching. Plus, it’s a creative way to integrate technology into the classroom!

Here’s how to do it:

Interest Inventory: Begin by having each student complete an interest inventory. This can be a simple questionnaire where students list their favorite hobbies, books, movies, sports, etc.

Collect Responses: Once the students have filled out their inventories, collect the responses and review them to ensure there’s enough variety and uniqueness for the next step.

Crossword Puzzle Creation: Use the responses to create a custom crossword puzzle. There are several online tools available that can help you input words and generate puzzles. For a printable puzzle you can use the Flippity crossword puzzle creator To create an online crossword puzzle try the crossword puzzle creator in LearningApps.org.

Each clue in the crossword can be a fact or interest from the inventories, and the answer would be the name of the student who provided that response.

Solving the Puzzle: Distribute the crossword puzzle to the class and let the students solve it. This will not only be a fun activity but also a great way for students to learn more about each other.

Discussion: After completing the puzzle, have a class discussion where students can share why they chose certain interests or facts about themselves. This can lead to a deeper understanding and connection among classmates.

Reflection: As a follow-up, ask students to write a short reflection on what they learned about their peers and how this activity might affect their interactions moving forward.

11. Back to School Connections Game

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Connectionsis a puzzle game where players have to find four groups of four items that share something in common fromThe New York Times.

Playing this Back to School Connections game is the perfect way to use this popular puzzle in class.

Here’s how it works:

Objective: Group 16 words into four mystery categories.

Gameplay:

  • You’ll see a 4×4 grid of words.
  • Your task is to organize them into four sets of four words by figuring out the themes that connect them.
  • Select four items at a time by tapping or clicking on the blocks containing the words.
  • Groups can be related by type (e.g., hail, rain, sleet, snow) or rely on wordplay.
Creating your own Back to School Connections Game

Its easy to create your own connections game like the one I created above. Just go to this connections game generator by Swellgarfo and add in your own words.

Stuck on generating those words? AI can help you create your words, groups and descriptions.

Here’s how:

  • Adjust this prompt to fit your topic and class.
    • I teach ______. Please generate 16 words in groups of 4 that fit the topic of ______. Each group of 4 words should be connected in some way. List the groups from easiest to most difficult. On each line, provide the 4 words separated by commas. On the next line, provide a description of how the 4 words are connected.
  • Go toChatGPT,Microsoft CoPilot,PerplexityorGoogle Geminiand paste it in.
  • Adjust as needed and type the words and category descriptions into theconnections game generator.
  • Share with your class through the link.

12. Spell Your Name Workout

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The “Spell Your Name” workout, created by Kimberly Grabinski, is a fun fitness challenge where students spell out the full name of a classmate and complete a specific exercise for each letter. It offers a variety of exercises ranging from jumping jacks to squats.

There are three versions to choose from, beginner, advanced and a kid-friendly version with activities like jumping up and down or spinning in circles, making it a fun way to engage in physical activity.

13. Back to School Blooket

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Blooket is a gamification tool that helps students learn and review concepts through different types of game modes with an element of competition. Teachers can create their own question sets or use sets created by other educators, and students can play games like Tower Defense, Monster Brawl, Crazy Kingdom and more.

Playing a fun and easy Back to School Blooket game like the one I created below is a great way to welcome your students back to class while introducing a fun tool you can use for class content review later!

After making an account just click the link below to play our Back to School Blooket game to try it out for yourself!

Using this Back to School Blooket with your students
  1. Go to Blooket.com and create a teacher account if you haven’t already. You can also view this tutorial video to get the full rundown on getting started.
  2. Click onthis link to viewour Back to School Blooket game in your dashboard. To assign the game you can follow the steps below orwatch this tutorial video for step-by-step instructions.
  3. Click “Host” and choose a game modeto begin a live Blooket game in your class.
  4. Adjust the settings the way you want then click“Host Now.”
  5. Your students will use the game pin atplay.blooket.comto join the game.
  6. Once they are in you can start the game!

14. Welcome Back Kahoot!

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Create a quiz about yourself and let students guess the answer with a fun Kahoot all about the teacher. You can create and share your own “All About Me!” video to introduce yourself and give students the answers before the quiz.

How to create a Kahoot! tutorial video

This “Back to school Kahoot Ice Breaker Kit” provides more creative ideas to use Kahoot! as an icebreaker at the start of the school year.

Minute to Win It Games

“Minute to Win It” games are a collection of fun and fast-paced challenges that participants must complete within 60 seconds. These games originated from the popular TV show “Minute to Win It” and have since become a favorite for parties, family gatherings, and team-building events.

The essence of these games is simple: each player or team tries to complete a specific task using common household items within one minute. If they succeed, they win a point or move on to the next challenge. The tasks are designed to be engaging and often require a combination of skill, speed, and strategy making them the perfect games for back to school team building fun.

15. "Minute to Win It" Cotton Ball Scoop

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Materials: A bowl of cotton balls, a spoon, and an empty bowl per player/team.

Directions: Blindfolded, or with their eyes closed, players must transfer cotton balls from one bowl to another using a spoon within one minute. The player or team that gets the most cotton balls transferred wins.

Alternate way to play: Have multiple options for moving cotton balls from one bowl to the other. Chopsticks, spoons, tongs, ladles. Let teams decide which one they want to use as they strategies. This is a great way to talk about adaptations like bird beaks and which are most beneficial for different reasons.

16. "Minute to Win It" Cup Stack

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Materials: 36 Solo Cups per player.Get 16 cups for $1.25 at the Dollar Tree

Directions: Each player must stack a pyramid of cups (base of 8) and then deconstruct it back into a single stack. First to complete within one minute wins.

Alternate way to play: Have teams of students and one set of cups per team. Each team member must stack a pyramid of cups then deconstruct it before tagging the next team member in. The first team to have each member finish wins.

17. "Minute to Win It" Alphabet Soup

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Materials: A bag of alphabet pasta and a bowl per player.

Directions: Players must spell as many words as they can from the pasta within one minute.

Alternate way to play: Assign points per letter so that longer words are worth more points. 3 letter words = 2 points, 4 letter words = 4 points and so on.

18. "Minute to Win It" M&M Sort

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Materials: A bag of M&Ms and a set of small bowls.

Directions: Players sort M&Ms by color into separate bowls within one minute.

Alternate way to play: Add in some Skittles that do not get sorted. Discuss why this makes the game so much harder and how this applies to camouflage out in nature.

19. "Minute to Win It" Card Flip Challenge

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Materials: A deck of cards per player.

Directions: One team is “Builders” and the others is “Destroyers”. Builders work to turn the cards face up and destroyers word to turn the cards face down. The team that has the most cards facing their way in one minute wins.

20. Snowball Fight

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The “Snowball Fight” icebreaker is a fun and interactive way to help students get to know each other, especially when returning to school. Here’s how it works:

Preparation: Each student receives a piece of paper and writes something about themselves. It could be a hobby, a favorite book, an interesting fact, or anything they’re comfortable sharing.

The Snowball Fight: Once everyone has written something, they crumple their paper into a “snowball.” On your signal, students have a friendly “snowball fight” by gently throwing their paper balls around the classroom for one minute.

Finding the Author: After the “fight,” each student picks up a snowball near them, unfolds it, and reads the information written on the paper. They then mingle with their classmates to find the person who wrote it.

Introduction: When they find the author, they introduce themselves and share something about their own interests, creating a conversation starter and fostering a sense of community.

This activity encourages students to move around, engage with one another, and learn interesting tidbits about their peers, promoting a collaborative and creative classroom environment. It’s also adaptable; you can add specific questions or themes related to your curriculum to make it educational as well as fun.

BONUS!

Printable Back to School Puzzles & Games Activity Pack

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This free activity pack includes 11 back to school games and puzzles to use with your class.

The pack includes secret messages, word searches, crossword puzzles, and more to kick off your school year.

20 Back to School Games Your Students Will Love - Virtual Escape Rooms (2024)

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