Back to School Activities for 2nd Grade {with FREEBIES}

Hey there friends, 
I know many of you get giddy thinking of meeting your new students and planning the perfect back to school activities. For some of you it might create stress and worry thinking of how to make that first week just right. Now, I am not going to tell you my back to school routine is all fairytales and perfect behaviors, but I do have some fun and effective routines and projects that I can count on! I thought I would share five of my favorite back to school activities for 2nd grade. 
My 5 Favorite Back to School Activities for 2nd Grade

1. Supply Time {Freebie}

AGHHH sorting through supplies with kids can be crazy if you don't have a plan. They always come in with tons of materials and the chaos will ensue without activities to keep your new little kiddos engaged. I always have a couple different activities ready for kids so I can pull over small groups to go through and sort the materials. I make sure to go over expectations for behavior, how many kids at puzzle/manipulative centers.

  • I have bins set up and labeled in the front of my classroom with the various supplies. 
  • I have buckets of crayons on all the desk groups and I put out a fun coloring sheet with all my kids names on it. They love seeing their name and friends names on the sheet. You can download the coloring sheet FREE in my store. (click on the image below)
  • When kids are done coloring I have puzzles and manipulatives in different areas around the room for kids to explore.

2. Establish our back to school rules and expectations in a positive way! 

I was so excited when I discovered the book "Back to School Rules" by Laurie Freedman

I read this aloud with my kids and it helps us to create clear back to school rules and expectations in a positive way. It also lends to review various story elements and comprehension strategies. I have multiple guided reading activities I can choose from, and when we are done we do an adorable pencil craft where the kids choose their favorite new "I can" rule. It makes for a colorful bulletin board too. (Check that off the list too... boom!)

3. Read Aloud

I don't know about you, but my kids love a read aloud. No matter the group, my kids are always their calmest listening to a good story. I try to make a point of reading multiple books the first week of school. 

When choosing a read aloud, I like to be intentional with the theme in my selections so we not only read for fun, but there is a purpose. This then lends to great first week discussions and establishing classroom norms and expectations in a more organic way. 

Growth mindset, being flexible, being respectful to ourselves and others and problem solving are my favorite topics that I try to target that first week of school. 

I have created resources that facilitate these important topics in conversation, that review story elements, check in on comprehension and wrap it all up with a meaningful craft to display our learning! 

These back to school activities also help me make some informal observations of where my kids are with following directions, fine motor, focus and academics. My favorite part is seeing their little personalities really come out throughout the various projects and interactions.

Click here to check out these easy to implement resources: Establishing Classroom Expectations Guided Reading with Mentor Text

guided reading with a purpose poster examples

guiding reading with a purpose craft examples

4. Share Bags

Years and years and years (lol) ago my cooperating teacher introduced me to share bags. She sent home a simple paper bag with instructions to fill it with 3-5 items to share. The items needed to help us learn a little bit more about you. The items could be photos, toys, awards, etc. 

Every year I do this activity and it is one of my favorites. I send them home on the first day and we share the bags as they come in throughout the week. The kids love sharing about themselves, their classmates interact by ask questions and we all get to know each other a little bit better right off that bat and that is priceless. I recommend doing your own  share bag as well. The kids think it is pretty fun to find out more about their new teacher. 

5. Classroom Scavenger Hunt {Freebie}

    scavenger hunt checklist freebie
This is a fun way to  help kids get to know your classroom and where things are. I have done the scavenger hunt two different ways. I have done it either during meet and greet when parents are there to help or the first day to get kids up and moving. 

I love this activity because it's not me just talking at my kids,  it also helps decrease the questions and it gives the kids a sense of ownership and independence in their new classroom.  

I generally choose 5-8 different places in the classroom that I would like kids to discover. Some places you might add to your list are the job chart, bathroom passes, their cubby, the classroom library, extra supply drawer, different classroom materials you want them to find, etc. As they find the things in the classroom they put a check mark next to it. 

When we are all done we meet on the carpet. We go through all the different areas we had to find and I call on a volunteer to walk over and show where they found it. The classroom scavenger hunt has been a purposeful and fun back to school activity in my classroom.    

  • Here is a link to the scavenger hunt I use in my room. Feel free to use it or to inspire your own scavenger hunt back to school activity

Good luck planning  and I hope you enjoyed hearing about my back to school activities I use in 2nd grade. Feel free to share activities you like to use in your own classrooms! 

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