The Best Back to School Activities for First Grade

I am SO excited to share the best back to school activities for first grade with you today! You and your first graders will love them!

This set of thirteen Back to School and First Day Activities for First Grade will save you time as you prep for the first week of school. Additionally, it will engage your first graders in meaningful and fun activities. The beginning of the year is a special time for first graders, as they transition into the school environment and adjust to new friends and rules. There are lots of changes and lots of things to be excited about!

These are the best back to school activities to complete the first few weeks of school as you welcome in your new first graders. They will help them accommodate to their new role and schedule, and create new friendships with their classmates. Hopefully, these activities will help make the transition to first grade fun and engaging!

Why teachers and students LOVE these activities

💖 Teachers love how engaging and simple these activities are to prep. They also help teachers get to know their students and build classroom community. There’s so much going on at the start of a new school year. This resource will help relieve the burden of finding things to do.

💖 Students love these activities because they help them share about themselves, get to know their classmates, and have fun the first week of school. They also help ease them into the routine and structure of a new classroom.

13 of the Best Back to School Activities for First Grade

Jitter Juice is a tried-and-true class favorite that my students continued to talk about and reference as one of their best memories from the school year. This is an original poem that I wrote to help ease the first day jitters, all while reading along and enjoying a yummy cup of Jitter Juice (recipe included)! Your students are guaranteed to LOVE this activity.

The First Grade Survey will help you students share about themselves with you and their classmates. Find out how they’re feeling about starting first grade, what they’re good at, and what they’re excited to learn in your classroom. The self-portrait is always fun to draw and look back on at the end of the year, too!

Grab the included templates and some sentences strips to create the cutest back to school paper crowns around. There are four different designs to choose from.

After a first grade-themed back to school read-aloud of your choice, find out how your students spent The Night Before First Grade. Students will briefly draw and describe what they did before the big first day of school!

Follow up any of the get-to-know you activities with paper friendship bracelets. Give each student a page of bracelets to color and cut. Then, they can exchange them with their friends and promote conversations at home!

What’s in a first grader’s backpack? is a simple writing craft. Students write down things that a first grader needs to be successful. Then, create the backpack and place the writing paper within the pocket. This would make a super cute hallway display!

Collaborative Activities

Partner students together to color, cut, and create these super fun friendship puzzles! There are three puzzle designs to choose from. Students work in pairs to share and assemble their puzzles. It’s a great way to support cooperation!

These are the best back to school activities for kindergarten. They will save you time and energy as you prep for the first week of school. There are 13 different engaging activities to choose from.

Looking for an easy Ice Breaker? Find-a-friend is the perfect way to encourage your students to get to know one another. The prompts are easy (i.e. “Find a friend who lost a tooth!”) and they get to collect signatures as they move around the room finding new friends!

Create a Class Book that shares all the new faces in your classroom! Students will draw a self-portrait and you’ll combine each one into a class book. Then, you can read and share it with your new class so they can get to know one another better. This will make an excellent addition to your reading center – the kids love to look at the drawings they made!

The following activities go great with the book First Grade Stinks! by Mary Ann Rodman or First Grade, Here I Come! By Nancy Carlson, but any book about first grade will do!

  • Activity #1: Complete a whole group tree map about first graders
  • Activity #2: Discuss the similarities and differences between kindergarteners and first graders. Complete a whole group double bubble map and then have students complete the individual double bubble map
  • Activity #3: Journal activity using the included sentence starter

Create a My First Week of First Grade Book (2 versions included) to share all the fun from the first week of first grade!

Free back to school activity

Fill out the form at the bottom of this post to grab the FREE writing paper pictured below! It’s a great prompt to use at the end of the first week of school. (This example says kindergarten, but there are prompts for K-2 included!)

Looking for more back to school activities?

I hope you find that these are the best back to school activities for first grade, too! They are all available for purchase here. You can also check out these posts for more activities to use as you prepare for the first day of school!


Abby is a former kindergarten and first grade teacher who channels her passion for education into creating engaging activities and resources for the kindergarten and first grade classroom. When not dreaming up or working on her next project, you’ll find her enjoying her family – most likely in her minivan on the way to a soccer field.


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Hi, I'm Abby

Hi, I’m Abby! Thanks for stopping by. I love supporting kindergarten and first grade teachers with engaging, skill-based activities that are easy to use in their classrooms. Let me help you be the best teacher you can be!
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