3 Amazing Back To School Classroom Games

A Guest Post By Melinda Crean https://topnotchteaching.com/

 Key Words: classroom games, games to play in the classroom, back to school, back to school games

Do you want to learn some spectacular new classroom games that will ease those back to school classroom jitters?

It’s that time of year again when many of us fearless teachers are heading back for a new school year.  It’s an exciting time for both the kids and the teachers, but it can also be a little scary and as a teacher you may feel somewhat apprehensive.

I’ve found that one way you can help ease those worries and nerves is to play regular classroom games with your students.

Playing games is a really great way for your students to get to know each other and learn about social behaviors.  Games also assist in teaching a number of other important skills, such as:

  • Playing fairly;
  • Controlling body language;
  • Getting along;
  • Handling winning and losing;
  • Taking risks;
  • Co-operating with others; and
  • Demonstrating self-control.

Games can also be quite strategic, which helps to develop mathematical thinking, planning ahead, predicting and hypothesizing.

I’ve found that by using games regularly in the classroom it helps to develop positive relationships between students and with the teacher.  So without further ado…..here are my top 3 sensational back to school classroom games.

1. Wink Murder

Skill focus: controlling body language, co-operating with others, taking risks and good to use as a whole class reward.

You will need: A large open space (indoors) for the whole class to sit in a circle.

The game:

  • This game can be played in small groups of 4 or more students, but I find it works best with the whole class.
  • Get your students to sit in a large circle.
  • Select one person to be the ‘guesser’.  Send that person outside the room so that a ‘murderer’ can be selected.
  • Select one student to be the ‘murderer’.
  • The ‘guesser’ comes back to the room and sits/stands in the middle of the circle.
  • The murderer tries to kill all the other players in the circle by winking at them without being observed by the ‘guesser’.
  • If a player is winked at, then they must wait 10 seconds and then fall down dead.
  • The ‘guesser’ can say the name of a student if they think they’re the ‘murderer’.
  • The game ends when all the players have been murdered and only the ‘murderer’ remains, or if the ‘guesser’ correctly identifies the ‘murderer.’
  • Continue the game by selecting a new ‘murderer’ and ‘guesser’.

2. Order In The Court

Skill focus: co-operating with others and demonstrating self-control.

You will need: A large open space (indoors) for the whole class to sit in a circle.

The game:

  • Get your students to sit in a large circle.
  • Students say the below rhyme altogether while tapping their fists on their thighs to keep the beat.

Order in the court

The judge is eating beans

His wife is in the bathtub

Counting submarines

  • The teacher or a selected student then needs to offer a challenge to another student.  For example, after the rhyme is said, the students still keep tapping their thighs and the teacher will say “5 boy’s names”, the students’ then copy the teacher “5 boys’ names”.  When the students have copied, the teacher will say a student’s name “Jane”, the students then copy the teacher, “Jane”.
  • Then Jane needs to say 5 boys’ names.  After each name she says, the whole class copies.
  • If Jane misses a name or can’t think of any answers, then the challenge is passed to another student.
  • If Jane is successful at the challenge then she can select the next student for the new challenge.
  • The whole time students are still tapping their thighs with their fists to keep the beat.
  • After the challenge is successful the students as a whole say the rhyme again.  The teacher then selects a new challenge and a new student.
  • Some example challenges could include: boys/girls names, towns near where you live, countries, colors, months in the year, types of cars etc.
  • You can change how many you ask to be named to suit the age of your students.


3. Spoons

Skill focus: handling winning and losing, playing fairly and controlling body language.

You will need: 2 packs of cards for each group of students, spoons for each group of students (1 less spoon than the number of players in a group), space for students to sit in a small circle.

The game:

  • This game is best played in small groups of students, between 4 – 8 players.
  • Students sit in a circle.
  • Place the spoons in a circle in the middle of the group.  There should be one less spoon than players.
  • One person is selected as the dealer.  They shuffle the cards and have them face down in a pile next to them.
  • The dealer gives each student one card from the pile.  The student must remember what card they have and then keep the card face down in front of them so no other student can see what card they have.
  • The dealer then takes one card at a time and looks at it.  They are trying to find a card that matches the card they have face down in front of them.  The card does not need to match suit, but must be of the same value.  E.g. two queen’s, or two eight’s etc.
  • When the dealer has looked at the card, and if it does not match their card, they then put it face down in front of the person next to them (clockwise) in the circle.  That person then looks at the card and the card continues around the circle if it does not match.
  • The dealer continues taking cards from the pile, looks at them and if they don’t match passes to the next player.
  • If a player is given a card that matches the card face down in front of them, they add this card to the other card.  They then take a spoon from the pile in the middle of the circle and add it with their cards.  They try to do this quietly so they don’t notify the other students.
  • If another student sees that a spoon has been taken, then they are able to take a spoon and add to their pile.
  • The game keeps going with students trying to match cards until all the spoons have been taken from the middle.
  • The person that does not have a spoon is the loser of the round.
  • The game can start again for another round, with a new dealer.
  • This game is lots of fun and can get very rowdy.  It moves very quickly with lots of cards moving around the circle and spoons being taken and moved.

I hope you enjoyed learning some groovy new classroom games and have fun using them with your students.  If you’re after some more game ideas then have a read of 6 Classroom Games You Can Use To Re-Energize Your Students. (https://topnotchteaching.com/time-saving-tips/classroom-games-to-re-energize/)

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