5 Back to School Activities for First Grade & Second Grade

5 Back to School Activities You Need to Start the Year Off Strong

If you’re anything like me, I always over-plan the first few days/weeks of school with tons of back to school activities. You never know when you’ll need to fill in a little time slot and you don’t want to be scrambling for a last-minute activity!

With all the craziness of the first few days of school, make sure you have multiple activities and resources prepped and ready to go. That way, you won’t have to stress when your prep period disappears or take prep work home!

Here are some of my favorite, tried and true back-to-school resources for K-2 classrooms!

Back to School Activities to Set Up Math Routines

Give your students time to explore math manipulatives with a purpose! I love getting out many of the manipulatives my students will be using each year and giving them time to play, think, and explore with them.

Math center for back to school
Let your students explore everything from pattern blocks to linking chains to base ten blocks!
Math center for back to school

These math manipulative-based activities will help you set up math routines and expectations. Your students will explore different math manipulatives they’ll be using during the year.

No Prep Math Printables for Back to School

If the words “no-prep” is music 🎶 to your ears, then you definitely need these ready-to-go math printables themed for August and September!

August math printables

I love having these printables to use during the first few days of school. Every page comes in three levels, so you can easily choose the level that best fits your students’ needs!

Review Beginning of the Year Math Skills

Review beginning of the year math skills with this fun and interactive math mystery. Your students will love solving each clue to figure out the mystery!

back to school math activities
Every math challenge comes in three levels so you can choose the best fit for your students!
Math mystery back to school activities and challenges
Students complete 5 math challenges and earn clues to solve the back-to-school mystery!

Students will review number sense, addition and subtraction facts, fact families, and more all while engaged in solving a mystery! You can also let your students partner together to solve the mystery and help build classroom community.

Try a FREE math mystery here!

Math Snapshots to Get to Know Your Students

Take the time to get to know your students’ math strengths and weaknesses. This beginning of the year one-on-one math assessment will help you get a snapshot of your students and whole class.

Beginning of the year math assessment for 2nd grade
This is a great way to spend time getting to know each student!

You can prep these quickly and easily by simply printing these assessment cards and adding a few manipulatives! These are available for kindergarten, first grade, second grade, and third grade.

You can read more about these beginning of the year math snapshots on this blog post!

Back to School Main Idea Activities

Teaching main idea is one of the reading skills that we review over and over, all year long. Why not get a jump on things and slowly introduce main idea with these simple, back-to-school main idea passages, puzzles, and graphic organizers.

Main idea back to school activities resource

These back-to-school main idea resources are great to use in small groups or in partner work, too!

FREE Back to School Resources

I understand how CRAZY back-to-school planning can be, so below I’m sharing with you 3 FREE resources you might find helpful during back to school prep!

  1. Guided Math Starter Kit: Let me help you get your guided math up and running with this starter kit filled with guided math resources for 1st and 2nd grade!
  2. Differentiated Math Resources Toolkit: I know it’s hard to find differentiated resources, so download this toolkit filled with 50+ pages of free, differentiated math activities for 1st and 2nd grade!
  3. Word Work Starter Kit: Learn more about creating and planning an engaging and meaningful word work center, plus get activities to use with your students!



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Free Spiral review

Leave your email to access FREE weekly spiral math review, problem of the day, and daily word problems for 1st & 2nd grade!

math spiral review