5 Great Activities to Add to Your Lesson Plans This School Year
Another school year is upon us! Getting back into the swing of things after summer break can be tough for both students and teachers, but there is a tried and tested way to ease the transition: fun learning activities! As the leaves start to change colour and the weather becomes cooler, it’s time to think about all of the fun activities that you can do with your primary school students. Autumn provides for a great range of topics and activities that you can use in your lesson plans, from getting to know each other to discussing changing seasons. Here are a few ideas to help get you started this year.
#1 All About Me Poster
One of the best ways to get to know your students is to have them make an All About Me poster. This can be a fun class activity for children of all ages. It’s a great opportunity for them to share some information about themselves with the class. Plus, it gives you a chance to learn more about their interests and hobbies.You’ll be amazed at how much you can learn about your students through this simple activity.
What you need:
- Markers/Colour Pencils/Crayons
- Large Paper or Printed Poster Template
- Give each child a piece of large paper (or poster template) and on the top they will write “All About Me”.
- Next, give them some time to brainstorm what they would like to include on their poster. A whole-class collaborative brainstorm works brilliantly too.
- Then they can decorate the poster with pictures and words that tell something about themselves. Some ideas of what to include are: – their name and age – where they live – their family – pets they have – things they like to do – things they are good at etc.
- Once everyone is finished, hang the posters up around the room and take some time for everyone to walk around and look at them.
- You could have each child stand by their poster and tell the class a little bit about what they included.
#2 Back to School Bingo
Learning how to listen carefully is an important skill for primary school students, and Back to School Bingo is a great way to help them develop this skill, while also having fun. The activity can be adapted to different themes as well to class level. You could link in with other languages and call the items out as Gaeilge and/ or incorporate other languages as well.
What you need:
- A Bingo board for each child (see links below for resources or create your own)
- A list of items to be called out (see below for some ideas)
- Bingo chips or markers
- Print out a Bingo board for each child and ensure everyone has a marker or Bingo chips.
- Call out the items on your list one at a time. As each item is called, children will search their Bingo boards for the matching picture.
- If they find it, they’ll mark it off with a chip or marker. The first child to get five in a row is the winner!
Here are some ideas for items to call out:
-School bag/ Mála scoile
-Pencil case/ cás peann luaidhe
-Lunchbox/ bosca lón
#3 Autumn-themed Scavenger Hunt
One fun activity for primary school students is an autumn scavenger hunt. This is great for getting the class outdoors and having fun while working on teamwork skills. You will need a list of autumn items to find, and you can divide the class into teams.
- Autumn-themed display cards – laminated
- (Or these display cards from SchoolBooksIreland)
- A Scavenger Hunt checklist
- An open space e.g. school yard
- Print out a selection of autumn-themed images such as brown leaves, acorns and pumpkins with one of each image for each team. Laminate as precaution if it is raining.
- Create a scavenger hunt checklist with one for each team.
- Hide the images across the school grounds.
- The children can then find one of each item and mark it off their checklist.
- For an extra challenge: Ask the children to report back to base and complete a set of exercises before looking for the next card.
#4 Rain Gauge Science Experiment
One fun science activity you can do with your class is making your own rain gauge! Through this activity, they’ll be able to practice measuring skills, learn about how different materials absorb water, and get excited about learning about weather!
What you need:
- An empty milk carton or plastic container
- A ruler
- A marker
- Duct tape
- A shoebox or other small box
- Cut the milk carton in half using the scissors. If you’re using a plastic container, skip this step.
- Use the ruler and marker to measure and mark 1 inch intervals on one side of the milk carton or container.
- Place the duct tape around the outside of the container, covering up the marker lines.
- Turn the container over and tape it to the shoebox or other box, making sure that the opening is facing downwards.
- If you’re using a milk carton, make a small hole in the bottom of the container.
- Place the rain gauge outside in an open area, and wait for it to rain! Once it does, check your rain gauge to see how much precipitation has fallen.
# 5 Leaf Printing
Leaf printing is a fun and easy way to create beautiful works of art with your class. All you need is some paint, a few leaves, and a little bit of creativity. This science activity is perfect for classes of all levels and is also a great opportunity to teach children about the different shapes, sizes, and colours of leaves, as well as basic colour-mixing principles. You could have the students collect leaves as part of their homework if possible and bring them to school the next day.
What you need:
- A selection of leaves in different shapes and sizes
- White paper
- Non-toxic paint in several different colours
- A small roller or paintbrush
- Roll the paint onto the leaves, experimenting with different colours and patterns. Ask questions to have the children describe what happens when they mix different colours.
- Place the painted leaves onto the paper, paint side down. Gently press down on the leaves to transfer the paint.
- Lift the leaves off of the paper to reveal your unique leaf prints! Allow the paint to dry before displaying your students’ artwork.
We know it can be challenging to come up with new and creative ideas for your lesson plans, especially returning after the summer holidays. We hope this selection of activities has given you some inspiration for your lesson plans this school year, and will help make things a little easier for you.
If you want to make overall classroom planning easier, why not try the Primary Planning Tool?
It’s a curriculum planning tool that helps Primary school teachers and principals plan, organise and share their plans. With the Primary Planning Tool, you can access a range of ready-made plans and templates or create your own customised plans. Plus, you can easily share your material with colleagues and collaborate on Whole-school plans.