Getting to Know You Games for Preschool or Kindergarten

Saying goodbye to Mom and Dad and then saying hello to a room full of new faces can be a daunting experience for many preschoolers and kindergartners. The first day of school may also be their first exposure to a room full of children their own age. Like anything new, it can be as frightening as it is exciting. Thankfully, generations of educators have come up with games and activities that make socialization a cinch.

  1. The Welcome Song at Circle Time

    • Music makes children feel at ease.
      Music makes children feel at ease.

      Circle time creates a great atmosphere for children to get to know one another. Everyone can make eye contact and feel a sense of community. A great way to begin circle time is with "The Welcome Song." This song makes each child feel special and, with enough repetition, the children will learn each other's names. The children sit on the floor around the teacher, and the teacher sings to each child until every name has been included in the song. Here is a sample welcome song: Good morning (child's name). Good morning (child's name). Good morning (child's name). And welcome to our class.

    The Interview Game

    • Pair up children with a partner. Have each pair decide who will be "A" and who will be "B." Have "A" ask "B" these questions: What is your name? What is your favorite color? What month is your birthday? While this game scales to any age group, for kindergartners it's best to keep the questions simple. Have each "A" present what she learned about "B" to the class, and then have the children switch roles.

    Team Play Dough!

    • Tactile, messy fun
      Tactile, messy fun

      This activity begins with teamwork and ends with creativity. Give each child one-half cup of water, salt or flour. Have students form teams of three, with each ingredient represented. Send the teams to activity tables covered in newspaper, and instruct children to mix their ingredients in bowls. Stirring and kneading the ingredients into a dough makes for tactile, messy fun that is perfect for this age group.

    The Farmer in the Dell Dance

    • Hi-ho the derry-oh...
      Hi-ho the derry-oh...

      Another circle time favorite, "The Farmer in the Dell," encourages children to really interact with one another. First the teacher picks a student to be the farmer. The rest of the class will dance in a circle around the farmer as the teacher sings. During the first verse, the child chosen as the "farmer" picks another child to be the "wife," and they stand inside the circle. In the second verse, the student chosen as the "wife" picks the "child," and so on, until all but the "cheese" are standing in the middle. If you have more than 10 children, repeat the song. View the complete lyrics at (See link in Resources.)

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