Easy Greetings and Activities for Digital and Socially Distant Classrooms!

Kindergarten Cafe

Welcome to Kindergarten Cafe - your home for teaching ideas, activities, and strategies across all content areas! I am Zeba McGibbon and I love creating resources for teachers and sharing my teaching experience with others. Kindergarten Cafe is aimed for kindergarten, but teachers of Preschool-First grade can find resources here for their students! I love to connect with other teachers so please reach out and say hello!

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Looking for easy interactive greetings and activities that can work on a computer and/or in a socially distanced classroom? I’ve got a bunch of ideas for you that worked really well for me! Looking for other distance learning support? Check out these blog posts on a digital morning meeting and using Google Slides. Like the slides you see? They are available in my TPT store!

Greetings

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Just like the book! In the classroom, you can make a nice rhyme to say, “Look who’s in our ROOM!” but on the computer, I changed it to say group. Not as nice of a tune, but still a nice way to include everyone from wherever they are.

Brown Bear

Another one just like the book!

Willoughby Wallaby Woo

Truthfully, I did not realize this was how you spelled this song until looking it up to include on my morning meeting Google Slides. This is a fun one because you are rhyming with students names (replacing the beginning sound with /w/) and I like to have students guess who I am greeting based on the silly rhyme.


Who Stole the Cookies

I love to do this one after students have a better knowledge of each other’s names. They have to choose someone from the group to call out for who stole the cookies. It goes around and around until it comes back to the teacher and then I usually do a silly ending, like, “yes it was me!”

2, 4, 6, 8 Who do we appreciate?

This is an easy greeting to do anywhere. Everyone chants for their fellow classmates. The classmate who is being chanted gets to stand up and wave or show off their favorite dance moves. This includes every child in the activity, but depending on their personality they may not want to be dancing in front of their peers.

I Spy

When doing this as a greeting, the students give one clue about the person they wish to greet. The clue could be about their background or something they are wearing. Once we guess who they were trying to greet, they greet them good morning and then that person gets a turn to greet someone.

When doing this as an activity, students play the same way, but the goal is to guess what they are spying, not guess who they are thinking of greeting. For example, as a greeting, “I spy someone with a clock in the background!” versus for the activity, “I spy something that tells time” For this kind of activity and greeting on the computer, you have to make sure that everyone can see each other (using grid mode).

Speed Greeting

This is a greeting I like to do once I have done some teaching about self-regulation. Students begin to learn what it means to go too fast or too slow, this greeting is a fun way to practice this understanding. You can either tell them to go too fast, too slow, or just right, or you can have them choose and have the other students guess what kind of greeting it was.

This method also works to practice voice volume levels. I like tell students to greet each other with a voice volume 0 (non-verbal), 1 (whisper), 2 (quiet talking) or 3 (loud and proud for all to hear). I purposely choose students that struggle with speaking up in the group to use voice volume 3 and students that struggle with quietly talking to use 1 or 0.

Other languages

This is always a great greeting option. You can have students either choose another language that you have taught them or that they speak at home, or you can teach them another language and have everyone use that language to greet each other. A great addition to this is the GoNoodle: How to Say Hello in 15 Languages video!

Good morning chain

When you are in the classroom, it’s easy to send a good morning around the circle and keep track of everyone being greeted. However, on a computer, everyone’s order of students shows up differently. I recommend having students choose someone to greet and having some non-verbal way of showing that they have already been greeted, so they can’t get greeted again. For example, have a thumb up if you’re waiting for a turn and hands down if you’ve already had one.

Games and Activities

Games and activities are perfect ways to build community and relationships. They are also helpful to have at the ready if you notice that students need a movement break. They can be used just for fun, but they can also easily connect to academics with just a few tweaks!

Guessing Games

Guessing games were so fun to play during summer school and helped build a lot of social skills. I provided the category and then we played three different ways. The first way was to act it out and have everyone guess what they were acting. The second way was to have the person leading give 1 clue and then have everyone take a guess and if needed they could give a second clue and continue until someone guesses the item. The third way was to have the guessers ask the leader yes/no questions until someone had a guess.  This is easy to connect to different academic areas, especially science and social studies topics you may be studying.

Zoom

In the classroom, students have to get the zoom around the circle as quickly as possible. They can’t say zoom until the person next to them turns to them and says “Zoom!”. Once they receive the zoom, they have to turn to the next person and say, “Zoom!” The round ends once the zoom makes it back to the start. You can add different levels once students get comfortable with this. For example, you can add “EEK!” where a select number of students can say “EEK” and turn the direction of the zoom and send it the other way around the circle.


On a computer, the goal of this game would be to remember who has already received a zoom and who you sent the zoom to. For example, to start the game, you have everyone put their hand up. You send the zoom to someone with their hand up by saying their name and then, “Zoom!” once they have received and sent a zoom, they put their hand down. Once everyone has received a zoom, you could try it again (in the same order as a challenge!) and see if you could make it go faster!

Strong Person, Hula Girl, Pirate

The purpose of this game is to give students three words and actions that they have to do in order to match with their partner. The example is “Strong person” (show your muscles), “Hula Girl” (Dance like the hula), and “Pirate” (cover one eye). You could easily change these to go with other themes or academic areas, for example, punctuation symbols, equation symbols, or other vocabulary from content areas.

You show students the three motions and then everyone says the words and does the motions at the same time. After repeating the motions, students, who have been standing back to back with their partners, then jump in front of their partner and choose one motion. If they make a match, then they find a new partner. If they don’t, then they do it again until they do match.

In a socially distant classroom, you don’t need to have students standing back to back. You simply need to have students know who their partner is and where to look. For example, you could have students play with someone sitting at a desk across from them.

On a computer, you could play by assigning students partners to look at on the screen. After every round, ask who has matched and needs a new partner. Then you reassign partners. You can play as long as you like!

Apple, Banana, Strawberry

Again, you can use any three words for this game, but in this example the words are apple, banana, and strawberry. These words represent a movement. For example, apple means jump forward, banana means jump backwards, and strawberry means do a spin. You call out the words and students have to follow the movements. You can also let students take turns calling out the commands.

Simon Says

A classic! And easy to replicate socially distanced or on the computer. You call out a command and students have to follow it, only if you have said, “Simon Says” at the beginning of the command. If you don’t say it, then students shouldn’t follow the command. You can play where students get out if they don’t listen correctly, but I like to just continue playing, saying simply, “but Simon didn’t say!”

Conclusion

There are lots of fun greetings and activities that can be adapted to a digital or socially distanced classroom! I’ve included my favorites and go-to choices to help with the start of your school year! Let me know which ones are your favorites!

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Emma Hayes

There I was in a hot yoga studio with plenty of bright natural light and bending myself into pretzel like positions for the very first time.

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