Name Game For The First Day Of Class

I asked Stacey from Letters from Leaping Legs to share a name game idea for the first day of class. Enjoy!

One of the hardest things for me when I begin a new year of teaching is remembering all the children’s names . I like to use name tags on the first day. I want the children to feel like a know them and that they are welcome in the class. It is also easier to keep order and class flow when you are using names from the get go. (There is nothing worse than pointing to a child and saying “you.”) When I don’t know a child’s name I ask. I want everybody in my class to know that they are getting personal attention.

I have a name game I use the first day I teach a new class as well. I use this game with preschoolers all the way up to adult classes. (The adults are the most shy but they get into it as the game progresses.) This game is fun and is a lifesaver for me because I am notoriously bad at remembering names but am great at remembering movements. This game makes it easy for me to remember names because I attach the two together. It is a great way for kids to learn each other’s names as well. (Which is equally important.)

Here is the game:

1. Have your class stand in a circle. Start by saying your name and doing a movement along with your name. (It can be as simple as raising one arm in the air.) Then have your class repeat your name and gesture.

2. Next, have the child to your left say her name and do a movement. Then go back to the beginning. Have the class say your name while doing your movement and then the child who just went.

3. Each member of the class gets to add his or her name and movement to the class. Each time go back to the beginning and do the names and movements from the top. It can get pretty silly especially as you keep adding on.

4. This is a fun activity to break the ice. You might need to help a few children come up with movements. It doesn’t matter if the movement is a shoulder shrug, jump or a wrinkle of the nose. Let them know all movement matters.

5. When you meet for the second class start by doing this exercise again and see if everyone remembers each other’s names and movements!

What tools do you use to remember the names of your students? Please share your ideas!



  1. This game works wonders for a new class! I do this exact same ice breaker/game but use syllable’s.
    1-I start by saying my name “Ms-Cal-lie”
    2-Then clap out the syllables Ms-Cal-lie, I identify that my name has 3 syllable’s
    3-The entire class must clap & say my name all together.
    4-Come up with simple move for each syllable
    5-The class will practice all togeher that persons name
    6-Then we move on to next person, RPT steps 1-5, then same as as your game start from the beginning and add on any that have done steps 1-5 until we reach the end.

    Great for memory, understanding syllables, ice breaker, learning names, co dancers know each others names, creative for kids to make up own moves.

  2. My students always enjoy this game! Even the shy students get excited when it comes to their turn. I also play it with my older classes (9+) who in the beginning think its a little silly, but by the end are giggling when we try to do the whole class.

    With the older students, at the very end, we try to do everyone’s names as fast as we can go and then we try going backwards. It is a challenge for me as well! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  4. We do the same with a little twist ๐Ÿ™‚

    1234 come on (name) on the floor.
    (Child comes in the centre of the circle and does an action which others copy)
    We are so glad you are here..
    Hurry hurry hurry ( all shout out together – creates great energy in the room)

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