Back-to-School Bus Games You Need to Know for Field Trips
By Michael Masone August 21, 2017
The only thing more exciting for kids than getting out of school for the summer is going back to school to meet all their old friends, as well as the chance to make some new ones. There’s a buzz in the air for the first couple days of classes with everyone wearing their new back-to-school clothes and sharing summer break stories—but nothing beats the first class field trip on the school bus!
Though kids might be excited to make new friends, it can also be a bit intimidating. Back to school time in the Fall can be especially terrifying for children going to a new school because they don’t know anyone yet. Once they break the ice, they’ll find that there are so many interesting kids to befriend. All it takes is a fun game to bring kids together.
To make things easy for students and to give even the shyest kids the chance to make a new best friend this school year, use these eight icebreaker games once you get everyone on the school bus for the class’s first field trip.
#1 Find Your Pair
The game Find Your Pair is a classic way to mix things up with kids, especially for big groups where most of them don’t know each other.
For this game, kids pick a name (other than their own) from a hat. They are then paired up with that classmate for the entire field trip.
A funny twist to this classic is using shoes. Instead of drawing names, students are given their field trip buddy’s shoe and then have to figure out who this new friend is.
#2 Name Bingo
Name Bingo is a great way to get kids to talk to everyone as they hunt down clues to fill their board.
Before getting on the bus for the field trip, teachers create bingo sheets with fun descriptors in each square, such as: has been to Disneyland, owns more than two dogs, is new at our school, and so on.
Once the bus is in motion, the teacher reads clues out loud. If the clue describes a student, they put up their hand and say their name, so everyone can write it down on their board. The first person to complete the bingo card and match the series of names to faces wins!
#3 Two Truths and a Tale
This is a fun back-to-school bus game because it gives kids the chance to get to know each other and put their imagination to work. Each student makes three statements about themselves. Two of them must be true, while one isn’t.
For example: I am new to this school. My Mom is in the US Army. My favorite color is Red.
Once a student makes their statements, the rest of the group must vote on which statement is a tall tale.
To play this one on the bus, it’s best to keep students in small groups working with those in seats across the aisle from them.
#4 Kiss the Kids
Once everyone is in their seat, ask them a question, such as: Did you go camping this summer?
Everyone who can answer “yes”, raises their hand and receives a Hershey’s Kiss. They then must keep their hands up for the following rounds of questions.
Everyone’s hand must be raised in order to make it possible to start again from the beginning.
#5 Get to Know You Hangman
This game requires a few more props than most back-to-school bus games, but it is worth the effort of bringing along a dry erase board.
Have students take turns writing down a word that is connected to them in one way or another, such as the name of their dog, their favorite food, and so on. Then, have them pass these pieces of paper up to you at the front of the bus.
Lines are then drawn on the board for each letter in the word. The kids begin to guess letters in an attempt to figure out the word. If a letter is correctly guessed, it is put in the proper blank spot on the board. If it is not, another piece of the hangman is drawn.
The goal is to guess the word before a whole person is drawn. Either way, at the end of the round, the student has to share why they selected the word.
#6 Candy Game
Distribute several different kinds of candy to the kids – enough so that each student can have five pieces. Students can be given all of the same type of candy or a mixture!
Here’s the hard part: they can’t eat it yet!
Next, hold up a board explaining what students must share to eat each type of candy.
For example: Snickers means the student has to tell the bus their favorite summer memory.
To keep things simple, you might opt to only use M&Ms (or Skittles), using different colors for different meanings.
#7 License Plate Name Game
In this game, children are on the lookout for letters on the back of a license plate where the first letter matches the first name of someone in the class and the last letter matches the first letter of the last name of someone in the class.
To make things even easier, put everyone’s name at the front of the bus on a whiteboard. When two kids are matched by a license plate, they must raise their hands and share something about their summer.
#8 Can You Guess Who I Interviewed
Students interview their seatmate on the bus and then write four sentences describing them based on the answers without using any names or physical descriptions.
These are then all passed forward to the head of the bus, where you read them out loud. After reading all four sentences of one student’s interview, the class then tries to guess who it’s about.
Though you might need to prepare for these games a bit ahead of time, the first class field trip is going to be a great way to break the ice and help students make friends. Once the ice is broken, check out these 7 Super Creative Field Trip Games for Kids for the next class trip!
Need a bus for your back-to-school field trip? Busbank has got you covered with several different types of transportation. If the standard school bus will do, get in touch for information about booking.
Any favorite bus games that didn’t make our list? Tell us about them on Twitter by tweeting us at @BusBank!