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5 transition day activities for teachers

5 transition day activities for teachers

You’ll be meeting your class-to-be this term for the first time, and whether you’re a seasoned teacher or an ECT, having some engaging transition activity ideas up your sleeve is always helpful.

Now, if you’re looking for transition activity ideas that are classroom-based, this is not the article for you. In this article, we consider how to get children active during transition sessions.

Why should you choose an outdoor transition activity?

When the children join you for real in September, you can bring out the classroom-based transition activities. These will help you gauge their academic learning abilities and areas of strength and development.

But, before all that, what other skills and attributes are important to know about your new class?

  • Who displays fantastic leadership potential
  • Who would rather follow a strong leader
  • Any hidden athletic interests or talents
  • How your class work together as a group
  • Levels of fitness across the class

And what is the best way to learn all of this vital information? Get outside and play some active games.

Let’s look at some of our favourite transition activity ideas.

Outdoor transition activity ideas for primary school

Octopus tag

Depending on the size of your new class, you can play a whole-class game of octopus tag or split into 2 or 3 smaller games (especially if you have any additional support with you).

This game can show you children who have tactics in this style of game and how the children interact with each other in a competitive environment (you can also see who might find these games a challenge and adapt your next transition activity accordingly).

  1. Section off your ‘ocean’ using cones or using the space available if you are in a contained multi-use games area (MUGA).
  2. Decide who the octopus (or octopi if you’d like more!) will be. They will stand in the middle of the space, and the other children (the fish) will have to try to get to safety on the other side.
  3. When you blow the whistle the fish will swim to the other side, aiming to not get caught by the octopus.
  4. If they are caught, they can either join the octopus as tentacles and tag the remaining fish, or they can become crabs that can only pivot on one foot from where they are tagged.
  5. The last fish standing (or swimming) becomes the next octopus.

Seated volleyball

Inclusive playgrounds include games that can be easily adapted to meet all pupils’ cognitive, physical, and emotional needs. For example, adapting fast-paced running games like volleyball or tennis can challenge children to use different skills.

This transition activity idea turns competitive traditional games like volleyball, tennis, netball, or basketball on their heads. It relies on team communication, listening, and tactics far more. Seated volleyball can help all children join in regardless of how fast they may be —it can be an eye-opener for those with budding leadership skills.

Team games

For a classroom to run smoothly, all pupils must work together, which is no easy feat! Starting as you mean to go on with effective communication, empathy, and patience for others with a team game during your transition sessions helps to set out your expectations for September.

You may want to use some resources you already have in your PE cupboard, or make the most of your PE and Sports Premium Funding before the July deadline.

Here are some ideas for transition activities that involve teamwork:

  • Crossing the river (use equipment like crates, planks of wood and hula hoops to get from point A to point B safely).
  • Unbreakable chain (all children hold hands and try to pass a hula hoop around the circle without breaking hands- it can be interesting to give them some communication tips and then time them on their first and second go!)

Sensory circuits

We all have eight sensory systems; some of us may be hyper (over-sensitive) or hypo (under-sensitive) to any or a few of the sensory systems. Giving children sensory circuits to complete during your transition activity time can help them notice those who support others, listen to instructions well and enjoy the sensory feedback.

Looking for easy sensory circuit ideas? We have a blog for that!

Diamond cricket

Think of diamond cricket as a hybrid between cricket and rounders. Once you understand the rules (there are help sheets available), your new class can enjoy learning a new game whilst all having a job and minimise the time standing around.

  1. Set up your area (you’ll need four bases, four bats and a ball).
  2. Split the class into groups of 4 players (if you have a larger class, you can make it work with more bases!). One team will bat, and one will field—like rounders.
  3. Any bowler can bowl to any batter. When the batter hits a bowled ball, the whole batting team runs anti-clockwise to their next base. You can encourage the children to keep a score of how many runs they make. If their bowl is caught, they remain in, but their run won’t be counted.

Image taken from


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