12 Fun Back-to-School Activities for Math and Reading

It’s that time again! As you settle back into your routines and start getting to know your new students, we’ve curated a wide variety of activity themes to help you start the year off right. From afternoons at the dog park to carnivals and (cat) block parties, there’s a little summer nostalgia (and some back-to-school wake-up calls) for everyone in these online math and reading games.

As always, you are welcome to try any of these activities for free on our website. If you’re already an active eSparker, you can directly assign Small Group Skills to supplement your lessons and see which students have mastered the concepts and which need more help. If not, we encourage you to sign up for an account today and see just how easy it is to introduce eSpark’s playful personalization to your classroom.

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Deacon’s Dog Park

A dog in a dog park with various items accompanied by letters strewn about the grass.

Oh no, Deacon lost all his toys at the dog park this summer! In this reading game, students will help him collect his belongings by identifying uppercase letters after they are spoken aloud.

Cats in Hats

A carnival game featuring cats wearing hats.

  • Skill: Counting objects

The circus is in town, and that means a whole lot of eye-catching games, rides, and flashing lights. In this math game, kindergarteners count objects from 1-10, then try placing hats on fast-moving cats as a reward.

1st Grade

Moving Words

A young boy standing near a house and a moving truck, with a word and four image options in the foreground.

  • Skill: Decoding; blending sounds together and matching them to pictures

Do you have any new students who moved to the area over summer break? Help them settle in by packing their moving vans with objects they sound out by blending phonemes to make words.

Ant Addition

Two ants in a back yard looking at an addition problem with base ten blocks.

From busy sidewalks to playgrounds, yards, and driveways, our ant friends have a way of making themselves at home just about anywhere. In this game, first graders use base ten blocks to perform simple addition with two-digit numbers.

2nd Grade

Spin to Win

A game show-style spinning wheel with different point options and an arcade in the background.

Arcades are like mini-wonderlands for many second graders, between the flashing lights, throw-back games, and the pure dopamine rush that comes with cashing in a long string of tickets at the end of a visit. In this phonics game, students earn spins for tickets by correctly identifying hard and soft consonant sounds.


The perfect fit for students who are struggling to fall back into their bedtime and wake-up routines for the new school year. Kids will be singing along to this groovy time-telling tune from the world-famous Minute Monsters.

3rd Grade

Voice Actor Academy

A panda bear stands in a film cell next to a brief script. Three audio icons appear in the foreground.

In this unique activity, students are the judges in a voice acting audition. They’ll listen to multiple script readings, then choose the one that sounds the most natural, well-paced, and expressive as they continue to re-tune any rusty reading voices from summer break.

Pet City

A game scene featuring two colorful buildings and three empty spots where more buildings can go.

In this classic city-building practice game, students work with double-digit division problems to earn coins and build their Pet City from the ground up. The more accurate they are, the more coins they get, making this a fun way to build on their math skills.

4th Grade

Camp Kookaburra

An illustrated story page featuring a comprehension question at the bottom of the screen.

A great conversation starter with some built-in, standard-aligned prompts. Students accompany Felix the unicorn on his Camp Kookaburra summer adventure, then make inferences based on what the text says.

The Triangle Tango

  • Skill: Classify equilateral, isosceles, and scalene triangles based on sides and angles

The latest addition to our eSpark music library, The Triangle Tango takes kids on a colorful, sing-along geometry journey. They’ll never forget how to classify triangles once they get this song stuck in their heads for the first time.


5th Grade

Making Connections Between What We Think & Do

  • Skill: Explain the relationship or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a nonfiction text
  • Assign the Small Group Skill

Math Canyon

A boy stands at the edge of a chasm between two mountains, with a long division problem below him.


Welcome back, teachers!

We hope you’re looking forward to another year of curiosity, exploration, and the individual success stories that make it all worth it. As always, eSpark is here to help you bring playfully personalized learning to your lessons through our independent student Quests and teacher-assigned Small Group Skills.

If you aren’t already eSparking, consider this your invitation to learn more about our student-centered approach to learning, including the all-new, AI-powered reading activity, Choice Texts. Stay tuned for more exciting updates throughout the school year!


Additional resources

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