Cross the Room—Activity

A Fun and Simple Way for Students to Learn What They Have in Common With Classmates

free activity, social emotional learning, second step

Grades K-5

It’s back to school time! Soon—if not already—your classes will be brimming with new faces ready to take on the school year. Some students may already be fast friends. Others haven’t shared a classroom before. And there’s always someone new to the school, who may be a little nervous to meet new people. This early elementary activity is from our Second Step Program and is a fun and easy way to help students get to know each other better and find out what they have in common.

Help your students start their year out right with this simple activity. Here’s what to do.


Have students stand in two lines on either side of the room.


  1. Listen to the statement I make.
  2. If the statement is just like you, cross the room without touching anyone else and find an empty spot to stand in.
  3. Notice who else is crossing the room at the same time.


  1. Make a statement:

“If you have a pet, cross the room.”

Then, add or change the statements from the list below to reflect your students’ lives.

  1. Students cross the room if the statement applies to them.
  2. Students notice who else is crossing the room.
  3. Every two or three rounds, have students stop, then call on one or two students at random to name someone who is like them:

making-friends-cross-the-room-activity“Name two people who have a pet.”

Students who crossed the room can name themselves and another person.

  1. Say:

“We played this game so we can get to know each other and see all the ways we are alike. Knowing ways you are alike can help you make new friends.”

  1. Make a statement about positive behaviors you noticed, such as following directions and taking turns:

“I noticed _______________________ during the game. This helps us all have fun.”


Possible Statements

Have a pet

Speak Spanish

Like to jump rope

Have a little sister


Like to dance

Like to play tetherball

Like to do arts and crafts

Read comic books


Collect stickers

Like to listen to music

Like to eat oranges

Have traveled to another state

Teachers: Be sure to participate yourself so students can learn about you too.


  • This game is a great tool for helping you learn more about your students. Students show increased effort in class activities when teachers take an interest in their lives.


Have students suggest statements.


Like this activity?

We’re adding more FREE Second Step Program activities to our blog all the time. They’re easy to find—just visit and search “Activity.”

Learn more about social-emotional learningresearch on the topic, and how it benefits students in the classroom, at home, and in their lives.