10 Powerful Transition to Middle School Activities

The end of elementary school is a special time indeed. 

Fifth graders are entering a more independent phase in their school lives, and it’s a milestone for sure.

However, while there may be optimism in the air, there may also be a hint of stress or anxiety as elementary students transition to middle school. 

That’s where these transition to middle school activities come in.

The purpose of these activities is to alleviate some of the anxiety and stress that comes with moving to a completely new school setting. 

Whether you seek middle school transition games or transition activities for middle school students with disabilities, this list has ideas that can be modified to suit your needs.

Transition to Middle School Activities

Here you will find 5th to 6th-grade transition activities that set students up for success.

1. Host a “Transition to Middle” Summer Picnic.

Invite the upcoming sixth graders to a summer picnic where they and their families will have an opportunity to chat, get to know one another, ask questions, and release anxiety about what’s to come.

Students will have the chance to make new friends who are in the same situation. 

Host the picnic on school grounds and ideally have administrators, counselors, and teachers there to welcome the families.

2. Set SMART Goals.

To help fifth graders get into the right mindset about middle school, it may be a good idea for them to write some personal and academic SMART goals.  

  • What academic goals do they want to accomplish next school year? 
  • Are there any areas in which they need to improve?
  • What new skills would they like to learn?

For inspiration, see middle school SMART goal examples.

3. Organize a Pep Rally.

One of the most engaging transition to middle school activities is a pep rally. 

Have all the upcoming middle schoolers gather in the gym or auditorium, and rev up their spirits with a fun-filled pep rally.

Consider inviting student ambassadors who are currently in middle school to help welcome and discuss with the new students some aspects of middle school life. 

4. Warm-Up With Ice Breakers.

If you’re seeking middle school transition activities that are more personal in nature, consider scheduling blocks of time where small groups of upcoming and current middle school students gather to become acquainted with one another.

New middle school students will feel more comfortable in a new setting if they recognize familiar faces.

This activity serves that purpose well. 

5. Participate In a Field Trip.

Whether you call it a field trip, school tour, or scavenger hunt, the purpose is the same…for students to become acquainted with their new environment. 

This activity is great for both students and parents because it reduces worry. 

Students have the opportunity to visit lockers, classrooms, the cafeteria, and other key areas in the school. 

Parents may want to ask questions about scheduling, events, lunch breaks, etc. 

Administrators, counselors, and teachers can work together to organize a great experience for students. 

transition to middle school activities
transition to middle school activities

6. Exchange Letters With a Pen Pal.

If you’re seeking unique transition to middle school activities, this one is a good fit.

Pair current middle school students with upcoming middle schoolers. 

The older students will answer questions asked of them and share valuable tips. 

They will also be the ones to send the first letter, giving upcoming students basic information about the school.

Encourage pairs to exchange letters multiple times in order to build a connection and maybe even a friendship. 

Letter topic ideas include learning study skills, favorites, and secrets for success. 

7. Bond During Summer Camp.

Host a fun summer camp during the school break. 

This is yet another opportunity for students and parents to bond with other families who are experiencing the same reality. 

A summer camp ambiance makes things feel more relaxed, helping families to feel less stressed about this new transition in life.

Offer a variety of team-building activities and spark engaging discussions such as ice breakers in order for participants to warm up to each other. 

This event is sure to alleviate some of the anxiety that comes with transitioning to middle school.

If possible, distribute a survey at the conclusion of the camp in order to gather feedback from parents and students. 

This will help to improve the event each year. 

8. Journal.

This list of transition to middle school activities would not be complete without including journaling. 

Journaling is an individual activity that helps students process and express their thoughts. 

This will be very appropriate as fifth-graders transition to middle school. They may need to release their fears but also express their optimism. 

Encourage upcoming 6th graders to journal regularly.

9. Put On “Transition to Middle” School Expo.

For a more formal event, host a school expo for upcoming middle school students and their parents. 

The purpose of this activity is to help students understand the organization of the school.

  • What sports and clubs are offered?
  • Which electives can sixth-graders take?
  • What extracurricular activities are offered after school?
  • Is there tutoring available?

Booths set up to answer questions such as this will be very helpful. 

10. Discuss Friends and Faves.

Make videos part of your transition to middle school activities.

Schedule a time for upcoming middle schoolers to hear the favorite experiences of former fifth graders who have successfully transitioned to middle school.

Take a listen to their inspiring transition to middle school stories

Transition to Middle School Activities: Frequently Asked Questions

As fifth graders transition to middle school, parents and students may have many questions. 

Following are some common questions students and parents may want to know:

  • How many classes will I take every day?
  • What are the school hours?
  • How long is each class period?
  • What key school events do I need to know about?
  • Are textbooks online?
  • Is there during or after-school tutoring?
  • What is the consequence of tardies?
  • How much time is there between classes?
  • What’s the dress code?
  • When I am absent, what specifically do I need to do upon my return?
  • Is there a study skills class offered?
  • What happens if I need additional academic support?

Final Thoughts On Transition to Middle School Activities

Going from elementary to middle school need not be a nerve-wracking process. 

Make the transition a smooth one for parents and students by offering one or several of these elementary-to-middle school transition activities.

The effort put into doing so will be well worth it.