I figure that what I shared would be useful to many more members of the playmeo community, so here’s a summary of the key parts of my response:
First, simply relying on the typical approach to this situation (ie just wait until most if not all of the group have arrived) is just plain lazy and smacks of not knowing what else to do.
As discussed here, unofficial starts – as I like to call them – are any strategies (not just games) that facilitate early engagement and amplify the productivity and purpose of your program.
Note, unofficial starts are not just useful at the start of your program but can be implemented at any time the opportunity for disengagement is high, eg straight after lunch, or a long break, etc.
So, if I was faced with the same circumstances, here are just a few ideas I would design and deliver (all of these ideas can be found in the playmeo database:)
I hope this was useful and instructive to you, too.
What fun ideas do you know and use that would productively engage a group of students arriving slowly?