The beginning of the year is a time of new beginnings, and it’s essential for teachers to establish a positive, welcoming, safe, and comfortable foundation for all students from the first week of school.
One effective way to achieve this is by incorporating icebreaker games for students.
These games serve the purpose of breaking the ice, easing students’ anxiety, and promoting fun, interactive, and collaborative ways for students to get to know one another.
As a result, students will be ready to learn.
By implementing icebreaker games for students that are entertaining plus purposeful, teachers cultivate an environment that supports both social and academic growth.
Icebreaker Games for Students
1. Play Last Man Standing.
Last Man Standing is an enjoyable whole-class icebreaker game.
To start, all students stand up.
The teacher then shares a set of statements, and then any student sits if the statement is true for him or her.
“Has a dog”, “has traveled to another state”, “had perfect attendance last school year”, “speaks another language”, “has lived in another country, “etc.
The process continues with additional statements until only one student remains standing – the winner of the round.
Multiple rounds can be played to keep the fun going and allow students to learn more about each other.
2. Tell Two Truths and a Lie.
Each student will have a chance to share three statements about themselves: two truths and one lie.
The rest of the class will then attempt to guess which statement is the false one.
3. Connect With Human Bingo.
Create bingo cards with various traits or experiences (e.g., “Has a cat,” “Was born in the month of April,” “Has brown eyes”).
Students mingle with their classmates to find a peer who matches each phrase on their bingo card and have the person initialize inside the square.
4. Pass the Toilet Paper.
This is arguably one of the most hilarious icebreaker games for students.
To play, sit students in a circle. The teacher then passes around a roll of toilet paper.
Each student tears off as many squares of toilet paper as she/he wants.
After everyone has torn off some toilet paper squares, students share as many facts about themselves as the number of toilet paper squares they collected.
5. Do a Group Juggle.
This fun game helps students learn each other’s names.
Students stand in a circle and toss a soft object like a ball, a small bean bag, or a stuffed animal to one another while saying the name of the person to whom they are passing it.
6. Answer This or That Questions.
Arrange the students in a circle and ask a series of this or that questions.
Each student takes a turn going around the circle, providing her choice between the two options presented.
7. Represent With LEGOs.
If you seek original, hands-on icebreaker games for students, this one is a good option.
Give each student a handful of LEGOs.
Students will then individually create something from the LEGOS. This creation must represent something about themselves.
After about five minutes, every student has a few seconds to explain what her/his structure is and its significance.
8. Introduce Using Emojis.
Incorporate critical thinking into your collection of icebreaker games for students.
Assign each student an emoji, which will be printed on a card or projected on a screen.
During the introduction, students use only body language and facial expressions to communicate the emotion or action represented by the emoji they received.
9. Say It In 30 Seconds.
Each partner has 30 seconds to share his name, birthday, 2 likes, 2 dislikes, and 2 goals with his/her partner.
Upon hearing an ending signal, the partners switch, allowing the other to share her details.
Afterward, students rotate to find a new partner and repeat the process.
10. Take the M&M Challenge.
Have students sit in a circle.
Then pour a couple of bags of M&M candies into a bowl.
As the bowl is passed around the circle, each student pulls an M&M and answers a question based on the color of the M&M.
- Yellow M&M– What makes you happy?
- Red M&M – What makes you angry?
- Blue M&M– What saddens you?
- Green M&M – What kinds of things keep you healthy and energized?
- Brown M&M – Who or what keeps you grounded?
- Orange M&M – How do you keep your mind full of positivity?
11. Create a Name Chain.
Have students stand or sit in a circle.
The first student says her name and something she likes (e.g., “My name is Keisha, and I like art”).
The second student repeats the first person’s name along with her likes and then adds his own (e.g., “Her name is Keisha, and she likes art. My name is Eduardo, and I like soccer”).
Continue until every student has had a turn.
12. Play the Popcorn Game.
If you’re seeking icebreaker games for students that can be done outdoors, this one is a great option.
Get a hold of some popped popcorn for students.
Divide the class into two teams.
One student on each team will be the popcorn tosser. Everyone else will be catchers.
Now each team will line up, facing the tosser.
At the start signal, tossers from both teams try to throw one piece of popcorn to the first students in the lines.
Catchers must keep their hands behind their backs.
If the catcher is successful at getting a piece of popcorn to land in his mouth, the team gets a point. If not, no point is given.
The tosser goes to the next student, and the process continues until every student has had a chance to catch a piece of popcorn.
13. Play Beach Ball Toss.
Have students toss a beach ball amongst each other.
The one throwing asks an icebreaker question while the one catching answers it.
The process continues until every student has had an opportunity to ask and answer a question.
14. Match the Facts.
On a notecard, each student writes one cool fact about himself without revealing himself.
After everyone has written their fact, the teacher collects the cards and reads one anonymously to the class.
The students try to figure out who the mystery student is.
After students guess correctly, the teacher reads another card, and the game continues until all names have been revealed.
15. Play Four Corners.
Label four corners of the room with different categories (e.g., favorite season, favorite sport, favorite dessert, and favorite book genre).
The teacher announces a category, and then the students move to the designated corner that corresponds to their preference for that category.
Final Thoughts On Icebreaker Games for Students
Icebreaker games are a fantastic way to help students get to know each other, build connections, and create a positive learning environment.
Using these ideas, you’ll have more than enough icebreaker games for students to do at the beginning of the school year.
Embrace the spirit of fun, encourage students to participate, and make the most of these icebreaker activities to set the tone for a fantastic and successful academic year.