We all know that we need to start the year off with some activities to help get to know our students, for our students to get to know each other, and to build a classroom community. If you are like me, the word ice-breakers can often bring out a strong eye-roll and a big sigh. So often, ice-breakers for students end up being uncomfortable and just something we need to get through to move onto the next thing.
They don’t have to!
Here are some of my favorite ice-breakers for students of all ages. Find something that you are comfortable with because the more comfortable you are, the more fun it will be for everyone!
Tarp flip challenge
While standing on top of a completely open tarp, the group must create a plan to get everyone on the opposite side of the tarp without anyone stepping off. The size of the tarp should be defined by the number of individuals in the group.
Build a boat
As an ice-breaker challenge, have students build boats out of cardboard, tape and whatever other supplies you give them. . Then, the groups must put their creation to the test!
First, draw a category from a hat (i.e. color). Then, have students race to see who can make a group of four to five the fastest based on a similarity within that category (i.e. they are all wearing blue)
Line it Up
See how fast your group can get into an alphabetical line based on their names.
Two truths and a lie
Each member of a team writes down three “facts” about themselves, two truths and one lie. The members of the team then take turns sharing their three statements with the wider team, who each guess which one is the lie.
Marshmallow and toothpick challenge
Divide students into groups of equal numbers. Pass out an equal number of marshmallows and wooden toothpicks to each group. Challenge the groups to create the tallest, largest, or most creative structure in a set amount of time, each member taking turns doing the actual building. Afterward, have each group describe what they made.
Candy Ice-Breaker Game
Students select 5 pieces of candy (m’n’m or skittles). Each color is associated with a fact about themselves which they will introduce to the others. (They don’t know this until after they choose.) Some examples are; red= favorite hobby, yellow= their favorite thing to do on the weekend.
The students are broken up into groups and each group gets a small piece of a picture. As a group they need to come to a unanimous decision on what the picture is.
Instruct the students that they will be answering the questions and designing their own superhero logo. Give them a pool of shared art supplies and blank paper to get started on their logo. After five minutes, go around the room inviting each student to share their logo and answers to the questions.
- Which typical superpower would you most like to have?
- Which typical superpower would you least like to have?
- What is a superpower you have never heard of a fictional superhero having that you would like to have?
- What would you call yourself with this atypical superpower?
When I’m grown up
Students will share what they think life will look like when they are big. Take advantage of young students’ active imaginations, let them create what they think the world will look like when they are adults. They can draw, build with legos, create a story, or just make a list of the things they think their life will look like in twenty years and then share with the class.