Hands up if you’re searching for some fun, new ‘getting to know you’ classroom activities or icebreakers for kids? Those first weeks spent with a new group of students are so important in setting up your expectations for the year. And, this doesn’t just mean your behavior expectations, even though they are crucial! It’s a time when your kids will begin to understand the value of knowing a little bit about each and every other student in their class.
Icebreaker games are also a great way for you to begin learning about the different personalities in your new class. They will help you to see which kids are leaders and which may prefer to sit back. You can also plan fun activities that help you to informally assess how each of your new students is faring in terms of specific knowledge or skill development.
12 Fun Icebreaker Games and Activities for Kids
Here are some fantastic icebreakers for kids and ‘getting to know you’ activities for the classroom. Some of which are included in our “Icebreaker Game Cards”.
Two Truths and a Lie
This game is a classic (and fairly addictive) icebreaker for kids that can be played as a whole class or in small groups.
- Each person in the class comes up with three statements about themselves. Two true statements and one false. Some students may find it easiest to write these down.
- In turn, each student presents their statements for the rest of the class to determine which statement they think is false.
Some different ways to play this game are:
- to have the entire class vote on which statement they think is false
- have each student write down which statement they think is false and see who gets the most correct.
Beach Ball Icebreaker Game
The Beach Ball Icebreaker game is another classic and FUN way for you to get to know your students, and for your students to get to know each other!
- Use a permanent marker to write a question on each panel of a blow-up beach ball.
- Standing or sitting in a circle, students throw or roll the ball to someone else in the circle.
- When students receive the ball, they answer the question that is facing them. Then they pass or roll the ball to someone else.
This game can be so easily tailored to suit the context of your classroom, or the time of year. You could prepare a variety of beach balls to bring out for brain breaks too!
For example, with a new class, you may write some more basic getting to know you questions such as “What is your favorite thing to do on the weekend?”. Returning from holidays with a class you already know you may write different questions like “If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?”.
Another fun ‘get to know you’ game is human bingo!
Students each receive a copy of the human bingo playing card and move around the room to find a person who can answer “Yes!” to the statements on the grid. When they find someone who says “Yes!” they write that person’s name in the box. The first person to complete the grid and sit down is the winner.
All About Me Cube Games
This is a super fun, hands-on activity that can be used in different ways. Simply download and print the All About Me Cube Template and photocopy enough for every student in your class (and a few spares to go into any ‘new student packs’ you may have prepared for kids to join your class later in the year!). You may like to enlarge these to tabloid size for extra creative space and to make a fun display.
Here are a few different ways you could use the cubes to turn this craft activity into a group-sharing, icebreaker activity.
#1 Cube Clumps
- The teacher calls out one of the topics on the cube (e.g. birthday months, hair color, special places, favorite hobby).
- Students find all of the other people in the class who share that same month, characteristic, or interest and stand in a ‘clump’.
- For topics that leave students standing alone (i.e. they are the only person in their class with that birthday month, characteristic, or interest) use this as a way to highlight the amazing diversity and individuality in your class!
#2 Cube Mix
- Students complete all sides of the cube except for the name and self-portrait sides.
- Collect the cubes and mix up in a bag or box.
- Hand a cube out to each student making sure they don’t get their own cube.
- Students look at the cube they received and see if they can figure out who it belongs to.
#3 Cube Stack
In groups, students use the complete cubes to create 3-D sculptures or displays in your classroom by stacking cubes with the same face out.
- The name and birthday side can be used to create a birthday display by stacking all of the cubes from each month together.
- Stack the cubes with the portrait side facing out to make a 3-D sculpture.
- Use the “special people” or “special places” sides to create a display, or even to use as writing prompts throughout the year.
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) activities make fantastic icebreakers. It can also take some of the pressure off shy students who may feel uncomfortable with activities that focus on aspects of themselves and their own lives. STEM tasks help you to assess where your new students are at in terms of general knowledge and higher order thinking skill development. Additionally, you will be able to see how students work in groups which will help with classroom and behavior management planning.
Here are some great open-ended STEM tasks that your students can work on in small groups.
This set of STEM task cards for lower year students contains 22 different challenges that students can complete with commonly found and easily sourced materials. From creating the tallest button tower, to racing cars without using their hands, these activities are a super fun way to get kids engaging with their new peers.
This variation of ‘Duck, Duck, Goose’ is a great one to help new students remember each other’s names.
- Students sit in a circle with one person, “it”, standing on the outside.
- The person who is “it” walks around the circle, gently tapping each person on the head, saying that person’s name as they do (instead of saying “duck”).
- If the person who is “it” taps someone and says the class name instead (e.g. “Ms. Green’s class” instead of saying “goose”), the tapped person has to stand up and chase “it” around the circle trying to tag them before “it” takes their spot.
My Memory Matching Game
Another twist on a familiar classic, this is a great game for older students. In this game, students create their own cards to play a game of memory with a partner.
- Provide students with an even number of blank cardboard squares or rectangles that are all the same color and size. They will create two memory cards for every fact about themselves (i.e. To create 3 facts every student needs 6 cards. To create 5 facts, each student needs 10 cards.).
- On each pair of cards, students write or draw a fact about themselves. You may like to provide students with a list of prompts to help.
- When they have finished creating their ‘My Memory’ cards, students shuffle their cards with a partner and play a game of memory.
- Students can rotate to play with other new partners too.
Wipe That Smile Off Your Face
The title of this blog post said these games were fun, right? Well, this one is FUN!
- Students sit in a circle and the teacher chooses one person to start the game.
- That person smiles their widest, biggest, cheesiest smile at everyone else in the circle, trying to make them laugh. However, they must be silent, and cannot pull faces or be silly, all they can do is smile.
- For every person in the group who laughs at their smile, they receive one point.
- After they have smiled at everyone in the group, they ‘wipe’ the smile off their face with their hand and ‘pass’ the smile to the next person in the circle.