Holy last-minute-lesson-plan, Batman! The first week of school is upon us!
While you’re introducing your shiny new curriculum for the new school year, why not help students get to know each other (and you) in your class and break the ice.
Kami’s Icebreaker games are a fun way to spend the first day of school doing just that.
This blog includes a few party games for different age groups; enjoy!
For younger students
For five and six-year-olds who are new to sitting still, it’s a good idea to keep games simple. Games that get them moving around and burning energy are usually the best choice.
- This or that —This game helps young students identify who else in the class has similar tastes to them. All you need to do is ask a list of questions that have “this or that” answers – “cats or dogs”, “chocolate or ice cream”, “math or English” — then have your students run to whichever side you point to for each answer. As an alternative you can play would you rather and ask your students which they would choose between two funny options. For example, “would you rather have hands for feet, or feet for hands?” or “would you rather have unlimited chocolate forever or be able to fly for one day?”.
- Hot potato favorites— This is an excellent opportunity to get all your students in the class to speak. Write a few categories on the board. Use a bean bag and pass it around the room to music. When the music stops, the child holding the bean bag speaks and has to divulge their favorite from any category. Some ideas are animals, ice-cream flavors, movies, and such.
- Name Game — Essentially Duck Duck Goose, in this game, one student who is “it” walks around the outside of the circle. Instead of saying “duck”, they name each child as they go round. If they can’t remember a student’s name they say “you’re it!” instead and run back to their seat. This is a great game to play later in the first week of school to see how well your students are remembering each other. It also provides a great opportunity for you, the educator, to observe which children might struggle to make new connections.
For middle school
Middle schoolers still have energy but can cope with more challenging games, so these games are a mix of movement and thinking.
- Find out about bingo — This game encourages your students to become more confident in asking questions. For this game, you’ll need a set of bingo cards with statements that could apply to the student or their family members. Your students will then go and talk to others in the class and find another student who can complete one of their bingo squares. When a student completes a line they can shout “bingo!”. You could make your own or use our template from the Kami Library.
- Beach ball questions — Blow up a large beach ball and write a question on each panel. Have your class stand in a circle and throw the ball between them. When students catch the ball, they must answer the question on the panel facing them.
- Line up — In this game, students need to work together to find out information about each other. Choose a question to ask the class and then get them to arrange themselves in corresponding order. Examples include which month their birthday is or the alphabetical order of their names. For extra difficulty, get them to do it without talking.
For high school
You can be a little more creative with icebreaker activities for older kids. Teens might be reluctant to share information for the first time, so it helps if you start by answering these yourself as an example.
- Two truths and a lie — This is a great game to see how creative and convincing your new students can be. Each person takes turns to say three statements about themselves. They must say two true things and then make up a lie. The rest of the class must work out the lie. You can either get people to vote by a show of hands or get everyone to write their choice down on a piece of paper and then see who gets the most right at the end.
- Scavenger hunt — This game helps your students work in small groups to learn more about the class or the school and get to know each other. Create a set of clues on index cards to areas of your classroom or school and add a question the students need to answer when they find the right place. This is especially helpful for students who are just learning to move throughout the day for different subjects.
All About Me: Worksheets
Feel free to let the students in your class fill in the fab printable All About Me sheet from the Kami Library. These sheets are a great reminder of a child’s favorite things and some of the things they do outside of school. You can then put them on the classroom walls for the first few weeks. For high school students, you might want to ask them more general questions that allow them to answer more descriptively. For younger children, break out the crayons and construction paper and get them to draw their favorite things, or try the Emoji Summer Vacation printable.
This is just a taste of all the great games and topics that we have in the Kami Library. If you take a moment to browse through it, you’ll be sure to find something that helps you and your students break the ice. So, have a great first week back at school, superheroes!