Back-to-School Icebreakers for Every Grade
Tired of the name game and classroom bingo? Here are some awesome classroom icebreakers sure to get your students excited about each other, and their new class!
Elementary school activities
Deserted Island Share-Out
Seat students in a circle. Tell the class to imagine that they’re stuck on a deserted island. To make it visual, project an image of an island on the board. Each person should share one object they would bring to the island and why. The item doesn’t have to be an item for survival. Encourage students to identify an item that’s important enough to them to bring. This game lets students share a bit about their interests and who they are!
Summer Vacation Postcards
Grab some card stock and print out some blank postcard templates. Ask students to draw a place they visited during their summer vacation — a park, Grandma’s house, a hotel. On the back, ask them to write about a summer memory associated with that place. Students can share their postcards, tell the class about their summer fun, and then put them up around the classroom!
The “Who’s In Our Class?” Puzzle
Create a word search puzzle with your students’ names and ask students to find them — all while learning each other’s names. Make it a competition between small groups and offer up fun little prizes for the table that finishes first, second, and third. Create your word search puzzle for free here.
Toilet Paper Fashion Challenge
Each team gets 2 rolls of toilet paper and/or crepe paper. Set a timer for 5 minutes and instruct students to design a toilet paper outfit on one student in the group. Play some fun music as students hustle to make their outfit! When the timer goes off, it’s time for the Fashion Show. Play some runway music and have each team’s model walk to show off the outfit without it falling off. The teacher can judge which team has the winning design!
Middle school activities
Beach Ball Question Toss
Blow up a beach ball and use a marker to write some get-to-know-you questions on it. Toss the ball around a circle of students. When someone catches it, the question that lands right in front of them is the one they should answer. Go a few rounds until everyone has answered a few questions! Added bonus: Ask students to say their name when they answer to encourage everyone to learn each other’s names. Like: “My name is and my favorite food is….”
Grab some Skittles and gather students in a circle. Students should blindly pick a Skittle from a bag and depending on what color they pick, they answer a corresponding question from a pre-made chart. For example, red skittles could represent their favorite movie or a country they dream of visiting. See this photo for color-coded question inspiration. If students can’t or don’t want to eat the Skittles, that’s no problem! You can also play this game with Legos or any colorful object!
“I Am” Poem
Get students writing and sharing with some “I Am” poems. Share a pre-made sheet like this to motivate students to write, reveal cool facts about themselves, and share who they are with the class. Poems can be displayed in class or stored away to be looked at again at the end of the year to see how much students have changed.
High school activities
Cell Phone Scavenger Hunt
We all know high school students love their phones, so why not incorporate devices into a fun game that gets students mingling and socializing in a tech-friendly way? Use this awesome scavenger hunt sheet that asks students to find things like selfies, photos of pets, and certain apps on their peers’ phones.
Would You Rather?
This game poses a dilemma with two choices that are usually both bad or funny. Laugh along with your students with questions like: “Would you rather lose your sense of taste or your sense of smell?” Download these free Would You Rather printables or ask students to create their own and get the fun started!
Oh Hi, Jenga
Using either a regular Jenga set or a giant one, write a question on each block. Sit in a circle and place the game in the middle. Play as a whole class, letting everyone get up to take turns. Each time someone removes a brick, they have to answer the question on the Jenga piece! Have fun as the tension mounts and eventually the tower falls!Tags: Back to School Season, Early Childhood and Elementary (Grades: PreK-5), Engaging Activities, High School (Grades: 9-12), Mid-Career Teacher, Middle School (Grades: 6-8), New Teacher, Veteran Teacher