The first few days of a new school year can be a turbulent time for students and teachers alike. Icebreaker activities serve several purposes: they allow teachers to get to know students better, they help students develop friendships, and they help alleviate those first-day jitters.
Give students a few minutes to plan ahead for this activity. Ask them to think about their goals or hopes for the school year and write down or draw what they’ve come up with. Then, seat students in a circle and have them take turns sharing their goals with the group. This activity can be turned into a “clouds of hope” project: cut out their written or illustrated goals in the shape of clouds and hang them from the ceiling, where kids can refer to them for inspiration throughout the year.
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
Combine an art lesson with an icebreaker in this fun activity. Have kids draw a picture of their favorite thing they did over the summer, like a fishing trip, a family vacation, or a visit from grandma. No writing allowed, and no names on the paper. Collect the drawings, shuffle the stack, and hand the pictures out randomly. Have each child describe to the class what they think the picture is about. Then, the artist will say whether the guesser was correct and tell the class more about the special event depicted.
Solve the Puzzle
This activity is a variation on TeachHub’s “Meet Your Match” icebreaker game. Take a picture of the whole class, print it out on card stock, and then cut it into a puzzle with as many pieces as there are students. Give each student a puzzle piece and have them go around the room and try to find someone whose piece fits into their piece. For each person they talk to, they have to share one unique thing about themselves. When they get a match, they have to remember what their partner shared and tell that fact to the next person they try to match with.
Icebreaker activities are fun for kids and a useful tool for teachers. They may even help identify which students would work well together and which students would be best kept separated.
Check out five additional Meaningful Activities for the First Day of School here.
What are some of your favorite icebreaker activities? We’d love to hear about them!