5 Icebreakers for the Beginning of School

The start of a new school year can be daunting for students (and teachers!), so we've put together 5 icebreaker activities that will help you get your school year off to a great start!

These icebreaker activities require very little preparation and few or no supplies, and you can make them as long or short as your classroom schedule allows. The goal of these icebreakers is to get your students talking to you and to each other and to help them become comfortable in their new classroom environment. If you like these beginning-of-school activities, or if you have your own you'd like to share with our teaching community, please share your feedback in the comments section below.

Animal Noises Activity

This activity is perfect for students in kindergarten or first grade. And no before-hand preparation or supplies are needed! 

All you have to do is choose a couple of "noisy" animals, such as monkeys, lions, elephants, cows, or horses, and assign each student an animal by whispering the animal name so that only he or she can hear. 

The object of the game is for each student to find his or her "animal family" without using any words, just by making the noise of that animal. 

Students will find other students in their animal families and stand with them in a group. 

Then, once all your students have found a group, you can have each animal family shout out their animal name and make their animal's noise all together. 

This activity is sure to get your students giggling and grinning from ear to ear! It's the perfect combination of silly fun and problem solving. 


A Tangled Web Activity

Here's a clever activity that's suitable for students in first or second grade. All you need for this activity is a ball of yarn. 

Arrange your students' chairs in a circle so that everyone is facing each other. 

Decide what question your students are going to answer during the game. For example, "What is your favorite ice cream flavor?"

The first student to answer the question will hold a ball of yarn. After answering, he or she will toss the ball of yarn to another student in the circle while holding onto the string at the end. That student will answer the same question, then pass the yarn ball to another student, while still holding onto the string. 

The end result, when every student has taken a turn, will be a "spider web" of tangled yarn, extending from student to student. 

This is a great hands-on game that will set a welcoming, fun tone at the beginning of the school year. 


Beach Ball Questionnaire 

We think your second or third grade students are really going to enjoy this activity! You will need a beach ball and a Sharpie marker to write questions on the beach ball. 

Fill up the beach ball with "getting-to-know-you" type questions such as "How many brothers and sisters do you have?" "What's your favorite food to eat for dinner?" or "What's your favorite animal?"

When it comes time to play the game, have your students stand in a circle, and choose a student to begin the game by tossing the beach ball to him or her. Whichever question the students' thumb (you can choose left or right) lands on is the question he or she must answer. Then the student will toss the ball to another student until everyone has had a chance to answer a beach ball question.

You can decide how many rounds you'd like the kids to make with the beach ball. Everyone can answer one, two, or even three questions. Whatever you decide, your new class is sure to have a ball!


Which Is Better? 

Here's a great game for you to do with your third or fourth grade class. No supplies are needed for this icebreaker activity. 

Choose a topic that will divide your students into two categories, and pose it as a question, such as "Which animals make better pets: cats or dogs" or "Which season is more fun: summer or winter?"

Depending on how they answer the question, your students will go to either one side of the room or another. For example, students who think summer is more fun will go stand on the right side of the classroom while students who think winter is more fun will go stand on the left side of the classroom. 

Then, instruct your students to discuss with their classmates who went to the same side of the room why they chose the option they did. 

This activity is fun for students because they can quickly find other classmates who have some of the same interests. 

You can repeat this exercise with as many topics as you'd like. Basically, this icebreaker is a great conversation-starter for kids and will have them opening up to share with like-minded students. 


Toilet Paper Game

This activity is sure to be a hit with your fourth or fifth graders! All you need for this icebreaker exercise is a couple rolls of toilet paper. 

Go around to each student and instruct them to take as many squares of toilet paper as they "think they'll need" for this activity. Some of your students will take only a few squares, while others will take many more. 

After everyone has taken their supplies for the activity, reveal to them the reason they are holding the toilet paper: each square represents one fun fact your students will share about themselves with the class! 

This is a great way to get students talking and having fun in the classroom! 


Now It's Your Turn...

Tell us: did you like these icebreaker activities for the beginning of school? Have you tried any of them already? How about sharing your own icebreaker activities that you like to use at the start of a new school year? Please share with us in the comments section below!

Also, check out the Super Teacher Worksheets Back to School Page for lots of great printable resources to get your school year off to a great start! 

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