Icebreakers for Kids in Elementary and Middle School

Icebreakers bring plenty of opportunities for kids to connect and get to know each other. And isn't this what we want? Isn't this what the kids wish to also? Who wants to be in a class surrounded by strangers? Nobody wants to feel like they are alone.

Some students love getting to know their classmates through these interactive games. Other students may not be open to speaking to a stranger, let alone a group. A good icebreaker helps students warm up to the idea of sharing.

icebreaker ideas for elementary students

Benefits of Ice breakers

  1. Connection. Connecting with a person is a fundamental trait in human beings. Some people connect better in person. Others connect better through electronic media. Regardless of how the connection occurs, what's important is that it happens. 
  2. Reduces the anxiety of meeting someone. Some students will be very excited to meet others, but this can be stressful to some, even for adults. Having pre-design games to break the ice with other students makes meeting others less scary.
  3.  Camaraderie. Group dynamics have an impact on classroom behavior and success. The goal of an ice breaker is to get to know others and find out what similarities everyone has. These games can foster a strong bond between students. They also create a group identity the students can be proud to display.
  4.  The start of besties. If there is an ice breaker game with the question, "What is your favorite video game" this can be the start of a friendship. There is instant attraction and can lead to a possible life-long relationship.
  5.  Ice breakers can reduce the stress of the school environment. They can also help students learn to look forward to schooling. We want students excited about school, which can be challenging for many. Ice breakers remove the fear of being at school and give students a positive outlook.
  6.  Ice breakers for English Language Learners (ELL). Parisa Yeyanehpour (2016) writes an excellent journal article about how ice breakers can help ELL students. She writes icebreakers can encourage the use of language in meaningful situations, supply proper feedback and improvement, and give students ways to interact and communicate orally.

"Icebreakers can encourage the use of language in meaningful situations, supply proper feedback and improvement, and give students ways to interact and communicate orally."

Ice breakers are versatile

From students returning from summer vacation to a warm-up to get the day started, icebreakers bring a fun vibrancy to the school day. But, of course, you can never have too many ice breakers in your teacher's bag. Once you get to know your students, you can begin matching the games with your class.

There are hundreds (if not thousands) of beautiful icebreakers for elementary and middle school students to enjoy. If you are looking for new ones that can freshen up your repertoire of activities, keep reading.

Related resources: Getting to know your students

What are some fun ice breakers for kids?

For Pre-K, K, 1 & 2

The "What am I?" game is a fun ice breaker for minor children. Children try to guess the animal from the teacher's sound using their acute sense of hearing. Once the teacher has demonstrated a few sounds, they will ask for student volunteers to lead the game. Some variations of this game can be sounds from the city, the countryside, or even certain school sounds!

For Grades 3, 4, & 5

Here is a game that helps students get to know one another. It's called Skit-tell-Us. Students work in pairs, and each takes a turn selecting skittles out of a bag. The teacher will have a poster with the colors of the skittles and prompts corresponding to the colors. When skittle color is selected, a student has to answer the questions or act out the activity.  

For Grades 6, 7, & 8

Middle school students need a more advanced ice breaker. This icebreaker is called the Personal Mandela. Each student creates illustrations of significance that reflect their personalities, likes, and outlooks in this activity. Then, the teacher will have the students follow a template of the Mandela design, and students will share what they have created.

If you are looking for more icebreakers, check out all of our Icebreaker Resources where you will find an expansive list of fun and energetic ideas your students will love. You will also find many tools to use in your classroom to make learning more enjoyable for your students. 

loading gif