30+ Easy Ice Breakers Games for Students (They’ll Actually Enjoy)

Are you a speech-language pathologist or teacher searching for ice breaker games for students in small groups or large groups?  It’s important to have an easy but effective plan for that first day of school. The best icebreaker activities can help build a sense of community. Using these suggested activities, games, and worksheets, there are many ways to get to know your students (both former students and new students!). This article contains ice breakers games for students in preschool, elementary, middle school, and high school. A free ice breaker activity is provided in this blog post. Keep reading for a list of 30 ice breaker questions you can ask your students, as well as 25 “find some who” questions. Bookmark this post so you can reference it at the start of each school year! 

This article lists icebreakers games for students in preschool, elementary, middle school, and high school. A free icebreaker game is included.

This post contains affiliate links, which means we could receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that we have recommended.

What Are Ice Breaker Games for Students? 

An icebreaker is a fun activity that allows participants to get to know one another!

They can be used with students at the beginning of a school year, or anytime throughout the year.

Icebreaker activities can include games and worksheets.

Although you can buy icebreaker activities, you could also look at the suggestions listed below and make one yourself.

Either way, you won’t regret implementing an icebreaker game or activity with your students.

Why Use Ice Breaker Activities?

Icebreakers can be effective for younger students and older students.

They encourage students to interact with each other. 

Students may share personal information, such as their favorite hobbies and interests, the names of family members, and other background information.

They allow students to make connections with each other. 

Icebreaker games and activities are also a great way to develop communication skills.

The right ice breaker can be a good idea, as it can foster a sense of community among the entire class.

Sometimes all it takes is a simple game to reduce anxiety on that first day!

Who Benefits From Ice Breaker Games?

Many students benefit from ice breaker games. These activities can be a fantastic way to make new friends.

Younger students may enjoy singing songs or playing simple games that allow them to get to know classmates better.

Older students can play more complex games that allow them to get to know other students.

Students will enjoy learning about their classmates and sharing fun facts about themselves.

Speech-language pathologists, teachers, intervention specialists, and other educators or professionals who work with students will enjoy the ideas in this post.

Things To Consider

The best ice breaker game may depend on a few factors.

Here are some important things to consider.

First, what age group are you working with? The perfect icebreaker for kindergarten is going to be different for older students.

Next, consider what the group size is. Are you working with large groups (such as an entire class), in a small group setting, or even one-on-one with a student?

After that, you will want to consider what time limit you have for the activity. Choose the activity based on the set amount of time your students have to complete the activity. 

How much space do you have? Playing a ball toss name game in a small speech therapy office may be impossible, but this could be the perfect activity for the classroom! 

It is also important to consider your student’s backgrounds. Socioeconomic status, family structure, and religion are some aspects to consider.

Some of your students may celebrate holidays; others may not. 

Your students will likely have a variety of abilities. Some students will have different learning needs, and others may be anxious when participating in large-group situations. 

Some students may feel more comfortable observing rather than participating.

Tips for Ice Breaker Activities

It is important to plan if you work with students with communication disorders. 

For example, if a student uses a speech-generating device, it may be necessary to program answers into their device before the game.

Many other students may need visuals to help them answer questions, even those without communication disorders.

A sentence strip with possible answer choices may be beneficial.

This image shows picture-supported Icebreaker Questions sentence strip visuals for speech therapy and special education. It can be used at the beginning of the year.

Additionally, it may be necessary to print out a set of visual directions that explains the rules of the activity or game.

Finally, a visual schedule may be useful, especially if this activity is a break in the routine. 

Getting to Know the SLP or Teacher

You may also wish to share fun facts and information about yourself with your students!

Consider making a slideshow of facts and photographs to share, if interested.

Or, hang a poster or Meet the SLP/ Teacher handout outside your classroom.

You may wish to let your students know:

  • where you went to college
  • if you have children and how many
  • about any family pets you have
  • a cool place you’ve traveled
  • your favorite food or restaurant
  • a special talent or another fun fact

The Ultimate List of Icebreaker Games

This blog post contains the ultimate list of icebreaker games and activities to use with your students!

Whether you are simply trying to get your students to learn new names and faces, or you’re trying to encourage some friendly competition, this article will list the best possible activity.

Keep on reading, as this article contains ideas for the following age groups:

  • preschool and kindergarten
  • elementary
  • middle and high school

In addition to ideas, you will find lists of ready-to-use icebreaker questions.

This article lists icebreakers games for students in preschool and kindergarten students

Fun Icebreakers for Preschool and Kindergarten 

Preschool students need fun and simple activities!

Read below to see more information about the following icebreaker games and activities for preschool and kindergarten, including:

  • The Name Game
  • My Favorite Things Game
  • Touch and Feel Box
  • Who Has the Button?
  • Toss the Stuffie
  • Spider Web Game
  • Moose, Moose
  • What’s Your Name? Song
  • Balance Game
  • Pass the Ball Game
  • Charades
  • Musical Chairs
  • Scavenger Hunt
  • Guess the Sound 

The Name Game

Play a Name Game with your students! 

Students can form a circle and then toss a beach ball to each other.

Each child will say his or her own name before tossing the ball to a classmate.

Reference: 

Childrensministry.com. (2023). Preschool Icebreaker Game: Have a Ball Learning Names. Retrieved from https://childrensministry.com/preschool-icebreaker-game/

My Favorite Things Game

Check out this Favorite Things Game for your younger students! 

Your students will enjoy explaining their favorite toy, food, or animal.

If you have students who are nonverbal (or just shy!), providing picture-supported answer choices may be appropriate. 

Reference: 

My Favourite Things. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.activityvillage.co.uk/my-favourite-things

Touch and Feel Box

I love this Touch and Feel Box idea! 

Place items in a box with a lid.

Cut a circular opening into the side.

Your students will place their hands in the box, one at a time, and try to guess what they’re touching!

Reference: 

McIlroy, T. (2024). 16 Indoor and Outdoor Group Games for Preschoolers. Retrieved from https://empoweredparents.co/group-games-for-preschoolers/

Who Has the Button?

I love this Who Has the Button? idea from Empowered Parents! 

Children sit in a circle with their eyes closed and hands out.

One person goes around the circle and puts the button in one child’s hands.

The children can put their hands back in their laps.

All the children then guess who has the button after opening their eyes.

Reference: 

McIlroy, T. (2024). 16 Indoor and Outdoor Group Games for Preschoolers. Retrieved from https://empoweredparents.co/group-games-for-preschoolers/

Toss the Stuffie

Ask a question like, “Who has a dog?”

Or, you can make this an “I like” game (i.e. I like cheese pizza).

Students can answer questions by raising their hands.

Choose one student and toss a stuffie or soft item to them.

That student can say their name and one thing about their dog.

Then, you will ask another student a question and that student must toss the stuffie to the second person.

Spider Web Game

What a fun idea from Mrs. Fotini’s English Class!

One student will tie the loose end of the yarn around his finger.

He will answer an icebreaker question or state a piece of information.

After that, he will toss the yarn to a classmate.

Reference: 

First Day Ice Breakers. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://englishwithfotini.weebly.com/blog/first-day-ice-breakers

Moose, Moose

This Moose, Moose game would entertain your students. Click on the link to watch a video tutorial.

Your students will sit in a circle.

The first student will say “Moose, Moose” and make antlers using his hands.

He will look at another student.

The second student must repeat “Moose, Moose” before picking another animal. 

For example, they may say “Cat, Cat” and perform a cat action before looking at the third student.

Reference: 

“Moose Moose – Icebreaker Game for Children and Youth.” YouTube, 24 Feb. 2023, www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRaLkWwEoKg. Accessed 03 June 2024. 

What’s Your Name? Song

I love this simple- but engaging- song from Maple Leaf Learning

This is perfect for circle time. 

The lyrics include, “Hello, hello, what’s your name?”

Actions are included, such as waving.

Be sure to watch the video for a tutorial.

Reference: 

“What’s Your Name? Teacher’s Video.” YouTube, 26 Feb. 2013, www.youtube.com/watch?v=F70BcRUCfTI&list=PLvEb8AA7B8J_-p-YsARyZUyogz0X9aNyX. Accessed 03 June 2024.

Balance Game

This Balance Game is sure to be a hit! This is perfect for younger students.

Students are paired off into groups of two.

Each student helps hold a piece of paper.

A small ball (such as the type of light-weight ball in a ball pit) is placed on the center of the paper.

The students walk slowly and carefully together and drop that ball into a basket.

Reference: 

“Balance Game/Preschool Kids.” YouTube, 24 Aug. 2015, www.youtube.com/watch?v=uu2SNcnWvVQ. Accessed 03 June 2024.

Pass the Ball Game

Line chairs up in a row.

Students will lift the ball over their heads to pass it to the child behind them.

To make it more of a getting-to-know-you activity, your student could tell state his or her name, or say a fun fact once he or she has the ball (such as his or her favorite color).

Reference: 

“🏀Pass The Balls Activity🥎 | Play Group & Nursery #playschool #activity #trending #kindergarten.” YouTube, 13 Mar. 2023, www.youtube.com/watch?v=iiSvUdV21Eo . Accessed 03 June 2024.

Charades

Charades is a fun group activity!

First, one player in the group is chosen to take the first turn.

She will choose either a picture or a phrase to act out.

She is not allowed to speak while acting out her item.

The other players must try to get what- or who- she is.

A variety of categories can be used when playing Charades.

For example, you might choose the animal category when playing with younger kids.

Older students might wish to choose sports or occupations.

This Pressman Charades for Kids is a nice picture-supported set that will work well with younger students.

Musical Chairs

Try playing musical chairs– with a twist. This is a fun activity for smaller groups.

First, count the number of students present out loud with the group.

Then have them subtract that number by one.

Arrange the chairs so they form a circle- there will be enough chairs for all but one child.

Start playing music. When the music plays, players walk or skip around the circle.

When the music stops, the children rush to sit in a chair.

The child left standing is out of the game- and can answer an icebreaker question.

For example, the child can say his favorite color.

Keep playing the game.

After each round, take away one more chair.

Eventually, you will have one winner in the musical chairs game.

Reference: 

wikiHow. “How to Play Musical Chairs: Quick Setup & Easy Rules.” wikiHow, 20 Mar. 2024, www.wikihow.com/Play-Musical-Chairs . Accessed 03 June 2024.

Scavenger Hunt

Play a scavenger hunt with your preschoolers! 

This fairly low-prep activity will be a lot of fun.

Your students can search for items around the room.

It is possible to do scavenger hunts indoors and outdoors.

You can search for appropriate items depending on the location you choose.

For example, during an indoor scavenger hunt, your students can search for items that are a specific shape, size, or color.

You might instruct your students to find something blue.

If you do an outdoor scavenger hunt, your student can look for rocks, leaves, bugs, or anything nature-related.

Scavenger hunts can be a lot of fun for younger students, and a great way for them to interact with each other.

Reference: 

Staff, Scholastic Parents. “Preschool Scavenger Hunts: Learning Through Observation.” Scholastic, Scholastic Parents, 5 Mar. 2019, www.scholastic.com/parents/school-success/learning-toolkit-blog/preschool-scavenger-hunts-learning-through-observation.html.  Accessed 03 June 2024.

Guess the Sound Game

How fun is this Guess the Sound Game

It is simple to play.

Click the link above.

It will take you to a YouTube video.

Press play.

Your students will listen to an audio clip.

They have to guess what thing made that sound before time runs out!

They have 20 seconds to guess.

Some example actions, animals, or items they will need to guess include:

  • scissors cutting paper
  • an owl
  • a hen
  • a jet

If you have students who are nonverbal, you may wish to listen to the sounds ahead of time and provide picture-supported answer choices.

This fun activity is wonderful to try with your younger students.

Reference: 

“Guess the Sound Game | 20 Sounds to Guess.” YouTube, 7 Apr. 2019, www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1m4h79JZso . Accessed 03 June 2024.

Here is a list of ice breaker games for elementary students

Ice Breaker Games for Students in Elementary School

These recommended activities are perfect for elementary school students. The following icebreakers may be used in speech therapy sessions, small groups, or in classrooms.

  • Free Coin Toss Activity
  • Building Activity
  • Color-Coded Game
  • Tic-Tac-Toe 
  • Bean Bag Toss
  • Icebreaker Bowling
  • Four Corners Game
  • Human Knot
  • Emoji Introductions
  • Snowball Fight

list of 30 icebreaker questions is also included. Feel free to use these questions with your students. 

Free Coin Toss Activity

Are you looking for a free icebreaker activity? 

This great icebreaker activity is perfect for your younger students and even a few older kids (K through 5th grade) at the start of the school year.

This is a free icebreakers activity for back to school! Print out the worksheet and flip a coin, then answer an icebreaker question.

It’s a simple activity involving tossing a coin, answering questions, and stating favorite things. 

It is a lot of fun!

If you don’t have a coin on hand, feel free to use a digital coin toss.

This activity is designed for use in small groups or speech therapy sessions.

You can print it out and use it again each year.

This is a fun way to learn interesting facts about the rest of the group.

It also allows a student to share fun facts and information about herself!

Building Activity

This is the perfect team building exercise- literally. 

Your students will work together to build something amazing.

That might mean building the tallest structure made out of Legos.

 It could be the ultimate marshmallow challenge (building a bridge out of marshmallows and toothpicks).

Who will build the tallest tower?

Whatever you choose, your students will need to use communication skills, social skills, and problem-solving skills to accomplish common goals.

Reference: 

“15 Fun Team Building Activities and Trust Games for the Classroom.” BookWidgets, 17 Dec. 2020, www.bookwidgets.com/blog/2019/10/15-fun-team-building-activities-and-trust-games-for-the-classroom. Accessed 04 June 2024.

Color-Coded Game

If you have a memory game like the Hasbro Simon, you can use the colors to create an icebreaker game.

First, create a list of icebreaker questions. Assign each question to one of the four colors of the game (green, red, yellow, blue).

Your student will play the memory game per the usual instructions.

If they select the incorrect color, then they must answer a question underneath the correct color. 

You also could use this idea with any other color-coded games. 

This fast-paced activity is a fun way to modify the game at the beginning of the school year.

Tic-Tac-Toe Ice Breaker Game

If you have a small group, such as 2 students, why not play a tic-tac-toe game? This is perfect for a speech therapy session.

Write icebreaker questions on a board. Each time a student takes a turn, he or she will answer an icebreaker question.

If desired, pair the game with a magnetic wand and chips.

Bean Bag Toss

Play a bean bag toss ice breaker game!

Ice breaker questions can be written on index cards and taped to the wall or placed on the floor.

Students will toss a bean bag and try to hit a question.

After they answer the question, they can try again until all questions have been answered.

If desired, you can assign points to each question.

Icebreaker Bowling

Play Ice Breaker Bowling! 

Write questions underneath bowling pins.

After your student takes a turn bowling, he or she can answer the question.

Four Corners Game

Try playing this Four Corners Game with your students!

You can assign a letter or number to each corner of the room.

Close your eyes and students will pick a side of the room.

Then, choose a letter.

The students in that corner should sit down.

Keep going until only you have a student who is the last one standing.

The last person standing is the winner (or the last group standing).

Reference: 

“How to Play Four Corners.” YouTube, 6 July 2018, www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PVAPA9B_yU. Accessed 03 June 2024.

Human Knot

The Human Knot game encourages communication and problem-solving skills. 

Students should be split into groups of 5-12.

They should form a tight circle. 

Students will first extend their left arm into the circle, and grab the hand of the person who is across from them.

After that, the student will extend their right hand into the circle and find another hand to grab from a new person.

The students cannot let go while they try to untangle themselves.

Reference: 

Robinson, Angela. “Human Knot: Step by Step Guide.” Teambuilding.Com, 31 Mar. 2022, teambuilding.com/blog/human-knot . Accessed 03 June 2024.

Emoji Introductions Game

Check out the Emoji Introductions Game.

Students should look at pictures of emojis.

Next, they choose the emoji that best describes their feelings that day.

They will explain why they chose that emoji.

Reference: 

“Ice-Breaker Tuesday: Describe Yourself With An Emoji.” How to Teach Online in a Creative, Engaging and Innovative Way, www.natashanurseclarke.com/blog/ice-breaker-tuesday-describe-yourself-with-an-emoji. Accessed 03 June 2024.

Snowball Fight

This Snowball Fight game idea from Carnegie Learning would be perfect for upper elementary or even middle school!

Students can write 3 fun facts about themselves on a piece of paper (such as, I have 4 cats!, My favorite color is blue, I play soccer)

They toss the “snowballs” to each other and try to guess which student wrote that fact.

Reference: 

Breaking the Ice: 20 Activities for the First Day of School. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.carnegielearning.com/blog/back-to-school-icebreaker-activities/ 

30 free ice breaker questions for speech therapy and special education

List of Icebreaker Questions 

Here is a list of 30 icebreaker questions (for small group or classroom icebreakers). For a whole class, it might be beneficial to break up into small groups when asking these questions.

  1. What is one fun thing you did this summer?
  2. Do you have any pets?
  3. What’s your favorite color?
  4. How old are you?
  5. When is your birthday?
  6. What do you want to be when you grow up?
  7. Do you have any siblings?
  8. What makes you happy?
  9. Who is your hero?
  10. What’s your favorite book?
  11. Do you play any sports?
  12. Are you in any clubs?
  13. Do you play any video games?
  14. What’s the coolest gift you’ve ever gotten?
  15. Do you have a favorite superhero?
  16. What’s the worst gift you’ve ever gotten?
  17. Do you eat spicy food?
  18. Can you cook?
  19. What’s your favorite food?
  20. What’s your least favorite food?
  21. Do you keep your room messy or clean?
  22. What’s your favorite restaurant?
  23. What subject do you like best in school?
  24. If you could have one super power, what would it be?
  25. What makes you laugh?
  26. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be? Why?
  27. If you could have any other hair color, what would you pick? Why?
  28. Have you ever lived in another city/ town?
  29. What is one goal you would like to accomplish this school year?
  30. Do you have a special talent? 
Here is a list of ice breaker games for middle school and high school students

The Best Ice Breakers Games for Students in Middle School and High School

Read below to see more information about the following icebreaker activities for middle school students and high school students, including:

  • Would You Rather?
  • Fun Group Name Game
  • Conversation Cards
  • Tennis Table Toss
  • Find Someone Who… Game
  • List of Find Someone Who Questions
  • Classmate Bingo
  • Two Truths and a Lie
  • Escape the Classroom Game

Would You Rather?

These Would You Rather questions are a great way to get your students talking! This classic game is perfect for middle school students.

Have your students answer the questions, then discuss their answers with other group members.

This image shows a Would You Rather? questions worksheet for middle school students. This could be used at the beginning of the school year.

It’s fun to see how another member of the group answered the same question!

Amy S. reviewed, “This was a very fun and engaging resource for my students. I used this with my 6th grade intervention class. This encouraged them to read and respond as well as practice writing in sentences. This was usually our DIN (do it now) when they came in and they loved reading them daily. Very fun and easy resource to use.”

Fun Group Name Game

This is a fun game that will have students laughing! Here’s a video demonstration

Sit in a circle.

The teacher will need to keep time.

The first person to start will say her name and the timer begins.

The next person quickly says his name. This keeps going on until the end of the circle is reached.

How fast did the team say their names?

Do this a couple of times, then switch things up.

Start now by going in the opposite direction, all while keeping time.

Reference: 

“Fun Group Name-Game – Name Impulse Ice-Breaker Will Trigger Bursts of Laughter.” YouTube, 9 Aug. 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-HQDMHJLHg. Accessed 04 June 2024.

Conversation Cards

If you’re looking for no prep, quick, and easy, then check out these Conversation Cards for Kids.

Many buyers considered these cards most appropriate for the middle school crowd. 

There are 400 conversation cards included.

Tennis Table Toss

I love this Tennis Table Toss idea! 

Place students in small groups. 

Each group will stand a specified distance apart.

They can toss the tennis ball to each other as the distance slowly increases. 

Make it more challenging- catch it one-handed, left-handed, on one foot, etc. 

They can answer open-ended questions as they play.

Reference: 

25 Fun Icebreaker Games and Activities for Middle School. (2023). Retrieved from https://www.midwestteachersinstitute.org/25-fun-icebreaker-games-and-activities-for-middle-school/ 

Find Someone Game

Write a list of “Find someone…” questions on sticky notes or index cards. Each student has to grab one and find another student in the room who answers that question.

This could be an effective activity for larger groups. 

Reference: Find Someone Who. (2007). Retrieved from https://www.morningsidecenter.org/teachable-moment/lessons/find-someone-who

Check out this list below for some questions that older students can ask. 

list of free ice breaker questions: 25 Find Someone Who questions to use with students

List of Find Someone Who… Questions

Here are some examples of “find someone” questions.

Find someone who…

  1. has a dog
  2. is the youngest sibling
  3. has traveled out of the country
  4. has an older sister
  5. can play an instrument
  6. has a birthday in the same month as yours
  7. plays soccer
  8. has a cat
  9. can speak another language
  10. knows how to cook
  11. is left-handed
  12. has green eyes
  13. is allergic to something
  14. plays video games
  15. is an amazing drawer/ painter 
  16. can sing well
  17. likes cold weather
  18. has gone camping
  19. likes spicy food
  20. enjoys running
  21. collects something (cards, coins, etc.)
  22. enjoys baking
  23. has lived in another state
  24. knows how to do origami
  25. does yoga 

Classmate Bingo

Here is the perfect Get To Know Your Classmates BINGO printable

This simple classic will get your older students talking to different people in the room.

Click on the link for bingo cards.

They will ask questions such as:

  • Who knows how to code?
  • Who writes poetry?
  • Who reads before bed?
  • and more!

Reference: 

3 High School ELA Icebreakers to Get Your Students Talking. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.carnegielearning.com/blog/high-school-ela-back-to-school-icebreakers/

Two Truths and a Lie Game

Play Two Truths and a Lie

This simple game involves a person stating two truthful statements and one lie.

The other players need to guess which statement is the lie. 

Reference: 

“Let’s Play Two Truths and A Lie.” YouTube, 20 Mar. 2017, www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIDN1pwPoIY. Accessed 03 June 2024.

Escape the Classroom Game

Your older students would enjoy an Escape the Classroom Game. This activity can encourage critical thinking.

Click on the linked article to read the how-to steps. 

Team members can work together to accomplish the goal- escaping the classroom, getting an award, or finding treasure.

Reference: 

“How to Create an Escape the Classroom Game – Free Lesson Examples.” BookWidgets, 13 July 2023, www.bookwidgets.com/blog/2019/10/how-to-create-an-escape-the-classroom-game-free-lesson-examples. Accessed 04 June 2024.

Summary

This article discussed engaging ice breakers games for students in preschool, elementary, middle school, and high school.

Preschool students may benefit from simple, interactive games and activities.

Some ideas may include singing songs, passing a ball to each other, or a touch-and-feel box.

Elementary students may enjoy playing games like tic tac toe, bean bag tosses, or Four Corners!

Middle school or high school students may enjoy Would You Rather, BINGO, Two Truths and a Lie, or a classroom escape. 

Icebreakers can be a fun way for students to get to know one another at the beginning of the school year.

They can help build a sense of community.

Icebreakers can be used in small groups or larger groups.

SLPs, teachers, intervention specialists, and other educators may wish to use ice breaker worksheets or games. 

​Resources

Check out these ice breaker resources:

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