20 Easy & Fun Ice Breaker Games for Kids

Children are often working to adapt to new environments, such as school, extra-curriculars, camps, and other play groups.

They are also learning how to make friends and engage in different social situations without a parent or guardian to lead them.

Ice breaker games can be a great way to introduce children to new groups and activities.

They can allow children an easy and safe way to get to know each other, bolster self-esteem, and get them ready for what will be happening next.

This article will give examples of some simple ice breaker games for kids, including how to play the game and the goals for students.

Ice Breaker Games

20 Fun Ice Breaker Games for Kids

Here are a few of our favorite ice breaker games for kids:

  1. Everyone is Special
  2. What are you Doing?
  3. Moving Questions
  4. Animal Noises
  5. Scavenger Questions
  6. Who are you?
  7. Sitting Questions
  8. Picture Drawing
  9. Getting to Know You Graph
  10. Self Portraits
  11. Favorite Things Drawing
  12. Line up game
  13. Sing-a-long
  14. Color storytelling
  15. Start and stop game
  16. Rhythm names
  17. Line up Questions
  18. Name Game Toss
  19. Hop to it
  20. Opposites Game

Everyone is Special

How to play the game

Gather students in a circle. Going around the circle, each child state their name and share something that is special about themselves. Alternatively, student can also share something they are good at, something they like about themselves, or any other question that helps to reinforce positive aspects of who they are.

Examples

“My name is Jose and I like playing with Legos.” “My name is Noah and I am good am good at spelling my name.”

Goals

Students will get to know one another’s names and a little bit about one another. By focusing on something that is special about each student you will also be able to bolster each student’s self-esteem at a time when they might feel anxious about a new interaction.


What are you Doing?

How to play the game

Gather students in a circle. Going around the circle, each give each student a chance to ask the person next to them “What are you doing?” The other student will respond with an example, that the other students then must mimic. Go around the circle until each student has had a chance to provide an example.

Examples

“What are you doing?” “I am jumping up and down.” The students in the circle jump up and down.

Goals

Each student will have a chance to participate. It is also a physical game that allows students to get a few wiggles out before beginning an activity.


Moving Questions

How to play the game

Make a list of yes or no questions, such as “Do you have a pet?” or “Do you like pizza?” The students who answer yes to the question run to form a group together. As you read off more questions the groups will change.

Examples

“Do you like the color blue?” Students who like the color blue will gather at one side of the room.

Goals

Students will learn that they all have similarities and differences. They will also be able to get to know some facts about one another and interact with students they might otherwise talk to as frequently. The physical nature of the game will also allow students to get wiggles out and move around.


Animal Noises

How to play the game

Chose four or five different animals that are easy to recognize and replicate the sounds of. Hand out one animal to each student, so there are nearly equal sized groups. The students must then make the noise that represents the animal they have been assigned. They should look around the room to find the other students making the same noise and form a group together. The other groups must figure out what animal the group is.

Examples

Hand out copies of a dog, cat, elephant, and bird. The students will begin moving around the room, finding other students who are making the same noise. Once the groups have formed, they will guess what animal each of the other groups is pretending to be.

Goals

Students will be able to get to know the students in their group a little better. They will also practice recognizing animals and animal noises.


Scavenger Hunt

How to play the game

Hide some simple items around the classroom. Make pictures of the items that have been hidden. When the students arrive in the room, divide them into pairs or groups. Each group will have a set of pictures that they will have to go around the room and find.

Examples

Hide circles, squares, and triangles around the room. Divide the students into three different groups. Each group has too look for one of the shapes.

Any items can be used, such as objects of a similar color, toys, numbers, letters, etc.

Goals

Students will be able to practice working together in small groups to accomplish a project. This might include students that they don’t often get to interact with. They will also practice things like recognizing shapes or whatever other objects are hidden. The movement of the activity will allow for exercise and a chance to get the wiggles out.


Who are You?

How to play the game

Gather students together in a circle. Use a small bean bag or other item that can be safely tossed back and forth between people. Each person in the circle will take a turn tossing the bean bag to another person in the group, who they will then ask a question of. The adult will go first to show the children how to play.

Examples

The adult will toss the bean bag to a student and ask, “Do you have a pet?” After the student answers they will toss the bean bag to another student and ask a question.

Goals

The students will be able to learn a little bit about one another and also learn how to take turns with each other and practice tossing and catching.


Sitting Questions

How to play the game

Gather students in a circle but have them remain standing. You will ask yes or no questions. If a student answers yes, they must sit down. When they sit, they have to take a moment to introduce themselves and share something about the question that was asked.

Examples

“Do you have a pet?” Students who have a pet all sit down. The seated students take turns saying their name and what kind of animal they have for a pet.

Goals

The students will be able to get to know some simple details about one another. The game can also be altered to focus on different things related to school activities.


Picture Drawing

How to play the game

Ask students to draw what they did over the summer. After you have given them time to draw have them divide into groups. Each student will share their drawing with the group. They should describe what the drew and ask questions of the other students in the group.

This can be used on the first day of school, but also other times when you want to introduce new activities or have students share something, such as what they did over spring break.

Examples

Students are asked to draw what they did over Thanksgiving break. Some students draw  eating dinner, some draw spending time with family, some draw playing with their dog. The students then spend time sharing with one another.

Goals

Students will be able to share what they do outside of school with another one and they will also get to know about some details about other students in the class. Students will also get to practice their art storytelling skills. Students at this age sometimes struggle with summarizing what they have done and putting it together, so this game will act as good practice.


Getting to know you Graph

How to play the game

Gather students in a circle. Ask a basic question to which there can be a variety of specific responses. It should not be a complicated enough question that it will result in a dozen or more responses. Instead, you should look for four or five general responses. Chart those responses on a basic graph.

Examples

“How did you get to school?” Students can respond with things like car, train, bus, or walking. Make a list of how many students fall into each category and make a simple graph of the findings.

Goals

Students will be able to learn a little more about one another. They will also get to learn about simple graphs and how to keep track of numbers. If possible, you can also have the different groups color in their part of the graph to give students another aspect of the graph that they can assist with.


Self Portraits

How to play the game

Each student will be given paper and crayons to draw a self-portrait. Allow them time to be creative and show different aspects of their physical appearance and personality. Once students have completed the project, divide them into groups. The students will share the portrait with the group, talk about what they drew, and why.

Examples

One student might draw their glasses and talk about how they help them to see. Another student might draw themselves wearing their favorite shirt and can tell the other students why it is their favorite.

Goals

Students will be able to learn about other each other, while also recognizing that everyone has similarities and differences. They will also get to practice their drawing skills and learn how to share information about themselves.


Favorite Things Drawing

How to play the game

Each student will be given paper and crayons to draw a few of their favorite things. Allow them time to be creative and create details that are important to them. Once students have completed the project, divide them into groups. The students will share the drawing with the group and talk about them.

Examples

One student might draw their dog and their soccer ball. Another student might draw their little brother and favorite food.

Goals

Students will be able to express themselves and share the things that are important to them, while also learning something new about one another. They will also get to practice their drawing skills.


Line Up Game

How to play the game

Determine a simple yes or no question and use it to create two lines. If students answer yes to the question, they can line up in the first line. If students answer no to the question, they can line up in the second line.

Examples

“Do you have a pet?” “Do you have a brother or sister?” Students respond to the question by lining up.

Goals

Students can learn a little bit about one each other. It is also a great way to create a line that forces students to stand in line differently than they might usually line up.


Sing-a-long

How to play the game

Teach students a simple rhyming song such as Row, Row, Row Your Boat or the Wheels on the Bus. Once they know the song, gather the students in a circle. The adult can start the song off by singing the first few lines of the song. Then students can go around the circle, each singing a few lines of the song. Alternatively, you can use a bean bag or other small object, tossing it around the circle to choose the next child to sing a few lines.

Examples

The adult sings “Twinkle, Twinkle, little…” before tossing the bean bag to a child, who then sings, “star / How I wonder…” before tossing the bean bag to another student.

Goals

Students will all get to participate in the activity and practice their memorization and singing skills. Using the bean bag will allow children to practice motor skills and make eye contact and work together to toss and catch the bean bag.


Color Storytelling

How to play the game

Choose 4-5 different colors and make cut outs of them, so there is at least one for each student. Have students each pick a color (alternatively, you can simply hand out a color to each student). Have students form groups based on which color they received. Each group will have a different question they will have to answer, such as “What did you do this summer?” or “What is your favorite food?”

After the students in all the groups have gone around and shared, the cards can be switched to form new groups that have to answer a different question. The game can be repeated once or multiple times.

Examples

Each student that receives a red card must answer, “What is your favorite thing to do outside?” The students that receive a yellow card must answer, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Goals

Students will learn a little bit more about each other and will be split into groups so that they will talk to students that they might not otherwise talk to as often. Asking different questions each time will also force students to think quickly and come with new answers, an important skill for them to build.


Start and Stop Game

How to play the game

An alternative to other red light, green light games, this one encourages learning information about students. This game is best played outside. Students start on one end of a court, with the goal of reaching the other end. An adult asks yes or no questions. If the students answer yes, they can run forward, but when the adult says “stop” they must pause in place. They are then asked another question. Students who answer yes can move forward again until they are told to stop. The first student who reaches the end of the court wins.

Examples

“Do you have a sister?” “Do you have an A in your name?” Questions can be altered to fit with different scenarios, such as things that they have been working on in school.

Instead of simply running, the game can be made more challenging by having students move in different ways, such as hopping like a frog or waddling like a penguin.

Goals

Students will learn information about each other. Playing outside and getting some exercise is also important. Some students will be more engaged when doing a physical activity than sitting at a table.


Rhythm Names

How to play the game

Gather students in a circle and teach them a simple beat, such as clapping their hands, patting their knees, snapping their fingers, etc. Once students have learned the beat, have them go around the circle. At the start of the beat a student will say their name, when the next beat starts the next student in the circle will say their name.

Alternatively, students can share something other than their name, such as a favorite book or favorite food.

Examples

“My name is Mia.” (pat your knees, tap your head, snap your fingers, touch your toes) “My name is Carlos.” (pat your knees, tap your head, snap your fingers, touch your toes). Repeat until all the students have had a turn.

Goals

Students will be able to learn something new about each other. They will also be able to engage in a physical and stimulating activity. This might help students that learn better when they are actively engaged in a task.


Line Up Questions

How to play the game

Instead of having students line up the same way each time, ask questions and have them line up as they answer.

Examples

“Everyone who is wearing blue get in line. (Pause) Now everyone who is wearing stripes get in line.” Continue until all the students have lined up. Alternative questions can focus on things happening in the class.

Goals

Students will get to know a little about each other. Students often tend to jostle to stand next to their friends or be at the front of the line each time. This game helps switch things up and forces students to stand next to people they might not otherwise stand next to.


Name Game Toss

How to play the game

Gather students in a circle. Use a bean bag or other small item that can be safely tossed. Each student will say hello and state the name of another student in the circle and then toss them the bean bag. You can also expand upon this. For instance, students can share something else about the other student, such as that they are good at reading, or that they are a good friend.

Examples

“Hello Emma.” (student tosses the bean bag to Emma)

Goals

It is a great way to reinforce names among a new class of students. The physicalness of the game can also assist students who learn better when it is accompanied by physical activity.


Hop to It

How to play the game

Create laminated sheets with a variety of pictures. Lay the pictures down on the ground. Ask the students a question, then have them hop to the picture that answers the question. This is best played as an outdoor activity.

Examples

Pictures with numbers for students to hop to their correct age. Pictures of food for students to hop to their favorite. Pictures of colors for students to hop to their favorite.

Goals

Students will be able to express themselves and learn a little more about the other students in the class. It is also a fun game to play outside and allows students to work on coordination and movement.


Opposites Game

How to play the game

This game is best played outside. Draw a line on the ground with a piece of chalk and have the students stand on the line. Ask questions that have two choices. Students who choose the first item run to the right of the line. Students who choose the second items run to the left of the line.

Examples

“Pizza or hotdogs?” Students who choose pizza run to the right. Students who choose hotdogs run to the left.

Goals

Students will be able to practice basic decision making and engage in physical activity, while also learning new things about one another.


Helping Students feel Comfortable

Some students might hesitate at engaging in ice breaking activities, especially if it is right at the beginning of the school year.

It is important to recognize this anxiety and help students move through it.

Before having students play a game themselves, it can be helpful to have the classroom teachers and aides play the game between one another.

This will allow students to understand how to play the game and prepare them for possible scenarios in the game.

Teachers and aides should act silly and show themselves having fun playing the game.

This will reassure students who might be anxious about not knowing the ‘right thing’ to say and/or might be afraid of looking silly.

Many of these games are also a good way to ease anxiety and change up the typical dynamics in the classroom.

Even months into a school year when students know most of the basic information about their classmates, these games can be helpful as a way to change up classroom dynamics if the day to day routine is starting to feel somewhat stale.

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