Icebreaker games create a positive learning environment1http://jurnal.stkipkieraha.ac.id/index.php/langua/article/view/534 and help build relationships2https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07303084.2020.1739434. They can even increase student motivation3http://repository.stkipnganjuk.ac.id/248/! Whether it’s the first day of school or the beginning of a new group project, you need intriguing ways to keep students engaged and interested in their classmates!
Use these 30 icebreaker activities to help students burst through the awkwardness of new school environments by assisting them to practice their communication skills in a low-pressure setting.
What Are Icebreaker Games for Students?
Icebreaker games are activities designed to help students (or any group of people) get to know each other, break down initial barriers, and create a more comfortable and open atmosphere.
These games are commonly used at the beginning of a school year, during orientations, workshops, team-building events, and other situations where participants might be unfamiliar with each other.
Benefits of Icebreaker Games for Students
Icebreaker games for students offer a wide range of benefits that go beyond just breaking the initial awkwardness. These activities create a positive and engaging environment, fostering a sense of belonging, teamwork, and improved social skills. They can help:
- Build Relationships: By sharing experiences, interests, and anecdotes, students can form connections that create a supportive and inclusive atmosphere within the classroom.
- Reduce Social Anxiety: For many students, the first day of school or a new class can be nerve-wracking. Icebreaker games help alleviate anxiety by offering a structured and light-hearted introduction.
- Foster Inclusivity: These activities help break down social barriers, making it easier for introverted or shy students to join and feel like an integral part of the group.
- Develop Communication Skills: Icebreaker games enhance students’ ability to express themselves, actively listen, and engage in meaningful conversations, which are crucial skills both academically and in real-life situations.
- Create a Positive Classroom Culture: Just like company culture, classroom culture determines how comfortable people feel to share their ideas, ask questions, and be their authentic selves. These games promote positivity, openness, and respect within the classroom.
These activities contribute to a positive classroom dynamic, enriching the educational experience and setting the stage for meaningful interactions throughout the school year.
30 Icebreaker Games for Students of All Ages
These games are designed to break down barriers, encourage participation, foster connections, and promote teamwork. We’ve sorted them into the quickest (10-minute or less) games, plus more in-depth and age-appropriate games for elementary, high school, or college students.
Quick icebreaker games
Use these activities when you only have 10 minutes to get students engaged and excited.
Literary Character Mashup
Assign each student a well-known character from literature or pop culture. They must mingle and introduce themselves as that character, providing hints for others to guess. This game combines acting with quick thinking.
Play a snippet of a popular song (about 10 seconds). Students must quickly develop a word or phrase related to the song’s lyrics or theme. This game combines music, wordplay, and quick thinking.
Place a tray with various objects in the center of the room. Show it to students briefly, then cover it and ask them to work together to recall as many objects and details as possible.
Provide a list of emojis with various meanings. Each student randomly selects an emoji and acts out the corresponding action, movie, or phrase without speaking—the rest of the group guesses which emoji the actor is displaying.
For example, let’s say a student selects the 😲 emoji. They then would open their mouth, gasp, and look surprised. The other students would draw the emoji on the board or choose it from a list.
Paper Airplane Introductions
Have students write their names and one interesting fact about themselves on paper. They fold it into a paper airplane and then launch it into the air. Each student picks up a plane and introduces the person whose fact they find.
Create or purchase story cubes with images on each side. In a circle, roll the dice and start a story based on the image that faces up. Continue the story, passing the dice along and incorporating each new idea.
Provide each student with a blank map template. Have them mark places they’ve traveled, dream destinations, or favorite spots. Students can share their maps and the stories behind their choices with the group.
Deserted Island Debate
Present a scenario: Students are stranded on a deserted island and can only bring one item. Each student shares their chosen item and defends why it’s the most valuable for survival or enjoyment.
Name and Gesture
Have each person introduce themselves with an adjective that starts with the same letter as their name and a gesture that represents that adjective.
Stand if You…
The facilitator calls out a statement (e.g., “Stand if you’ve traveled outside the country”), and participants stand up if the information applies to them.
In pairs, students share their top five favorites within a category (e.g., movies, books, foods). This helps them quickly find common interests.
Bucket List Flash
In pairs, students take turns sharing one item from their bucket list in 30 seconds or less. After both have shared, they switch roles.
Participants write their names vertically on a whiteboard or piece of paper and come up with words that describe themselves for each letter. They share their acrostic with the group.
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Icebreaker Games for Elementary Students
Young elementary kids can be shy and anxious when entering a new classroom. These games welcome teamwork and create a playful atmosphere to help them feel more comfortable.
Learn everyone’s name with this playful twist! Students stand in a circle and toss a ball to each other while saying a classmate’s name. The goal is to keep the rhythm and memorize names.
Best for: Team-building and learning names
Estimated Time: 15-20 minutes
Materials: Beach ball or soft object
- Forming the Circle: Gather in a circle with your classmates. Ensure that everyone has enough space to toss and catch the ball comfortably.
- Choose a Starter: Choose one student to start the juggling sequence. This student will hold the ball and begin by saying another classmate’s name.
- Toss and Call: The student with the ball will toss it gently to the named classmate while saying their name aloud. The designated student catches the ball and immediately calls out another classmate’s name to whom they’ll toss it.
- Keep the Momentum: As the ball continues to be tossed around the circle, each student must quickly catch the ball and call out another classmate’s name before tossing it. The goal is to maintain a smooth rhythm without any pauses.
- Name Memorization: As the game progresses, students should challenge themselves to memorize the names of their classmates and call them out accurately during the juggle.
- Introduce Variations (Optional): To add complexity and excitement, and you can introduce variations such as changing the direction of the juggle, increasing the speed, or incorporating claps or gestures before tossing the ball.
- Continue and Rotate: Keep the juggling sequence going until everyone has had a chance to participate. You can rotate the starter position if desired to allow each student to kick off the juggle.
Two Truths and a Lie
Perfect for the first day of school or introducing a new group activity, this game challenges wit and sparks curiosity. In this well-known game, students share two factual statements and one false statement about themselves. Classmates must guess which information is a lie.
Best for: Getting to know classmates
Estimated Time: 10-15 minutes
- Form a Circle: Gather in a circle with your classmates. Find a comfortable spot where you can all see and hear each other.
- Truths and Lies: Everyone will take turns sharing three statements about themselves: two factual statements and one false statement (lie). The goal is to make your lie as convincing as possible. For example, “I have been a teacher for five years, I have two puppies, and I play guitar.”
- Listen Closely: Instruct students that their mission is to listen carefully to their statements. Pay attention to the details, the tone of voice, and the expressions to decipher which information is the lie. Inspire them to behave like detectives as they try to spot the lies.
- Guessing Game: After a student has shared their three statements, the rest of the group will have a chance to think about which information they believe is a lie. You can ask that they raise their hand or take turns giving guesses.
- Unmasking the Lie: The student who shared the statements will reveal which one was the lie and share the truth behind the other two statements. For the first example, you may reveal that you don’t know how to play guitar.
You’ll uncover unique and surprising facts about everyone in the classroom through a colorful assortment of candies. This game is about sharing, connecting, and starting your journey together on a fun and flavorful note.
Best for: Learning fun facts
Estimated Time: 15 minutes
Materials: Colorful individually-wrapped candies in a bowl
- Gather Around: Assemble students in a comfortable and open area, ensuring everyone has space to interact.
- Candy Selection: Place colorful candies in a bowl or container. Make sure to include a variety of sweets with different colors, such as M&M’s, Skittles, or any other candy of your choice.
- Color-Coded Questions: Assign a question or prompt to each candy color. For example:
- Red: What’s your favorite subject in school?
- Blue: Share a fun fact about yourself.
- Green: What’s your dream travel destination?
- Yellow: What’s a hobby or activity you enjoy outside of school?
- Orange: Name something that makes you smile.
- Purple: If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
- The Candy Introductions: Each student will take turns selecting a candy from the container. Based on the color of the candy, they’ll answer the corresponding question to introduce themselves to the group.
- Sharing and Laughter: As students share their answers, listen attentively and enjoy the exciting and amusing responses. This is a lighthearted and engaging way to discover more about your classmates. Encourage students to ask questions or elaborate.
- Rotate and Repeat: Continue the game until all students can introduce themselves through their chosen candies.
Teach students to collaborate by solving the problem of tangled limbs. Kids stand in a circle, reach across, grab hands with two different people, and then work together to untangle themselves without letting go.
Best for: Building teamwork and problem-solving skills
Estimated Time: 10-15 minutes
- Forming the Circle: Gather in a circle with your classmates, ensuring everyone stands shoulder-to-shoulder, facing inward.
- Reaching Across: Reach across the circle and grab the hands of two different people. Make sure not to catch the hands of the neighbors immediately next to you. You should now be holding hands with two classmates across the circle.
- The Human Knot: As a group, your mission is to work together to untangle the human knot without letting go of anyone’s hand. The goal is to create a single circle where everyone stands side by side without crossed arms or entanglements.
- Problem-Solving and Communication: To untangle the knot, you must communicate, strategize, and coordinate movements. You may need to step over or duck under your hands, twist, turn, or even pass people through the circle as you work to untangle the knots.
- Patience and Collaboration: Take your time and remain patient while experimenting with different movements. Trust your classmates’ guidance and work together to find solutions.
- Success and Celebration: Once the human knot is successfully untangled and you form a single circle, celebrate your achievement with cheers and applause.
Toilet Paper Fun Facts
This icebreaker game involves passing around a roll of toilet paper and tearing off sheets based on the number of interesting facts or characteristics shared about themselves. It’s a fun and interactive way for kids to introduce themselves and learn about their peers.
Best for: Introductions and sharing exciting facts
Estimated Time: 15-20 minutes
Materials: Roll of toilet paper
- Introduction: Gather all the kids in a circle or a group sitting arrangement. Explain that you’ll be playing a game to help everyone get to know each other better.
- Toilet Paper Pass: Hold up the toilet paper roll and explain that each person should take however many sheets they want. However, there’s a twist – they need to tear off a certain number of sheets from the toilet paper roll based on the number of facts they share.
- Sharing and Tearing: The first person starts by saying their name and one interesting fact about themselves. For each fact shared, they tear off one sheet of toilet paper and pass it to the next person.
- Continue Sharing: The next person in the circle does the same – they share their name and one or more interesting facts about themselves and tear off the corresponding number of sheets. Please encourage them to share unique things, such as hobbies, favorite animals, favorite foods, places they’ve visited, or anything else they’d like to share.
- Keep Passing and Sharing: Continue around the circle until every child has had a turn to share and tear off sheets of toilet paper. The toilet paper roll will get smaller as the game progresses, making it a visual representation of shared information.
- Group Discussion: After everyone has had a turn, you can facilitate a short discussion. Ask questions like: “Did you learn something new about your friends?” or “What interesting facts surprised you the most?”
- Reflection: Conclude the game by emphasizing that although everyone is unique and has different interests, they all make up a great group.
One Word Story
The One Word Story icebreaker game involves participants collaboratively creating a story by taking turns adding one word at a time. The challenge is to build a coherent and exciting narrative despite the limitation of contributing only one comment per turn.
Best for: Collaboration and creativity
Estimated Time: 15-20 minutes
Materials: Pen and paper
- Gather in a Circle: Have all participants form a circle, ensuring everyone can see and hear each other. Choose one child to be the scribe, or you can write the story on the whiteboard for the kids to see.
- Explain the Game: Briefly explain the rules of the game. Each person will contribute just one word to the story, and the goal is to work together to construct a meaningful and flowing narrative. Emphasize that it’s essential to listen carefully to the words contributed by others to keep the story coherent.
- Start the Story: Choose one person to start the story with an opening word. For example, if the theme is “adventure,” the first person might say “Once.”
- Pass the Story: Moving clockwise around the circle, each participant adds one word to the story. For instance, the next person might say “upon.”
- Build the Story: Continue around the circle, each person contributing one word at a time. The challenge is to keep the story progressing logically and creatively, considering the words shared by previous participants.
- Cooperation and Creativity: As the story develops, participants must cooperate and think creatively to connect their words and create a coherent narrative. Encourage participants to stay engaged and contribute comments that make sense in the story’s context.
- Keep the Flow: The game can become more challenging as the story grows. Participants should keep the story flowing smoothly, even if unexpected twists and turns arise.
- Story Conclusion: Decide on a conclusion for the story. This can be done by having a pre-set number of rounds or letting the group collectively determine when the story feels complete.
- Read Aloud: Read the story aloud to the group once it is complete. Given the spontaneous nature of word contributions, the resulting story is often humorous and imaginative.
- Reflection: After reading the story, you can briefly discuss the experience. Ask: “What surprised you most about the story we created?” “What was the hardest part?”
Icebreaker Games for High School Students
High schoolers are notoriously averse to “childish” games. Everyone wants to be cool, so these icebreakers ensure that classroom activities are hip and mature while still engaging the group.
Two Minute Autobiography
Students have two minutes to introduce themselves, sharing their hobbies, aspirations, or memorable experiences. It’s like a personal elevator pitch that could help with job interviews or presentations later.
Best for: Practicing public speaking, establishing connections, and gaining insights about classmates
Estimated Time: 10-30 minutes
- Gather ‘Round: Assemble in a comfortable space where everyone can see and hear each other. Ensure that the environment promotes attentive listening.
- Introducing the Timer: Designate a timekeeper or use a timer. Each participant will have precisely two minutes for their autobiography.
- On the Clock: Begin the game by having one student step forward. When the timer starts, the student will have two minutes to introduce themselves and share key aspects of their life, such as hobbies, aspirations, memorable experiences, and interests.
- Expressing Authentically: Encourage participants to be authentic and share what truly matters to them. The focus should be on expressing their personality and experiences within the time limit.
- Attentive Listening: As each student shares their autobiography, the rest of the group listens attentively, absorbing the unique details and insights presented.
- Rotate and Repeat: After one student has completed their autobiography, the next student will step forward and take their turn. Repeat the process until everyone in the group has had an opportunity to share.
- Optional Variation: To make the game more interactive, allow the group to ask one follow-up question after each autobiography. This adds an element of curiosity and engagement.
Students try to find classmates who match various statements on their bingo cards and get them to sign the corresponding square. Prizes for the first “BINGO” winners can motivate high schoolers to meet as many people as possible.
Best for: Learning interesting facts about classmates
Estimated Time: 15-20 minutes
Materials: Bingo cards with pre-written statements and optional prize
- Bingo Cards: Distribute bingo cards to each student. These cards will have a grid of squares, each containing a unique statement that someone in the class may fulfill (e.g., Has traveled to a different country, Can play a musical instrument).
- Mix and Mingle: Stand up and mingle around the room. Your mission is to find classmates who match the statements on your bingo card.
- Strike-Up Conversations: When you find someone who fits a statement, engage in a brief conversation to confirm the match. If their response aligns with the statement, ask them to sign the corresponding square on your card.
- Bingo Line Formation: Continue mingling and searching for matches until you’ve collected signatures in a straight line on your bingo card (horizontally, vertically, or diagonally). Once you complete a line, shout “Bingo!” and celebrate your achievement.
- Sharing and Cheers: Once several students achieve bingo lines, gather together and share some of the interesting facts you’ve learned about your classmates. This is an excellent opportunity to celebrate commonalities and learn more about your peers.
Students draw and describe their chosen celebrity, historical figure, or fictional character on a card, and their classmates try to guess who they are.
Best for Team-building, memory, and descriptive skills
Estimated Time: 20-25 minutes
Materials: Index cards, markers, timer
- Preparation: Distribute index cards and markers to each student. These will be used to draw and describe the personalities.
- Choosing Your Identity: Secretly choose a celebrity, historical figure, or fictional character you will draw and describe on your index card. Keep your identity a mystery; this is who your classmates will guess.
- Drawing the Persona: Set a timer for a limited time (e.g., 5 minutes). During this time, draw a simplified visual representation of your chosen identity on the index card. It should provide hints but keep the identity secret.
- Descriptive Challenge: After you finish drawing, set the timer again for a brief period (e.g., 1-2 minutes). Write a few descriptive clues about your chosen identity on the same index card. These clues should help your classmates make educated guesses.
- Guessing Game: Gather in a circle or small groups. One by one, take turns presenting your index card to the group without revealing the drawing. Read the descriptive clues you wrote and allow your classmates to make their guesses.
- Reveal and Celebrate: Once someone correctly guesses the identity, reveal the drawing and share exciting facts about your chosen personality. Applaud the successful guesser and celebrate the collective creativity and knowledge of the group.
Would You Rather
Pose a series of “Would You Rather” questions to the group and have students take turns sharing their choices and explaining their reasoning. This game sparks conversation and reveals students’ preferences and personalities. Use this 246 Best Would You Rather Questions For a Fun Game Night list.
Best for: Encouraging participation
Estimated Time: 10-20 minutes
Materials: Pre-prepared questions
- Gather ‘Round: Form a circle or sit in a comfortable arrangement where everyone can see and hear each other.
- Game Host: Designate a game host who will present the “Would You Rather” questions to the group. This role can rotate if you wish.
- Pose the Questions: The game host will present a “Would You Rather” question series. These questions present two contrasting scenarios and ask players to choose one option.
- Turn-taking: Begin with one person in the circle. They will answer the question by stating their preference (e.g., “I would rather have the ability to fly.”). Encourage participants to explain the reasoning behind their choice.
- Discussion and Debate: After each response, allow the group to discuss. Students can share their thoughts on the choices, elaborate on their reasoning, or even offer counterarguments.
- Passing the Torch: Once the discussion has run its course, the game host will move on to the next person in the circle, who will answer the following “Would You Rather” question. Repeat the process until everyone has had a chance to share their preferences.
- Variety and Fun: Include a mix of lighthearted and thought-provoking questions to keep the game engaging and enjoyable.
Design Your Flag
Each student designs a flag representing their identity, values, and interests and shares the symbolism behind it.
Best for: Creating an inclusive environment through creative and artistic expression
Estimated Time: 20-30 minutes
Materials: Paper, markers, art supplies
- Introduction: Begin by explaining the purpose of the activity. Let the students know they will design a flag that represents them. Emphasize that this is a creative and artistic way to share more about themselves with classmates.
- Provide Materials: Distribute each student’s paper, markers, and art supplies. Make sure they have everything they need to design their flags.
- Designing the Flag:
- Symbolism: Instruct the students to think about symbols, colors, and shapes with personal meaning. These symbols should reflect their identity, values, hobbies, and interests.
- Design Process: Encourage them to take their time and consider the layout of their flag. They can sketch a rough outline before finalizing their design.
- Color Choices: Discuss the significance of colors in flags. For instance, they might choose specific colors that represent emotions, cultures, or experiences vital to them.
- Symbols and Images: Students can draw images or symbols on their flags that have meaning. For example, if they love soccer, they might include a soccer ball icon.
- Words or Phrases: Students can add comments or short phrases that further explain their identity if they are comfortable.
- Sharing and Presentation: Once everyone has completed their flag designs, have each student take turns presenting their flag to the group. They should explain the symbols, colors, and other elements they included. Encourage classmates to listen actively to each presentation and ask questions if they want to learn more about a particular design element.
- Group Discussion: After all the presentations, facilitate a discussion about any common themes or interests that emerged from the flag designs. Encourage students to appreciate the creativity and diversity within the group.
- Display the Flags: You can display the flags around the classroom to celebrate each student’s unique representation.
Riddles and Rhymes
Engage participants in a lively and challenging activity by presenting a series of riddles to solve.
Best for: Encouraging critical thinking and problem-solving
Estimated Time: 15-20 minutes
Materials: List of riddles (here are 150 Icebreaker Riddles)
- Introduction: Explain that you’ll be playing a riddle game to kick off the session. Riddles are fun brain teasers that require creative thinking and problem-solving.
- Select a Riddle: Begin by presenting the first riddle to the group. You can read it aloud or project it on a screen. Give participants a moment to think about the answer before inviting their responses.
- Guessing the Answer: Encourage participants to share their answers. You can ask for volunteers or go around the group. Provide hints or reveal the solution if no one has the correct answer.
- Celebrate the Solution: Once the correct answer is given or revealed, discuss the solution and any interesting insights related to the riddle.
- Discussion: Engage the group in a short discussion about the riddle. Ask questions like: “What made you think the answer was [correct answer]?” or “Were there other possible answers you considered?”
- Repeat the Process: Continue presenting a series of riddles, giving participants time to think and share their answers for each one.
- Collaboration: If a riddle proves particularly challenging, encourage participants to work together to come up with a solution. This fosters teamwork and cooperative problem-solving.
- Riddle Rotation: To keep the energy high, allow participants to take turns presenting riddles to the group. This adds an element of surprise and participation from everyone.
- Debrief: Conclude the game with a debrief. Ask questions like: “Which riddle was the most challenging?” or “What did you enjoy most about solving riddles?”
Icebreaker Games for College Students
Nobody wants to play an awkward name game. These icebreakers engage college students without feeling forced or corny.
Students pair up and discover shared experiences, interests, or goals within a given time limit.
Best for: Building connections and promoting inclusivity
Estimated Time: 10 minutes
- Pair Up: Find a partner among your classmates. If there’s an odd number of students, the facilitator can participate in even the groups.
- Discovering Shared Ground: Set a timer for the allotted time (e.g., 5 minutes). During this time, you and your partner will take turns sharing experiences, interests, or goals. The goal is to find something you both have in common.
- Engage and Connect: Start the conversation by sharing something about yourself, such as an activity you enjoy, a place you’ve visited, or a personal goal. Your partner will then respond, sharing their own experiences.
- Celebrate Common Ground: When you find a shared experience, interest, or goal, celebrate it with enthusiasm! Feel free to discuss it, share stories, or acknowledge the connection.
- Switch Partners (Optional): After the time is up, you can rotate and find a new partner. This option allows you to discover even more shared ground and expand your connections.
- Whole Group Sharing (Optional): As a final step, the facilitator can invite a few pairs to share some of the commonalities they discovered with the larger group. This promotes a sense of unity and inclusivity.
This unique twist on speed dating inspires better conversation skills and diverse connections. Students have a set time to talk to a different classmate and continue rotating until they meet everyone. You can frame this as a mini-networking event to help prepare for job fairs, interviews, or dates. Optionally, offer these 155 Best Conversation Starters For Teens.
Best for: Building connections and fostering a sense of community
Estimated Time: 30 minutes
- Partner Up: Find a partner among your classmates to start the speed friending session. The facilitator can participate or rotate in if there’s an odd number of students.
- Time to Talk: Set a timer for a brief duration (e.g., 2-3 minutes). During this time, you and your partner will converse, sharing details about yourselves, your interests, and your experiences.
- Swap and Rotate: When the timer goes off, switch partners and find a new classmate to engage with. Keep your conversations dynamic and fresh by exploring new topics.
- Embrace Diversity: As you rotate through various classmates, remember that each person brings a unique perspective and background. Embrace the opportunity to connect with a diverse range of individuals.
- Continue the Rotation: Repeat the process of talking and rotating until you’ve had the chance to meet and converse with every classmate. This dynamic cycle ensures that you interact with a wide variety of peers.
- Shared Insights (Optional): At the end of the speed friending session, the facilitator can invite a few students to share fascinating insights or connections they discovered during their conversations.
Inspirational Playlist Exchange
Remember when you used to exchange music on CDs or cassette tapes? No matter the technology, science shows that music helps people connect4https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0305735615591844, and in some cases, music makes us more productive. In this game, students share a song that inspires them and explain why it holds meaning.
Best for: Getting to know someone’s taste in music
Estimated Time: 20-30 minutes
Materials: Music playback device or speakers
- Prepare the Setup: This icebreaker works best for the sake of time when students are divided into smaller groups of 4-6 people. Instruct them to choose a phone or Bluetooth speaker for each group.
- Introduction: Gather the participants and introduce the game. Explain that each student can share a song from their playlist with a special place in their heart.
- Sharing Sequence: Begin the playlist exchange by playing the first student’s chosen song. While the music plays, students should briefly explain why they find it inspirational, sharing personal experiences, emotions, or associated memories. Optionally, have them play only a snippet of the song.
- Engaging Reflection: After each student’s turn, encourage classmates to ask questions, share their thoughts, or provide feedback on the song’s significance.
- Rotating Revelations: Continue the sequence, allowing students to share their selected inspirational song and its story. Keep the atmosphere respectful and attentive.
- Collective Reflection: Once all students have had the chance to share, reflect on the diversity of inspirations that have been unveiled. Discuss common themes, emotions, or musical genres from the playlist exchange.
Students take turns interviewing each other about a topic or experience they’re passionate about. This helps break the ice while also learning about their interests.
Best for Fostering connections and learning about new topics
Estimated Time: 15-30 minutes
- Introduction: Explain that the “Reverse Interview” game is designed to help students get to know each other on a deeper level by exploring each other’s passions and interests.
- Pairing Up: Have participants pair up with someone they may not know well or have never spoken to before. If needed, you can facilitate pairings.
- Topic Selection: Participants should choose a topic or experience they’re passionate about and want to share with their partner. Encourage participants to select something that goes beyond basic information and allows for meaningful conversation.
- Interview Format: Partners take turns interviewing each other about their chosen topic or experience. The interviewer asks open-ended questions to encourage the partner to share their thoughts, feelings, and insights.
- Active Listening and Engagement: As the interviewee responds, the interviewer should actively listen and show genuine interest in the topic. Follow-up questions can delve deeper into the interviewee’s passion, motivations, and personal connection to the case.
- Role Reversal: After a set amount of time (e.g., 5-7 minutes), have the participants switch roles. The interviewer becomes the interviewee and vice versa.
Pose light-hearted debate topics (e.g., “Cats vs. Dogs,” “Coffee vs. Tea”) and have students quickly express their preferences and reasons for their choices.
Best for: Practicing persuasive speaking
Estimated Time: 15-20 minutes
Materials: Pre-prepared debate topics and timer
- Preparation: Create a list of debate topics, each with two opposing options. For example: “Cats vs. Dogs,” “Coffee vs. Tea,” “Summer vs. Winter,” “Books vs. Movies,” etc. Prepare enough topics to allow for multiple rounds of debates.
- Introduction: Explain that the “Speed Debates” game involves engaging in brief, light-hearted debates about various topics. It’s an opportunity to express preferences and have fun discussions.
- Pairing Up: Divide participants into pairs. If you have an odd number of participants, you can participate as the facilitator or join the debates.
- Topic Presentation: Present the first debate topic to the pairs. Give them a few seconds to mentally choose a side. Emphasize that this is a friendly and fun debate, and there are no right or wrong answers.
- Debate Time: Set a timer for a short period (e.g., 1-2 minutes) for each person to present their preference and reasons for their choice. One person starts by stating their intention and briefly explaining their reasoning.
- Role Reversal: After the first person finishes presenting, the other person gets the same amount of time to present their preference and reasons. The goal is to make quick, concise, and engaging arguments.
- Rotation: After both participants have presented, they can briefly discuss their choices, adding humor and anecdotes if desired. Rotate pairs after each debate round, presenting a new topic for the next pair to discuss.
Key Takeaways: Create Interactive Classroom Culture with Icebreakers
You can engage your students in less than 30 minutes and promote a welcoming learning environment. When playing icebreaker games, remember to:
- Be Mindful of Diversity: Choose games sensitive to cultural, social, and personal differences. Ensure that the games are inclusive and respectful of everyone’s backgrounds and beliefs.
- Set Clear Expectations: Start by explaining the purpose of the icebreaker and the expected outcomes. Open up for questions before beginning.
- Choose Appropriate Games: Select icebreaker games that are age-appropriate and suitable for the group’s dynamics. For example, students who just met each other may feel uncomfortable with the Human Knot game.
- Encourage Participation, Not Pressure: Emphasize that participation is optional. Some individuals might be shy or introverted, so create an environment where no one feels pressured to participate if they’re uncomfortable.
- Be Enthusiastic: Your attitude and enthusiasm will set the tone for the activity. Be excited about the game and encourage others to join in with your positive energy.
- Respect Comfort Zones: While icebreakers are designed to help people step out of their comfort zones, be mindful of individual comfort levels. Avoid activities that could embarrass or distress participants.
Want more? Here are 31 Icebreaker Games For Teens For ANY Situation.
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