Are you looking for fun and engaging icebreaker activities to do on the first day of school? Look no further! In this post, you’ll find 10 icebreaker activities for elementary teachers that will help you make your students feel welcome and comfortable in their new classroom and grade level. These can be done on the first day of school or sprinkled throughout the first few weeks of school. Read about these engaging resources and how to implement them below!
10 Icebreaker Activities
Below are 10 icebreaker activities for teachers to use with elementary students at the beginning of the school year. They are great for the first day or even the first week of school. Check them out below!
1. All About Me Bag
The first on this list of icebreaker activities for teaches is this All About Me Bag. It’s a great way for students to share information about themselves. Students will take home a paper lunch bag, decorate it, and use it to share an object that tells about themselves. Our All About Me Bag resource includes a tag to attach to the paper lunch bags, several versions of graphic organizers to plan out the writing process to explain their bags and differentiated writing papers with a space for a picture!
This activity can be sent home on the first day of school. Students can bring them in on an assigned day that same week. You can have a block of time where all students share their bags with the class. Another option is to sprinkle them throughout the week and have 5 students share their bags a day. All students will be able to complete the writing activities regardless of when they share their bag. The writing activities make a great writing center or activity for morning work. Students will love sharing their All About Me Bag!
2. Playdough Activities
Play dough is a fun and engaging way to get students excited about their new grade level. While using Play dough is engaging for students, it is also a calming activity that students can do independently. It’s perfect for moments on the first day of school where unexpected things come up. You can tie in writing with simple play dough activities! Students can use Play dough to make different sculptures and write to describe their structure. Play dough is great because all students know how to use it, which makes directions quick and simple. Check out these play dough activities!
3. Printable All About Me Activities
Not only are All About Me activities a great way for students to get to know each other, but they make your planning for the first week easier and provide your students and their families with a memorable keepsake. I originally designed a version of this booklet to use with my third grade students. I wanted to have an activity that they could work on independently throughout the first few days of school. It proved to be a valuable resource. I have since made differentiated versions for other grade levels as well, so they are available for kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade now.
- Kindergarten All About Me Activities
- 1st Grade All About Me Activities
- 2nd Grade All About Me Activities
- 3rd Grade All About Me Activities
- 4th Grade All About Me Activities
- 5th Grade All About Me Activities
4. Join Me in the Middle
Join Me in the Middle is an engaging ice breaker activity that gets students moving. Each student finds a partner. They can either choose their partner or you can assign them. Half of your class will be on one side of the room and the other half will be on the other side, facing their partner. You will stand in the middle of the room and say a statement like “I walk to school” and if the statement applies to the students, they will come into the middle of the room, and then go back to their spots. You can decide if you want to be the only person who stands in the middle and makes statements or if you want students to take turns standing in the middle. It’s totally up to you!
You can use this as a brain break on the first day of school and throughout the first week of school. You can also play one long round or break the game into smaller rounds during the day depending on the age and attention span of your group of kiddos.
5. 4 Corners
The fifth idea on this list of icebreaker activities for elementary teachers is 4 Corners. 4 Corners is another excellent game that gets students up and moving and helps students visually make connections with each other. There are a few different ways to implement this in the classroom.
One way is to teach students a little about yourself! You can ask students a question about yourself and have them stand in the corner that they think is the correct answer to the questions. For example, you can say, “What do you think Mrs. Davis’s favorite food is? If you think pizza go to corner 1, if you think tacos go to corner 2, if you think pasta go to corner 3, and if you think vegetables go to corner 4. You can go through a few rounds of this and give students a movement break while simultaneously teaching them fun facts about their new teacher! It is helpful to label the corners in your room before playing this!
You can also play 4 corners to have students share information about themselves. For example you can say, if you like elephants go to corner 1, if you like pandas go to corner 2, if you like dogs go to corner 3, and if you like turtles go to corner 4. You can go through a few rounds of this using other favorites that kids can share.
6. Find Someone Who
The activity Find Someone Who gets students up and moving and talking to their new classmates! When playing Find Someone Who, students will walk around and talk to each other while finding people who match certain statements. Create a worksheet that has different statements and students will find someone in the classroom who matches those statements. For example, one of the statements could be “find someone who went swimming this summer” with a line next to it for someone’s name. Students ask each other if they went swimming and find someone who did and write their name on the line. This helps your new class learn each other’s names and their interests. It also helps them make connections with people who like similar things as them and is a great conversation starter! Block out about 30-60 minutes for this activity depending on the age and independence of your kids!
7. Get to Know You Beach Ball
Get to know you beach ball is a simple and fun back to school activity! Blow up a beach ball and write different questions on the beach ball like what do you like to do after school, what is your favorite animal, what is your favorite thing you did this summer. Have students sit in a circle and toss the ball to each other and answer whatever question their thumb lands on, or whatever question is closest to it. You can decide if you want it to be their left thumb or right thumb depending on the age of your kiddos. This is a great morning meeting activity or can be scheduled at another time throughout your day depending on the needs of your day.
8. STEM Activities
The eighth idea on this list of icebreaker activities for elementary teachers is using STEM activities. STEM activities are a great way to break the ice and get students working together to reach a common goal. You can have students complete STEM activities in partners or small groups but don’t have them complete the STEM challenges by themselves. I recommend assigning groups or partners for the first week of school instead of having students choose their own.
One STEM challenge students can complete is stacking the tallest tower using plastic cups and a rubber band with string tied to it. Students can only stack cups if they use the string to stretch the rubber band over the cup and move it to the tower. Students will have to communicate and work together to get the rubber bands to stretch around the cup and move the cup to the right spot.
I recommend setting aside about an hour for STEM challenges so students can create a plan for how to complete the challenge, work on the challenge and reflect on how their plan worked or if any adjustments needed to be made.
9. Stand Up Sit Down
Stand up sit down is a fun way to get students to make connections with each other! Students can either sit at their seats or on the rug as you play this game. You will say different statements and tell students to stand up or sit down depending on their answers to the statements. For example you might say “stand up if you have been on an airplane and stay seated if you have not” “stand up if you have pets and sit down and if you don’t have any pets.” This can be part of a morning meeting or used as a movement break throughout the day. You only need to set aside about 10-15 minutes for this activity and it requires zero prep!
10. Favorite Things Activity with M&Ms.
The last on this list of icebreaker activities for teachers is this favorite things activity with M&Ms. Students will each get a mini pack of M&Ms and will pick three different colored M&Ms. After they picked the M&Ms they will learn that each color corresponds with a favorite things question. Students will answer the questions based on the color they picked. For example if they picked blue they will share what their favorite animal is, green could be their favorite food and yellow could be their favorite sport. Students can either verbally share their answer or this can be turned into a writing activity that involves them writing about themselves and including their answers to those questions.
In closing, we hope you found these icebreaker activities for elementary teachers helpful! If you did, then you may also be interested in these posts: