Playing "Four C's" is a nice way to get students to find out what they have in common. Ask each student to write on a piece of paper/index card his/her favorite: color, country, cuisine and their favorite character. The papers or cards are shuffled and redistributed. Each student has to read aloud the contents of his card and guess the person who wrote it.
Icebreaker activities for students help in creating a bond between students and teachers, and also help newcomers mix and become friends with other students. The term "icebreaker" might have been borrowed from icebreaker ships used in the Arctic region.
Just as these ships break the ice and make way for other ships to navigate, icebreaker activities break the barriers between students and facilitate interaction between them. Icebreakers can also help develop various soft skills such as interpersonal skills, communication skills that include verbal and non-verbal team building skills.
They are used as a form of learning known as problem-based learning, a novel mode of imparting education to students. Icebreakers are designed to relax students, introduce them to one another and also energize them.
These activities help to make the environment informal and warm up the session. In addition, icebreakers help students form random and informal groups to break up cliques in a fun way.
A Few Icebreaker Activities
Choosing an icebreaker activity depends upon the age and size of the group. Here are a few activities that could be used for any group irrespective of the above mentioned factors.
Do You Know Me?
-Make name tags of all participating students. -Distribute the name tags among them and provide an index card.
-Now ask all the students to gather information about the person whose name is on their name tag. -It could be anything like stories, favorite hobbies, favorite food, etc. -The students are to pen down all this information on the index card.
-Certain amount of time is designated for this activity. -Once the time is over, each student has to introduce their "name tag" buddy to the class.
What's Different, Partner?
-The teacher asks everyone in class to form pairs. -The team has to come forward.
-Each pair is asked to stand with their backs to each other and change four to five things about their appearance. -The partners turn around when they are ready and try to guess the things that have been changed. -This icebreaker is good for introducing a new person to the class or the group.
Spoon The Candy
-Divide the class in two teams. -Provide each student with a spoon.
-The students are supposed to hold the spoons in their teeth. -Each team is given a candy each. -The first student places the candy in his/her spoon. -Now each student should pass the candy from their spoon to the next person's spoon without using their hands. -If the candy slips, that team loses.
Who Said That!
-Ask all the students to introduce themselves briefly. -Now ask two students to come forward.
-One of them is supposed to sit with his back towards the students. -The student who is standing, points towards someone in the classroom.
-He/she is supposed to get up from their seat, speak or sing something aloud in a different voice and get back in their seat. -Now, the student who has been sitting down faces the classroom. He/she then attempts to guess who this person was.
-The class is supposed to form a big circle. -The teacher calls out any number aloud. For example, 4. -The students are supposed to immediately form a group of 4 and hold hands so that no one else can break in. -Whoever is left out gets eliminated. -Then the teacher calls out another number like 7, and the students form a group of 7. -The game goes on until there are two people left.
It's All Relative
-The class forms a circle.
-The first student starts by saying any random word that comes to his/her mind. -Now, the next one is supposed to say a word that is related to the first one in some way. And the third one says a word related to the second one.
-For example, the first student says, "Stars"; the second one says, "Sky"; the third one says, "Solar System", the fourth one says, "Universe" and so on.
Purpose of Icebreakers in a Classroom
-Icebreakers help new and shy students to converse or mingle with co-students. -Icebreakers help to break sociocultural barriers among students. -Such interactions help in promoting a sense of trust and friendship between the students. -You, as a teacher can also get to know your students, their strengths and weaknesses well.
An icebreaker activity at the beginning of class helps to set a positive atmosphere for interaction between students and teachers, and also among students. Just make sure you don't force anyone to participate in these activities or choose games that will make someone uncomfortable. Keep them as simple as possible and ensure everyone has fun.