The day has finally come, the day that you head back to school and meet your new kindergarteners! It is an exciting time for everyone, but there are sure to be some nerves, too. What better way to get to know each other, have fun, and start the year on a positive note than with some great ice breaker games for kindergarten!
Ice Breaker Games for Kindergarten
These ice breaker games for kindergarten are low-prep, don't require a lot of fuss, and can be done in the classroom or virtually. Use your teacher smarts and get creative with these games to make them work for your students and your school setting. Sneak these games into your lesson plans, especially right away in the mornings, to build relationships and class community. Want to see a realistic sample schedule for the first week of kindergarten? Check out this blog post!
#1: In the Middle
This game is an oldie, but a goodie. In the Middle can be played in many ways and encourages students to get up, get moving, and learn more about their classmates. Simply stand in a large circle and call out a prompt. The students that match the prompt will take a step or a hop into the middle of the circle. You can also play this game virtually by having students stand up or raise their hand. You can use prompts such as, step in the middle if you:
- have brown hair
- have a pet
- like the color blue
- are wearing tennis shoes
- have a brother
Once the students are in the middle, you can ask them further questions, such as what kind of pet they have, what their brother's name is, etc.
#2: Color Game
The Color Game can be played similar to In the Middle. Call out a color and have students jump in the middle, raise their hand, or stand up if they are wearing that color. You can mix it up by placing color cards around the room. Use prompts such as “my favorite color is” or “my shirt is the color” and have students go stand by their color card.
#3: Show and Tell
This ice breaker game for kindergarten is a great way to help them get to know each other, but also work on their social, speaking, and listening skills. You can either ask students and parents to send something from home that is special to the student that they would like to share or simply ask students to draw a picture of themselves and share their picture and a little bit about themselves. You can ask them some “interview questions” also. After each person's turn, do a fun cheer for them!
This might just be one of my favorite ice breaker games for kindergarten! You can write down simple prompts on notecards and either pass them out to your students or have them draw a card from the stack. Without showing or telling anyone else what it says, read the card to the student and have them act it out without using words. The other students will guess what they are acting out. Keep in mind the experiences your students have had as you come up with prompts. Some great prompts for kindergarteners are:
- animal actions
- rocket or spaceship
#5: Mystery Picture
Mystery picture is a fun way for the students to get to know you and your artistic abilities! 🙂 Give each student a blank piece of paper and lead them through a simple, fun, directed drawing. When you are halfway finished with the picture, have the students guess what they think it is. After the picture is complete, have them guess again to see if they are correct! They will love getting to draw and guess. This is also a great opportunity to talk about doing your best! Your picture may not be perfect, so use that as a teachable moment to let your students know that it's ok to not be perfect at everything, as long as you are trying your best!
#6: Would You Rather
This is a fun ice breaker game for kindergarten that really gets them thinking. It also helps you get to know your students and their personalities better. Ask your students simple questions, such as, would you rather:
- eat hotdogs or hamburgers
- bake cookies or a cake
- go swimming or sledding
- read a story or play a math game
- watch cartoons or a movie
You can ask one question and have your students all take a turn answering. To add an extra layer of fun, you can use a random name generator to call out your students and ask them all different questions.
#7: I Spy
This is another classic that serves as a great ice breaker game for kindergarten. You can start by leading the game and having your students guess what you are spying. Then, your students can take turns being the leader. For every leader, limit it to 3-5 guesses, that way you can keep the game moving. If no one guesses correctly, the leader shares the answer! Be sure to go over the rule that they must be able to see the object in the room (or on the screen).
#8: Simon Says
This is a great way to get your students up and moving. Have them spread out and follow your lead as you are the first “Simon.” Go over the rules and do a practice round or two. Once you are ready for the “real game,” whoever gets out gets to help you watch for anyone who moves when Simon doesn't say. That way they still feel special even if they get out. You can adapt this game and let your students take turns being Simon, too. At the end of the game, do a big cheer for the winner and a big cheer for everyone. This encourages good sportsmanship.
#9: Compliment Web
This ice breaker game is a great social skills activity too. If you are in the classroom, get out a roll of yarn. Have your students stand in a large circle. You will hand the end of yarn to the first person and they will hold onto it for the entire game. Emphasize to your students how important it is to not drop the yarn, because something cool is going to happen at the end. Talk about types of compliments beforehand, such as “I like your shoes,”or, “you are a great artist.” The first person will give any other student in the circle a compliment. You will take the yarn and have that student grab on also. The students keep complimenting and passing on the yarn until everyone has been complimented and is holding onto the “compliment web.” They will love seeing the crazy pattern of yarn and will feel special knowing they had a part in it. You can do this virtually, without the yarn and do two claps after each compliment.
#10: Snowball Fight
Your students will love this ice breaker game! There are a couple different ways to play. Hand out a piece of blank paper and instruct your students to write down either their name or a number between 1 and 10. Then, very seriously, tell them to crumple up their paper! They will look at you in awe, but will have a blast turning it into a ball. Have them stand in a circle. When you say go, they will have a snowball fight! Have them stay in their own space, either on a square or by keeping one foot planted the whole time, that way you don't have kids flying everywhere! They will keep throwing snowballs until you say stop. They'll pick up a snowball and open it up. If they wrote names, they can find that person and wave at them or air five. If they wrote numbers, you can give them an action to do that number of times, such as jumping up and down.
#11: Freeze Dance
This is your chance to blast some kid-friendly tunes and have a dance party! This is a great way to get the wiggles out, get some exercise in, and have some free-spirited fun. Be sure to jump in and dance with them. When the music stops, they all have to freeze! You'll get to see their true personalities during this game.
#12: Rock, Paper, Scissors
Teach your students this popular game and hold your own rock, paper, scissors competition. You can have students partner up and play rock, paper, scissors. You will monitor the games, and if you have a teacher's aide or parent volunteer, they can help too. Play for fun or hold your own classroom competition, setting up a simple bracket to find the champion. To avoid students getting too rough, have them stand a few feet apart and do the motions in the air.
I hope these low-prep ice breaker games for kindergarten are helpful for you as you head back to school and focus on building classroom community. Want more ideas and tips on building community? This blog post has you covered! As always, you can adapt these games to work for you and your students. Do you have any great ice breaker game ideas? Share them with me!