When beginning any new school year, it’s important to start building a comfortable and secure atmosphere in your classroom (whether in person or online) from the first day.
One way to ease into that is with icebreakers, shared exercises and activities that help students shed their first-day anxieties and get to know their new classmates. Teachers, too, will learn more about their students readily through icebreaker activities.
Many of the following top icebreaker sites and tools are free and don’t require an account setup—making each one an especially good option for a new class.
Best Digital Icebreakers
Virtual icebreakers for Zoom (opens in new tab)
Try these fun, low-pressure guessing games featuring drawing and mapping skills as well as 20-questions-style activities. Great for those endless remote staff meetings.
Magnetic Poetry Kids (opens in new tab)
Simple, free, and easy-to-use digital “magnetic” poetry game lets users quickly create original poems and download as .png images. Kid-safe word pool. No refrigerator needed!
Me – The User Manual (opens in new tab)
What makes you tick in the workplace? What makes you ticked off? How do you like to communicate? What do you value? The answers to these and other key questions will help your new colleagues get to know you as a person while collaborating more effectively. Edit the questions appropriately, and It’s also a great pictorial and/or writing assignment for K-12 students.
Storyboard That Icebreaker Questions (opens in new tab)
Six engaging digital icebreakers that will prompt kids’ thinking and imagination. Includes KWL (know/ want to know/learned) charts, conversation cubes, riddles, and more.
7 Digital Icebreakers using Google (opens in new tab)
Ideal for both remote and in-person teaching, these digital icebreakers make use of free Google tools—Docs, Sheets, and Slides—to help kids get to know one another and find common ground with their classmates.
How to Virtually Welcome Kids Back to School (opens in new tab)
More than a dozen excellent ideas for encouraging your students to share, listen, and learn with one another. Although designed for the virtual classroom, these icebreaker activities are 100% adaptable to in-person enjoyment.
Read Write Think (opens in new tab)
“My Summer Vacation” is a popular writing assignment in the new school year. Consider this interactive timeline as a fun twist on the old standby. Kids simply click to add events such as sports, summer camp, family vacations, or summer jobs, then add a written description and images. The final product can be downloaded, printed, or exported as a PDF file. Free, no account needed.
Fun Icebreaker Ideas & Activities (opens in new tab)
Searchable by group size and category, this free site offers more than 100 icebreakers, team-building exercises, group games, family-friendly activities, worksheets, and more. Among the dozens of great classroom icebreakers are “Personal Trivia Baseball,” “Time Hop,” and “Memorable Catchy Names.”
Voki (opens in new tab)
A fun site at which students can create animated and speaking avatars to introduce themselves to their classmates. Free basic account for one teacher, five students.
21 Free Fun IceBreakers (opens in new tab)
Explore these classic and modern free digital icebreakers and select the perfect ones for your in-person or online class.
Word it out (opens in new tab)
This free and amusing word cloud generator is perfect as a new class icebreaker. Kids can write about themselves, their pets, their summer vacation, or any number of topics to create word clouds, then customize with color and font choices. A great, low stress way to combine writing and fun while getting to know one another.
Magnetic Poetry (opens in new tab)
Having a limited set of words is a great entrée into self expression. Choose from Kids, Nature, Geek, Happiness, or the Original digital magnetic word collections and have your students get creative. Be prepared for the unexpected! No account required.
BoomWriter (opens in new tab)
Teachers place students into groups and have each one write a page of a story, then share with the class using BoomWriter’s innovative writing and voting process. Free trials available.
►20 Sites/Apps Every Teacher Should Try for Back to School (opens in new tab)
►New Teacher Starter Kit (opens in new tab)
►Best Tools for Teachers (opens in new tab)