Even as we enter another school year under the uncertain arc of the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing remains clear: 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 the new school year 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 don’t require any account setup—making each one an especially good option for a new class.
Best Digital Icebreakers
How Do You Play
Easy-to-use free site dedicated to explaining simple games and fun icebreaker activities.
Fun Icebreaker Ideas & Activities
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.”
Read Write Think
A popular site for creating timelines with no account signup required. Students can quickly generate timelines describing events, sports, travel, and other activities of their summer vacations.
Super Teacher Worksheets
A vast collection of worksheets and other printables for back to school, including scavenger hunts, ‘All about me,’ puzzles, and other fun activities.
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
Explore these classic and modern free digital icebreakers and select the perfect ones for your in-person or online class.
Online Icebreaker Games
From “Come to My Party” to “Wordles,” these ten clever online icebreakers games include fun but thoughtful exercises and brain-teasing wordplay. Free trials offered. Or access all free virtual resources here.
Word it out
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.
Digital Activities & Icebreakers for Gen Y
Peruse Shelly Terrell’s abundant assortment of great ideas for digital icebreakers. From avatars to digital bingo to vision boards, these activities will capture kids’ attention, whether in the classroom or remote. Be sure to also check out Shelley’s follow up article, 7 Digital Icebreakers for #BacktoSchool . Emoji Get to Know You, anyone?
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.
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.
Offers a selection of digital icebreakers, including KWL charts, conversation cubes, games, and more.