Ice Breakers and Teamwork Activities for Kids
Creating Safe Spaces and Engaged Learners As We Head Back To In-Person Schooling
Teachers have the tough job of creating a new “normal” in their classrooms this coming fall. This past year has been an uncertain one for teachers, families, and especially the kids. However, for the Fall of 2021 we anticipate most, if not all, students will be back in school full time. Whether you experienced remote, hybrid or some in-person schooling in 2020/21, the thought of going back to “normal” schooling for Fall of 2021 leaves a lot of people wondering how it will work.
Kids may not have engaged with other kids in any type of setting, or others may have had small social groups. This will all be changing as we come back to the school setting and reconnect with others. It wasn’t that long ago that some classrooms had close to 25-30 kids in them. The challenge as we enter this new academic year is how to keep our groups comfortable, have them bond with each other and become strong teams again. Here are some activities to get moving and help create a team environment and build social connections.
1) “Line Up”
- Leader decides the parameters of the activity, kids can talk or use non-verbal communication.
- Line up from tallest to shortest.
- Rearrange according to age.
- Rearrange in alphabetical order of first letter of first name.
- Rearrange according to your birthday.
2) Physical Activity BINGO
This is a great way to break out of our comfort zone as it forces everyone to talk to many different people.
- Each kid is given a BOKS BINGO board.
- Designate what formation the kids will create on their board (horizontal line, vertical line, diagonal line, four corners, all spaces).
- The kids move around the room and find a classmate to do the activities in the squares with them.
- When they complete a square mark it off on the playing board.
- Continue moving around the room and marking off squares with different classmates.
3) Beach Ball Toss
- Using a permanent marker write questions on the triangle spaces on a beach ball.
- Questions might include: What is something you like to do in your free time?, What sports do you like?, Do you have a pet?
- Kids stand in a circle.
- Toss the beach ball around the circle.
- The kid that catches it will read the question that is facing them and provide an answer to the group.
4) Teamwork Picture Scavenger Hunt
- Print a picture of a physical activity or classroom theme (e.g. person doing jumping jacks, science experiment, math problem, time in history) on an 8.5×11 piece of paper.
- Cut the paper into 6 equal parts (number the pieces 1-6).
- Hide the pieces around the space (classroom, gymnasium).
- Kids form teams of equal numbers.
- Teams must work together to search the room or space for the six pieces of their puzzle.
- Puzzle pieces must be collected in order one to six. If a piece is found out of order the team needs to leave it and come back when that number comes up.
- When all pieces have been collected teams can start putting the puzzle together.
- When the puzzle is complete the team has to do what the picture says (jumping jacks, science experiment, figure out the math problem).
- The first team to do all this together is the winner.
- Separate your kids into even groups (minimum number in any group should be around three).
- Give the kids a list of physical activities, sports or skills on a white board or chalk board (or have them come up with their own topics – sports, movies, books, activities, animals/pets, interests etc.).
- Within their group kids discuss which ones they like and which ones they do not.
- When they talk about a topic they should physically separate into two groups, one that likes the skill activity or thing, and one that doesn’t.
- In the smaller groups take turns going around the circle and coming up with skills and activities.
- Play for a certain amount of time.
- After the allotted time the kids will have learned so much about each other.
Have fun playing these communication games with your groups/classes and watch your classroom turn into a new family. Also, check out our many BOKS resources at bokskids.org to help keep kids active and transition back into the new school year. Wishing everyone a great year!