Back-to-school time can cause feelings of excitement as well as dread. Starting a new school year is stressful. In fact, nearly all kids at all grade levels experience some degree of back-to-school anxiety.
Make the first day go smoother with fun, get-to-know-you activities that will put first-day jitters to rest. These icebreakers, coupled with promo items for students, can help to calm those back-to-school butterflies.
Break the ice
- Put a name on it: A name game can be a great way to quickly learn about students. Everyone sits in a row or a circle. Each student says their name as well as the names of the students that came before them. Make this exercise more challenging for older students by having them name a food or adjective that starts with the same letter of their first name. For instance, “Andy Apple” or “Boisterous Barbara.” Those who make it around the circle without making a mistake get a school promo item and bragging rights. A pencil case or notebook set makes an excellent prize.
- Pick a card: Divide students into small groups and provide each team with a deck of playing cards and list of icebreaker questions numbered one through ten. Choose open-ended questions like, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”, “What was your favourite vacation” and “What is your earliest childhood memory”. Students take turns selecting a card and answering the question that coordinates with their card.
- Take a selfie: The number of selfies taken worldwide each day numbers close to 93 million. According to common sense media®, kids use selfies to “show the world who they are becoming.” They also use them to communicate with friends and express their feelings. Have students write a “text message” or caption to accompany their photo and post them on a poster or virtual bulletin board. Provide selfie sticks and caption bubble stress relievers as prizes for best selfie, most creative caption and more.
- Play Bingo: Getting to know you Bingo is a classic student icebreaker. Develop Bingo cards that use traits instead of letters and numbers. For instance, “Has a cat,” “Was born in a different province,” “Is on a sports team” or “Can play a musical instrument.” Students go around the room and find classmates that possess one or more of the traits on their card. Up the difficulty by challenging players to fill the entire card. Reward winners with school promo items such as a logoed Fidget Spinner Pen or colour-changing pencil.
Try one or all of these fun icebreakers to combat the back-to-school jitters. These activities, plus promo items for students, will have the class feeling welcomed and ready to learn in no time.
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