Getting-to-know-you Games
September 4, 2013 7:39 AM   Subscribe

Please suggest some icebreaker games I can play with 5-7 yo kids. Restrictions: Groups of 4-5 kids, games must be quick (less than 5 minutes) and require little or no materials.

I'm starting a new job soon. I'll be working in an elementary school, pulling kids out of their classrooms in small groups to provide reading assessments and tutoring. I'll have about 45 minutes with each group of kids, but I would like to start each session with a simple game to break the ice, introduce everyone to each other and get them more comfortable.

Please suggest some quick games we can play! Games should work with a small group and be played in 5 minutes or less. I'd probably be able to use simple materials like dice, deck of cards, pen and paper.
posted by gnutron to Education (11 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
In a circle with a ball, kids have to call out the name (or other attribute) of a kid and toss the ball to that kid. Or you can say the name of the kid they need to toss to. You could have the kid who catches it say something about themselves before they toss to another kid.
posted by Dansaman at 7:46 AM on September 4, 2013

If you can clear some room, Elbow tag or Blob tag are great and easy ways to introduce new people.

Elbow Tag: everybody is partnered with someone else, by linking elbows. One person is It. When It links elbows with a pair, the outside partner (the one not linked by It) becomes the new It. The game ends when time is up.

Blob Tag: One person is It. everyone else runs. When It catches you, you hold hands or link arms and are now both (together) It. The game ends when everybody is part of the blob, or there's only one person left standing (or when time's up)
posted by Mchelly at 7:47 AM on September 4, 2013

How about I See Something or I Spy? You can be the one who sees it or give them turns.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 7:47 AM on September 4, 2013

I would think that Mad Libs (made by you or real ones), or that game where each person adds a sentence to a story without seeing most of the rest of the story would be quick silly games that would also fit into your classroom goals. If their writing skills are poor they could whisper the next piece of the story to you.
posted by tchemgrrl at 7:49 AM on September 4, 2013

Bear Ninja Pirate! Like Rock Paper Scissors - Bear beats Pirate, Pirate beats Ninja, Ninja beats Bear. The fun part is that you have to act out each role. Bears ROAR! Nijnas do fast ninja chops, and Pirates AARGH!

Play in rounds to find a "winner" and it's a quick way to blow off some steam.
posted by Coffeemate at 8:02 AM on September 4, 2013

Used to play this one as a warmup: Zip Zap Zop. Trickier than it sounds, to keep the callouts in order, especially if you encourage the kids to speed it up.
posted by rachaelfaith at 8:08 AM on September 4, 2013

Rock Paper Scissors variant:

1. Everyone finds a partner.
2. Each pair plays a best-of-three game of RPS.
3. Loser becomes winner's cheerleader. Has to follow him to next match and root loudly.
4. Lather, rinse, repeat until you have two kids in the middle of the room and the whole rest of the room cheering them on.
posted by DWRoelands at 9:32 AM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

We used to play a game where everyone thinks of two interesting facts about themselves and makes up one fake fact, with the idea being that others have to guess which is the lie.

You can go round the circle, or you can set them all off walking around the room and having one-to-one conversations, whatever suits your purposes!
posted by greenish at 9:38 AM on September 4, 2013

"Without speaking, arrange yourself in order of your birthdates, from January to December."

"Without speaking, arrange yourself in alphabetical order by first name (or middle or last)."

Create a bowl full of questions, and each time you meet have a student draw out one question, which they all have to answer. Make up your own, or find examples online or in books.
posted by BlahLaLa at 9:40 AM on September 4, 2013

How about "Would you rather...?" Here are some for kids. It's questions like:
Would you rather be able to fly or have the power to be invisible? etc etc

My kid plays it all the time with her friends and they're pretty funny.
posted by biscuits at 2:33 PM on September 4, 2013

Elbow tag can be morphed into a name game. Before you can latch on to a friend's elbow, you have to shout their names. You also can't link to the pair of people next to you, that's just cheap!

Another game: Have all the kids sit shoulder to shoulder in a tight circle. One person stands in the middle of the circle and says a fact about themselves, then, everyone who has that fact in common stands up and has to switch spots with someone else who stood up. (Again, not right next to them if possible!)
There will be one person left in the middle and they will start the next round with a new fact about themselves.

The rock, paper, scissors championship is awesome and is a good way to get everyone excited and smiling before you start with other games.
posted by rubster at 9:16 PM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

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