You can rightly say that icebreakers are activities designed to relax students, introduce them to one another and also energize them. The icebreakers help to make the environment informal and warm up the session. In addition, icebreakers help the students to form random and informal groups to break up the cliques in a fun way.
The term “icebreaker” is borrowed from a ship which “break the ice” in the arctic region. The icebreaker ships help in clearing the ice to make way for the other ships to travel smoothly. Similarly, icebreaker activities help the students to interact with one another and also enhance learning through series of games and activities and teamwork.
Icebreaker activities also help in creating a bond between students and teachers. Classroom icebreaker activities on the first day of school help the newcomers to mix with the old students and also help to make them comfortable and settle in.
Today, icebreakers are a part of creative thinking, strategic thinking, positive thinking, problem solving and learning strategies, not only in business organizations but also for students of all age groups. The reason is classroom icebreaker activities help to develop various soft skills such as interpersonal skill, communication skills that include written, verbal and non-verbal and team building skills. Icebreakers activities are used in a form of learning known as problem-based learning, a novel mode of imparting education to the aspiring students.
A few Icebreaker Activities
There are many icebreaker activities for small groups and big groups. Here are a few icebreaker games that could be used for any group, irrespective of the size.
Do you know me?
In this activity, each student is given a “nametag” and an “index card”. The name of another student in the group is written on the nametag. The students are asked to mix and mingle with the group and gather information regarding the person whose name is on the nametag. It could be stories, experience or personal information and so on. Once the student gathers information, he has to pen down the information collected on the index card. Certain amount of time is designated, say 15 minutes. At the end of the designated time, each student has to introduce their “name tag” and the concerned person to the group.
Tell me partner, what’s different?
This is a five minute warm up game. The teacher has to ask everyone in the group to team up with a partner (choose someone who is new and they have not met before). Ask the participant to turn back-to-back and change four to five things about their appearance. It could be anything silly also. The partners turn around when they are ready and try to guess the things that have been changed. This icebreaker is good for introducing a new person to the class or the group. At the end of the icebreaker session, he/she would feel comfortable and be a part of the session.
Four C’s icebreaker is a solution to get students to mingle with one another and also find what they have in common. This activity could be played in a small group of four to six students and also among the larger groups. Ask each student to write on a piece of paper/index card his favorite: Color, Country, Cuisine and Closet Dream. The papers or cards are shuffled and redistributed. Each student reads aloud the contents of his card and he has to guess the person who wrote it.
Purpose of Icebreakers in a Classroom
Icebreakers help the new and the shy students to strike a conversation.
The collaborative activity helps in developing communication skills and team building.
Icebreakers help to break cultural barriers among students.
Lengthy icebreaker activities help in promoting a sense of trust and friendship between the students.
Icebreaker activity at the beginning of the class helps to set a positive atmosphere for the interaction between students and teachers and also among the students.