Icebreakers - A sure-fire crowd warmer on your school camps
BREAKING THE ICE at inter-school camps and events is a critical step in getting your day off to a great start. These innovative icebreaker fun activities will soon have students – no matter their school, age or background - chatting, laughing and engaging.
Inter school co-curricular activities give students a greater sense of belonging and help motivate them in their sporting, performing arts and academic achievements.
But those initial few minutes, when students pile off the bus and stand around waiting for their event to start can be, well, awkward.
Icebreaker activities are fun and designed to fast track the meeting process and get students talking and feeling more comfortable with each other – so that once the core activities of the day are ready to roll, everyone is pumped and ready to participate.
Icebreaker activities can be ‘spoken word’ or ‘action-based’, but the end aim is the same: to get participants warmed up and ready to launch into the activity ahead.
Step one is to work out what you want to achieve from the icebreaker. Is your goal for students to mingle and meet? Or is it to bridge the group into the topic of the excursion?
Perhaps the goal is for students to participate in an activity that will demonstrate insights about functioning together as a group?
Icebreakers can combine any of these goals. Just match the goals to the needs of your student group.
If your event involves students from a range of schools sitting in an auditorium for a morning or afternoon session – but you don’t want them sitting in their usual school groups, try this simple icebreaker that will soon have students mingling with new friends.
Required One piece of fruit per student (apples, bananas and oranges are best)
How it works Assign seating by handing out a piece of fruit to each student. Then ask all the ‘apples’ to sit in the middle of the auditorium, all the ‘bananas’ to sit on the left and all the ‘oranges’ to sit on the right.
Following on from the first icebreaker you now have students from different schools seated next to each other.
Required A stop watch
How it works Ask students to turn to the person next to them and tell them their name, school, age and hobbies.
Now, using a stop watch, time students for another minute or so and ask them to turn to each other again and this time talk about where they went on their last holiday, who their favourite music group is, and the three people in the world they would most like to meet (living or dead).
This icebreaker is ideal for when students are sitting around on a lawn area waiting for their event to start. It works best with large groups, and is an honesty-based activity.
How it works The leader, usually a teacher, will call out in a clear voice to the group: ‘Put one finger up if you play a musical instrument.’ Or, ‘Put one finger up if you volunteer with a volunteer organisation.’ Or, ‘put one finger up if you did the dishes at home this week.’
Continue on until a student has all 10 fingers up. They are crowned ‘winner’.
This is a great physical icebreaker, suitable for students wearing tracksuits or shorts.
How it works Divide players into groups of three or four. The leader calls out a letter, and the groups must then form that letter using their bodies. The groups can decide if they want to build the letters standing or laying on the lawn.
Again, this is an ideal icebreaker when students are seated on a lawn area.
How it works Pick two or three students that have something in common, ie. they are all wearing earrings, they all have black hair, they’re all wearing a watch.
Have them stand up.
Ask the rest of the student group to try and work out what makes them a ‘set’.
This icebreaker is ideal for younger students. It’s a simple, fun way of dividing a large group into two smaller groups.
How it works Ask students to close their eyes while one person goes around and taps each student on the shoulder and designates them either a ‘kookaburra’ or a ‘sheep’.
On a given signal, and with their eyes still closed, ask students to stand and find other members of their kookaburra or sheep team by making the sound of their designated animal.
10 THINGS IN
This icebreaker helps student groups to explore their shared interests more broadly, and is a guaranteed source of laughter and discussion.
Required A piece of paper, pen and clipboard for each group
How it works This icebreaker is best suited to older secondary students. Divide your large student group into groups of 10. Tell the newly formed groups that their assignment is to find ten things they have in common with every other person in the group – within a 10-minute time frame. However, the proviso is this: the 10 things they have in common mustn’t be about their school life, and can’t include body parts (ie. ‘we all have two legs’ won’t cut it!)
Each team designates a writer to jot down their thoughts and compile their final list. This person will also read out the list to the other groups at the end of the activity.
Icebreaker activities have been used for decades by some of the world’s top corporate companies to get their executives and employees engaging with each other. Try them at your next inter-school excursion or school camp and see for yourself the positive effects they can have.