10 Back to School Ice Breakers and Activities

It’s that time of year again!  Back to school, we go!   I’m changing grade levels this year, going back to fifth and I’m crazy excited.  I think it’s the change that I needed!

No matter what grade I am teaching, I always spend the majority of the first 2-3 days engaging my students in class building and team building activities.  I believe these first few days set the stage for the entire year and back to school ice breakers and activities are perfect for this!




Compiled below is a list of 10 activities that are great for ice breakers during the first few days back to school, and also a great addition to the brain breaks you may already have in place.

Everyone’s It

*This game can be played inside, but it may work better outside.

1. Before beginning, set the boundaries for the playing field.

2. The teacher tells the class that everyone is it. If you are tagged by an ‘IT,” you must freeze in the position you are in at that moment. Once you are frozen, there is no way to be unfrozen.

3. Once the entire class is frozen except for one, the last person standing yells “Everyone’s it” and the game starts over.

Blind Caterpillar

1. Form teams of 3 or 4 with your students. Students stand in line, placing hands on the shoulders of the person in front of them. The leader of the caterpillar keeps their eyes open. The body of the caterpillar (those behind the leader) keeps their eyes closed.

2. The leader of the caterpillar body leads the body around the room. The leader is sure to tell the body about obstacles that may be in the way. The leader will tell the caterpillar when to stop, start, turn, etc.

3. After about two minutes, the teacher calls metamorphosis. The leader moves to the back, and the next person in the line becomes the leader.


1. Partners sit back-to-back linking arms.

2. Partners press their backs together and slowly stand with their backs together.

3.  The object is to stand without separating.

4.  If students separate or fall, they must start all over.

Movement Chain

1. Students stand in a circle facing in.

2. The leader begins with a movement and gives a sound with it.

3. Going clockwise, the movements and sounds are repeated as other sounds and movements are added.

4. Each player adds a sound and movement to the previous sound and movements.

5. If a player forgets one of the movements or sounds, the round ends, and the next player begins a new round.

Simon Says

1. In a small or large group, everyone stands in a line so they can see Simon (the leader of the game).

2. Simon (the leader) gives a command. If Simon says, “Simon says everyone touch your nose,” everyone touches their nose.

3. If Simon says, “Touch your nose,” no one should touch their nose.

4. If someone follows a command, but Simon didn’t say, “Simon says,” that person is out and sits down.

5. The last person standing is the new Simon.

Balloon Ice Breakers


1. You will need one large balloon

2. The challenge is that everyone must touch the balloon at the same time.


1. Start by having team members, sized 3-5, touch a balloon. Gradually add another team so that 6-10 people are touching the balloon. Have two large teams challenge each other.

2. Reduce the size of the balloon that is being used. See which team can touch the smallest balloon at the same time.

3. Change the balloon to another object like a baseball, eraser, or a pencil.

Balloon Burst

1. Place at least two chairs a distance that you choose from a starting line (preferably 10-15 feet).

2. Next, to the chair, place a box of uninflated or inflated balloons.

3. Players lineup in teams. Four to six players per team are ideal.

4. The leader pops the first balloon, and the race is off.

5. The first player in line races to the chair. The player sits in the chair, blows up a balloon, ties it, and then pops the balloon by sitting on it. (For those who can’t tie, have a box of pre-inflated balloons)

6. The player races back to the line to tag the next person, and then the game continues. The first team to complete the relay is the winning team.

Balloon Volleyball

1. Place a piece of yarn as a net.

2. The balloon is the volleyball, and the rules are the same as a traditional volleyball game.

3. The game can be played with one player against another, or make teams with multiple players.

4. As the game continues, add one balloon to the mix, then another, and then another until the game becomes chaotic.

Balloon Bouncing

1. In groups of 4-6, players form a circle.

2. Players hold hands, holding a balloon in their hands.

3. Players bounce the balloon in the air. The object is to keep the balloon in the air by using their heads, noses, feet, legs, arms, etc.…

4. When the team feels they have mastered keeping one balloon in the air, they can try to add another balloon to the mix.

Balloon Carry

1. Set up targets around a predetermined playing field. Targets can be square pieces of paper, playing cards, sticky notes, etc., and as many or as little targets as you want.

2. Divide students into pairs.

3. Each pair of partners has an inflated balloon.

4. Have one pair of partners, or as many as you want, to begin the race. Partners hold hands and randomly touch each target while keeping the balloon in the air.

5. If a pair drops the balloon, they must stand frozen for 10 seconds before resuming the race.

6. Once a pair has touched all targets, the race continues by adding a balloon each time.





Mandy Neal at Teaching With Simplicity
Mandy Neal at Teaching With Simplicity

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