50+ Unique Icebreaker Questions for Kids Your Class Will LoveAll Posts
Written by Amy Copadis
Reviewed by Meredith Melvin, B.Ed.
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We all remember that first-day-of-school feeling.
As kids, there was a mix of nerves and excitement on the first day of school. How would the teachers be? Would our friends be there waiting for us after the summer? How would we get along with new classmates?
Those first few moments in the classroom are full of anticipation and can set the stage for the rest of the year.
So, how can you make sure your students are comfortable and engaged in your classroom, whether they’re learning in-person or remotely?
Many teachers point to using icebreaker questions and activities to set a fun, positive atmosphere where kids feel safe to ask questions and are excited to learn.
In fact, according to the Center for Teaching Innovation at Cornell University, using icebreakers in the classroom can benefit the students in many ways, such as:
- Building rapport among the students
- Preparing students for cooperative learning
- Creating a relaxed environment where students feel comfortable enough to participate more fully
So, how can you include icebreakers in your classroom? What are some ideas for icebreaker questions, and how can you get started using them in your classroom? If you’re not returning to a physical classroom this year, how can you adapt ideas for icebreakers to a virtual classroom?
In this article, we’re going to dive into 50 icebreaker questions for kids, icebreaker activities you can use for different ages, and some ideas on adapting these to a remote setting.
50 Icebreaker questions for kids
Using the right icebreaker questions, you can draw out the students in your classroom and help everyone get to know each other a little better.
Here are some ideas for questions that help students get to know one another, start conversations, and spark their imagination.
1. What kind of music do you like?
2. What’s your favorite sport to play?
3. Where were you born?
4. Tell me about the pet(s) you have, or the pet you wished you had.
5. What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?
6. What instrument(s) do you play, or do you want to learn?
7. What’s your favorite YouTube channel?
8. Which cartoon character do you wish was real?
9. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?
10. What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re alone?
11. Do you have any hidden talents?
12. How would you spend a rainy day?
13. Who is your favorite superhero?
14. What’s your favorite line from a movie?
15. What’s the most unusual thing in your school bag right now?
16. Is your personality similar or different to someone else in your family? If so, how are you the same or different?
17. What’s the most meaningful gift you’ve ever received? OR What’s a meaningful gift you have given?
18. What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?
19. What was your favourite book you read this summer? OR What is something that you learned how to do this summer?
20. What’s the first thing you do in the morning?
Icebreaker questions to start conversations
21. What’s one thing that made you laugh recently?
22. If you could ask your favorite celebrity one thing, what would you ask?
23. If you were invisible for a day, what would you do?
24. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
25. If you could invite four famous people to dinner, who would you invite and why?
26. If you could visit any planet, where would you go and why?
27. If you won a million dollars, what would you do with it?
28. If you could trade places with a character from your favorite movie or TV show, who would you choose and why?
29. If you had to change your name, what would you change it to?
30. What do you think makes a good friend?
31. What’s something you have in common with the person next to you?
32. If you were a famous person, what would you be famous for?
Would you rather questions
33. Would you rather play sports or watch them?
34. Would you rather be part of the Incredibles family or the Weasley family?
35. Would you rather live in a world of legos or a world of cartoons?
36. Would you rather have a pet dinosaur or a pet dragon?
37. Would you rather live in a house made of cheese or a house made of cookie dough?
38. Would you rather be a mouse or an elephant?
39. Would you rather be invisible or be able to fly?
40. Would you rather live at Disney World or Sea World?
Questions to spark the imagination
41. Imagine you discover a beautiful island where you decide to build a new society. What is the first rule you put in place?
42. If it was raining meatballs, would you eat them?
43. If you could pick 3 animals to put together and create a new animal, which animals would you pick? What would it be called?
44. If you could be any emoji, which one would you be?
45. If you were a superhero, what would be your superpower?
46. If you had a time machine that could only work once, what point in the past or future would you visit?
47. If you were running for president, what would your campaign slogan be?
48. If you had a TV show about your life, what would it be called and who would play you?
49. If you had to create a nickname for yourself, what would it be?
50. If you had a robot to help you with school, but it could only do one task, what would it do?
Using these icebreaker questions, you can help your students feel comfortable with each other. Even the shyest students can have fun with these questions (especially the sillier ones). This sets the whole class up for a fun, collaborative school year.
But how can you introduce these icebreaker questions to your students? And how can you adapt the questions to suit different age groups?
Let’s discuss some fun icebreaker activities for different ages that can help you bring the right questions into the classroom:
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Icebreakers for elementary students
For your youngest students, icebreaker activities should help guide conversations and let kids see how much they have in common, as well as how each student is unique.
Here are ideas for games that make asking icebreaker questions a fun activity for everyone, as well as some specific icebreaker questions for your elementary students:
Marco Polo with icebreaker questions
This fun twist on the classic game Marco Polo allows your students to get up and move around the classroom while getting to know one another.
In this game, one student closes their eyes and, instead of saying ‘Marco’, asks an icebreaker question from the getting-to-know-you list above.
Then, the other students must answer the question honestly, allowing the student whose eyes are closed to figure out where they are and tag them.
When a student is tagged, they take a turn closing their eyes and asking an icebreaker question.
This game helps students see how much they have in common with their classmates.
One student starts by asking who else in the classroom shares a quality, like, dislike, etc. with them. For example:
- Who has an older brother like me?
- Who likes baseball like me?
- Who is an only child like me?
- Who likes chocolate ice cream like me?
- Whose favorite superhero is Spiderman like me?
The student asks these types of questions until they find at least two other students who have something in common with them. These two hold hands with the first student on either side to form a chain.
Then, the students at the end of the ‘chain’ must ask similar questions to find students who share something in common with them.
This continues until the whole classroom is linked together in the chain.
(For a socially-distanced version of this game, have the students stand in a row with space in between them instead of holding hands.)
For more online getting-to-know-you icebreaker activities, check out the video below:
Favorite animal sounds
Every little kid has their favorite animal. But how many students in your classroom have the same favorite animal?
In this game, ask each student to think of their favorite animal. Then, they must make the sound of that animal.
As the students all make animal sounds, each student must group together with the other students in the classroom making the same animal sound. While some kids may be shy about this at first, soon your classroom will erupt in a cacophony of crazy animal sounds.
This fun animal game gets kids moving and being silly together, helping them shake off those first-day jitters and feel comfortable with each other.
Icebreaker questions for elementary students
- If you could get rid of one food forever, what would it be?
- What’s one food you love that most people hate?
- What’s one food you hate that most people love?
- What’s your favorite thing to do after school?
- If you could keep any animal as a pet, what would it be?
Icebreakers for middle school students
Middle schoolers are a bit older, a bit wiser, and a bit more self-conscious. Those first-day nerves may be even worse for middle school students, meaning you’ll need to work even harder to make icebreaker questions a fun first-day activity (not another embarrassing middle school moment they’ll remember forever).
Here are some fun icebreaker games you can play with middle schoolers, as well as a few questions that are specific to this age group:
This game helps students answer questions by making it a game, but also gives students the option not to answer if they’re embarrassed or shy.
You can also allow students to submit questions they would like to answer themselves or know about their peers — vetted by you, of course. This could help give them greater comfort knowing what questions could be asked.
Start by printing off your chosen icebreaker questions on cards and putting them all into a hat or box.
Students gather in a circle, and each starts the game with 10 of something, such as marbles, coins, or game chips.
The goal: Get rid of all your chips as soon as you can.
The first player draws a question from the box and reads it out loud. If they answer the question, they put a chip in the middle of the circle. If they choose to pass and not answer the question, they must take a chip. Whenever a student passes on a question, another student can “steal” the question by putting their chip in the middle of the circle and answering the question themselves.
Whoever gets rid of their chips first wins, which helps encourage all the students to answer questions and thus get to know each other better.
Fidget spinner icebreaker game
Love them or hate them, fidget spinners have become more popular than ever. But now you can use them to break the ice with your middle schoolers.
Have your students sit in a circle in the classroom with the fidget spinner in the middle. One student gets to spin the fidget spinner. Most spinners have three wings, so when it stops, it will be pointing at three students in the circle.
The student who spun the spinner gets to choose an icebreaker question (or pull one from the box, if you’ve printed them out), and the three students the spinner is pointing to must answer the question.
Check out this video for even more virtual icebreakers for your middle school students:
Ice breaker questions for middle school students
- If you started your own YouTube channel, what would it be called and what would your videos be about?
- What’s one thing you want to learn this year (either in school or outside of it)?
Classroom icebreakers for high school students
Your high schoolers are getting older, and they’re preparing for life as adults. With that in mind, they’re probably not interested in some of the sillier icebreaker activities we discussed for younger students (although the Marco Polo with icebreaker questions and Chip In games can easily be adapted to a high school setting if the students are willing).
What other icebreakers for high school students will help the whole class feel comfortable and willing to get to know each other?
Here are some ideas, and some questions adapted to high schoolers:
Because who doesn’t love Jenga?
For this game, get a Jenga set and write out an icebreaker question on each piece.
Then, gather your students to play Jenga! Whenever someone takes out a piece, they must answer the question that’s written on it.
Although Jenga has no maximum number of players, you may decide to use more than one set so that your students have a chance to answer more questions.
This icebreaker activity helps your students get to know each other right from the get-go.
Start by pairing up your class into teams of two. Then, each pair spends some time asking each other questions and getting to know each other. To help get the ball rolling, you can provide a list of getting-to-know-you icebreaker questions that your students can use.
Then, each student gets to introduce their teammate to the class using the information they gathered while chatting.
This is a fun way to help your class get to know each other and get the school year started on the right foot.
Icebreaker questions for high school students
- What’s the best piece of advice someone has given you?
- If money was no object, where would you choose to live?
- What’s the strangest career you’ve ever heard of?
- What’s one book you read that had a big impact on you, and why?
- If you had to spend a month without your phone, what would you do?
Icebreaker ideas for a virtual learning setting
Unfortunately, many schools will not be able to start classes in a physical classroom this year. So, how can you introduce icebreaker activities to a virtual classroom?
Here are some ideas to help your students get to know each other and feel like they’re part of the class, even when they’re not physically together:
Would you rather game with emoji responses
Using our list of would you rather questions above (or your own list!), you can create a virtual game to get to know your students.
If you’re using a platform like Zoom where students can send emojis, have your students respond to the would you rather questions with emojis. For example:
“Would you rather go skydiving or scuba diving? If skydiving, respond with the thumbs-up emoji. If scuba diving, respond with the heart emoji.”
During the game, keep track of how students responded to each question. Then, at the end of the game, have your students guess which answers were more popular.
Muted get-to-know-you questions
This is for those kids (and teachers!) who never remember to unmute their microphones on a video call.
In this game, pick a student and ask them one of your icebreaker questions. Then, have them answer the question while they’re still on mute.
As they answer, have the rest of the students try to guess what they’re saying by reading their lips and typing their guesses in the chat. Have the student repeat the answer a few times slowly, and then see how many students got the answer right!
(For the best result, choose questions that have short or one-word answers, such as: How many siblings do you have? What’s your favorite pizza topping? How many different places have you lived?)
Respond to icebreaker questions with memes
For older students, make icebreaker questions fun by allowing them to answer the questions with their favorite memes.
Of course, you’ll need to set rules for what makes a meme inappropriate, but there are plenty of funny, clean memes that students can use to share their thoughts and feelings on icebreaker questions.
This also separates them slightly from the question, since they won’t be on the spot answering the question themselves. That slight separation could help encourage shyer students to participate more.
Respond to icebreaker questions with charades
This is a fun way for younger students to stay engaged during remote learning and feel like part of the classroom even though they’re apart.
Similar to the muted questions mentioned above, play this game by asking a student to answer an icebreaker question while muted. In this case, though, they need to act out their answer.
As they act out their answer, the rest of the students can use the chat to guess what they’re acting out.
Make back-to-school a success with fun classroom icebreakers
Whether you’re in the classroom practicing social distancing or teaching a virtual class, it’s clear that 2021 isn’t a normal school year.
Even so, these icebreaker questions and activities will help your students of all age groups get to know each other and be more comfortable participating in the class throughout the year.
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