Cindy Says: Warmups/Icebreakers - The Perfect Overture

Cindy Says: Warmups/Icebreakers - The Perfect Overture

As teachers, we all have our rituals.  With my college student teaching candidates I have always had a fun, mock graduation ceremony before they cross the threshold into this noble profession.  I always share one of my favorite quotes:

“It is the supreme art of a teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” 

- Albert Einstein

Isn’t that what we all want to accomplish with our kids as this new school year unfolds? Ice breakers/warm up activities can be your secret weapon!

Icebreakers allow KIDS to:

• get to know each other

• build a trusting community

• ease anxiety

• get moving

• participate with confidence and enthusiasm

Icebreakers allow YOU to:

• get to know your kids

• observe your kids in group interactions

• gather insight for casting

• build basic creative skills

• encourage risk taking in a positive and safe environment


Here are a few of my favorites:

Common Denominator

Invite your students to get into groups with “everyone who has the same (fill-in-the-blank) as you.”   The fill-in-the-blank can be anything you desire from age to favorite dessert to number of pets, etc.  The participants then form these groups by communicating with each other to find the other individuals with the same trait.   Each group shares their answer with everyone after the participants have a chance to get to know the other students in their smaller group.  The leader then calls out another trait and the students all move to find their new group.  This continues as long as everyone is meeting new people. 

Group Juggle

Welcome students into a circle. Pass a small, soft ball around the circle and ask each person to make eye contact with the person next to them and say their name while handing them the ball. Tell students  to make sure to remember who is standing on either side of them. Have students all switch places and toss the ball underhand from person to person, keeping the original order of the circle which has now been mixed up. Once the group can complete the pattern comfortably, toss in a second ball after the first ball is halfway through the pattern. The object is to stay focused and get through the whole pattern without dropping the balls or confusing the order.

Exaggeration Circle

Invite your students to form a circle. One player begins with a small gesture.  The next player re-creates the same gesture but makes it larger.  This continues around the circle until the last student takes it to the EXTREME.  After several times with only movement, the students can add sound as well. Encourage everyone to keep a sense of the original gesture in their exaggerations.

Put your own spin on these and have fun creating your own.  The students’ joy in creative expression can’t be matched.

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