Need a fun way to start your class and help your middle school students feel connected? Then check out these 10 awesome icebreakers for middle school students! Icebreakers are great for fostering teamwork and developing students’ problem-solving skills. They are also fantastic for building trust and relationships in the classroom. So, if you’re teaching teenagers, check out these 10 super fun icebreaker ideas and games that your students will definitely enjoy. As always, everything is free to use in your class. Let’s get started.
Icebreaker 1: Put A Finger Down
This first icebreaker game is super simple but middle school students really love to play it! To prepare for this activity, all you need to do is make some sentences that start with “Put a finger down if…“. For example, “Put a finger down if you have ever called the teacher mom.“, “Put a finger down if you have ever walked into a lamppost.“, etc. You can make your own sentences or use the pre-made activity video above.
Once you have your questions, tell students to stand up and hold up five fingers in the air. These are the students’ ‘lives.’ There are 15 rounds, and in each round, students must read the sentence, and if that sentence applies to them, they should put one of their fingers down. When a student loses all their lives (i.e., they have put down all five fingers), they are out and must sit down. The last students standing are the winners.
Teenagers really love this activity. It’s a great way to break the ice and to get to know your students. All you need are some fun and interesting sentences! Easy right? Let’s take a look at the next icebreaker!
Icebreaker 2: I’m Going To A Deserted Island Game
This classic classroom icebreaker game requires no prep, and you can play again and again without your students getting bored. If you’ve never heard of the ‘I’m Going To A Deserted Island Game,’ here’s how to play.
First, you must come up with a secret rule that all the words in the game must comply with. You might want to start with a simple rule in the first round so that students can get used to the idea of the game. For example, you might decide the rule is that all the things you are taking to the deserted island begin with the letter L.
Once you have decided on your secret rule, write the first item you will take to the deserted island (e.g., ‘Lemon’) on the board and say to the students, “I’m going to a deserted island, and I’m taking a Lemon.“
Next, it’s the students’ turn to try and figure out the rule by making their own sentences. For example, “I’m going to a deserted island, and I’m taking a ball.“, “I’m going to a deserted island, and I’m taking a lorry.“
If a student names an item that complies with your secret rule (i.e., a word beginning with the letter L), then you can tell them they can come to the island with you and write that word on the board. If a student names an item that doesn’t follow your secret rule (i.e., a word that doesn’t begin with the letter L), you can tell them they cannot come to the island.
The game is over once a student correctly guesses the secret rule. Then you can play again with a different rule. You can have many different rules, and you can make it as easy or as complicated as you want. For example, five-letter words, yellow fruits, words that begin and end in the same letter, etc.
TIP: If playing this game with older students, like middle and high school students, then why not put them in teams and ask them to come up with their own secret rule for the rest of the class to guess?
Icebreaker 3: Would You Rather
A fantastic way to get to know your students is the activity ‘Would you rather..?’. All you need for this activity is lots of fun Would You Rather Questions. If you’ve never played this game before, here’s how to play.
First, ask students a ‘Would You Rather Question’. For example, “Would you rather be super strong or super fast?“, “Would you rather be a spider for the day or an ant for the day?” etc.
Next, it’s time for students to decide what they would rather do and then share their answers. A great way to do this when playing this game as an icebreaker is to have students stand up and move to the side of the classroom to indicate their answers. For example, students who would rather be super strong would move to the left of the classroom, and students who would rather be super fast would move to the right of the classroom.
After students have indicated their answers, ask some students to share their reasoning for making that choice. For 30 questions you can use in this activity with a free PowerPoint, check out this post on funny would you rather questions for kids.
Icebreaker 4: Find Somebody Who
In this icebreaker game, students will walk around the classroom and talk with their classmates as they complete a worksheet. To prepare for this activity, you will need to print out one of our Find Somebody Who Worksheets (or make your own) and give one to each student.
On the worksheet, there are ten different ‘Find Somebody Who…’ sentences. For example, “Find somebody who is wearing glasses.“, “Find somebody who is wearing a watch.“, etc. Students must walk around the class, talk to their classmates, and find somebody to who the sentences apply. Once they find somebody, they must write their name on the worksheet. The first student to find somebody for all ten sentences is the winner.
Icebreaker 5: Guess Who
To play this game, first, you need to choose one student to be the ‘guesser’. Ask this student to wait outside the classroom. Next, choose another student to be ‘it’ and make sure the whole class, except the ‘guesser’, knows who it is. Then, ask the ‘guesser’ to come back into the room. Now the game can begin.
The guesser can ask five yes/no questions to figure out which student is ‘it’. For example, “Is it a boy?“, “Does he have glasses?“, “Does he have a red jacket?” etc. After asking five questions, the student must guess who it is. If they guess correctly, they get another turn. If they guess wrong, then they must sit down, and another student gets to be the ‘guesser’ in the next round.
Icebreaker 6: All About Me
This next icebreaker is a great way to get to know your students at the start of the year. Students must create an ‘All About Me’ poster and then share it with the class or with a small group. The post should include things like their name, age, hobbies, aspirations for the school year, etc. You can get students to make a poster on paper, or if you have access to computers, you can get students to make a digital poster with real pictures of themselves. You can also find many All About Me Worksheets here that you can use for this activity.
Icebreaker 7: The Numbers Game
This next activity needs no preparation whatsoever, making it a great game to have in your back pocket for whenever you need it. To begin, tell students they will count to 31 as a class. Students will take turns saying one number, two numbers, or a maximum of three numbers at a time. For example, the first student might say “One, Two,” then the next student might say “Three,” and then the next student might say “Four, Five, Six.”
The student who says the last number (31) loses and must do a fun forfeit. This can be a silly dance, running around the classroom, giving the teacher a high-five, etc. After playing one time, the student who lost gets to make up a new rule for one of the numbers. For example, the student might decide that when it comes time to say the number 7, you must say “banana“. After a few rounds, all the new rules make this activity incredibly funny, and teenagers really love playing this game.
Icebreaker 8: Have A Funny Debate
Debates don’t always have to be serious. Having a funny classroom debate can be a great way to break the ice with your middle school students. To begin, choose your debate topic. For example, “Clowns are scary. Agree or disagree?“, “Which makes a better pet? Cats or dogs?“, “What is the best pizza topping?“, etc. Then, have a simple classroom debate. For more topic ideas and for some useful classroom debate tips, check out these 30 Funny Debate Topics and these Tips For Conducting A Classroom Debate.
Icebreaker 9: Who Am I?
For this next icebreaker, you’re gonna need some ‘Who Am I? Questions’. These are basically three clues that describe someone or something. For example, “I work in a restaurant. I cook food. I am in charge of the kitchen. Who Am I?” (answer = chef). You can find 40 such questions along with ready-to-use PDF quizzes in our post on Who Am I? Questions.
Once you have prepared your questions, put students into pairs or small groups and give them each something to write on. Then, have students read the questions and write down their answers. At the end, reveal the answers and award points for each correct answer.
TIP: To make this activity even more fun, have each team create a silly team name at the start of the quiz and share it with the class.
Icebreaker 10: Top Five Quiz
This last icebreaker activity is one of Games4esl’s most popular games. In our Top Five Quizzes, students are presented with a question that can have many possible answers. For example, “Name an animal you can keep as a pet.“. Then, students must think of ONE answer and write it down. If their answer is in the ‘top five’ answers, then they get points. This game can be played individually, in pairs, or in small teams.
Thanks for reading! I hope you have lots of fun playing these games with your students. Before you go, here are some related articles that you may find useful when teaching middle school students:
Flashcard Games For Middle School Students
Reading Games For Middle School Students
Reading Comprehension Worksheets For Middle School Students
Debate Topics For Middle School Students
Classroom Games For Middle School Students