Starting a TEFL class can be daunting for both the teacher and the students, particularly if they are meeting for the first time. Icebreaker games can be an excellent way to break the ice and create a positive, friendly learning environment and they should always be included on your lesson plan. Not only do they help students relax, but they also allow them to get to know each other, which can improve their motivation and engagement in the classroom. In this article, I explore ten fun and effective icebreaker games for kids that you can use to create a memorable and engaging learning experience. These games a re tried, tested and trusted – not just by me! ESL teachers around the world have had great success setting up their lessons by using one or more of these games.
Why Use Icebreaker Games For Kids?
Icebreaker games serve several purposes in a TEFL classroom. Firstly, they create a positive and welcoming learning environment, which helps students feel comfortable and open to learning. Secondly, they provide an opportunity for students to get to know each other and the teacher, which can foster a sense of community and improve social skills. Lastly, icebreakers can be used to review previously learned material and introduce new vocabulary or grammar structures in a fun and engaging way.
10 Icebreaker Games For Kids
#1 Two Truths and a Lie
This classic icebreaker game is a great way for students to learn about each other while practicing their listening and speaking skills. In this game, each student shares three statements about themselves, two of which are true and one that is a lie. The other students must then guess which statement is the lie.
Bingo is a fun and interactive game that can be adapted for various language learning purposes. To play, the teacher provides each student with a bingo card containing various vocabulary words or phrases. The teacher then calls out the words or phrases randomly, and students mark off the corresponding boxes on their cards. The first student to get a row of marked boxes yells “bingo” and wins.
#3 Who Am I?
This game is perfect for practicing vocabulary related to professions, animals, or objects. To play, each student writes down the name of a profession, animal, or object on a piece of paper and sticks it on their forehead. The other students then provide clues to help the student guess who or what they are.
#4 Find Someone Who…
This game is great for getting students out of their seats and interacting with each other. To play, the teacher provides each student with a list of characteristics or facts, such as “find someone who has a pet” or “find someone who has traveled to another country.” Students must then move around the classroom and find someone who fits each characteristic on their list.
#5 The Name Game
This game is perfect for practicing names and introductions. To play, each student says their name and something they like that starts with the same letter as their name. For example, “My name is Emily, and I like elephants.” The next student then repeats the first student’s name and something they like, and so on.
#6 Human Knot
This physical icebreaker game is a great way to encourage teamwork and problem-solving skills. To play, students stand in a circle and hold hands with two other people in the circle. They then work together to untangle the knot they have created without letting go of each other’s hands.
#7 Balloon Pop
This game is perfect for practicing vocabulary related to colors, shapes, or numbers. To play, the teacher provides each student with a balloon containing a slip of paper with a word or phrase written on it. Students must then pop their balloons and shout out the word or phrase written on the slip of paper.
#8 Scavenger Hunt
This game is a great way to review vocabulary related to objects, colors, or numbers. To play, the teacher hides various objects around the classroom or school, and students must find them and bring them back to the teacher. The first student to bring back all the objects on the list wins.
#9 Simon Says
This classic game is perfect for practicing imperative verbs and body parts vocabulary. To play, the teacher gives commands to the students, such as “Simon Says “touch your nose.” The students must then follow the command only if the teacher prefaces it with “Simon Says.” If a student follows a command without “Simon Says,” they are out of the game.
This game is perfect for practicing vocabulary related to actions, objects, or places. To play, students are divided into teams and take turns drawing pictures that represent a vocabulary word while the other team tries to guess the word. The team with the most correct guesses at the end of the game wins.
I found these icebreaker games are an effective way to create a positive and engaging learning environment for both me and the students. These games should help both you and your class to relax and get to know each other. They should also benefit your classroom by improving the motivation and engagement of your young learners. These games can serve several purposes, such as reviewing previously learned material, introducing new vocabulary or grammar structures, and fostering a sense of community. By incorporating these games into your TEFL classroom, you can create a memorable and enjoyable learning experience for your students.