If you've taught theatre for even 5 minutes, you know getting some kids to open up can be an uphill battle. The easiest way to not only ease into the school year, but also break the ice with new students, is to play these fun games in class to open up communication and get creative juices flowing.
Here are a few things that might be fun, get kids on their feet, help them get to know each other and you without being too cheesy or embarrassing for shy kids or new kids to your school.
The Toilet Paper Game
Sometimes, I will just stand at the door with a roll of toilet paper. I will ask each kid as they come in to take however much they need. Some will take 3-4 squares, while others will roll off 20-30 squares. Just let them do it.
Then when everyone gets in the class, ask them to tell one thing about themselves for every square they took. It will be funny at first, and then kids will learn so much about each other.
Sometimes, I might use this in another way for just an assignment. Maybe I am giving a quiz that day or a worksheet over the literature we have just read, etc. I ask kids to take toilet paper again as they come into the room. Most will be very weary of taking much at all this time. But twist it up on them. Tell them after the test to attach the toilet paper they took to their quiz and you will take off one wrong answer for every square they took….or something similar to this. Twist it up again and do things a different way. Have fun with it.
I will hand out to each kid as they come into the room a small fun size bag of M&Ms. Then I will hand them a sheet to fill out. Click the button below to get your free download of this worksheet. When they open their M&Ms they may have four brown, two red, three yellow, one orange, and five blue M&Ms. They must follow the handout and give as many examples for each question as they have M&Ms of that color.
Lines and Groups
This is just a quick activity to help kids get to know each other. It might be especially good for groups with lots of new kids or a group where there are freshmen mixed in with upper-classmen. I will just give the kids a lining up method and let them go for it until it is done. For example, I might say “join with the group in this class that gets to school the way you do…..bus, car, dropped off, walk, etc.” Then I might ask them to line up instead of finding a group. For example, “line yourselves up in birth order from youngest to oldest.” Some other examples might be: alphabetical order, eye color, birthday months, favorite colors, etc.
This is an activity that forces kids to face each other and hold conversations. You can have them use the previous activity to form the two circles or you can just divide the class yourself. One circle stands inside of the other one with the inside circle facing out toward the outside circle. Two kids should be facing each other all the way around. Next, a question is posed by you and the two kids facing each other should both answer and discuss. Then kids should all take a step to their right and therefore gain a different partner. Pose another question and so on. Some typical questions might be: Do you play sports? Which ones?; Are you shy or outgoing? Why?; What is the last movie you saw? Review it for me; What is your idea of a perfect dinner?; What is one thing you are particularly good at?
This or That
You will position kids in concentric circles just like the previous activity, but this time the questions are more debatable. Once you give them a question, set a certain amount of time for them to debate. Maybe use a timer, and then proceed to the next question. Questions might be like these: Would you rather live in the country or city?; Should we all be required to learn a second language?; Which is worse—body odor or bad breath?; Indoors or outdoors?; Playing or watching sports?; Travel or hanging out at home?
All About Me
Have kids spend a little time filling out this fun sheet about themselves so we can all learn more about each other. You can download it for FREE in our shop!