Teaching English:
Icebreaker Activities


It is important for your students to feel comfortable in class because they will be able to learn much better when they are relaxed and focused. When you are working with a new group, it is a good idea to take some time to get to know each other.

Also, if you have been working very hard with your students and you need a little break, you can use these enjoyable icebreaker activities to relieve some of the pressure! They are fun and easy, and you and your students will feel more comfortable working together after doing them!

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two people shaking hands

Try these fun activities to break the ice with a new student or group of students. Remember that you can also adapt them to different units of grammar or vocabulary that you are working on to take a little break from your usual class routine.

Your students are sure to enjoy them, and they will be fun for you, too! But most importantly, they will help you to create a good class dynamic to make your lessons even more enjoyable and productive.

1. Two Truths and a Lie

a woman whose nose is growing

This is a fun activity for students to share some information about themselves and be creative at the same time.

Give a worksheet to each of your students with the beginnings of some sentences on them. The sentences should be designed so that the students can talk about themselves. Remember not to make the questions too personal or serious so that your students don't feel uncomfortable.

Here are some examples you can use:
  • Some foods I hate are:

  • When I was little, my dream job was:

  • Some countries I want to visit are:

  • A few of my favorite movies are:
Your students should complete these sentences with two answers that are true and one answer that is false.

Give them a few minutes to write down their answers. Then take turns sharing. The students should try to guess which of their classmates' three answers is false for each statement.

Who is the best at fooling their classmates? Who can guess when their classmates are not telling the truth? If you want, you can keep score. But this activity is lots of fun however you do it!

2. Twenty Questions

a woman asking lots of questions

Another fun way for your students to get to know each other is by playing Twenty Questions (or fewer, depending on the time you have). Make a worksheet with some simple, informal questions for your students. Again, be sure not to ask anything too personal or serious!

For example:
  • What is your favorite movie?

  • Where were you born?

  • What was the first pet you ever had?

  • What famous person would you like to meet?
Make some more examples. You don't need to make twenty of them, especially if you are working with a very large group. You don't want the activity to take too long.

You can do this activity several different ways.

For example:
  • Have the students work in pairs and interview each other. Then they can each introduce their partner to the group and tell their classmates what they found most interesting about their partner.

  • Have the students fill out the worksheet silently. Then collect them and read the answers. Have the student guess which person gave which answer.

  • Have the students sit in a circle. Each student should ask the person sitting on their left a question. That student will answer and then ask the person to their left the following question.

3. Open Quotes

a silly man giving a speech

This activity is a good one for practicing vocabulary and writing. It is also a chance for your students to be serious or silly, depending on how they feel.

Check the internet for some quotes by famous people or use common expressions. Make a list of five or ten quotes, but leave off the endings.

For example:
  • The best things in life are...

  • Mahatma Gandhi: "Happiness is when..."
Give the students the worksheet and let write their own endings for the quotes or expressions. Then have them all share their answers.

If you want, you can read the original quote or tell your students the traditional ending of the expression (for example: The best things in life are free.)

There is no "correct answer!" You will find that your students can be very funny, creative, or profound in their answers. Which answer do the students prefer for each statement?

4. Are You a Daredevil?

a girl walking on thin ice

You can also create icebreaker activities to practice specific vocabulary. A good place to start is with words and expressions related to taking risks.

First, give the students some nouns and define them clearly.

For example:
  • A daredevil is a person who really enjoys taking risks.

  • A "scaredy cat" is a person who is afraid to take risks. This is an informal expression.
You can also teach some expressions like:
  • Living on the edge means taking lots of risks and having lots of action and adventure in your life.

  • Playing it safe means avoiding risks and trying to do things in a very safe way.
Ask your students if they consider themselves to be risk takers. Do you have any daredevils in the classroom? Who prefers to play it safe? Does anyone like to live on the edge?

Create some questions to practice the vocabulary.

For example:
  • What is one risky or dangerous thing you have done?

  • Can you think of a time you decided to play it safe?
Have your students interview each other in pairs, or discuss all of the questions together with the whole class.

You can adapt this activity to work with different vocabulary units. It is a very flexible exercise! The idea is to get your students talking about their experiences and ideas.

two men greeting each other

Once your students feel comfortable with each other and with you, class will be even more enjoyable and productive!

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