A fun first-day icebreaker for elementary school classrooms is a name chain game that requires students to introduce their names with a silly word. The word can rhyme with the student's name, start with the same letter, or describe a personal characteristic or interest, such as Superhero Scott, Jokester Johnny or Ballet Sally. Each student has to repeat the previous names in the chain, making it easy for children to introduce themselves and learn new names.
A birthday challenge is a thought-provoking icebreaker for middle school or high school students that requires students to line themselves up by birth date without speaking to each other or writing anything down. Students have to use their logic and creativity to communicate without traditional language.
Teachers can adapt a first-day show-and-tell for students of any age, but the activity requires some advance preparation. Before the first day, the teacher must send a notice to students bring a bag with three to five small items that represent their personality, lifestyle, goals or recreational activities, such as a souvenir collection or a favorite vacation photo. The activity gives everyone a quick snapshot of their peers, and teachers can participate by sharing their own items.
A hat decorating activity is ideal for students who are old enough to work independently on a fast craft project. The teacher provides blank craft hats or basic art supplies, such as felt, construction paper and feathers. Students design their hats, such as pirate hat, crown or baseball cap, and explains why the hats express their personalities.