What are icebreakers?
Icebreakers are brief activities or questions used to get people to know each other better and feel more comfortable and confident in a group setting such as a classroom.
Icebreaker questions might seem simplistic at first glance, but this is where their power lies! They lay the foundations towards creating a welcoming, inclusive environment where everyone feels comfortable.
For many children, initiating conversations or simply joining in with group activities can be daunting. Whether it’s the first day in a new class or a big family event, these questions are intended as lighthearted ways to ease anxiety, make children feel heard, and encourage participation.
Questions by category:
How to implement icebreaker questions
- Introduce yourself with a friendly smile to make everyone feel at ease. Sharing something lighthearted or fun about yourself can help set the mood.
- Gathering children in a circle formation works well, as it indicates that everyone is equal within the group.
- If appropriate, a gentle round of applause in response to answers can make children feel important.
- Every child should get a turn to respond, so make sure nobody is left out.
Adapting icebreakers for age and ability
Tailoring your icebreaker questions to the age, ability level and interests of the individuals you engage with is essential.
We’ve found that younger children are often interested in basic topics, like favourite pets, foods, or colours. Older children might lean more towards aspirational questions concerning choices they might make in various situations.
The key is always to create an environment of safety and inclusion.
Tips for parents and educators
Before posing the questions, ensure there’s a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere. Children should feel safe to respond to questions without judgment from others.
Initial icebreaker sessions might be no more than simple question-and-answer sessions. However, once children gain confidence, you may want to introduce follow-up questions to their responses or include other children in discussions. You can also move from closed to open questions to elicit longer, more thoughtful responses.
We should always be mindful of diversity within the group and be respectful of other cultures and beliefs. Select questions that do not exclude or alienate based on background or ability.
Icebreaker questions for kids – grouped by category
‘Have you ever…’ questions:
Have you ever flown on a plane?
Have you ever sailed on a boat?
Have you ever made a snowman?
Have you ever flown a kite?
Have you ever seen a shooting star?
Have you ever read the same book twice?
Have you ever planted seeds and watched them grow?
Have you ever tried spicy food?
Have you ever seen a butterfly up close?
Have you ever laughed so much you couldn’t stop?
Have you ever baked a cake or made a pizza?
Have you ever slept in a tent?
Have you ever paddled in the ocean?
Have you ever been to a concert?
Have you ever forgotten what day it was?
Have you ever been to a wedding?
Have you ever forgotten to do your homework?
Have you ever spent so long in water that your fingers went wrinkly?
‘If you were a…’ questions:
If you were a king or queen for the day, what would you do?
If you were an astronaut, which planet would you like to visit?
If you were a superhero, what would your special power be?
If you were a famous explorer, where would you go first?
If you were a sports star, what sport would you play?
If you were a musician, which instrument would you play?
If you were a movie director, what kind of film would you make?
If you were a chef, what would your signature dish be?
If you were a teacher for a day, what subject would you teach?
If you were an inventor, what would you create?
If you were an Olympic athlete, which event would you participate in?
‘Do you prefer…’ questions:
Do you prefer the main course or dessert?
Do you prefer cats or dogs?
Do you prefer electronic video games or board games?
Do you prefer camping outside or staying in a hotel?
Do you prefer building sandcastles or snowmen?
Do you prefer team sports or individual games?
Do you prefer going to bed early or late?
Do you prefer thunderstorms or sunny days?
Do you prefer playing indoors or outdoors?
Do you prefer science or sports?
Do you prefer learning about the past or the future?
Do you prefer going to the cinema with friends or watching TV with family?
Do you prefer dark chocolate or milk chocolate?
Do you prefer taking a bath or a shower?
Do you prefer dancing to loud music or relaxing with headphones?
‘Would you rather…’ questions:
Would you rather live in a castle or a chocolate factory?
Would you rather be able to fly like a bird or swim like a fish?
Would you rather have a pet dinosaur or a pet unicorn?
Would you rather speak all languages or be able to talk to animals?
Would you rather be able to travel back in time or to the future?
Would you rather be a bit too warm or a bit too cold?
Would you rather have a secret underground hideout or your own private island?
Would you rather be as tall as a giraffe or as small as a spider?
Would you rather write your own book or design a video game?
Would you rather spend a day in the jungle or at the beach?
Would you rather live at the top of a skyscraper or in an underground cave?
Would you rather have hair down to the floor or no hair at all?
Would you rather have an invisibility cloak or glasses that see through walls?
Would you rather drink a fizzy chocolate milkshake or a pizza smoothie?
Would you rather explore the moon or the bottom of the ocean?
Would you rather eat chocolate for every meal or only eat it once again?
Would you rather have no television or no games console?
‘What/who is the best…’ questions:
What is the best book you’ve read?
What is the best film you’ve seen?
What is the best dessert?
What is the best game you’ve ever played?
Who is the best football player (or other sports personality)?
Who is the best singer (or band)?
Who is the best superhero?
What is the best animal for a pet?
What is the best video game?
What is the best invention ever made?
What is the best kind of ice cream?
Open-ended questions for creativity
Check out our fun list of creative questions, which are more open-ended in nature. These ‘mind-bending’ questions are intended to stimulate creative thinking and develop communication skills.
Choosing a question type or category
Different question types will elicit certain responses.
“Have you ever…” questions: Sharing experiences and encouraging storytelling.
“If you were a…” questions: Spark creativity and imagination by exploring hypothetical scenarios.
“Do you prefer…” questions: Discussing preferences and understanding the decision-making process.
“Would you rather…” questions: Fun, thought-provoking dilemmas that reveal values and priorities.
“What/who is the best…” questions: Expressing opinions and justifications on various topics.
A Friendly Reminder for a Safe Learning Journey
Adhering to all relevant safeguarding policies and guidelines when participating in group activities such as these is paramount. As educators, teachers, and parents, we are responsible for ensuring a safe, respectful, and nurturing environment for all children. Always follow your institution’s or organisation’s specific safeguarding protocols, being mindful of privacy and age-appropriateness of content.