Play Snowball Fight to Break the Ice or Review Lessons

Paper Snowballs Can Make Test Review Fun

Yellow crumpled paper
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There's probably nothing more fun than a snowball fight, particularly at school. This paper snowball fight doesn’t send icy shivers down the neck of your jacket or sting your face. It’s just an effective icebreaker designed to let students get to know each other or help you review a particular lesson or specific content.

This game works with a group of at least a dozen people. It can also work well with a very large group, such as a lecture class or club meeting. You can use the icebreaker with students individually or divide into them into groups.

General Steps

Gather paper from your recycle bin, so long as one side is blank, then follow these steps. Have students:

  1. Write one sentence or question—the content depends upon the context—on a piece of paper
  2. Ball up their paper
  3. Throw their "snowballs"
  4. Pick up someone else's snowball and read the sentence aloud or answer the question

Using the Activity as a Mixer

If you use the paper snowball fight to help students become acquainted, give them one piece of paper each and ask them to write their name and three fun things about themselves, such as, "Jane Smith has six cats." Alternatively, write questions to be answered by the reader, for example, "Do you have pets?" Have them crumple the paper into a snowball. Divide the group into two teams on opposite sides of the room and let the snowball fight begin.

You can have players write appropriate questions, or write the questions yourself to avoid any embarrassment and speed the process. The second alternative is particularly effective with younger students.

When you say, "Stop," each student should pick up the nearest snowball and find the person whose name is inside. Once everyone has found their snowman or snowwoman, have them introduce him to the rest of the group.

For Academic Review

To use the icebreaker to review content of a previous lesson or for test preparation, ask students to write a fact or question regarding the topic you want to review. Provide each student with several pieces of paper so there is abundant "snow." If you want to ensure that students cover certain issues, add some snowballs of your own.

Use this icebreaker in a wide range of contexts and for many different purposes. For example:

  • Write review facts on snowballs and have students read them aloud, such as, "Mark Twain was the author of 'Huckleberry Finn.' "
  • Write review questions on snowballs and have students answer them, for example, "Who wrote 'Huckleberry Finn?' "
  • Write conceptual questions for students to answer, such as, "What is the role of the character of Jim in "Huckleberry Finn?' "

When the snowball fight is over, each student will pick up a snowball and answer the question in it. If your room can accommodate this, have students remain standing during this exercise since they’ll be picking up snowballs throughout the activity. Moving around also helps people retain learning, and it’s a great way to energize a classroom.

Post-Activity Debriefing

Debriefing is necessary only if you’re recapping or prepping for a test. Ask questions such as:

  • Were all the topics covered?
  • Which questions were the hardest to answer?
  • Were there any that were too easy? Why is that?
  • Does everybody have a thorough understanding of the subject?

If you've reviewed a lesson on the book, "Huckleberry Finn," for example, you might ask students who the author of the book was, who were the main characters, what was their role in the story, and how students, themselves, felt about the book.