Icebreaker Games for Your Drama Class

Get your drama students started with these games

Scottish Youth Theatre, Weekly Drama Classes
Iain Findlay-Walsh/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

At the beginning of each semester, every drama teacher is faced with a difficult challenge: How does one get 23 complete strangers to quickly become friends and colleagues?

Icebreakers help students (and teachers!) learn names, project voices, and express themselves. Each one of the activities listed below provides an experience that is both entertaining and productive. The games may be simple enough for elementary students, but teens will have just as much fun.

There are many variations of these activities, but the first and foremost step is to form a circle so that all of the participants can clearly see one another.

Name Game

This is an ideal first-day activity. Each person announces his or her name while stepping forward and striking a pose that reflects their personality.

For example, Emily might hop out, angle her arms like an Egyptian hieroglyphic, and joyously shout, “Emily!” Then, everyone else jumps forward and repeats her name, copying Emily’s voice and movement. Afterward, the circle returns to normal, and then it’s on to the next person. It’s an engaging, energizing way for everyone to introduce themselves.

World's Greatest Sandwich

In this fun memory game, the goal is to create a massive imaginary sandwich. One person begins by saying his or her name and then states an ingredient to go in the sandwich.

For example: "My name is Kevin, and the world's greatest sandwich has pickles." The next person in the circle announces their name and says Kevin's ingredient as well as their own: "Hi, my name is Sarah, and the world's greatest sandwich has pickles and popcorn." If the instructor chooses, everyone can chant along as the sandwich grows. The last time I played this game, we ended up with a pickle-popcorn-meatball-chocolate-syrup-grass-eyeball-lettuce-pixie-dust sandwich. Finally, have the kids pantomime taking a bite.

In addition to building memorization skills, this activity uses ridiculous humor to break the ice.

Whoozit

For this game, one person is chosen to be the “Seeker.” After that person leaves the room, another is chosen to be the “Whoozit.” This player makes constant rhythmic motions that change every 20 seconds or so. For example, first, the Whoozit might clap hands, then snap fingers, then pat their head.

The other circle members discretely follow along. Then the Seeker enters, hoping to figure out which student is the Whoozit. Standing in the middle of the circle, he or she gets three guesses while the Whoozit tries their best to switch actions without being noticed.

By giving the students a common goal, this team helps to ignite a sense of camaraderie among the group.

Rhyme Time

In this fast-paced game, the instructor stands in the center of the circle. He or she names a setting and a situation and then points to one of the students at random.

Using improvisation skills, the student begins telling a story with a single sentence. For example: “I just found out I have a long-lost twin.” The instructor then points to a new speaker who must continue the story and create a rhyme: “I guess Mom tossed a coin and my bro didn’t win.”

To prevent it from becoming too challenging, treat the rhymes as couplets, meaning that the students are only tasked with creating two rhymed lines at a time—the next chosen player creates a new line of the story with a new sound. The improvised tale goes on until a student fails to produce a rhyme. Then he or she sits in the middle of the circle and the group starts a new story. This goes on until the circle shrinks down to one or two champions.

Instructors should make certain to increase the speed as the game progresses. This fun activity is sure to bring lots of laughs as students create an absurd story when put on the spot.