5 Team Building and Icebreaker Activities to Start the School Year [Video]

Get students moving while helping them get to know each other better and encourage teamwork with these fun icebreaker activities for physical education!

Rock, Paper, Scissors Tournament


Pair students and have them off and complete one round. Whoever loses becomes a supporter for their opponent. The winner of the round finds another winner and starts a round. If a student continues to win, their following or supporters gets bigger and bigger. This continues until there are two people or teams left. At this point, allow for a best two out of three round.

 

Partner Tag


Students pair up and decide who the tagger is. When the music starts, the chaser must spin around three times and then tries to tag their partner. Once tagged, they change roles.

For an additional challenge, have students form a group of four and link elbows into two groups of two. Partners then spin around twice before chasing their partners. Elbows must remain linked the whole time.Continue to make the groups larger for more of a challenge!

 

Tennis Ball Challenge


Teams of 8-10 form a circle with ten tennis balls. One student is the designated tosser. The tosser may not catch a tennis ball. The tosser tosses the ball in the air and any player tries to catch the ball. If the ball is caught, the tosser now tosses two tennis balls. Any two players must catch the two balls. Each player may only catch one ball during any level. If any of the balls are not caught, then the team must start over at level one.

This is great challenge to encourage communication and teamwork.

 

Reaction Ball


Teams of 6-8 create a circle and have one reaction ball. One student tosses the reaction ball up in the air and the goal is to have a different student catch it after one bounce. They have now completed level one. Whomever caught the ball will then toss the ball up and allow the ball to bounce two times before someone catches it. Continue this challenge to see how many levels the team can complete. If a level is incomplete, the team must start over at level one.

 

Frog Toss Catapult


Students are in teams of 8-10.  You will need two mini parachutes and one rubber critter per team.  Place 4-5 students on one parachute and 4-5 students on another parachute.  This is one team working together.  The goal is to catapult the frog from one parachute to the other and have a completed catch.  The first team to get all the way to the end of the court or designated area and back first wins.  They may not use their hands to help the frog on the parachute.  If the frog drops on the floor, the team must run back to the starting line and start over.

Physical Educator at Mesa High School 1994-Present Former Physical Educator at Arizona State University-Polytechnic Campus 2005-Present Arizona Secondary Physical Education Teacher of the Year 2005 NASPE Southwest District High School Teacher of the Year 2005 Creator of a cutting-edge fitness program and the Mesa High Elite Fitness Club Coached varsity volleyball, track, cheerleading and strength and conditioning at Mesa High School

Physical Educator at Mesa High School 1994-Present Former Physical Educator at Arizona State University-Polytechnic Campus 2005-Present Arizona Secondary Physical Education Teacher of the Year 2005 NASPE Southwest District High School Teacher of the Year 2005 Creator of a cutting-edge fitness program and the Mesa High Elite Fitness Club Coached varsity volleyball, track, cheerleading and strength and conditioning at Mesa High School

3 COMMENTS

  1. Maria – YOU ROCK!!! PROUD OF THE SHOUT OUT YOU GAVE US TOO! HAWAII NO KA’OI (Hawaii is number 1) for the 10 tennis ball catch challenge :). Hope to see you again soon! Mahalo for sharing all of your knowledge and skills with so many. These videos were awesome, brought back some great memories of the conference you did in Hilo on the Big Island a few years ago. God bless you and I look forward to more videos in the future. FITNESS, FUN, FAMILY.

  2. When my 9th graders hear the word “tag” they loss their minds. I play a variation of Rock, Paper, Scissors that includes “tag”. I divide the class into two huge groups and they must decide which symbol they are going to display as a group. You create two lines about 5 ft apart and when they have decided their symbol, the opposing teams square off and set a platform using one hand while listening to my count down of “Rock, Paper, Scissors…. shoot”. Depending on if your symbol is the winning or losing symbol, students with the winning symbol chase and tag as many from the opposing team as possible. Meanwhile the losing team is running towards their safety zone located 30 feet or so behind them. If you are tagged you join the other team. I ask students to create a plan “B” in the event of a tie at the line so they don’t have to regather. The students love facing off and tagging each other. I believe this was introduced to me first way back in the 70’s as part of a “New Game” project class I took in college. I have kept it alive ever since and my students never tire of play it. I start my school year off with my 9th graders each year in a games unit using many team building and New Games ideas. This allows the students to engage in friendly and fun games without the worry of skill and competition. I work at International Polytechnic High School in Pomona, California located on the Cal Poly University campus.

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