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PAL Central: Icebreakers

An online hub of guidance and resources for our PAL Leaders and their Level 4 students.


Ice breakers can be an effective way of starting your first PAL Session. If an ice breaker session is well-designed and well-facilitated, it can really help get things off to a good start! 

By getting to know each other, getting to know you as a PAL Leader, and learning about what PAL is, students can become more engaged in the rest of the session and are likely to contribute more effectively during future PAL Sessions.

As a PAL Leader, the secret to a successful icebreaker is to keep it simple and inclusive - everyone should be able to get involved!

This page has some examples of ice breakers you can use to break the ice with your PAL group.

3 Truths and a Lie

Ask each student to introduce themselves and make 4 statements about themselves, one of which is false. You can join in and provide them with an example by going first. Now ask the rest of the group to vote which statement was false.

Grandma's Suitcase

Have the PAL group sit in a circle and explain you are going to play a memory game. Ask the first person to say their name, their favourite and least favourite thing. Then move to the second person, who must repeat the name, favourite and least favourite things of the first person, and then say their own. This goes on around the circle, getting more difficult as the number of people increases. You can finish by asking the first person to say the names of everyone in the group and attempting this yourself!

What is the ice?

When designing your ice breaker, think about the ‘ice’ that needs to be broken.

Students in your PAL group:

  • May come from different backgrounds and vary in age
  • Are a newly formed group (that may or may not have met)
  • May or may not have met you before
  • May find the topics you are talking about and/or the concept of PAL to be new or unfamiliar

It is important to treat these differences sensitively. Focus on what students in the group have in common, rather than what sets them apart.

Some of your PAL group might know each other already – even so, icebreakers can still serve as a fun activity anyway! Where possible, encourage students to work with others they haven’t met before.

The More The Merrier

Inform your PAL group that you are all going to play a game – first each person must grab some sweets from the bag, as many as they like, but they can’t eat them yet.

Once everyone has sweets, ask each person to share a piece of information about themselves for as many sweets as they grabbed… so the shy people who took one sweet are lucky but the outgoing individual who grabbed a handful have to share lots!

Icebreakers Printable Copy

More Icebreakers to Download and Use