Counseling Get to Know You Activities

During your first group session, do your students have that awkward silence where everyone is looking around waiting for someone else to speak? I tend to be very directive in the first session as we set norms but some students still feel a little uncomfortable with the process (maybe not during a self-control group!). Below you’ll find 10 get to know you activities or counselor icebreakers for group counseling to help students break the ice and get comfortable with each other!

Counseling Icebreakers: 10 Get to Know You Activities for Group Counseling

1. Common Ground

This is an activity that I use in a changing families group (divorce, separation, and other family changes). In this activity, students are paired with one person and they have a given amount of time (3-5 minutes) to find at least 4 things they have in common. Then, they move to a new partner and have a little less time to find at least 3 things they have in common. This continues until students have been paired with 3-4 others (depending on your group size). This is one of my favorite get to know you activities for group counseling because students are always so surprised by how much they have in common with others in the group! I find it’s a good starting point for building connections and developing entry-level trust for group.

EduKate & Inspire shared this photo on Instagram of her students finding common ground!

Looking for counseling icebreakers to get your group engaged in that first session? Check out these 10 counseling get to you know activities for groups!

2 .Glyphs

Glyphs are such a fun activity for students who enjoy crafts or want to use their hands! To make a glyph, students all build the same craft, but each craft looks different depending on individual student responses. Your differentiation can simply be by color or students can actually build something unique to represent their responses.

And if you’re into digital activities or have access to computers or tablets, this penguin get to know you glyph is a fun way for students to introduce themselves to their group mates!

3. Find Someone Who…

This is probably a familiar activity if you’ve ever attended any kind of staff training! In Find Someone Who… students are completing a list or bingo card by interviewing their group mates to find someone who fits each category. This is a simple and pretty non-threatening way to get your group talking and learning more about each other in that initial session.

4. Roll to Respond

All you need for this activity is a die or dice! Assign each number a different prompt and let students take turns responding. You can theme the questions around your group so this activity can double as a get-to-know-you and an informal pre-assessment or just make it fun!

Group counseling curriculum

5. Pick a Card, Any Card

For this activity, students draw a card from a deck and respond based on the color, number, or suit of the card, depending on your deck. Draw a blue card? Tell us about a time when you felt sad. Draw a queen? Tell us what you’d do if you were queen for a day.

Looking for counseling icebreakers to get your group engaged in that first session? Check out these 10 counseling get to you know activities for groups!

6. Weave a Web

This is one of my favorite activities to do with a class or group. Start with a ball of yarn or large ball of twine. Make a statement about yourself. If someone shares this in common, they say, “Me too!” Hold on to the end of the yarn and toss the ball of yarn to that person. That person then makes another statement about him/herself. If someone else shares this in common, they will say, “Me too,” as well. The person holding the ball of yarn will hold on to the string and toss the ball to that person.

Students continue doing this until everyone has at least one piece of the yarn. Students can then observe the literal we of connections between them! This is a fun activity to repeat at the end of group – students are great about recognizing and honoring deeper connections they discovered during group.

7. I Can Help You to… I Would Like Help…

This activity is great to learn more about students’ strengths from the start. I have students begin by sharing something they can teach others to do. I get students sharing things like Fortnite skills or surfing skills, but I also will get a student who shares something really unexpected (like solving a Rubik’s cube!). After we have a list of what each student can teach us, we allow time during each session for one student to share a bit of his or her special skill! It takes about 5 minutes but goes a long way in building self-esteem. I like to do this in my resiliency skills group to build agency and efficacy.

On the flip side, I also like to have students share something they’d like help with. It could be related to the group topic or not related at all. But it gives students the opportunity to be vulnerable with others and also step up to help others with something that they’re good at!

8. Candy Response

If your school allows candy, a quick and easy get-to-know-you activity is to use candy responses! Give students a personal size bag of M&Ms or Skittles and assign a response to each candy color. As students pull a candy from the bag, they will respond to a prompt – it’s that simple! Students love this and the tension melts away (in your mouth, not in your hand of course).

Looking for counseling icebreakers to get your group engaged in that first session? Check out these 10 counseling get to you know activities for groups!

9. My Superpowers

For this activity, students name a “superpower” they have (like jumping over high things or reading fast) and a superpower they’d like to have if they could have any kind of power.

10. Story Cubes

Rory’s Story Cubes are a great tool for any group! For an icebreaker, have students roll the dice and choose 2-3 that represent themselves in some way and then explain.

Looking for counseling icebreakers to get your group engaged in that first session? Check out these 10 counseling get to you know activities for groups!

Planning groups now?

Get printable counseling icebreakers to start your groups on the right foot now!

Looking for counseling icebreakers to get your group engaged in that first session? Check out these 10 counseling get to you know activities for groups! These are perfect for elementary small group counseling sessions.

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What about you?

What are your favorite counseling icebreakers for your small groups? Fill me in below in the comments section. Need group counseling curriculum? Click here to find ready to implement groups! Find more group counseling activities on my blog here.

Looking for counseling icebreakers to get your group engaged in that first session? Check out these 10 counseling get to you know activities for groups!
Looking for counseling icebreakers to get your group engaged in that first session? Check out these 10 counseling get to you know activities for groups! These are perfect for elementary small group counseling sessions.

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