Get a pulse – use ice breakers to break down barriers.

This blog is being reposted in partnership and permission from the BOOST Breakfast Club and BOOST Collaborative. and
We strongly believe in a few holistic approaches to youth development.  Using ice breakers to break down barriers and help build their toolbox towards resiliency is one philosophy. Below are three tips to help you build up your students.

The Check-In: Get a pulse check of how your kids are doing when they come into your classroom

Light and Dark
  • Light: Have students share a success, small win, or something positive that happened. Dark: Have students share a challenge they experienced or something they can use more support with.
  • Give students 30 seconds to a few minutes to sit silently and reflect on their light and dark. Then give students 5-10 minutes to jot down ideas on a piece of paper.
  • In a circle, ask students to share only if they want to.

Decompress: Give students a chance to get centered and breathe in order to be productive during program.

Ground them with a ‘Mindful Minute’


Cleveland Afterschool All-Stars

  • Ask students to stand up and breathe. Say “Plant your feet and find a neutral stance.”
  • Say “Tune in to your body. Lower your gaze. Scan your body and notice physical sensations or emotions. Let go of any negative sensations, emotions or feelings on the out breath.”
  • Say “Notice your surroundings. Lift your eyes and take in the environment. Find something that is pleasant and be grateful for it and its beauty.”
  • Bring the students back to neutral. Ask them how they feel following that quick mindful activity.

Connect: Give students the opportunity to learn and appreciate differences in one another and then also find similarities. This builds tolerance and empathy.

Find ice breakers that encourage cultural diversity. Have students work with new friends, mix up the groups, let them see and experience new people to expand their horizons.


Think Together, West Valley
  • Any icebreaker that has students working in teams, where they collaborate, think critically and creatively will help them develop skills that build tolerance and natural empathy for each other.
  • Google ‘Cultural Diversity Ice Breakers’ for additional ideas.





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At Dignity of Children, we hold the health and safety of all in the highest regard. With that said, we are now transitioning all of our programming to an online platform while the world navigates through the current COVID-19 pandemic.

While kids are at home, we remind parents that it is important to keep your children stimulated on an emotional, physical and cognitive basis. Over the coming days and weeks, we will be posting mindful activities on our social media pages to help kids continue to learn while also being able to express their feelings. Remember to create a daily routine for your children that will help them remain excited and engaged!

Additionally, we want to encourage educators and afterschool staff members to take advantage of our online programs for professional development. For questions about DOC programming, call us at (646) 639-7711.

Please remember to take care of yourselves, wash your hands, be safe and stay healthy!

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