ICEBREAKERS

By Ron Tucci and Ksenia Babich

         
  10-20 Minutes     

5-10
  Minutes

1) Name Game:
  Line up by First Letter of their Middle Name

Have the group line-up
  alphabetically by the first letter of their middle name. If they don’t have
  a middle name, they can make one up.

2) Name Game:
  Pantomime

Have the group sit
  in a circle. Children take turns, go around, introduce themselves, and pantomime
  their favourite activity. The group must guess what the activity is.

3) Walk to End
  of Line in One Minute

Teens
  start in a line and must reach the other side in exactly one minute. Their hands
  are kept behind their back so they can’t look at the time. When the minute has
  come to an end, the leader will announce it.

4) Race with a
  Tissue

Each member has a tissue, and must
  race from one end to the other keeping the tissue on the body without dropping
  it or using hands.

5) Look Up, Look
  Down

Leader stands in the circle with group
  and says “look up,” or “look down.” When “look up”
  is said, the campers must look at another person. If they are making eye contact
  with someone else, they are out; they must be looking at someone who is not
  looking at them. When “look down” is said, the campers must look down
  to the ground.

>6) Count to Ten as a Group

Group stands in a circle and has to
  count to a number such as 10, with one person/one number at a time. If two people
  say a number at the same time, then start at the beginning.

>7) Cross the Room

Divide the group into two lines, which
  stand facing each other at opposite ends of the room. The children must be standing
  in their line, shoulder to shoulder: The leader says to the group, “Cross the
  room if you like Chinese food.”  The children who like Chinese food, cross
  the room to the other line at the opposite end. The leader then continues calling
  out other things, such as “Cross the room if you are the youngest; cross the
  room if you have been out of the United States.” To add more movement to this
  game, the leader can have the children cross the room in a variety of ways,
  such as crawling, skipping, or doing the crabwalk.

>8) Name Game Race

Split
  up the group into two teams. (Girls against boys is good). Use a blanket or
  large canopy to separate the two teams so that neither group can see each other.
  Two volunteers will hold divider up. Both teams decide on one person to quietly
  go up to the very front of the divider and assume any position so long as it
  is right in front of the divider. On the count of three, the divider is dropped
  and the person to call out the name of the other person first is the winner.
  This game is great fun and allows for everyone to remember each other’s name.

9)
  Name Tag Charades

This
  only works with a preregistered group. I knew that later on I would want the
  kids breaking up into groups, and I didn’t want them to automatically group
  with people they already knew. On the back of their prepared name tags I wrote
  a word. I wrote the same word on the back of ten name tags, dividing the 150
  kids into 15 groups.

When
  it came time for them to get into their groups, I told them all to split up.
  After a few minutes of hustle and bustle, I told them to stop. No more talking.
  I instructed everyone to remove his/her name tag, unfold it and look at the
  word inside. I asked them not to show it to anyone, but, without saying anything
  out loud to track down the other nine people in the group.

The
  words included “BUS,” “APPLE,” “SKYSCRAPER,” “COMPUTER,” etc. Charade-type words
  that can be acted out. It was hilarious!! Eventually, everyone got in a group
  and all were laughing; they didn’t even realize they were separated from their
  friends because their newly formed group was already acting as a team to locate
  lost members. One of the teams went so far as to form a bus and “drive” around
  the auditorium, picking up the other “bus” people.

10)
  Guess The Name

Make
  up a card for each attendee with the name of a famous person, living or dead,
  fictional or real, and tape it to the person’s back. They then must circulate
  throughout the room and ask people questions about who they are, asking questions
  by yes or no only, until they figure out who they are.

name=10-20>10-20 Minutes

11)
  Centipede

In two teams, participants sit on
  the ground with their legs wrapped around the person in front of them and their
  hands placed on the ground. The group must try to work together to get from
  one end to the other. If the team separates, they must reconnect and start again.

>12) Piggyback Pairs

E>ach pair gets into a piggyback position
  and the person on the back must climb around, over and under the person they
  are on without touching the ground; they try to get back to their original piggyback
  position.

>13) Ancient Numbers

Place sticks in any kind of form and
  campers must guess what number it is. Now the trick is, the number is shown
  by you casually placing your fingers in front of your body. So, if you place
  three fingers, then the ancient number with the sticks is three. If you place
  nine fingers then the ancient number is nine.

>14) Bing, Bing, Bang

Campers stand in a circle and the
  leader is in the middle.  All campers stand like soldiers. Leader points
  to group saying “bing.” When the leader says “bing” to a
  certain person, that person must raise one arm up and then down. Sometimes the
  leader can trick the group and say “bang,” but, if anyone flinches
  his/her arm, he/she is out.

>15) Ah So Koh

Campers stand in a circle and have
  an action that goes with each word. “Ah” (right hand on head with
  fingers pointing outwards to right or left), “So” (left hand under
  chin with fingers pointing outwards to right or left), “Koh” (point
  to someone). Now when one points to another, then that person must begin again
  starting with “ah.” Depending on which way one is pointing, the person
  one is pointing to is next to say “ah,” “so” or “koh.”
  Once everyone has a grasp of the game, pick up the speed. If the campers mess
  up, then they are out. Then they must run around the circle shouting into the
  player’s ears who is still in the game to try and get them out.

>20+ Minutes

>16) Toilet Paper Intro

Group sits in a circle and passes
  a roll of toilet paper around. Each person takes as much toilet paper as he/she
  would need if going to the bathroom, then must say that many things about him/herself
  per piece of paper. So, if Lisa took 5 pieces, she needs to say 5 things.

>17) Name Game: Human Bingo

Make a bingo chart with some large
  squares. Instead of a regular bingo board filled with numbers, this bingo chart
  is filled with personal characteristics. Campers go around and try to
  find people who have done the following activities or have the characteristics
  and sign each other’s bingo charts. The first person to get bingo wins.

>18) Continuous Story

Group sits in a circle and goes around
  the circle telling a story. Each person adds new bits to the story to make it
  more and more interesting.

>19) Multi-Personality BBQ

Each camper selects a wacky character
  out of the hat at that meal and must be that character for all that meal.

>20) Can’t Say “No”

Each participant is given stickers
  and must go around making conversation with others. No one is allowed to say
  “NO!” If one says “no,” then his/her sticker is taken away.
  The person with the most stickers in the end wins.

>21) Exciting Lives We Lead

Teens are in groups and they all have
  a list of crazy and wild things, such as “Who has been to a concert in the past
  year?”; “Who has met the band?”; “Who has more than one piercing?”, etc.
  In each group you arrange how many points each person gets for each item. E.g
  ask each member in the group “Who has been to a concert in past year?”
  and give ten points for each person per concert, adding five points if he/she
  met the band. At the end of the game, tally up all the points, and the group
  with the most points wins because it has the most exciting lives. (Remind everyone
  to be honest and not to cheat.)

>22) Novel Quest

Divide teens into groups, and leader
  has several tasks each group must do. Each group has a number and, when it performs
  the task, must hold the number up. The first group to do it gets the most points.
  E.g., one task would be to have groups make a pyramid.  The leader leads
  this, while one of the staff is keeping points.

>23) Rain Blow

Do
  this before to separate into groups. Pass out various colors of bubble gum to
  participants. Ask them to unwrap the gum and begin chewing until they are able
  to blow a bubble. Tell them to walk around the room and identify other people
  with the same color/flavor. Or if you do not want to use food, you can divide
  your group with the Body and Adjective game. Write on separate pieces of paper
  different body parts with an adjective. Each member takes a paper and must act
  out what is written in order to find his/her other group members. Some examples
  are “jealous kneecap,” “tired finger” and “angry arm.”

5-10
  Minutes

1) Name Game:   Line Up by First Letter of Their Middle Name

Have the group line up alphabetically   by the first letter of their middle name. If they don’t have a middle name,   they can make one up.

2) Name Game:   Pantomime

Have the group sit in a circle.   Children take turns, go around, introduce themselves, and pantomime their favorite   activity. The group must guess what the activity is.

3) Walk to   End of Line in One Minute

Teens start in a line and   must reach the other side in exactly one minute. Their hands are kept behind   their back so they can’t look at the time. When the minute has come to an end,   the leader will announce it.

4) Race with   a Tissue

Each member has a tissue,   and must race from one end to the other keeping the tissue on the body without   dropping it or using hands.

5) Look Up,   Look Down

Leader stands in the circle   with group and says “look up,” or “look down.” When “look   up” is said, the campers must look at another person. If they are making   eye contact with someone else, they are out; they must be looking at someone   who is not looking at them. When “look down” is said, the campers   must look down to the ground.

6) Count   to Ten as a Group

Group stands in a circle and   has to count to a number such as 10, with one person/one number at a time. If   two people say a number at the same time, then start at the beginning.

7) Cross   the Room

Divide the group into two   lines, which stand facing each other at opposite ends of the room. The children   must be standing in their line, shoulder to shoulder: The leader says to the   group, “Cross the room if you like Chinese food.” The children who like   Chinese food, cross the room to the other line at the opposite end. The leader   then continues calling out other things, such as “Cross the room if you   are the youngest; cross the room if you have been out of the United States.”   To add more movement to this game, the leader can have the children cross the   room in a variety of ways, such as crawling, skipping, or doing the crabwalk.

8) Name Game   Race

Split up the group into two   teams. (Girls against boys is good). Use a blanket or large canopy to separate   the two teams so that neither group can see each other. Two volunteers will   hold divider up. Both teams decide on one person to quietly go up to the very   front of the divider and assume any position so long as it is right in front   of the divider. On the count of three, the divider is dropped and the person   to call out the name of the other person first is the winner. This game is great   fun and allows for everyone to remember each other’s name.

9) Name Tag   Charades

This only works with a preregistered   group. I knew that later on I would want the kids breaking up into groups, and   I didn’t want them to automatically group with people they already knew. On   the back of their prepared name tags I wrote a word. I wrote the same word on   the back of ten name tags, dividing the 150 kids into 15 groups.

When it came time for them   to get into their groups, I told them all to split up. After a few minutes of   hustle and bustle, I told them to stop. No more talking. I instructed everyone   to remove his/her name tag, unfold it and look at the word inside. I asked them   not to show it to anyone, but, without saying anything out loud to track down   the other nine people in the group.

The words included “BUS,”   “APPLE,” “SKYSCRAPER,” “COMPUTER,” etc. Charade-type   words that can be acted out. It was hilarious!! Eventually, everyone got in   a group and all were laughing; they didn’t even realize they were separated   from their friends because their newly formed group was already acting as a   team to locate lost members. One of the teams went so far as to form a bus and   “drive” around the auditorium, picking up the other “bus”   people.

10) Guess   The Name

Make up a card for each attendee   with the name of a famous person, living or dead, fictional or real, and tape   it to the person’s back. They then must circulate throughout the room and ask   people questions about who they are, asking questions by yes or no only, until   they figure out who they are.

10-20 Minutes

11) Centipede

In two teams, participants   sit on the ground with their legs wrapped around the person in front of them   and their hands placed on the ground. The group must try to work together to   get from one end to the other. If the team separates, they must reconnect and   start again.

12) Piggyback   Pairs

Each pair gets into a piggyback   position and the person on the back must climb around, over and under the person   they are on without touching the ground; they try to get back to their original   piggyback position.

13) Ancient   Numbers

Place sticks in any kind of   form and campers must guess what number it is. Now the trick is, the number   is shown by you casually placing your fingers in front of your body. So, if   you place three fingers, then the ancient number with the sticks is three. If   you place nine fingers then the ancient number is nine.

14) Bing,   Bing, Bang

Campers stand in a circle   and the leader is in the middle. All campers stand like soldiers. Leader points   to group saying “bing.” When the leader says “bing” to a   certain person, that person must raise one arm up and then down. Sometimes the   leader can trick the group and say “bang,” but, if anyone flinches   his/her arm, he/she is out.

15) Ah So   Koh

Campers stand in a circle   and have an action that goes with each word. “Ah” (right hand on head   with fingers pointing outwards to right or left), “So” (left hand   under chin with fingers pointing outwards to right or left), “Koh”   (point to someone). Now when one points to another, then that person must begin   again starting with “ah.” Depending on which way one is pointing,   the person one is pointing to is next to say “ah,” “so”   or “koh.” Once everyone has a grasp of the game, pick up the speed.   If the campers mess up, then they are out. Then they must run around the circle   shouting into the player’s ears who is still in the game to try and get them   out.

20+ Minutes

16) Toilet   Paper Intro

Group sits in a circle and   passes a roll of toilet paper around. Each person takes as much toilet paper   as he/she would need if going to the bathroom, then must say that many things   about him/herself per piece of paper. So, if Lisa took 5 pieces, she needs to   say 5 things.

17) Name   Game: Human Bingo

Make a bingo chart with some   large squares. Instead of a regular bingo board filled with numbers, this bingo   chart is filled with personal characteristics. Campers go around and try to   find people who have done the following activities or have the characteristics   and sign each other’s bingo charts. The first person to get bingo wins.

18) Continuous   Story

Group sits in a circle and   goes around the circle telling a story. Each person adds new bits to the story   to make it more and more interesting.

19) Multi-Personality   BBQ

Each camper selects a wacky   character out of the hat at that meal and must be that character for all that   meal.

20) Can’t   Say “No”

Each participant is given   stickers and must go around making conversation with others. No one is allowed   to say “NO!” If one says “no,” then his/her sticker is taken   away. The person with the most stickers in the end wins.

21) Exciting   Lives We Lead

Teens are in groups and they   all have a list of crazy and wild things, such as “Who has been to a concert   in the past year?”; “Who has met the band?”; “Who has more   than one piercing?”, etc. In each group you arrange how many points each   person gets for each item. E.g ask each member in the group “Who has been   to a concert in past year?” and give ten points for each person per concert,   adding five points if he/she met the band. At the end of the game, tally up   all the points, and the group with the most points wins because it has the most   exciting lives. (Remind everyone to be honest and not to cheat.)

22) Novel   Quest

Divide teens into groups,   and leader has several tasks each group must do. Each group has a number and,   when it performs the task, must hold the number up. The first group to do it   gets the most points. E.g., one task would be to have groups make a pyramid.   The leader leads this, while one of the staff is keeping points.

23) Rain   Blow

Rain blow: Do this   before to separate into groups. Pass out various colors of bubble gum to participants.   Ask them to unwrap the gum and begin chewing until they are able to blow a bubble.   Tell them to walk around the room and identify other people with the same color/flavor.   Or if you do not want to use food, you can divide your group with the Body and   Adjective game. Write on separate pieces of paper different body parts with   an adjective. Each member takes a paper and must act out what is written in   order to find his/her other group members. Some examples are “jealous kneecap,”   “tired finger” and “angry arm.”