Icebreakers, used wisely, can create a great atmosphere and provide momentum for further participation and learning. Icebreakers adapt and evolve through each generation of youth leaders. Most have come to me by word of mouth from friends, colleagues or just seeing them in action.
The icebreakers below include simple ‘getting-to-know-you’ activities, active and more physical games and some word games.
Give a pen and paper to each young person in your group. Ask them to write their first name in capitals, in the middle of the paper. Each person then moves around the room, inviting others (including leaders) to attach their name, where the first letter matches a letter on the paper. The names are then added like a branching crossword puzzle. The person who is able to attach the most names in the given time is the winner. This activity works well in larger groups or summer camps / holidays where people are meeting for the first time.
Give everyone a piece of paper and a pencil. Allow 5 minutes to draw a picture that conveys who they are without writing any words or numbers. At the end of 5 minutes the leader collects the pictures. Show the pictures to the group, one at a time, and have them try to guess who drew it. Each artist can then explain how their work expresses who they are.
Based on the party game of musical statues. Invite the young people to quietly move around the room and await your instructions. As they are walking the leader calls out the name of a sport, for example, golf, soccer, rugby, swimming, parachuting, polo, basketball, horse racing etc. When they hear the name they must stop immediately and hold a still ‘freeze frame’ illustrating or acting out the sport.
Take a photo of the most life-like or descriptive ‘freeze frame’ in each round for future display :-) You can play variations to the game by shouting out emotions, job titles or even animals.