Icebreaker Games

Set up the following games as an ‘us versus them’ between the young people and the adults/leaders. Have some fun reminding the group how the adults are going to win! 

Colour Challenge

When the game starts, show each team the completed image for 10 seconds. The teams will then have 3 minutes to complete their blank grids, which should match the original image.

Aztec Riddles 

  1. Chimalpopoca, the Aztec king, is getting desperate to find a husband for his daughter Centehua, but she is providing very picky. After initially trying to find the very best suitors for his little darling, he’s now decided it’s all about quantity. He’s going to double the number of brave(ish), handsome(ish), young(ish) soldiers he puts before his Centehua every week until she finally says ‘Yes’ (or even ‘You’ll do’…’) to any of them. If he introduces her to three plucky hopefuls today, six next week, twelve the week after, etc…how many men will she have met – and inevitably, rejected – in seven weeks’ time?
  2. Amoxtli, the Aztec high priest, has a massive collection of multicoloured skulls. All the green ones are carved out of Jade. All the white ones are real skulls. But the red ones are a mixed bunch – half are real and half are terracotta. If he has 400 green skulls, 100 red skulls, with equal numbers of real and fake skulls, how many skulls does he have in total.
  3. Chimalpopoca absolutely loves to eat. He has chocolate nine times a week, eggs four times a week, and beans give times a week. How often does he have sweetcorn?


  1. 765 (3+6+12+24+48+96+192+384)
  2. 900 (400 green skulls + 50 red (terracotta) skulls = 450 fake skulls meaning there are also 450 real skulls.
  3. 3. Nine times (he has all food once for every letter in the name of the food)

Face Value

Using a deck of cards, place all the cards face down around the room (jokers removed from the deck). The aim is to find all the Jacks, Queens and Kings.

Each team may turn over 2 cards at a time but if they find a non-face card (aces, and twos through to 10) they must replace them face down again leaving it. The first team to find all their face cards are the winners.

Bible Reading:

As a group read Matthew 18: 1-5 and Matthew 19: 13-15

There’s a Jewish prayer known as birkhot ha-shahar or the “dawn blessings” thanking God for the many blessings he’s bestowed on the person reciting the prayer including: 

not being a woman
not being a gentile
and not being a slave

The words of the blessing can be traced back to a quip associated to Socrates around 300 years before the birth of Jesus, and later in a tractate of the Talmud (Menahot 43b),  It perhaps gives us an insight to what the culture was like at the time of our reading and how negatively some groups would have been viewed. I’m sure this would have been true of children too.

Later in Matthew, we see an example of the disciples chasing away children that were brought to Jesus.

Q: What do we learn from Jesus’ response?

We learn the importance/value/worth he placed on children and how the adults needed to be more like children if they were to embrace what God was doing in the world.

Time and again Jesus takes those left behind, deemed unworthy and unimportant and brings them centre stage. Not only does he include them, he also says we can see how God wants us to live in their behaviour and actions.

  • Can you think of other situations or stories where Jesus points to or interacts with people deemed unimportant?
  • What might they teach us about the way God wants us to live?
  • What characteristics are important?
  • How might religious people label others today?
  • In our own society and in our own communities who are the people that are considered unimportant?

Taking It Further: Raft Survival Exercise

The following exercise is an opportunity to explore how labels are often used to define people’s worth. The Bible verses are a reminder that Jesus not only saw worth and value in those often marginalised and left behind in soceity, but that they were to become our teachers revealing what God was doing in the world. 

A ship is wrecked in the middle of the ocean, thousands of miles from land. There are no immediate chances of rescue. 15 people are still alive and they manage to make a raft; because of the lack of time and equipment, the raft is only big enough to support 9 survivors.

The challenge is to decide as a group which 6 of those listed you have to dispose of, you are not one of the survivors, and no one is allowed to hang onto the raft. 

  1. A crippled boy, paralysed since birth.  The boy cannot use his hands, must be fed by others because he can do nothing for himself.
  2. A doctor, a general practitioner.  He is nervous because he is a drug addict.  Age 60
  3. A married couple:  a. building worker, drinks a lot, age 27.  b.woman, housewife, 2 children at home, age 23.
  4. A Preacher.  Age 27
  5. A restaurant owner, married with 3 children at home.  Age 43.
  6. A prostitute, no parents.  She already saved a drowning child and is an excellent nurse.  Age 36.
  7. A teacher, considered one of the best teachers in his city.  Married.  Age 32. 
  8. A criminal, male, charged with murder.  He is the only one capable of navigating the raft. 
  9. A nun.  Head teacher in a girls school.  Age 46. 
  10. A man, mentally disturbed, who carries important government secrets in his head.
  11. A beggar, formerly professor of literature.  He has a great sense of humour, showed great courage in the last war and was in a concentration camp for 3 years.  Age 53.
  12. A salesman, sells automatic washers, and is a member of the British Legion.  Age 51.
  13. A young married couple, deeply in love, but no children yet.  They are both citizens of China.  a) man studying to be a pharmacist.  Age 24  b)woman, housewife, helps with kindergarten.  Age 21.

Some of the activities within this session come from The Crystal Maze Challenge Book. It has lots of unique games, activities, and challenges that would work well for icebreakers and team builders. It’s available to buy at Amazon using the link below. 

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