Following on from Huge Collections of Icebreakers post here is another large collection of icebreakers that can be used with children and youth groups.
Fact or fiction?
Ask everyone to write on a piece of paper THREE things about themselves which may not be known to the others in the group. Two are true and one is not. Taking turns they read out the three ‘facts’ about themselves and the rest of the group votes which are true and false. There are always surprises. This simple activity is always fun, and helps the group and leaders get to know more about each other.
Divide the young people into pairs. Ask them to take three minutes to interview each other. Each interviewer has to find 3 interesting facts about their partner. Bring everyone back to together and ask everyone to present the 3 facts about their partner to the rest of the group.
My name is?
Go around the group and ask each young person to state his/her name and attach an adjective that not only describes a dominant characteristic, but also starts with the same letter of his name e.g. generous Grahame, dynamic Dave. Write them down and refer to them by this for the rest of the evening.
Each person is given a sheet of paper with a series of instructions to follow. This is a good mixing game and conversation starter as each person must speak to everyone else. For example;
Count the number of brown eyed boys in the room.
• Find out who has made the longest journey.
• Who has the most unusual hobby?
• Find the weirdest thing anyone has eaten.
• Who has had the most embarrassing experience?
• Who knows what ‘Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia’ is a fear of?
Nearest guess wins. If that’s too easy you can try Arachibutyrophobia, Alektorophobia, Ephebiphobia or Anglophobia
• Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia – Fear of long words
• Arachibutyrophobia – Fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth.
• Alektorophobia – Fear of chickens.
• Ephebiphobia – Fear of teenagers
• Anglophobia – Fear of England or English culture.
The question web
You need to have a spool of string or wool for this game. Ask the young people to stand in a circle. Hold on to the end of the string and throw the ball/spool to one of the young people to catch. They then choose a question from 1-20 to answer. A list of 20 sample questions is given below. Adapt for your group.
Holding the string they then throw it to another member of the group. Eventually this creates a web as well as learning some interesting things about each other! At the end of the game you could comment that we all played a part in creating this unique web and if one person was gone it would look different.
In the same way it’s important that we all take part to make the group what it is, unique and special.
1. If you had a time machine that would work only once, what point in the future or in history would you visit?
2. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
3. If your house was burning down, what three objects would you try and save?
4. If you could talk to any one person now living, who would it be and why?
5. If you HAD to give up one of your senses (hearing, seeing, feeling, smelling, tasting) which would it be and why?
6. If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
7. Do you have a pet? If not, what sort of pet would you like?
8. Name a gift you will never forget?
9. Name one thing you really like about yourself.
10. What’s your favourite thing to do in the summer?
Announce, ‘You’ve been exiled to a deserted island for a year. In addition to the essentials, you may take one piece of music, one book) and one luxury item you can carry with you i.e. not a boat to leave the island! What would you take and why?’
Allow a few minutes for the young people to draw up their list of three items, before sharing their choices with the rest of the group. As with most icebreakers and relationship building activities, it’s good for the group leaders to join in too!
Ask the group to sit in a circle. Write 20 ‘IF’ questions on cards and place them (question down) in the middle of the circle. The first person takes a card, reads it out and gives their answer, comment or explanation. The card is returned to the bottom of the pile before the next person takes their card.
This is a simple icebreaker to get young people talking and listening to others in the group. Keep it moving and don’t play for too long. Write your own additional ‘IF’ questions to add to the list.
1. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
2. If I gave you $10,000, what would you spend it on?
3. If you could watch your favourite movie now, what would it be?
4. If you could talk to anyone in the world, who would it be?
5. If you could wish one thing to come true this year, what would it be?
6. If you could live in any period of history, when would it be?
7. If you could change anything about yourself, what would you change?
8. If you could be someone else, who would you be?
9. If you could have any question answered, what would it be?
10. If you could watch your favourite TV show now, what would it be?
11. If you could have any kind of pet, what would you have?
12. If you could do your dream job 10 years from now, what would it be?
13. If you had to be allergic to something, what would it be?
14. If you sat down next to Jesus on a bus, what would you talk about?
15. If money and time was no object, what would you be doing right now?
16. If you had one day to live over again, what day would you pick?
17. If you could eat your favourite food now, what would it be?
18. If you could learn any skill, what would it be?
19. If you were sent to live on a space station for three months and only allowed to bring three personal items with you, what would they be?
20. If you could buy a car right now, what would you buy?
Name that person
Divide into two teams. Give each person a blank piece of card. Ask them to write five little known facts about themselves on their card. Include all leaders in this game too. For example, I have a pet iguana, I was born in Iceland, my favourite food is spinach, my grandmother is called Doris and my favourite colour is vermillion.
Collect the cards into two team piles. Draw one card from the opposing team pile. Each team tries to name the person in as few clues as possible. Five points if they get it on the first clue, then 4, 3, 2, 1, 0. The team with the most points wins.
Would you rather..?
Questions may range from silly trivia to more serious content. On the way you might find out some interesting things about your young people! Place a line of tape down the centre of the room. Ask the group to straddle the tape.
When asked ‘Would you rather?’ they have to jump to the left or right as indicated by the leader. Don’t forget to encourage your adult helpers to join in too! I’ve included 20 starter questions, just add your own and let the fun begin.
Would you rather..?
• Visit the doctor or the dentist?
• Eat broccoli or carrots?
• Watch TV or listen to music?
• Own a lizard or a snake?
• Have a beach holiday or a mountain holiday?
• Be an apple or a banana?
• Be invisible or be able to read minds?
• Be hairy all over or completely bald?
• Be the most popular or the smartest person you know?
• Make headlines for saving somebody’s life or winning a Nobel Prize?
• Go without television or fast food for the rest of your life?
• Have permanent diarrhoea or permanent constipation?
• Be handsome/beautiful and dumb or be ugly and really smart?
• Always be cold or always be hot?
• Not hear or not see?
• Eliminate hunger and disease or be able to bring lasting world peace?
• Be stranded on a deserted island alone or with someone you don’t like?
• See the future or change the past?
• Be three inches taller or three inches shorter?
• Wrestle a lion or fight a shark?
You will need crayons or paints, markers, scissors and white card for this activity. Give each young person a piece of white card. Ask them to draw and cut out a life-sized shape of a face. They can also cut out eyes and a mouth if they wish. Each young person is then asked to decorate their card face. One side represents what they think people see/know/believe about them i.e. on the outside. The other side represents what they feel about themselves i.e. things going on the inside, what people do not necessarily know or see.
This is best used in an established group where the young people are comfortable and at ease with each other. ‘Masks’ is also a good discussion starter on self-image and self- worth.
This is a get-to-know-you activity, helping young people express what’s important to them or more about themselves. Provide large sheets of paper, crayons, markers and paints. Ask each young person to draw a flag which contains some symbols or pictures describing who they are, what’s important to them or what they enjoy.
Each flag is divided into 4 or 6 segments. Each segment can contain a picture i.e. favourite emotion, favourite food, a hobby, a skill, where you were born, your family, your faith. Give everyone 20 minutes to draw their flags. Ask some of the group to share their flags and explain the meaning of what they drew.
Great for new groups. Make a 5 by 4 grid on a piece of card and duplicate for everyone in your group. Supply pens or pencils. Each box contains one of the statements below. Encourage the group to mix, talk to everyone to try and complete their card. If one of the items listed on the bingo card relates to the person they are talking with, have them sign their name in that box.
End the activity after 10 minutes and review some of the interesting facts the group has discovered about each other. You can add your own statements appropriate for your group.
- Has brown eyes
- Has made the longest journey
- Has eaten the weirdest food
- Plays Tennis
- Is wearing blue
- Speaks a foreign language
- Knows what a muntjak is(it’s a small deer)
- Plays a musical instrument
- Has 2 or more pets
- Has been to the most foreign countries
- Hates broccoli
- Has 2 or more siblings
- Name begins with an ‘S’
- Loves Chinese food
- Loves to ski
- Knows what a quark is (A quark is a tiny theoretical particle that makes up protons and neutrons in the atomic nucleus.)
- Loves soccer
- Likes to get up early
- Someone who’s favourite TV show is CSI
- Someone over 6ft tall
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