It’s Game Time!

October 26, 2015
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So far through this blog we regularly cover devotional topics, encouragement,  & youth ministry info but from time to time you just have to have a little fun.  Working with young people always brought about one of my favorite activities: the ice breaker games.  I understand these typically make those of us who are introverts cringe, however I maintain that these specific activities go a long way in breaking the social barrier and the awkward cheesy factor most groups start out with.  Also, here’s where we can go over the top as youth directors being goofy, all in the name of making our kids feel more comfortable in their surroundings.  This may not be your style but I have found that kids feel more at ease as long as their is someone willing to look more goofy than them…so I’m more than willing to pick up that gauntlet.  Here are a few I’ve used over the years that I liked and you may find effective In your ministry context.  Please feel free to edit, change and adapt as you see fit (i.e. paper balls instead of planes) so that it is most effective for you.                           Do you have a good one you’d like to share?

 Paper Airplanes:

Have a sheet of paper and a pen ready for everyone in attendance.  Instruct everyone to make a paper airplane and then have 2 or 3 questions that are silly or fun but that are personal: for example, What is the weirdest thing you have ever eaten?  It’s up to you if you want them to write their names on it.  Once everyone has completed their airplane and written their answers on it, set a timer for a couple minutes and on cue, everyone throws their airplanes around the room.  *Make sure to let them know they should try out other peoples planes and try not to throw theirs again.  At the end of that time everyone must have an airplane.  Then ask for a volunteer or read the answers on the plane you have.  Once it has been read, the person whose plane was read stands up and reads the one they are holding and this continues until either you reach the end of the planes, you run out of time or someone is too embarrassed to stand.  However, I have found it to be very disarming for kids to stand an share about someone else instead of the ‘stand up and tell everyone about yourself model’.

 paper air plane

 Stanky Shoes:

This is a variation of the ole group game where everyone puts their shoes into their team pile and, on cue, tries to be the first team with all their shoes back on.  In this version, participants only take of one shoe and the other goes into a pile for the whole room.  When everyone gets their and is only wearing one shoe, the leader distributes shoes to people not wearing the same one.  When time to start, everyone must find who their shoe belongs to and share some information.  *Again disarming because they are sharing with just one other person instead of in front of the whole group.  This will get interesting, possibly chaotic, as a train will form because ‘I have your shoe but she has mine’.  So be prepared with an attention grabber to end this activity.

 pileOshoes

 Marooned:

This is a scenario game for those groups who are already familiar with one another because it involves sharing.  Or do it as a group-share activity where you make collective choices or teams instead of individual ones.  “You are marooned on an island.  What 5 things (or more based on group size)  would you have brought with you if you knew there was a chance you might be stranded?  If playing by teams, make note that their are only 5 items per team, not per person.  Then they can present or defend their choices as a group.  This activity help’s them to learn about other’s values, helps develop problem solving skills & promotes teamwork/compromise.

 marooned

 Silly Story Time:

Simple and basic is sometimes the best way to go.  this is for a group who are comfortable with one another or you’re just looking for a quick laugh.  Basically, this is an oral madlib.  The leader starts a story by saying a sentence.  It goes around the room (in order) with each person adding a sentence after they repeat the sentence that was just added.  This keeps them engaged because it can turn silly but also because they don’t want to be caught not knowing what the sentence was before them.

 laughing einstein

 Rapid Name Recall:

*2 leaders needed  You will need a bedspread or sheet think enough you cannot see through it.  Attach it to a long stick or pool cue and you have makeshift barrier created.  Separate the group into 2 teams and have them sit on opposite sides of the barrier.  This is either a game for groups that know each other well or you have to have everyone give their name to the whole room.  To start the first round, the 2 leaders bring up the barrier so the 2 groups cannot see one another.  Each team selects one person to move forward directly in front of the sheet.  When both sides are set, leaders drop the barrier and the first to say the person’s name opposite from them wins a point for their team.  Teams give a point to the other team if anyone other than the person at the barrier yells out the name.  If you have a particularly shy person, then switch with them and you play with a team while they serve as barrier duty with your other leader.  This game has particular funny moments when both sides struggle for the name…so have a time limit and announce a draw so that it does not drag on.

 get to know you

 

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