Icebreaker Games and Activities

for Children and Adults

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3's Company
Write a word on an index card. The word must be a word that comes in 3's such as Larry, Moe & Curly. At the bottom of the card, write the matches. I have used this numerous times and it always seems to work. The one thing you have to make sure is to have enough cards and if you have too many cards to make the adjustment accordingly.

After everyone has found their "match", I tell them that they have to sit with their "matches" for dinner or for the next activity. I have found that this gets people to mingle even more, instead of staying in their groups. There are no prizes or winner in this game, only interaction.

Just thought I would share!

Thank You!
John Crutchfield

And This Is _____________.                  
Teacher and children sit in a circle. Ask children to think of one fact about themselves (favorite color, food, activity, where they attend school, etc.). Teacher begins by saying his or her name and one fact about him or her self. Play proceeds clockwise with next person saying his or her name, one fact about him or her self, and then says, "And this is ________" and completes the sentence by saying the previous person's name and fact. Play proceeds with everyone saying his or her name, a fact about themselves, and repeating the previous person's name and fact.

Optional: To make it more challenging, have each consecutive person say all the previous names and facts. If you have a large class, you might want to divide the group.

Sarah Keith-
For more fun game ideas, check out, Bible Games Explosion.

Balloon Banter

Inflate multiple colors of balloons, 12" or larger. The more children, the more balloons you'll need. A ratio of one balloon to two to three kids is good. Have children line up into two equal, or almost equal, lines facing one another, 5'-6' apart. Distribute the balloons. At the go, children toss the balloons to the children facing them. The object is to keep the balloons in the air and volleying back and forth. After a few seconds of play, teacher calls out "Balloon Banter," signaling players to freeze and hold the balloon still. The children holding the balloons in that round take turns answering the matching color-coded question that teacher displays. For example: Red=What's your name?; Blue=Do you have any brothers or sisters?; Yellow=What do you want to be when you grow up?; Green=Where's your favorite place to go?; Orange=What's your favorite restaurant or food?; Purple=What is your favorite game?, etc. (See questions in "Sweet Talk" too, below.) When the children holding the balloons have answered, play continues as before. Play as long as time allows. Optional: As balloons are being tossed, teacher calls out different body parts children must use to keep the balloons going. For example, "use your left hand, your foot, your elbow, your head, etc." 

Been Changed
Teams are determined by a colored spot or number on each nametag. After the teams of 2, 3, or 4 are assembled, give them large index cards on which have been written three verses of Scripture. Slightly alter one of the verses, for example, Colossians 3:20, Wives, obey your husbands in all things, for this is well-pleasing unto the Lord. The group has to identify the incorrect verse. (Jeopardy-type answers are also very good.)

Sent in by: Hilda Foster 

Block Buster 
We played with at Women's Fellowship, but could be done anywhere, especially at a baby shower. You'll need about 10 wooden baby ABC blocks per table. Each person, in turn, holds a block and tells a fact about themselves. They continue building the stack of blocks and telling something about themselves until the blocks fall.

Sent in by: Linda Norton 

Body Parts Game 
The Body of Christ is many parts. Children assemble themselves to form one body. Click the title for more info.

Brown Shoes 
A Bingo Ice Breaker game. Click the title for more!

Circle Time Toss 
I've found that this really helps my 4 year olds open up and tell about themselves. After my kids have cleaned up from free play, I transition them into the lesson by doing this game. We all sit in a circle and gently toss a small item (like a Koosh-ball, inflatable globe, or roll a small car, etc.) to each other. The one who catches the item tells a little about themselves from an ice-breaker type of question that's related to the lesson. For example, if the lesson is about the gift of heaven, I toss a small present to one of the children, and then ask if he/she received what he/she really wanted for Christmas. Some will say they got something they really wanted, but aren't that thrilled about it now; some may say they didn't get what they wanted and were disappointed. It's a great way to say that heaven is a gift you'll never get tired with or be disappointed about. Even the children who have a short attention span, or tend to get disruptive, like this activity. I hope this helps anyone searching for something to draw little ones into a lesson.

Sent in by: Marcy Lewis

Community Building Activity 
Heighten feelings of belonging by building a classroom community. When you build feelings of belonging and safety in your classroom, you increase your ability to engage students' minds. 

Purpose: To introduce the class to one another on the first day of class in a supportive, team-minded way. 

Materials: A bulletin board that reads "Each Piece Counts" at the top and has an outline of jigsaw pieces, construction paper precut in jigsaw pieces for each student, pencils, radio, pins, and blank paper.

Sequence of the Activity: Guide a short discussion about a puzzle, how each piece is vital to the makeup of the whole, and how all pieces are needed to complete it. 
Randomly give a jigsaw piece to each student with another student's name printed on it.

Each student interviews and finds out a few interesting things about the other student, and then writes biographical items on their partner's puzzle piece. During this time, play soft classical music or jazz to make the atmosphere more comfortable. In front of the group, each pair of students introduces one another and pins their puzzle pieces on the bulletin board where they fit. When all have finished, the board should be full.

Sent in by: Performance Learning System's (PLS)
Editor's Note: this activity would fit nicely with a lesson on the Body of Christ (1 Co. 12:27ff)

Colors of Life 
Take a bag of M&M's and tell everyone to grab a handful...or you don't have to specify to make it funny! Assign a different meaning to each color, blue= family, green=school, yellow=friends...and however many they have in their hands, that is how many facts they have to tell. They may also eat them either after the game or directly after they say their fact. (It's kind of funny when someone says, "Blue...I have two sisters," and then eats the M&M. " best friend's name is Sue," and eats the M&M.)

Clothespin/Porcupine Tag 
Have each person clip 3-4 clothespins to the back of their clothes. Next have the players collect the pins from each other. Once collected, place on the front of your clothes. The get to know you part is to add questions or prompts to the clothespins. 

For example: 
Red = favorite (color, food, sport, exercise, etc)
Black=more personal (someone you admire, something you are proud of)

Play a round and then stop and place people in local groups to share. Play a second or third round to get more ideas or allow the groups to meet again later and see if they remember anything.

Sent in by: Joe Gallo 

Dots Interesting
You will need color-coding-dot-stickers, (red, yellow, blue, green). Everyone chooses a color and sticks the dot on the palm of their hand. Have children sit in a circle. Teacher and students take turns by raising their hand with the dot, waving at the others in the room, saying their name, and then answering the question that matches the colored dot chosen. For example, if you have: 

Blue=tell something about your family; 
Yellow=tell something about school; 
Red=talk about your favorite food; 
Green=talk about a favorite activity.

Alternate play:  place a colored dot on each child's arm. In the center of the playing area spread out dozens of matching colored pit balls. Have children stand in a circle around the playing area. At the go, tell players to grab as many matching colored balls* as they can carry back to their start position. Have children sit down, and then tell as many facts about themselves as the number of balls they grabbed.

*You might limit the amount of balls to grab and say, "You decide how many to take; take one, two, three, or four balls."

Focus Ball 
A challenging game of cooperation and staying focused. Click the title to get it.

Early Bird Gets The Worm
Wrap a small gift that could be for any gender. Keep an eye on who was the first guest to arrive but do not say anything about it. Sit everyone in a circle. You begin by holding the gift and saying, "State your name and a pretend form of transportation of how you came to be here today/tonight. The way you came here must begin with the same letter that begins your name. For example: my name is Dianne, therefore I would state: 'My name is Dianne and I came here today on a Donkey.' Notice Donkey starts with a D as my name does. After making that statement you would then say, while passing the gift to the next person, 'and this is a wiggly, squiggly, worm.' Now that person will do the same thing you just did only using their own name and transportation. Go around until everyone has done this. When all have done this you state, 'Who was the first guest to arrive?' Once that is established, you hand the gift to that person and state, 'We all know, the early bird gets the worm!' " It is a cute game. 

Sent in by: Dianne, Valhermoso, AL

Get Connected
The purpose of this game is to "break the ice" among classroom participants and to encourage unity. Or as Marsha Stout, the creator of "Get Connected" puts it, "I developed this game to try and get my girls to gel!" Click the title to Get Connected!

Guess their Baby
Pass out a list of 10 famous Bible parents such as Elisabeth and Zacharias or Abraham and Sarah*. Guests must correctly answer the baby's names within 3 minutes. The one with the most correct answers wins. Good for baby showers too. 

Sent in by: Melanie, Denver, CO
* Answer: John the Baptist, Isaac.

Guess Who?
At the beginning of class or a social, tape the name of a Bible character to the back of each person. They cannot see the name--only the other participants will know which character they represent. Each person can ask questions about who they are e.g., male or female, Old or New Testament, The first person to guess who they are wins, and so on.

Sent in by: Patty Fitzpatrick

Just The Facts 
Participants write personal facts and then place them on one another's backs. Click the title to get the directions.

Sent in by: Jenny Hartnett

Know You. . .Know You Not
With a group that already knows one another, each member must introduce another member. (Even though everyone was familiar with one another, it was really sweet and informative to hear what one person had to say about another - and we all wound up learning new things about old friends.) With a group that doesn't already know each other, each person must spend 5 minutes with the person next to him or her, doing a mini-interview. At the end of that time, everyone introduces their new friends. 

Sent in by: Sandi B.

Meet My Match
Write one half of a familiar verse of Scripture on a slip of paper and put it in an envelope. Do the same with the other half of the verse. As each adult enters, give them an envelope and ask them not to open it until the signal. After the customary welcome, ask everyone to open their envelopes and find the person with the other half. They are to talk with each other for a brief five minutes then each pair will take turns introducing themselves to the entire group by saying, "Hi, my name is ___________ and this is ___________who is the mother of 3 children (who traveled to England last summer, who has been teaching for 25 years, etc.). 

Sent in by: Hilda Foster 

Musical Hand Shake
Have the kids begin by going around and shaking other children's hands while music is playing. Have an adult leader stop the music. When the music stops all the children should be paired up. The adult will shout out a question and each pair of children will introduce themselves to each other and answer the question. "Hello my name is _________ and my favorite__________ is _________." The question could be: What is your favorite color? What is your favorite subject in school? What is your favorite TV show? Food? etc. Ask a different question each time the music stops. Encourage the children to find someone new each time the music stops. At the end of the game ask what they found out about each other; who did they have the same answer as, etc.

Sent in by: Linda Mullen

Name "TAG" That Person
Here is a great get acquainted game kids and adults enjoy. Participants make their own name tag according to the theme for your lesson. Then everyone needs to choose a name that goes along with the theme and that starts with the first letter of their name.

Examples of characteristic theme: Joyful Jane, Lovable Lori, Marvelous Mitch;
or of an Undersea theme: Electric Eel Ellen, Magnificent Mug-fish Mel. 

After everyone has chosen a name, have them make their name tag with the name on it and decorate it, so the name is readable. Have everyone sit in a circle on the floor or in chairs and play a modified version of Hot Potato. Instead of a potato, use an inflatable fish or bug or ball. When you throw it to someone, YOU MUST SAY THEIR NAME and then throw it to someone else, saying their name and so on. Go slow at first and then go faster as you go along.

If you have a lot of people, break them up into groups of 8 to 10. Too many people and names to remember is not fun. Enjoy and everyone learns to know everyone's name and SO WILL YOU!

My prayers and peace of Christ,
VBS Director / Sunday School Teacher
Junior Church Teacher and Coordinator
The Church of Christ at Greenpoint
Brooklyn, New York

Parent-Child Game
This is a great game to play in a class with parents and their kids. Give each parent an index card and ask them to finish the statement, "What I love most about my child is..." Put the responses in a basket, then line the kids up and have them each pick a response. Have each child read one statement each. When the response is read that fits with a particular child, he or she must go get it. It's fun to see how well the kids know their parents. Next, switch the roles and have the kids complete the statement, "My parents are..." It is interesting and can get pretty funny. Best if played with older kids or teens and their parents

Sent in by: Yulonda Smith
Grace Family Worship Center
Greensboro, NC 

Penny For Your Thoughts - For adults.
When everyone arrives give them name tags and ask them to choose a penny from a bag. When everyone is seated ask them to look at the date on their penny. Ask them to think about something that happened to them that year. Start with the oldest by asking "Does anyone have a penny with a date before 1950? 1960? etc. Start with the oldest date and work forward until the most recent penny is shared. When this activity was used at our church we got these type of responses "1950 was the year my oldest son was born" "1988 I turned 35, just got divorced, was a single mom with two kids and thought my life was half over. But through the grace of God today I am 50 and happily remarried to a fine Christian man who is an excellent father to my children." When the person stands they should give their name, how long they have been coming to your church (group, etc.) and then say something about the date. The answers can be funny, short or serious and allows each person to share as much or as little as they want.

Sent in by Rebecca H. Rollins - Delaware

Pocket Pow-Wow
Participants must produce one object from their pocket (purse, wallet or body, ie. jewelry, belt, etc.) that has meaning for them and explain it's significance to the group.

Sent in by: Sandi B.

Puzzling Partners 

Before participants arrive, make puzzle pieces by cutting 8.5" x 11" paper in half using a random cutting pattern to make two unique parts that will fit together to form one puzzle piece. Each sheet must be cut differently so that no other sheets have the same pattern. If you have a very large group, you might want to use four different colored papers. The puzzles are then mixed up and when participants arrive each person receives one half of one of the puzzle pieces. (The only tricky thing about this ice breaker is to make sure that all halves are not over or under distributed. One of the leaders may opt to participate, or not, in order to make sure that the other participants will be evenly matched.) After the initial welcomes, the participants are told to find their puzzle partner match. Once found, they must find out three things about him or her and write it down on their puzzle piece. When everyone has found their partner, they introduce him or her and tell the rest of the group what they discovered. This could also be used to match prayer partners during your event. Successfully used with ages 10 to adult. 

Copyright 2000 Sarah Keith 

On A Roll 
Pass around a roll of toilet paper with this instruction: "Each person should take as much as he/she thinks he/she needs." Do not give any more direction than that. After every person has taken whatever amount of toilet paper they think they might need, the game goes on...for every sheet of toilet paper, the person must relate one fact about them (i.e. I have a sister named Sue). It is really funny when someone takes a lot of toilet paper. 

Sent in by: Rondi Wellum 

Seeing God in Everything 
Participants are challenged to think of a spiritual application to inanimate objects. Click the title to get the directions.


This ice-breaker game reminds us that when we're God's children, we are part of the family of God. And as his children, we have the most important relationship in common with one another--Jesus! 

Spin the Bottle, Break the Ice

Draw a circle on the floor and divide in quarters, or use four large sheets of paper to make four sections. On the each section write a topic such as, "Food, School, Activity, or Family." Participants sit in a circle around the four topics. Place a bottle in the center of the four sections. Teacher begins by saying his or her name and then spins the bottle. Teacher must then tell one fact about his or her life regarding the topic to which the bottle cap points. Next person takes his or her turn, proceeding clockwise. If you have time, go around the circle several times.

For more fun games, check out Bible Games Explosion.

Sweet Talk

What you need: You will need a bowl full of different colored candies, such as Skittles, a plastic spoon and a small cup for each child. Alternatively, pre-fill small cups with three different colored candies in each one. Make a list of discussion starter questions to match the candy colors. For example: Red=favorite food, Green=favorite T.V. show or movie, Yellow=favorite activity, Orange=favorite or not-so-favorite subject in school, Brown=favorite book, etc.  

If you want to play more than one round: Where were you born? How many siblings do you have? How long have you lived in your home? What do you want to be or do when you grow up? If you could have a super power, what would it be? (See questions in "Balloon Banter" too, above.)

How to play: Distribute the pre-filled cups of candy to children sitting in a circle or pass a bowl of candies to children and have them scoop out three pieces of candy and place in their cups. Display the discussion starter questions. Children take turns by first saying their name, and then answering the questions that match the colors they chose. Once everyone has had a chance to "sweet talk," they may eat their candy!

For more fun games, get Bible Games Explosion. With Over 52 Bible Games for Kids!
Bible Games for Children's Ministry

Ten Commandments Intro Ice Breaker

Introduce children to a semester of teaching the Ten Commandments by first playing the active Balloon Banter game and then the calmer Sweet Talk game (both listed above). With children sitting in a circle, say, "These games were fun. The one thing they have in common, other than answering the color-coded questions, is that they had rules to follow.

Ask, 'Why are rules important?' (Receive answers; using their answers to guide the discussion) The rules helped us understand the right way to play. This semester we will be learning about God's rules. They're called the Ten Commandments. They teach us right from wrong and help us understand what God expects from his children, and how he cares for us. Jesus told us that the Ten Commandments teach us how to love God and how to love others."

Trying to Get Home
Participants stand behind their chair. Every time players can answer "yes" to a statement they may move to the chair on their left. If they answer "no," they stay where they are. (This is fun because people sometimes must stand 3 or 4 in a line before some can move on.) Try statements* like these: You have granddaughters. You have tomatoes in your garden. You are retired. You have a blue vehicle. You were born in another state. The first person back to their chair wins. *See statements, below, in the icebreaker game, "You Too?!"

Sent in by: Hilda Foster 

Two Truths And A Tale
Each person must make three statements about themselves, one of which isn't true. (I have two kids, I was born in D.C., I have a motorcycle). The group must guess, or vote on, which statement is the tale. This got very funny and silly! Great icebreaker. 

Sent in by: Sandi B.

Wet Noodle Dance
This is somewhat like musical chairs, but no one is out. On Wednesday night when we want to encourage new friendships, this is what we do:

1. Have someone play a CD. (The more exciting the music the better.)
2. Tell the children when they hear the music they are to go around all the chairs, or could be tables or just the room, in the same direction and wiggle and jiggle like a wet noodle. 
3. Now tell them to look to their left and right at who is sitting next to them. Most likely it will be a friend they usually sit with. 
4. Tell them that when the music stops they are to sit next to two new people. 
5. Once they are reseated they give the person next to them the wet noodle handshake. (Each child takes both hands and wiggles them touching the other person's fingers.)
6. We will repeat this one to two times and then they stay in that seat for the remainder of the class, sitting next to someone they would usually not sit next to.
7. We have also changed the type of dance, as we call it. We have done a baby crawl, chicken dance, you can put many different type of actions into play here.

We have had a lot of fun with this. The children come in on Wednesday night and ask if we can do the wet noodle dance. This has also produced a more unified group of children. Some children that would not talk to others have opened up.

I pray this is a blessing to you.

Denise Merchant
Children's Ministry Director
ROLC, Aiken SC

You Too?!
Make a handout with examples of things the students may have experienced. Give the handout to each student who must duplicate something about somebody else. Here are some examples that the students must match: A broken leg or arm, went on a vacation outside of their state (or country), fell off a bike, has two brothers, likes/dislikes, amusement parks, ballet, played baseball/softball, went fishing, went to vacation Bible school, went to camp, wears contacts, had a birthday in the summer, has a pet, rode a horse, went on a plane for the first time, went to the beach, and/or anything you make up about the students.

Copyright 2002 Gerry Cernicky 

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