Category | Icebreakers

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Fall is a time of new beginnings for many at school.

Whenever a new person joins the youth group or when a group of people come together for the first time, there is often a period of unease and tension. It is not because anyone has done anything wrong or because people are mean – it is simply because most of us have our guard up when we meet someone new for the first time. To make new persons feel at ease and relax the participants in a newly formed group, there are many games and activities that can be used as icebreakers and integration techniques.

Whether it is a new person joining a youth club, school or church group, or just a group of youth meeting together for the first time, the icebreakers must come as early as possible during the meeting. This will make each person feel like an integral part of the group, encourage active participation of all during activities and thus make the accomplishment of the goals of the group much easier.

So what are some of these icebreakers?

Round Repeat
Round repeat is a good example. Here, the persons in the youth group stand in a circle. The first person to be chosen is asked to say their name. This should be loud enough for everyone else to hear. Then the second person says the first person’s name and their own name. The next person gives the names of the two people in front and their own name. This goes on until the last participant who may be required to say the names of every single person in the group. This is a great way of learning the names. If the group is large, the last persons in the circle will have a difficult time recalling all the names. But the amount of fun during the game will have effectively broken any psychological walls between the youth.

Zip and Zap
Zip and Zap is another great game to break the ice and learn people’s names. The group sits in a circle. One person is chosen to sit in the centre of a circle as the first leader of the game. The simple rules of the game are then explained – Zip is right and Zap is left. The leader then points to anyone in the circle and says ‘Zip!’. The person pointed at gives the name of the person who is sitting on his or her right. If the leader says ‘Zap!’, the person gives the name of the person sitting on his left.

When the leader points at someone and says ‘Zip-Zap!’, the youth sitting on the immediate left and right of the person must switch places. If the call is ‘Zip-Zip!’, the person pointed at must say the name of the person seated two spaces away to their right. Same will apply to ‘Zap-Zap!’ only this time it will be their left. Anyone who is unable to correctly recall a name has to leave the circle perimeter and sit at the centre. The game continues until the last person is eliminated or until the last people remaining can remember the names of every person still on the circle.

Artistic Collaboration
A game that can be used for integration or even team building in a group of youth is artistic collaboration. The youth are grouped in sets of six or so persons. The six persons are assigned a table and each person is given a paper and a different color of crayon. They are then given the go ahead to start drawing a picture. When the coordinator shouts ‘change!’, all stand to move and sit on the chair on their right. They then continue drawing someone else’s picture. This goes on until everyone comes back to their original sitting position and looks at the finished picture!


Get Icebreakers ebookIcebreakers Ahead: Take It To the Next Level

This 170 page resource not only provides 52 of the world’s most popular group icebreaker activities and games, but also includes lesson ideas and discussion questions to smoothly transition into conversations about the issues common to most groups.

Click here to find out how to get your hands on this incredible resource!

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