This badge program is geared toward more “adult” icebreakers.
1. Provided PDFs.
SUPP_Icebreaker_Sampler.pdf is provided for this badge program by the Enrichment Project. Download it to review as you work through the steps. As you review them, note that many of the icebreakers may be done by adults or kids.
2. Introducing icebreakers.
You may find resistance from adults to participate. You can help encourage participation by:
- Being enthusiastic
- Choose volunteers who are not embarrassed
- Be prepared to move on if the icebreaker doesn’t have the intended effect
- Finish icebreakers while they’re being enjoyed, not when your adults are tired of it
- Make sure they are age and ability appropriate
Taking these into consideration, select a few icebreakers for an event, meeting or training.
3. Themes for your icebreakers.
Look through your collected icebreakers. Find themes or common threads that you can incorporate with your meetings, events or trainings. You want your icebreakers to work with your activity, not be a distraction from it. You may need to adjust an icebreaker to fit your needs. For example, if you are doing an outdoor training, you may want to incorporate outdoor elements into your icebreaker.
4. Choosing icebreakers.
When you need to choose icebreakers, there are considerations beyond theme and age appropriateness.
You’ll need to determine how much time you have for your icebreakers. Some will take less than five minutes while some may take half an hour. Unless you plan for your entire event to be icebreakers, keep the length in mind.
The size of the group is very important. If you ask for five favorite animals from five people, that will take a lot less time than those same five animals for twenty people. Also, sometimes the Icebreakers require individuals, pairs or even groups of five or more to be effective.
The area you have to work with will have a great deal to do with your choices. If you will be in an unfamiliar location, find out if you can visit it before your event. Ask if there are restrictions. Check to see if you have enough room for more active icebreakers. Also, if you need to put items on the wall, are you allowed to pin or tape them up?
What other restrictions might affect choosing and doing icebreakers?
5. Know your stuff.
A successful icebreaker needs step-by-step instructions and then needs to be demonstrated. They are most effective when they are thought out, practiced and have clear instructions. Take the icebreakers you chose and review them thoroughly. Ask yourself the following questions.
- Do the directions sound clear and thorough?
- Can I explain the directions in my own words?
- Do I have the materials I need?
- Can I acquire any materials I need to create or find beforehand?
- Have I thought of ways to adapt the icebreaker to help it work better with my theme?
- Do I have a person / people to try the icebreaker to verify I have everything and it works?
6. Search the Web.
The icebreakers in the provided PDF may not provide what you need. Go out on the Web and find more icebreakers you can use with your adults. There are many free ones online. Save the ones you think look interesting.
7. Breaking the rules.
Sometimes the icebreaker doesn’t work the way it is written. Keep notes on any adjustments you incorporate to make it workable before the event.
If you tried to run it and it didn’t work, reflect on the situation to determine what went wrong and if you could use it again. Make sure you keep track of your thoughts so you don’t repeat a bad experience.
8. Icebreakers — introductions to energizers.
Icebreakers can be used to introduce people to each other and relax before starting your event. Sometimes your icebreakers can be used as energizers. Watch your audience for information overload, boredom or distraction. This is your hint to do something different to get everyone back on track. Usually you’ll want to plan two or three icebreakers for a two-hour activity. Review your icebreakers. Which can be used as energizers? How can you adjust your chosen icebreakers to fit with your theme?
9. Develop your own icebreakers.
Sometimes it’s difficult to find appropriate ice breakers and you will need to make your own. Try developing an icebreaker and share it. Before you do, here are a few things to keep in mind.
- Your program should be 60-70% of your time, with the remainder for icebreakers
- Determine the abilities / dynamics of your group
- What is the goal for your icebreaker? Warm up and introductions? Energizer? Bridging to another topic?
- To illustrate as an example of what you are showing
- Amount of physical and mental exertion of participants
- Individual, pairs or group participants
10. Invite adults to lead.
Adults may have participated in icebreakers previously. They appreciate the opportunity to share their knowledge and experience. At your activity, you can ask for any adjustments that they have made to your chosen icebreakers. You can also ask them to lead. Make sure to give them enough time to prepare.
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