Whether you’re starting a troop or planning an event, icebreakers are great for kids to get to know each other. While icebreakers can be games or activities, this badge program is geared toward a younger audience.
1. Why icebreakers?
Icebreakers can play an important role helping kids connect with one another in a group environment. They can also act as energizers during a long meeting or discussion. Some ways they can be used include:
- Get to know one another
- Introduce a new member to an existing group
- Help kids feel comfortable together
- Encourage cooperation
- Encourage listening
- Encourage working together
- Break out of cliques
- Develop social skills
Identify when you can use icebreakers with your troop / group.
2. 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.
3. Search the Web.
Go out on the Web and find more icebreakers you can use with your kids. Save the ones you think look interesting.
4. Keep the kids in mind.
Before starting icebreakers, you need to determine if the game or activity is doable by your kids. You don’t want to have an activity that takes a lot of writing for kindergartners and you don’t want one that’s too young for teenagers. Observe your target audience and select a few icebreakers you feel may work with your troop / group.
5. Breaking the rules.
Sometimes the icebreaker doesn’t work. Keep notes on any adjustments you incorporate or whether to use it again if it completely fails. Reflect on failed icebreakers to determine what went wrong and if you could use it with a different troop / group or age level.
6. The choice of themes.
Unlike adults, kids have more difficulty sitting still for long periods. While themes are a great way to tie icebreakers into an event or meeting, you’ll find that kids are more interested in the icebreaker itself. If they have one they enjoy, they’ll ask to do it again, whether it fits your current activities or not. As you use icebreakers with your kids, note how they react to icebreakers and what effect themes have on them. Track which ice breakers they request again.
7. More active.
Kids like to move. For this reason, you’ll probably want to choose more active icebreakers. Review the PDF and the icebreakers you collect. Assign an activity level to each so you can quickly pull an active icebreaker when they become restless. Also, watch your kids as the year progresses. As the weather outside discourages outdoor play, are your kids more likely to request active icebreakers?
8. When to use icebreakers.
As you search the Web, you may have noticed that many schools have icebreakers for classes to start the year. For meetings, they are used at the beginning to allow participants to get to know each other and raise the level of comfort. So, if you have a troop meeting frequently, you may not want to keep your icebreakers for introductions only. Kids love to share information about what they know, so adjust the icebreakers to share different information. In addition, icebreakers can be used as energizers when your kids start getting bored or overloaded. In what other instances do you think icebreakers could be used?
9. Fun props.
If the icebreaker says to use a ball to throw between participants to take turns, why not replace it? Try a teddy bear, rubber chicken or balloon drawn up as a face. Before you use your icebreakers, see if you can replace the standard materials with fun props. Try running the same icebreaker with both the more traditional item and a fun prop. Which do the kids enjoy more?
10. Activities for props.
If you’ve ever forgotten your props, you’ll know the panic. You can add activities for missing props. Try taking turns by giving each other “high fives”, a handshake or even making faces at each other. What other activities can you come up with to replace props? How do these activities affect your icebreakers?
11. Friendship books.
If you are thinking of including icebreakers for the kids to share information about themselves, why not add sheets they fill out and make a friendship book? This will allow your kids to contact each other outside of your meeting times. This will add to their comfort as well as interacting outside of your shared setting. Think of ways to encourage your kids to use their friendship books.
Sites to Explore