Ice breaker games create a fun environment to help establish common ground and build relationships with new people. Use icebreakers to diffuse awkwardness and energize your group as you give students an opportunity to share about themselves and learn about others. According to Mind Tools, it is important to gauge your group and choose icebreakers that will be interesting and accessible to high school students, and appropriate to the size of the group.
Use the "Name Game" for an ice breaker for a large group--up to 30 participants. You will only need a ball or object to toss for this game. Have everyone stand up in a circle formation to start the game. The first person will start the game by saying her name and a descriptive word that starts with the same letter (i.e. Spontaneous Sarah). She should throw the ball to another person in the group and he will repeat the first name and his own name. The game continues until the last person must remember all of the names that have already been said.
Each student starts the "Sharing Game" by grabbing a handful of candy. Once each student has taken some candy, explain that they will be sharing one fact about themselves for each piece of candy that they have in their hand. You can give students ideas of what to share, such as their favorite book, the number of siblings they have or their place of birth.
The "Interview Game" is a good get-to-know-you activity for larger groups. Partner the students up in teams of two and allow each student to interview his teammate for two minutes to learn as much information as possible. Once the interviews are complete, go around the room and have the students take turns introducing their teammates to the rest of the group. This activity can alleviate the awkwardness that a student may feel about talking about herself in front of a group. Give students a list of questions to facilitate the interview.
Try using ice breakers that engage students' bodies as well as minds. In "Human Bingo," you will need to make bingo cards ahead of time with boxes that could apply to different students in the group. Examples of these could include: a person who was born in September, a person who has broken a bone, a person who has a sister or a person who is left handed. Give each student a bingo card and a pencil and have the students move around the room asking their fellow students if they fit any of the categories. Once a match is found, the student will initial the box. Once a card has been filled in a horizontal, vertical or diagonal line, that student will win.
Keep the students active by playing the "Two Extremes" game. The facilitator will have a list of items that fall at opposite ends of the spectrum, such as: chocolate or vanilla, surfing or skiing or country or rap. The students start standing in a big group, but when each choice is read, they move to the side of the room that the facilitator indicates is associated with their choice. Students will see all of the things that they have in common with their new classmates.
- Victor Holguin/Demand Media