Fun Ice Breakers for Teens

Play a game of “speed dating” to help teens break the ice.
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Help teens get to know one another and encourage teamwork by facilitating fun icebreakers at the beginning of a class or group meeting. Team activities can be used to break in a new group or revitalize teens with an established connection. Starting each meeting with an icebreaker is an effective way to set the tone for a collaborative and trusting environment that encourages open communication.

1 Name Games

Help a new group get to know one another by playing a few games that reinforce names and reveal individual traits. Start by explaining that the group will be going on a picnic. Ask each participant to say their name and state a favorite food item that begins with the first letter of their name. Write the list on the board and then have participants form small groups based upon the types of food they chose to bring. Once in small groups, have teens reintroduce themselves and share one more unique fact about who they are and what they can contribute to the group. Bring participants back together and reinforce the importance of getting to know one another and working together as a team.

2 Getting To Know One Another

Help your group become closer by providing an activity that will prompt participants to share personal insight. Pass a bowl of colored candies around the room and ask each participant to select three different pieces. Have participants answer a question tied to each colored candy. For example, yellow could represent a favorite hobby, blue could symbolize a future job interest and red could represent a personal hero. After the activity, ask the group what they learned about each other.

3 Mind Teasers

Spark interaction and cooperation by playing a creative word game with your group. Have participants sit in a circle and ask one person to state the first word that comes to mind. The next person should restate the word and select a new word that links to it. For example, if yellow was the first word, banana might be the second. Repeat the process until everyone has had a chance to add a word. Ask the group to help each team member if they can’t remember all the words that have been stated. Your group will learn to work together and even have a few laughs during this activity.

4 Career Exploration

Try using a fun icebreaker to help teens dig into career exploration. Give participants markers and paper and ask them to draw a picture of their ideal career position. Encourage them to use symbols to represent their interests or pictures that connect their talents to academic strengths. Expressing career ideas through pictures will help participants reflect upon possible career choices. Partner group members and have participants explain their pictures and the careers they hope to pursue. Encourage partners to ask questions about strengths and weaknesses related to career choices indicated in the drawings. Finally, ask participants to introduce their partners to the group and the career they're considering in the future. This process will help the group learn more about others who have similar interests.

Dr. Kelly Meier earned her doctorate from Minnesota State Mankato in Educational Leadership. She is the author and co-author of 12 books and serves as a consultant in K-12 and higher education. Dr. Meier is is a regular contributor for The Equity Network and has worked in education for more than 30 years. She has numerous publications with Talico, Inc., DynaTEAM Consulting, Inc. and Kinect Education Group.