Name and Icebreaker Games for Children
For some children meeting new people, socializing and making friends comes easy. For many of us, meeting new people makes us nervous. Playing name and icebreaker games are a great way for kids to ease any butterflies in their tummy and make meeting new people less stressful.
Playing icebreaker games are not only great for children but also for teachers, coaches, counselors or any group leaders.
Here are some tips for leading name and icebreaker games.
Make sure you know the names of all the kids in the group.
Make everyone feel welcome.
If you see a child who looks partially nervous don’t have them go first.
Set ground rules before playing to ensure a safe respectful environment.
Try some of these fun name and icebreaker games below:
Shake it Up Name Game
Have all players stand in a circle. Each player has to do a different motion for each syllable of their name. For example, Jenn-i-fer, Jenn(shake hips)-i(clap hands)-fer(stomp feet). Once the player completes their motion the entire circle says the name while completing the motion. The next player does the same thing with their name using different motions. When they are finished the entire circle says the name while doing the motions of the first player than the second player. Repeat until everyone in the circle has a turn.
Follow the Beat Name Game
Have all the players stand in a circle. Teach the group a beat. For example slap thighs twice, stomp feet twice, clap hands twice. The beat will be repeated throughout the entire game. Have the group practice the beat. Once they all have it down you can start the game.
To play, have the group start the beat. The first player says their name at the start of the beat. Then the second player goes when the beat starts again. Go around until everyone in the group has a turn. When it’s the first players turn again have the children play the beat faster. Go around the circle again. When it’s the first players turn again, have them play the beat even faster. See how many times the kids can go around the circle without messing up.
Fun Fact Mum Ball
A great game that can be played in the classroom, community room or outside.
Materials: Tennis ball
- All the children must stand and are not allowed to talk
- 1 child is given the tennis ball
- The children must tell the group one fun fact about themselves before throwing the ball to another child.
- If that child does not catch the ball they must sit down. Children must also sit down if they talk (when it is not their turn)or make noise or if they have a bad throw (i.e throws it to high or low)
- Last child standing wins.
You can be creative and change the rules throughout the game (i.e can have the children stand on one foot while throwing or catching the ball, try to throw the ball or catch with 1 hand, cover one eye, jump while throwing, spin around before they throw the ball etc…)
Left, Right, Both
Have the group stand in a circle. Go around the circle and have each player say their name. After everyone has had a turn choose one player to be “it”. That player stands in the middle of the circle. The player who is “it” points to another player and says “left, right or both”. If the player says right, the person chosen has 3 seconds to say the person to the rights name. If the player says left, the person has to say the person to the lefts name. If the player says both, the person has to say the person to the lefts name and the person to the rights name. If the player messes up or if their 3 seconds runs out, they are now “it” and has to stand in the middle of the circle.
Getting to Know Me
Have all the kids stand in a circle. As a group, think of 5 questions that they want to find out about each other such as:
What is your name?
When is your birthday?
What is your favorite color?
What is your favorite food?
Name something your good at?
After you decide on the questions you can start the game. Give one player the ball. Have them throw the ball across the circle to another player. Whoever catches it has to answer the 5 questions. When they answer the questions they throw it to another player who then answers the same questions. To make sure everyone gets a turn make it a rule that you have to throw the ball to someone that didn’t already have a turn.
Skittles Conversation Game
This Skittles conversation game, which can also be played with M&Ms is a great icebreaker game for small groups or classes of children of all ages.
Skittles, enough for each child to receive 10. Don’t like skittles, no problem you can also do this game with M&Ms.
Napkin or something to put the candies on, one per child
A list of questions that you want the children to answer. Since there are 5 colors of skittles, you need 5 questions.
HOW TO PLAY
Each color will represent a question. The children have to answer the questions depending on how many of that color they have.
Color: Red: question: Tell me something that you dream about. Say Jimmy has 3 red skittles. They Jimmy has to tell you three things he dreams about.
You would go around the room asking each child the question and listening to the answers. Once the child is finished giving their answers, they can eat those skittles.
You can add in an additional rule in the game. Once you read the question. The children have to decide as a group if they want to eat all of their red skittles or each of them give one back to you and have you answer the question as well. This is a great way to let the children learn more about you.
SAMPLE ICEBREAKER QUESTIONS
Need help with some icebreaker questions? Here is a list of questions you can ask the children. Remember they will have to give an answer for each one of the Skittles they have in that color, ex if they have 4 red skittles, they have to give 4 answers to the question
- What is something you dream about?
- What is something you are good at?
- Name a talent that you have.
- What do you like to eat?
- If you can meet anyone who would it be?
- What characteristics do you think a good friend has?
- Where would you like to visit?
- What did you do over the summer, winter break, spring break, etc…?
- If you won the lottery what would you do with the money?
- What are your favorite movies?
- Name your favorite music groups.
- Name your favorite songs.
- What is your favorite part of school?
- Name your favorite animated characters.
- Who are your favorite actors/actresses
- What social media, phone apps or games on your phone or tablet do you use?
- What are your favorite t.v shows?
- If you were a superhero what powers would you have?
- If you were a villain what powers would you have?
- What are your favorite colors?