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.
Provided icebreakers for this badge program are listed below. Download one or more 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.
Go out on the Web and find more icebreakers you can use with your kids. Save the ones you think look interesting.
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. Break 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.
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 icebreakers they request again.
Kids like to move. For this reason, you’ll probably want to choose more active icebreakers. Review 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.
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. No 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. Activity box.
Collect your icebreakers and notes for later use. If you want to share, look into making an activity box specifically for icebreakers. You could make them for different themes, levels of activity, etc.
- Avery 2” round label printable, 12 up
- Badge checklist
SUPP_Play Fun_ABCs of Me_larajla
- Play Fun: ABCs of Me
- Play Fun: Accomplishments
SUPP_Play Fun_Am I Famous_larajla
- Play Fun: Am I Famous?
SUPP_Play Fun_Animal Noises_larajla
- Play Fun: Animal Noises
SUPP_Play Fun_Around World_larajla
- Play Fun: Around the World
- Play Fun: Autographs
SUPP_Play Fun_Balloon Hugging_larajla
- Play Fun: Balloon Hugging
SUPP_Play Fun_Balloon Pop_larajla
- Play Fun: Balloon Pop
SUPP_Play Fun_Beach Ball Toss_larajla
- Play Fun: Beach Ball Toss
SUPP_Play Fun_Bumper Sticker_larajla
- Play Fun: Bumper Sticker
- Play Fun: Commercials
- Play Fun: Conversations
SUPP_Play Fun_Cotton Ball Races_larajla
- Play Fun: Cotton Ball Races
SUPP_Play Fun_Desert Island_larajla
- Play Fun: Desert Island
SUPP_Play Fun_Dream Vacation_larajla
- Play Fun: Dream Vacation
SUPP_Play Fun_Fact or Fiction_larajla
- Play Fun: Fact or Fiction / Two Truths and a Lie
SUPP_Play Fun_Favorite T-Shirt_larajla
- Play Fun: Favorite T-Shirt
- Play Fun: Flags
SUPP_Play Fun_Follow the Leader_larajla
- Play Fun: Follow the Leader
SUPP_Play Fun_Fortune Cookie Writer_larajla
- Play Fun: Fortune Cookie Writer
SUPP_Play Fun_Graffiti Boards_larajla
- Play Fun: Graffiti Boards
SUPP_Play Fun_Heads Up_larajla
- Play Fun: Heads Up
SUPP_Play Fun_Hoop Pass_larajla
- Play Fun: Hoop Pass
SUPP_Play Fun_Human Chair_larajla
- Play Fun: Human Chair
SUPP_Play Fun_I Like to_larajla
- Play Fun: I Like to
SUPP_Play Fun_Ice Cubes_larajla
- Play Fun: Ice Cubes
SUPP_Play Fun_Instant Replay_larajla
- Play Fun: Instant Replay
- Play Fun: Interview
SUPP_Play Fun_Introduce Myself_larajla
- Play Fun: Introduce Myself
SUPP_Play Fun_Ive Done Something_larajla
- Play Fun: I’ve Done Something You Haven’t Done
SUPP_Play Fun_Joys in Life_larajla
- Play Fun: Joys in Life
- Play Fun: Laps
- Play Fun: Lollipop
SUPP_Play Fun_Magic Wand_larajla
- Play Fun: Magic Wand
- Play Fun: Masks
SUPP_Play Fun_Moving Questions_larajla
- Play Fun: Moving Questions
SUPP_Play Fun_My Hometown_larajla
- Play Fun: My Hometown
SUPP_Play Fun_My Name is_larajla
- Play Fun: My Name is . . .
SUPP_Play Fun_Name Chain_larajla
- Play Fun: Name Chain
SUPP_Play Fun_Name Game_larajla
- Play Fun: Name Game
SUPP_Play Fun_Never Have I Ever_larajla
- Play Fun: Never Have I Ever
SUPP_Play Fun_Odd Bean_larajla
- Play Fun: Odd Bean
SUPP_Play Fun_Paper Airplanes_larajla
- Play Fun: Paper Airplanes
SUPP_Play Fun_Pass the Orange_larajla
- Play Fun: Pass the Orange
SUPP_Play Fun_Penny Dates_larajla
- Play Fun: Penny Dates
- Play Fun: Play-Doh-tionary
SUPP_Play Fun_Pocket or Purse_larajla
- Play Fun: Pocket or Purse
SUPP_Play Fun_Positive Impressions_larajla
- Play Fun: Positive Impressions
- Play Fun: Puzzles
- Play Fun: Questions
SUPP_Play Fun_Recent Past_larajla
- Play Fun: Recent Past
SUPP_Play Fun_Rolling Right Along_larajla
- Play Fun: Rolling Right Along
SUPP_Play Fun_Save Three Things_larajla
- Play Fun: Save Three Things
SUPP_Play Fun_Skittles and MMs_larajla
- Play Fun: Skittles and M&Ms
SUPP_Play Fun_Statement Sheet_larajla
- Play Fun: Statement Sheet
SUPP_Play Fun_String Necklaces_larajla
- Play Fun: String Necklace
SUPP_Play Fun_Tale Toss_larajla
- Play Fun: Tale Toss
SUPP_Play Fun_Thats Me_larajla
- Play Fun: That’s Me!
SUPP_Play Fun_Three in Common_larajla
- Play Fun: Three in Common
SUPP_Play Fun_Would You Rather_larajla
- Play Fun: Would You Rather?
Sites to Explore
Get the infographic here > larajla blog post
Get the PDFs of the badge program / supplements here > Full badge PDFs