Some people would ask why you would run an icebreaker game with children who would normally be boisterous and energetic anyway. Well, there are lots of reasons - some children will be attending events, parties, school, youth groups etc. on their own, not knowing any other children. This particularly happens when joining a new school or a new sports, hobby or youth group. Here an ice breaker is an ideal way to integrate the new kids into the already established group or for totally new kids to get to know each other. Finding a partner or a buddy is always special for children - here they have the opportunity to find several partners
Finding a Partner
Finding a Partner is a great game to get people paired up. Ask the kids to walk around and then call out "pair up with someone with the same colour hair as you" or "pair up with someone who doesn't have the same colour eyes" or "pair up with someone you don't know" etc. Here's some other suggestions:
- Someone of the opposite sex
- Find someone who lives near to you
- Someone who arrives at school the same way eg. by car, bike, on foot
- Someone who has or hasn't got a pet like you
- Someone like you who has a brother, sister or not at all
- Someone like you who like sport or not at all
If the children cannot find partners allow them to make threesomes. Once they have a partner get them to share names and perhaps a bit more...
Here's a great variation on the Ball Pass icebreaker game we use with adults. Have the children stand in a circle and get a ball or a soft object like a bean bag. Throw the beanbag to one of the children in the circle. Once the child has caught the beanbag they say their name and then the thrower will ask a question such as:
"Jenny have you got a pet?"
Jenny will answer yes or no and perhaps say a bit more like "Yes I have a pet dog and his name is Rascal" Jenny then throws the beanbag to another child who then catches and gives their name. The process is repeated until all children have had a chance to introduce themselves.
Name Call Catch
I'm not sure what the name of this game is/was but it is a real favourite game we have played with our kids for years and even though they are now 13 and 14 years we still play it!
You will need a large ball to throw in the air. One person is the Catcher and has the ball. In secret away from the Catcher, each child picks a name from a category eg. fruit, animals, countries, girl's names etc. Plus they also choose a name for the Catcher.
One person tells the Catcher the chosen names, including the Catcher's name (but the Catcher does not know his/her own name) . The catcher then throws the ball in the air and shouts one of the names. The child with the name then has to run and catch the ball, meanwhile everyone else is running as fast as they can away from the catcher.
When the ball is caught the new catcher shouts stop. All the children stop and the catcher then strides towards the nearest person using the name they called out as the number of paces eg. catcher called France and so takes 6 strides to the nearest person and then throws the ball at them. If the ball hits them, they become the catcher and the game starts again.
If the catcher shouts his own name (it will be obvious when no one comes running for the ball) then he/she takes the ball again and tries to catch someone out.
For more great icebreaker games to use with children and young people take a look at our Youth, Party and Corporate Collections of Ice Breaker Games. Together they make an indispensible collection of icebreaker games and ideas that can be interchanged between the different ages. We frequently use our corporate games for our own kid's parties!