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5 Small Group Icebreaker Activities (with little or no supplies)

Frank Newburn
December 6th, 2019

Small groups are an important part of many youth ministries today. It’s a great way for students to get to know a smaller number of peers on a deeper level as they learn and grow together in their faith. Below are 5 ideas for icebreakers that you can include in your small group time that will help your students have fun while learning more about the others in their group.

Never Have I Ever

How to play: Students sit in chairs in a circle with 1 student standing in the middle of the circle. The student in the middle says something about themselves like, “Never have I ever been on an airplane.” Then, if any of the students seated in the circle have experienced that (they have been on a plane), they quickly get out of their chair and find a new chair to sit in that has been vacated by someone else in the circle. The student in the middle of the circle tries to sit in one of the newly opened seats before the other students are able to. Whatever student is unable to find a seat is the new person in the middle and the game continues.

Blanket Game

How to play: This is a good game for a brand new small groups who don’t know each other as well. Divide your group into 2 teams. Have 2 adult leaders hold a long blanket that can reach the floor and still be taller than the tallest person playing. Each team will stand in a single file straight line on one side of the blanket, facing the blanket. The 2 adults holding the blanket will countdown 3…2…1… and then drop the blanket. The person in the front of each line needs to try and be the first to say the name of the other out loud (with no help from their team). Whoever says the other person’s name first wins that round and goes to the back of their teams line. The person who lost goes to the end of the line of the opposite team. The game continues until all the players are on 1 team.

Man, Gun, Gorilla

How to play: Divide your group into 2 teams. Separate the room in half by placing masking tape on the floor in a straight line in the middle of the room. Have each team go to the opposite side of the room. As a group, each team needs to decide what character they will be- man, gun, or gorilla. Once they decide, the teams come back to the middle of the room and stand on opposite sides of the tape and turn their backs to the other team.

The person leading the game will count down 3…2…1…. At this point the teams will each turn around and do the motion associated with the character they chose as a team. ​If they chose to be a gorilla, both hands are raised into the air in a fierce manner and an equally fierce growl given. If they chose to be a man, a hand is placed on chin in a thoughtful pose, while saying, “Hmmm.” And if the choice is a gun, point a finger, while shouting, “Bang!”

This is how it goes: Gorilla beats man, because he’s stronger. Man beats gun, because he can control it. And gun beats gorilla, because it can kill him. Whatever team loses, needs to run back to their side of the room and touch the wall before being tagged by the other team. If they are tagged they join the other team. The game continues until all players are on one team.

Would You Rather…

How to play: Create a list of “would you rather” questions (for example- would you rather take a vacation at the beach or in the mountains). Label 1 side of the room “choice A” and the other “choice B”. Have all the students stand in the middle of the room. Begin by asking your first question and have them decide which they would rather and go to that side of the room. Once all the players have chosen their side, have each person share why they chose the way they did.

Additional Option- Have each team try and persuade you, the facilitator, that their choice is the best. Once each team gives their reasons for why their choice is the best, award a point to the team you felt did gave the best reasons and were the most persuasive.

Human Bingo

How to play: Gather some interesting facts about the students in your small group and make a bingo sheet, 5 rows across and 5 rows down. In each square (except the center

one) write an interesting fact about someone. Make copies for everyone, count to 3, and have them go around and find out who matches each square. When they find someone who matches that square have that person write their name in the square. The first person to have a name written in every square yells BINGO! Once you have someone get BINGO, have everyone sit down and walk through the BINGO sheet and have each person verify that what’s in the square they signed is true of them and have them share a little about that fact.

Frank Newburn

Frank Newburn is a husband and father of three and currently serves as the Generations Pastor at Declaration Church in Spring, Texas. Before that Frank was the youth director for Wesley United Methodist Church in Bloomington, Illinois for 13 years. Frank has also worked for LeaderTreks as a Leadership Specialist and Trip Leader. His ministry focuses include mentoring and discipleship, student leadership, and missions. He has over 30 years of youth ministry experience and has led over 50 national and international mission trips. He holds degrees in Psychology, Christian Education, Biblical and Theological Studies, and a Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology, all from Wheaton College. Frank enjoys movies, cooking, working out, and spending time with his wife and kids. You can contact Frank at frank@declaration.org or check out his church at www.declaration.org.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.

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