Whether you are hosting a conference, seminar, workshop, class or youth group meeting, it is a good idea to start out the activities with icebreaker games. Icebreaker games allow the individuals who are present to get acquainted with one another, which is especially important if they will need to work together on common projects. Make sure the icebreaker games you select are age appropriate and easy to institute.
Three Truths and a Lie
Three truths and a lie is a getting-to-know-you game that does not require any props or tools. In this icebreaker activity, each player tells the group three truths and one lie about himself, and the players have to guess which of the statements is the lie. To make the game challenging and entertaining, the players are encouraged to come up with true statements that are unbelievable or amazing so that players are thrown off and do not know which statements are true. An example of what a player might say is, "I was born in France. I met Steve Martin in L.A. I skydive out of planes. I can wiggle one ear at a time." In playing this icebreaker game, guests get to know interesting information about one another.
Stranded on an Island
Team icebreaker activities are effective for allowing individuals to become acquainted. Stranded on an island is a game that gives each team the scenario that they are to be stranded on an island, and each person can bring along one item with them to the island. As a group, discuss which item each person wants to bring along. This activity teaches people about what types of things other people value. For instance, if someone says she wants to bring a picture of her family, then team members can assume that she values family. Encourage teams to think about how the items fit together and could possibly help their survival on the island.
Categories is an icebreaker game that lets people get to know interesting details about one another. The idea behind this game is that everyone starts out in one category, and as questions are asked and answered people assemble into their own smaller groups based on their similarities. Start out in a giant circle and ask everyone a question, such as "Which eye do you prefer to wink with?" Those who say "left" break off into their own circle, and those who say "right" have their own circle, too. Then, ask another question, like "What is your favorite season?" Again, more circles will be broken out based on peoples' responses. Eventually, players get to know one another based on how they all answer the questions.
The Candy Game
The candy game is best played indoors and with colorful candy, such as Skittles, M&Ms, gummy bears, Lifesavers or jelly beans. Pile the candies into a jar and pass the jar around with the instruction for each person to pick out four candies. After everyone has selected their candies, let the group know what each color represents. For instance, red candies might mean "your favorite hobby" and yellow candies might represent "an interesting fact about yourself." Go around the room and have each person respond to the question associated with the candies they selected. If someone selected four of the same-colored candies, then he will have to respond to the same question with four new answers.