When little children walk into class the opening day of Sunday school, they can play together after five minutes like they’ve known each other five years! No need for icebreakers here. But kids ages eleven and older can spend an hour propping up the walls if icebreakers aren’t provided. Icebreakers can be a lifesaver! Here are our three favorite icebreakers for Sunday school, youth group, or introducing a lot of new people into a class of older students:
The Truth Will Set You Free
Each person in class takes a turn making three statements about him or herself. Two are true, and one isn’t. An example would be, “I play five instruments. I was born in Oklahoma. My mom was a dancer on Broadway.” The group must take guesses as to which is the false statement, and then the person must confess. Encourage students to reveal statements about themselves that will be memorable to others. For example, “I went on six mission trips to Honduras” is more interesting than “I am seventeen,” though all statements are welcome.
Who Am I?
Write on index cards the names of Bible characters or movie or TV stars. Tape one name to each person’s back. The students then have to begin determining the name that is on their back. They can only ask one question to each person. They can’t ask a direct question, such as “What’s the name on my back?” The person they ask should only answer a direct question, such as “Is the name on my back male or female?” or “Is this a person on Nickelodeon?” As people determine the names on their backs, they should sit down and not have to answer any more questions. This will make the overly shy ones get a hustle on, lest they be the last ones standing! Many friendships have formed thanks to this game.
Take sheets of paper and draw a squiggly line down the center that looks like two puzzle pieces fitting nicely together. Don’t do any two alike! Cut them in half, and place them in a pile, one just underneath its mate. Wait until everyone arrives, then give them out in this order! The order will prevent puzzle pieces from being out there that have no mate! If there is an uneven number of people, the teacher can opt to participate. Have participants find the person who has the piece of the puzzle that matches theirs. Then, they inquire about their matching piece partner and write down three things about him or her. When it comes time for introductions, have the matching piece partners introduce each other, rather than having everyone introduce themselves.
All of the icebreakers above have worked quite successfully with kids over the ages of ten. These icebreakers even work on adult groups, so use them freely and have fun!