Whether you are leading your child's scout troop, helping out with first day of school activities or advising an after-school club, icebreaker questions provide an imaginative alternative to a simple "Hello, my name is" sticker. Just like adults need to get to know each other, kids also may need introductions when joining a new group or organization. Use icebreaker questions to start off a meeting, begin a meet-and-greet or to set the stage for new friendships.
1. Themed Icebreakers
Instead of choosing a general, or random, icebreaker, go with one that matches your child's groups' theme. For example, if you are leading his first art club meeting, ask an artsy icebreaker such as, "Who is your favorite artist?" or "What is the first artwork that you can remember making?" Tailor the question to the groups' main focus, and make it personal. This can help the kids to connect when it comes to shared interests and find out why the other group members are joining the organization.
2. Timed Icebreakers
Icebreakers are meant to start a meeting or group activity, not monopolize the entire event. Instead of taking what seems like hours for each child to think, and re-think, her answer, choose a timed question-and-answer format. Set a kitchen timer -- or use the timer function on your cell phone -- to give the kids a limit. Choose a brief time such as 15 or 30 seconds. Ask a question that gets into each child's personality or interests. For example, ask each child, "What is your favorite song?" The kids can pack as much information as possible into their answer before the timer goes off. As an alternative, given the short time limit, ask each child to string together a list of adjectives that describes themselves such as smart, generous or friendly.
3. Crafty Icebreakers
Instead of choosing an icebreaker that solely revolves around speech, try a craft type of question and answer activity. Give each child a piece of paper and markers or a crayon. Ask a questions such as, "What do you like to do after school?" or, "What is your favorite book?" and have the kids draw the answer. Go around in a circle and have each child show the drawing and explain what it means.
4. Pass the Question
Help the kids in your child's group, club or organization get to know each other by having them create their own questions. Give each child an index card and a pencil to write their own question on. After everyone is done, gather the kids in a circle and gave them pass the question to the person on their left. Go around the circle and have the kids read the questions and give their answers. Another option is to have the kids -- one at a time -- tape their questions to a beach ball. After taping the question to the ball, the first child can toss it to anyone in the circle. That person must answer the question, replace it with their own and toss it on to someone else.
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