16 Fun & Successful Church Youth Group Icebreaker Games

Updated on August 7, 2018
Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

Claudia helps out the church youth group and has a teenager who has been an active participant for three years.

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One of the hardest things about leading a youth group is getting the kids to interact, especially at the beginning of the year.

You will have all sorts of members. Some will be new and not know anyone, some will be shy, and without a doubt you'll have a group clown too.

To get everyone comfortable with each other isn't always easy, so it's a good thing to have a few icebreakers ready for your initial meeting. Games like these help foster and develop new friendships, and help put kids at ease in a new setting. People are bound to come back if they are having a good time and friends are around.

Many of the ideas listed here will work with groups of all sizes and can be modified if desired.

So whether you are just starting up a youth group, or back for another year, here are 16 ideas for some icebreakers. Good luck and have fun!

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Would You Rather

This is a simple game that can be done with groups of all sizes.

With a list of "would you rather" questions ready, have the kids divide into pairs and give each pair a copy of the list.

The pairs choose one person to start and then they get 2 minutes to ask their partner questions. After the time is up, the other person asks questions for 2 minutes.

After both people have had a chance, have them switch with other people in the room so no one has the same partner, and repeat.

Sample Questions

Would you rather fly in an airplane or ride a boat?

Would you rather ride a horse or swim with dolphins?

Would you rather be stuck in an elevator or stuck on a subway?

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The Shoe Game

Beware, this game can be a little stinky because you'll be using shoes that teens have worn, but it just adds to the fun.

Everyone takes one shoe and throws it in a pile in the center of the room. They take their other shoe and put it in a pile in the corner of the room, or in the hallway.

On the count of 3, everyone grabs a shoe from the pile that is not theirs. Then they have to try and find out who the shoe belongs to, but they don't return it yet. To do this, they have to find out three things about the person.

Once everyone has found out who their shoe belongs to, have them sit in a circle. Go around the room and have each person say who's shoe they had, and three things about that person.

Everyone gets their shoes back at the end of the game.

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Who Am I?

To get this one rolling, you will need the names of famous people on individual name tags. Make sure that you pick people that the group will know.

Place a name tag on each member's back, without them knowing whose name you put on them.

Then explain that they will have to go around the room asking people yes or no questions to help them figure out who they are. Once they figure out who they are, they can take off their name tag.

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M & M's Game

Always a hit, this game is easy and the kids get a treat, which adds to the fun.

You'll need some bags of M & M's and a chart indicating what question to answer based on which color candy is drawn. The game ends when everyone has had a chance to answer some a few questions.

Here are some questions to use and a header for the top of the chart.

Grab some candies and tell us about yourself

Candy Color
Question
Red
Something about your childhood
Brown
Favorite movie, food, or book
Green
Something you can't live without
Orange
Something you learned last week
Yellow
Thing you do well
Blue
Something about yesterday
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Human Bingo

This is a fun one and is good for larger groups. Gather some interesting facts about the participants and makes 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 let them go around and find out who matches each square. The first person to write down a name in every square yells BINGO! and wins the game.

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2 Truths and a Tale

This game requires a little bit of thinking, but it's easy, fun, and you can really find out a lot about the players.

Have everyone sit in a circle and chose someone to start.

That person will say 2 true things about themselves and one thing that isn't true. The group then has to guess which one is the fake one.

This activity leads to some really interesting conversations.

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Remember Me?

This game works well for larger groups of people that don't know each other. It would work well for a new youth group leader too.

You'll need a blanket that you can't see through.

To start, put the blanket on the floor and divide the kids into two groups. Have half of them sit on one side of the blanket and half on the other.

Take some time for everyone to introduce themselves and tell the group a little something about them.

Then one group at a time, have them cover themselves with blanket and decide, without making any noise, who should leave the blanket first. The chosen one stands up that the group that wasn't under the blanket tries to remember that person's name.

The person who was named then sits out the rest of the game. It continues until everyone has been named.

Be Mindful of Everyone Playing

Not everyone is going to want to participate.

Be respectful of that and don't force anyone.

Make sure questions aren't embarrassing or hurtful.

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Break the Ice

Just like it sounds, this is a team building game where participants really have to break the ice.

Get a few old big t-shirts and some bowls that are all the same size. Put a shirt in each bowl and fill with water. Then freeze the bowls.

Divide the youth into groups, the same number of groups as you have frozen shirts.

Having everyone start at the same time, have the groups figure out how to get the shirts out of the ice. The kids will be getting to know each other in no time as they try to figure out what to do.

The group that wins is the first one to get the shirt out and have someone put it on.

Warning - this gets messy so it's a good game to play outside.

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Concentric Circles

Form two circles of chairs, one circle inside the other, with the chairs facing each other. Have participants pair up and sit across from each other.

Give them a question that they both have to answer. Once they are done, have the students on the inside ring move one chair to the left and the ones on the outside ring move one chair to the right.

Ask another question. Repeat as long as you want to play, asking different questions along the way.

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This or That?

This game is simple but effective, and a lot like "Would You Rather". The main difference is that instead of longer questions, "This or That" is simple one word options.

For example; Watermelon or Cantaloupe?

It's a fun, fast moving game which gets conversations rolling and is ideal for all ages.

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Who is it?

The youth are given sticky notes and a pen and are instructed to write down 3 facts about themselves, without writing down their names on the paper.

The papers get collected and posted on a wall. Then a volunteer gets the ball rolling by going up to the board, choosing one of the notes (not their own), and reading out the facts.

The group then tries to figure out who the person is. The first one to guess correctly (as long as it isn't their own) gets to choose the next note.

This game is a good conversation starter and kids find out a lot of interesting information about each other.

Keep It Clean

If your icebreaker is one with a lot of questions, like "Have You Ever?", keep an ear on what the kids are asking. A good idea is to give out a list of suggested things to ask.

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How Bad Would It Be?

Designed to get kids talking, this one is good for older kids, but can easily get out of hand depending on the dynamics of the group. It also works better with smaller groups so it would be a good idea to break the kids into groups of 4 or 5.

Begin by making a statement like:

"How bad would it be if I burped?"

The next person in the group adds something like:

"How bad would it be if I burped in church?"

This goes on until everyone in the group has added something.

It's some silly fun that gets kids involved and it's easy to do.

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Roll the Ice, Break the Ice

Using only one die and a handmade chart, this game is fun and interactive.

Design a chart with a list of 6 questions, each question next to a number. Next to the number, write down a "get to know you" question.

Then go around the room a couple of times and have each student roll the die and answer the question that matches the number they come up with.

Here is an example of what you could use, but any questions can be substituted.

Number on Die
Question
1
What is your favorite hobby?
2
What is your favorite book and why?
3
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
4
What would you take if you were going somewhere where no one had been before?
5
If you were an animal, what kind would you be?
6
What's the best thing that has ever happened to you?
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Never Have I Ever

Just like it sounds, the kids sit around in a circle and go around one at a time saying something about themselves like, "Never have I ever been on an airplane." Then, one at a time, the rest of the groups says whether they have or haven't and with a little encouragement, they can elaborate on it.

This is another effective icebreaker for all ages. It can also be played with the leader asking the questions and the youth answering.

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Truth or Dare

One of the most well-known party games, if played wisely, this is an effective icebreaker. It definitely needs supervision because questions can easily get out of hand.

The best way to avoid that is to have the leader ask the questions. Get together a list of questions as well as a list of dares that aren't too embarrassing or difficult. Then start play by going around the circle and asking each person if they want a truth or dare.

Keep playing until everyone has had a chance.

Keep the truth questions light and fun and nonjudgemental.

Sample Truth Questions

What is the silliest thing you have ever done?

What is the worst tasting thing you've ever eaten?

What thing do you do best?

Sample Dares

Run around the room barking like a dog for 30 seconds.

Tell a good joke.

Show us your best disco dance move.

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Pick a Stick

One of the more low-key options, this game is good for any size group.

Get a clean mason jar and a number of big popsicle sticks. Write a "get to know you" question on each stick and place them all in the jar.

Have the kids sit in a circle and have the first one pick out a stick without looking. Then have them answer the question. After that, the next person pulls out a stick and answers a question.

Make the questions a little more detailed so the youth can't just answer with a yes or a no. That will foster more dialogue.

Game Recap

Game
Good for large groups
Good for small groups
Supplies Needed
Would You Rather
X
X
None
The Shoe Game
X
 
None
Who Am I?
X
X
Paper & safety pins
M & M's Game
X
X
Chart & M & M's
Human Bingo
X
 
Paper & pens
2 Truths and a Tale
X
X
None
Remember Me
X
 
Blankets
Break the Ice
X
X
Old t-shirts and water
Concentric Circles
X
 
Chairs
This or That?
X
X
None
Who Is It?
X
X
Sticky notes & pens
How Bad Would It Be?
X
X
None
Roll the Dice, Break the Ice
X
X
Chart & dice
Never Have I Ever
X
X
None
Truth or Dare
X
X
None
Grab a Popsicle Stick
X
X
Container & large popsicle sticks

© 2018 Claudia Mitchell

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    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile imageAUTHOR

      Claudia Mitchell 

      2 months ago

      Thanks Liz - I agree, these are definitely good for all ages and not just youth groups. It think they'd be lots of fun at a family reunion setting.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      2 months ago from UK

      I think quite a few of these could be adapted to social occasions for older people. There are some great ideas here.

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