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Ice Breakers

No Materials Needed

Ordering

Can be done in large group or split students into different teams depending on the number of students in your group. Using only English, have the students order themselves by whichever category we choose. When they are finished, the students will sit down. First team to finish and order correctly wins!

  • Height
  • First letter of English nickname
  • Birthday
  • Time they woke up this morning
  • Time they went to bed last night
  • Number of brothers and sisters
  • Shoe size
 

Human Knot

Stand in a circle and reach out your hands to hold hands with other people in the circle. Your right hand and your left hand must be holding the hands of two different people. You cannot hold the hand of the person next to you. Before untangling, do the squeeze test to make sure you have only one circle. Try to untangle yourselves into a circle without letting go of your hands. Time how long it takes. Variations: no talking,eyes closed, only one person can talk, one person does not play but is the only one who can talk.

Cat and Mouse/ Tom and Jerry

This is a large game of tag. Select two volunteers; one will be a Cat and the other a Mouse. Everyone else should be in pairs and linked at the elbows. Have the pairs spread out throughout the room. The cat will chase the mouse, the object is for the mouse not to get caught by the cat. If the mouse links on to a pair on the left side then the person on the right will become the new mouse and will run from the cat, if the mouse links onto the person on the right, the person on the left will become the new mouse. If the cat catches the mouse, the mouse will become the cat and the cat becomes the mouse.

Wedding Game

Everyone sits in a circle with ambassadors spread out among campers. One ambassador leaves the circle.The two people on either side of the empty space grab hands (get married) and run to grab hands with one other person (their child) on the other side of the circle. All three people then return to the original spot and sit down. There is now a gap where they picked their ‘child’ from, and the two people on either side of that gap do the same. Play with music. When the music stops, anyone who is not sitting down is out. Play until there are 510 people left who are the winners! With the big group, you can pull out more people to create more couples during the game.

Let’s Tell a Story

Small Group

Pass out eight pictures to each group. Each group gets the same eight pictures. The pictures should be in no particular order. Each group will work together to choose what order to place the pictures and then create a story about them. The students must all participate in creating (and later telling) the story. Students should be encouraged to be creative/funny/unique.

Large Group

Small groups will present their version of the story to the large group

Caterpillar Race

Line up behind each other bent at the waist and holding the ankles of the person in front of you. Try to move forward as a team. If someone loses the ankle grip, the caterpillar must stop until everyone is intact. Once teams can move together successfully, choose a designated point for them to get to.

Play Simon Says

If leader says ‘Simon Says….’ (i.e. ‘Simon Says turn right’), then the group follows. If the leader doesn’t say ‘Simon Says’ (i.e. ‘turn right’), then the group doesn’t move. Anyone who moves is out.

Simon Says “Please”!

One person, the leader, will stand in front of all the students. They will say “Please” followed by an action. The students need to mimic that action. If the leader does not say “Please” then the student will not do the action. If a student does an action when the leader does not say “Please,” they are out.

Birdie on a Perch (large group)

For this game you need to pair up. Each pair will have a ‘birdie’ and a ‘perch’. The ‘perch’ will have to be able to carry or hold the ‘birdie’ off the ground for a period of time so make sure participants pair up accordingly. All the birdies make a circle and then all the perches make a circle outside of that one. Music starts playing and everyone dances while walking in a circle. Birdies dance counterclockwise,

Perches dance clockwise. When the music stops each birdie has to get on its perch as fast as possible. The last birdie to get on their perch or any birdie that falls off their perch is out. Play until there is only one pair left.

Optional Materials: Music Player

Ninja

Students stand in a circle. Students pick a pose to begin. One person will begin by trying to karate chop the person next to them with one movement. If they miss, the next person will try to hit the following person in one movement. If they hit the person, that person is out.

Name Game (Large Group)

Everyone sits in a circle. The first person introduces themselves along with a food that starts with the same letter as their first name. The second person must repeat the first person’s name and food, along with introducing themselves and a food. This continues around the whole circle until everyone has been introduced. 
*Name and food are in English.

Grab The Finger

Everyone stand in a circle with their left hand facing up and their right finger pointing down(touching the persons to their rights palm). Now play music. When the music stops everyone tries to grab the person’s finger that's in your left hand while also preventing your right finger from being grabbed. If your finger is grabbed you are out. Game continues until there is one winner.

Optional Materials: Music Player

Knees

In teams, everyone to stand closely in a circle, you included. Then everyone should turn to his or her right, so that each person in the circle is facing the back of someone else. Ask all to put both hands on the shoulders of the person in front of them. Explain that you are going to call out, 1, 2, 3, SIT! and that everyone should call it out slowly with you. On the word everyone should carefully sit down on the lap of the person behind him or her, still holding on to the shoulders of the person in front of them.

Variations:campers and counselors separate, switch spots, combine two groups, combine all groups

Longest Line

Take participants outside where they can have a large area to work. Split them into two teams(or more if the group is large). Explain that they are to create a long line on the ground or floor, using whatever they currently have on their bodies. They are not permitted to get additional things, but whatever they have, watches, clothing, shoes can be used to make the line longer and longer. Their goal is to have a longer line than the other teams. (If people are really creative, they will use everything possible and then lie down on the ground themselves to make the line longer!) The team with the longest line is the winner.

International Greetings

Students will be split into teams of ten people and line up one behind the other. The facilitator will choose an American (handshake), Japanese (bow), Bedouin (rub noses), French (kiss both cheeks) or Thai greeting (hands together like praying and bow) and the students will have to preform the greeting to the person behind them. Once the greeting has been passed up and down the line, the students can sit down. First team to finish wins.

Who is the leader?

Students will create a circle. One student will be chosen to leave the room. Another student will be chosen as the leader. The leader will preform simple movements, changing every 10-15 seconds, with the rest of the students mimicking the leader. The student who left the room will return and guess which student is the leader. They have three chances to guess and if they are correct, the leader then leaves the room and a new leader is chosen.

Similar Likes + Introductions

Facilitator will say a topic (favorite sport, color, birthday month, etc). Students will find someone with similar likes and introduce themselves.

Name Game

Split students into small groups (ten students is ideal!) Students will sit in a circle. Each student will say their name with a simple action. All students will repeat name and simple action. After each student has a action, game will begin. Following a rhythm, one student will start with their action followed by an action of another student. The action of that student will repeat their action and do another students action. The game continues until someone breaks the rhythm and they are “out.”

Body to Body

Facilitator will say a number and a body part (For example, “three heads”). The students will race to find a group of people with that number to link that body part. Students who cannot find a group will be “out.”

People to People

Students will stand in a circle and link arms with a partner. One student will be in the middle. The student will shout two body parts with the word “to” in between them (Head to Shoulder, Knee to Stomach) After the student in the middle says three different things, they will shout “People to People” and the students need to race to find another partner. The person without a partner will be in the middle.

Speed Dating

>Students will line up in two lines facing each other. Facilitator will give students 1 minute to introduce themselves or discuss a topic the facilitator has chosen. After the minute is finished, one line rotates to the next person.

Rock, Paper, Scissors Duel

Students will be split into two groups. Among the group, the students need to decide whether to be a rock, paper or scissors. On the count of three, the students will turn around and act like a rock, paper or scissors. (Rock-students squat into a ball, Paper- students spread out arms and legs, Scissors- students make chopping motion with arms. *Scissors>Paper, Paper>Rock, Rock>Scissors

Hand pat game

Participants will lie on their stomachs, heads facing inward. They will put their right hand over the left hand of the person next to them. Once everyone is in position. Person one will pat their hand and then the next hand, next hand…sending it around the circle. Practice that one or two times around. Make sure everyone pats their hand in the order that they’re on the floor. After that, add the double pat. If someone pats his or her hand two times it reverses the direction.

Variations: see how long it takes them to get around a full circle and then see if they can beat their record. Break the circle into two even teams and see who finishes first.


Materials Needed

Toxic River

Mark off an area about 15 feet wide to be the river. The students must cross the river without touching the river. If someone does, the whole team starts over. Each time will be given 10 pieces of paper. As long as someone is physically touching the paper, it will float. If no one is touching it, it will sink (teachers will take it away). Whenever a team has to start over, they will be given all their paper back. First team to cross wins. Try without talking, as well. This can also be played as a large group.

Materials: Paper, tape or chalk

Two Truths and A Lie

Each participant writes down two statements that are true and one that is a lie. The other members of the group try to guess which one is a lie.

Materials: Paper and pencil

Scavenger Hunt

Groups compete in a scavenger hunt around the camp. Each group will be assigned a different color (representing a different value, although the group does not know what value they will be). Once groups are assigned a color, they receive their first clue. There are seven clues, each one leads to the next clue. Once all the clues are found, groups race back to the starting point. The letters on the back of the clues should form a value.

Materials: Colored handkerchief, notes with clues and values

Capture the Flag

Explain basic rules. Two teams play against each other. Each team needs a “flag post” and “jail.” Goal is to steal the opponent’s flag and get it over to your own side without getting caught. Teams must work together to create the best strategy to protect their own flag while trying to steal the opponent’s flag. The whole group should agree on the rules before playing. Play at least twice, so the high school counselors can get used to how to play the game.

Materials: Flag post, flag, "jail area"

Sentence/Picture Telephone

Students will be split into two teams. The first person will write a sentence and the second person will draw a picture depicting the sentence. After they draw the picture, the second person will fold the paper so that the third person can only see the picture. The third person will write a new sentence based only on the picture. They will fold over the picture and pass the paper to the next person. They will draw a picture based on the sentence. Continue until the last person. Reveal all the pictures and sentences to the group to see which group is closer to the starting sentence.

Materials: Pencil, Paper

Where the Wind Blows

Set up a circle of chairs one less than the number of participants. One player is ‘it’ and stands in the middle of the circle. All other players sit in a chair. The player who is ‘it’ calls out a sentence starting with “A cold wind blows for anyone who is…” (i.e. wearing pants, likes oranges, has been to Cambodia). This statement should be true about at least one player. All the players who fall into the category stated must change chairs.

During this time the person who is ‘it’ tries to take any empty chair. Whoever is left without a chair is ‘it’ the next round and says the sentence

Materials: Chairs

Blind Obstacle Course

Once students are comfortable with direction vocabulary, set up an obstacle course. One student will be blind folded while the other students lead using English. You can set up more than one lane for the obstacle course and race against each other.

Materials: Blind folds, Materials for obstacle course

Magic Carpet

Give each team a blanket they must flip while counselors and campers are still standing on the blanket. If anyone steps off the blanket, they must start over. Variations: fold the blanket so only ¾ of it is used, no talking, campers only, only one person can talk.

Materials: Blankets

Switch if

Students will sit in chairs in a circle. One student will be in the middle of the circle. The student will say, “Switch if…” and choose something they like, what they are wearing, or other interesting facts about themselves. The people with the same interesting fact will get up and switch their seats with someone else who stood up. Last person left will be the new person in the middle. (Can use shoes as placement holders if chairs are not accessible!)

Materials: Chairs, Chairs, and Shoes

Fruit Salad

Similar to Switch If- Students sit in chairs in a circle. One student is in the middle. Each student is given a vocabulary card with one of four different fruits. The person in the middle will say a fruit and the students holding that fruit will have to switch chairs. Last student left will be the new student in the middle. This can be used with many different vocabulary words!

Materials: Vocabulary cards with fruits, Chairs

Who has…

Facilitator will make a chart of 15-20 different things the training group might have or done (For example, who has three children? Who has a bachelor degree?) Students will mingle within group and collect signatures of the people who have accomplished the things on the chart.

Materials: Chart

Hula Hoop Race

Students are split into teams depending on the number of students in the group. Students will line up and join hands. The first student is given a hula-hoop. Without breaking hold of the other person, the student must put their whole body through the hula-hoop to pass it to the next person. The first team to finish wins.

Materials: Hula Hoops

Charades

Split students into two teams. One student from the first team will choose a piece of paper with an animal, action, etc. The student will act out the charade and their teammates will guess. If the team guesses within a certain time limit, they will receive a point. Next, the second team will go. The first team to the desired amount wins!

Materials: Vocabulary cards

Compliment Web

Sit students in a circle. Using a ball of string, have the student holding the string say something nice about themselves and pass it to the next person and compliment them. Continue until every student has gone.

Materials: String

Animal Noises

Students will be assigned various animals. When the facilitator starts the game, the students will make the animal noises to find their partners assigned with the same animal.

Materials: Vocabulary cards

Confidence Cards

Students will be given a name tag attached to a string. The students will put the name tag behind them. Students will write compliments and encouraging words on each other’s name tags!

Materials: Name tags

Musical Chairs

Line up two rows of chairs back to back with one less chair than number of people playing. While playing music, students will rotate around chairs. When the music stops the students will sit in the nearest chair. The student without a chair loses!

Materials: Chairs, Music Player

 


Dances

Hokey Pokey

You put your right hand in,
 You put your right hand out,

You put your right hand in,
 And you shake it all about,
You do the hokey pokey
 and you turn yourself around

That what it's all about.

Variation: left hand, right foot, left foot, head, butt, whole self

Cha Cha Slide

 

>(The kids like this version if there is a projector, because they can read the instructions!)

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