It’s go time: your first week with your new small group. But instead of the smiling, goofy, chatterboxes you envisioned, eyes flicker from one person to the next while everyone sits in frozen silence. So how do you battle the cold? With the brilliance of a few simple icebreakers to lighten that tension and start building great relationships within your group.

When it comes to actually using icebreakers, it’s a good idea to keep them
purposeful. Any activity you choose can help make your kids feel welcome, make
them smile or make them want to come back. Here are a few ideas to help get you
started.

Make them feel welcome! In order to feel welcome, kids need to feel included. Don’t hesitate to look for those standing on the outside and draw them in. It’s a
group effort!

Ice Breaker #1: A Tangled Web
Circle up your kids. Hold a large ball of yarn. Tell your group something about
yourself (favorite candy, favorite animal, etc). Then roll the ball of yarn to
another person without letting go of the end of the yarn. That person does
the same and keeps the ball of yarn rolling. Before you know it, your group will have created a giant web. To finish the activity, have everyone stand up, still holding on to the string, and let them know that throughout the year, you will all be connected. Assure them you will be working together, praying together, and encouraging one another.

Make them smile! Kids love to laugh. They don’t like to be laughed at, so make sure your icebreakers focus on getting them to smile, giggle and laugh together.

Ice Breaker #2: I Have Never…
Give each child a cup with 10 toothpicks. Have a list of “I Have Never” options
prepared…ie. I have never…swam in the ocean, swallowed a bug, lost a tooth,
eaten snow, etc. Every time a child has not done one of the options, they throw
a toothpick into a centrally placed bowl. The child with the last remaining
toothpick gets a high five from the entire group.

 

Make them want to come back! Give your kids something to look forward to when they return next week. Build some anticipation, raise a question that goes unanswered (until the following week), or pique their curiosity.

Ice Breaker #3: Ask Me Anything!
Provide each member of your group with a uniquely shaped, brightly colored piece
of paper. Have each child write down one question they would like you, their
small group leader, to answer. Let them know that they can ask something
silly, something serious or something random. Once they’re done, have them
throw their questions into a fun container and pick out one question to answer
immediately. Wrap things up by letting the group know that you can’t wait to
see them again and that you’ll answer the rest of their questions the following
week.

Make them feel welcome, make them smile, and make them want to come back. With a start like that, you’re sure to have a great year! 

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