Youth Group Icebreaker Games

When children are old enough for Youth Group, Icebreaker Games become even more important. With advancing maturity, comes increasing self-consciousness. There's nothing so stereotypical as a group of pre-teens, or teenagers, all stoically holding up the walls of any room in which they're meeting. You need icebreaker games to get them to loosen up and start interacting. As a Sunday School teacher, it’s your responsibility to plan for and lead icebreaker games. But what if you’ve never done it before? What if you don’t know any icebreaker games? That’s why we put this collection together.

To identify the best icebreaker games, we asked a bunch of people to tell us their favorite icebreaker games - games they would happily recommend to new teachers, because they work. Then, from the games described to us, we picked the best ones.

Currently the games are divided into two pages. One, this one, has youth group icebreaker games. The other one it the group icebreaker game page for younger children. Of course, many games are suitable for a broad age range. Games that will work for both younger children and youth groups are repeated on each page. You only have to look at the one page for your age group, to find all the games we have for your class.

Who Am I?

  • Contributed by: a teacher
  • Ages: middle school, high school, young adult, teen, youth

I use this all the time. I announce a theme - like Bible Characters, or pop stars or candy bars or TV shows or anything. I prepare a series of Index cards with these things on them - like, let's say I use Bible Characters - I write stuff like Noah, Jacob, David, Rebekah - you know, the topics - on the cards. Then they get taped to each kid's back. The kids then are trying to identify what is taped to their backs by asking questions about the topic - they can't ask a direct question, and they can't ask more than one question of each person that is there. Sometimes, I have them write down their clues and the person who gave them to them - then they have to learn names too. It's a lot of fun.

Who Am I? (Version Two)

  • Contributed by: a teacher
  • Ages: middle school, high school, young adult, teen, youth

My favorite Ice-Breaker game is when you get a few members of the group to sit at the front of the room and write celebrity names on the board behind them. The people facing them have to answer questions with yes or no answers only to help the person find out who they are. Eg: "Am I tall?", "Am I a singer?", "Am I an athlete?" This game encourages people to speak out in a group.

Icebreaker Bingo

  • Contributed by: anonymous
  • Ages: middle school, high school, young adult, teen, youth

I've played this at work functions (when two branches merged and people didn't know each other) and also in high school. It would work for middle school, high school or young adult. Each player gets a piece of paper with a 5x5 grid. In each square of the grid is written an experience or a description. Examples could be things like "was born outside the US", "is wearing a green shirt", "plays guitar", "wears glasses", "has more than 2 siblings", etc. Each player can have the same bingo grid. Each person has to find people who match the the descriptions. No person can be used for more than one square. The first person to complete a row yells bingo and gets a prize. You can let people keep playing and award a prize for filling in all the squares, or the most squares. It's a good way to get people to talk to a large number of people, and learn facts about them. You also have to know their names since you have to write them down.

Circle Toss

  • Contributed by: anonymous
  • Ages: middle school, high school, young adult, teen, youth

I remember this game from when I went to camp. In it, the leader has the group get in a circle, and then brings out several random objects, it really doesn't matter what, as long as they can be thrown. The leader starts with one of the objects, saying one of the kids names, and throwing it to them. That kid throws it to someone else, saying their name, and so on and so forth. When it gets back to the leader, he/she brings out another object and repeats the process. This can be repeated as many times as objects you have. For added fun, you can time it, and see how fast they can get it while still clearly saying the next persons name. You can challenge them to see how they can change the way they are standing to make the process faster, also.

Come to Order

  • Contributed by: a high school teacher
  • Ages: preschool, early grades, older primary, middle school, high school, young adult, teen, youth

My favorite "get to know each other game" is standing in line. I was introduced to it as a girl guide and have used it often when we met in a new group of people and as a high school teacher with new classes. It only takes a few minutes, but you suddenly know a lot about people, if you can remember :-)

This game is good for all ages, if you give a little thought to the criteria you line up after. Preschoolers, for example, won’t know the alphabet. A Captain calls out what the rule for the line up is, for instance by height, and people line up. When the line has been formed everybody introduces themselves and shakes hands with their neighbors in the line. Repeat four or five times with new rules.

Criteria for forming the line can be:

  • Age, youngest first
  • Height, smallest first
  • Alphabetically by given name, family name, town you come from, street you live in, ...
  • Shoe size,
  • Length of hair
  • Size of nose (great discussions arise :-)
  • Height you can jump etc.

Honey Do You Love Me?

  • Contributed by: a youth group member
  • Ages: older primary, middle school, high school, young adult, teen, youth

This is a game that I played with my youth group and had a LOT of fun. The suggested age range is probably older-primary through young adult, but it seems to be enjoyable for almost anyone. It's called "Honey Do You Love Me?" Any number of people can play. Everyone sits in a circle, and one person is picked to start the game. The basic play goes like this: The person who is "it" says to someone else in the room, "Honey, do you love me?" The person they ask must reply "Honey, I love you, but I just can't smile." (obviously, without smiling!) If they can do it without smiling, the person who was "it" must keep asking people around the room until someone smiles. Then they're it. The person who is "it" can use whatever theatrics they'd like...batting eyelashes, making faces, silly try to get the other person to smile.

Human Knot

  • Contributed by: a youth group member
  • Ages: older primary, middle school, high school, young adult, teen, youth

We played a human knot game in schools and camps. It's most suitable for older-primary age students and older. A group of 8-16 people stand in a small circle facing each other. Everyone sticks their hands into the center of the circle and randomly grabs someone else's hand with each of their own hands. The objective of the game is to untangle this "human knot" without anyone letting go of a hand, ending up with one large circle (although sometimes, two separate or linked circles might be the end result). The participants have to step over or under each others linked arms, with the close physical proximity and silly maneuvers breaking the ice between strangers. This game also requires team work and decent leadership skills in one or more participants.

Middle Name Game

  • Ages: early grades, older primary, middle school
  • Contributed by: a youth ministry director

(This is a variant of 'Come to Order.' We're listing it separately because of the element of competition added - and as a vote of confidence, considering its contributor. )
Here's one the kids love: The Middle Name Game If you have enough kids, divide them into two teams (the more kids, the longer the game will last). Once the teams have been determined, have them line up alphabetically according to their middle names. The first team to accomplish this correctly wins. If you have a smaller group or you'd rather not have a winning team/losing team, you could always do one, big, long line instead.

Morning Workout

  • Contributed by: Tona P., Finland
  • Ages: preschool, early grades, older primary, middle school, high school, young adult, teen, youth

This was something our leaders at theater-creativity camp often started the day with when I was 12-15 (youngest kids at camp were around 7-8). This game works well for children in early grades, and would probably work with younger kids too. It can be fun even for adults with the right modifications. It's very simple, and sounds boring, but after a few rounds everyone is warmed up and usually giggling.

Everyone sits in a circle, with legs extended (or knees drawn up, doesn't matter) in front of them. The leader describes the game, which goes like this: Everyone lies down on their backs. The first person (usually a leader or someone who knows how it goes) sits up and says "Hi, I'm Susie!". Then everyone else sits up too and chorus "Hello Susie!". Everyone down again, next person, repeat. When everyone has done this once you add something about yourself, like "Hi, I'm Susy and I like flowers!" (... and I come from Michigan / and I'm 12 years old / etc). The group sits up and choruses "Hello again Susie!". The later rounds can be more or less giggly/challenging depending on how closely you instruct the participants to match the type of statement the leader makes. For the first time you can do all rounds with only basic information and little "I like" or "I dislike" statements. (And it doesn't have to be real "sit ups", but for older kids you can make it more challenging by deciding how people should should move, or piling on extra moves for the later rounds, f.ex. sit up and then raise your arms/touch your toes/wiggle your nose/or any combination.)

Know an icebreaker we're missing?

Do you know a good icebreaker game for older children (youth, teens, high school or even college aged) that we're missing? Share it!

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New Icebreaker Games

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Days of the Week 
This game will have EVERYONE off their feet. Its a game that's youth and young adult friendly (combined) also, for large amounts of people. Here's how …

The Skittle Game 
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Aomeba/ Adder's Nest 
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Can't Have One Without the Other...  
This ice breaker is a lot of fun.. it is great for all ages!!! First you get index cards and you write famous ppl's name, or things that go together …

Circle Icebreaker 
Everyone stands in a circle with arms linked and one person in the middle. The person in the middle has to say something about him/herself such as …

Counting Madness 
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Quick Name Game  
This game is great to play when you are just starting to get to know the peoples names. And is great with about 10 + people, best with a big amount of …

Sticky Balloons 
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put names in a box 
Get all the student's names written down on a slip of paper, and place them in a box or hat. Then have them pull a name out of the box. (If they pull …

Winking Mafia 
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Editor's Note: This game is easily played outside where you can draw the lines with chalk or a stick -- although, painter's tape might work well inside …

Editor's Note: Interesting -- certainly not the kind of thing you see all over. It's a little unclear how it ends. I suppose everyone still seated at …

Editor's note: This game is sure to be loud, a bit wild, and loads of fun. If you play it, let us know how it goes in the comments. You designate …

Toilet Paper... 
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Love Your Neighbor Youth Group Icebreaker Games 
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I Never Youth Group Icebreaker Games 
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Do you hear? 
Each person participating in the game is blindfolded. A few leaders or other people are given something with which to make a noise (e.g. glass and …

Bible Pictionary! 
( Editor's Note: This is game is a 'do it yourself' version of the 1987 commercial board game Bible Pictionary. You can still purchase the Bible Pictionary …

The Dance 
Good for all ages, (is actually a fun party game for numerous adults i know), as long as you have a good memory! Everyone gets into a circle and someone …

Suit's you, Sir! 
Seat everyone in a circle. Leader stands in the middle with an ordinary pack of cards. Name everyone in the circle for one of the card suits - Spades, …

The Mummy (Guaranteed hit at your event!!!!) 
1. break participants up into two equal groups 2. select 1 person from each group to be the Mummy 3. have each Mummy sand approx 6 - 10 ft apart …

The Starburst Game 
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Pile up 
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This is a game that can be played with 2 teams with 5 and above players it is like paper rocks and scissors(bato bato pick), Each group needs to pick …

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Four on a Couch 
Materials: paper and pencil/chairs and a couch Messy Rating: No Sweat Duration: 20-40 minutes Cost: $0.00 Place chairs in a circle making the …

Advertise your Friend Icebreaker 
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The Name Game 
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Ok. So you have to say "pterydactyl" but not showing your teeth. You end up with your lips over your teeth saying berabacpal!! If your teeth are seen, …

zip zap zop 
This game is so much fun. It's for more jr.high and high school age kids. Everyone gets in a circle and everyone puts their hands together as if they …

Screaming Race Not rated yet
Editor's Note: I never would have thought of turning kids natural tendency to run and yell into a game. This would be perfect to get the fidgets out …

Gross Food Not rated yet
Editor's note. This is the best eleven word submission ever. I can just imagine the kids, either in front of the room, or parceled out in small

What What! Not rated yet
Editor's note: Here's an game that's easy to do at the spur of the moment for all ages! It should be very useful when you're stuck waiting for the bus …

Rock paper scissors (shark surfer wave) Not rated yet
Everyone has played rock paper scissors before, so this is easy to catch on to. Instead of rock paper scissors you play shark surfer wave. Instead …

The Bucket Game Not rated yet
This game could work for middle school and up. The point of the game is to not get "out". You take a bucket, medium to large and put it in the center …

Toilet paper icebreaker Not rated yet
This game sounds a little weird but it is so much fun!! It's very simple, too. Pass out a role of toilet paper or paper towel and tell everyone to take …

Knowing your Neighbor Not rated yet
A great icebreaker game for middle school on up to adult. This one will work better with smaller groups, unless you have a lot of time. Give out index …

Group Icebreaker Games with Truths and Lies Not rated yet
Everyone gets in a circle and each person must state 3 things about themselves but one of them has to be a lie. E.g.( I was born in Australia, I have 2 …

Icebreaker with no name Not rated yet
I don't really know what its called, but a great icebreaker nontheless! Everybody forms a circle. Anybody can start the 'chain'. To start the chain, …

Four corners Not rated yet
You need 8 or more people to play this game. The more the merrier. One person is "it" and doesn't pick a corner till he/she is done counting till …

Would You Rather? Not rated yet
This is a really fun game that lets people learn a lot about their friends! It can be in question-answer form, with someone calling out the questions, …

Balloon Tag Not rated yet
Blow Up a balloon for each player (and more if you want to play more than once). Let everyone choose a balloon and give them a string about 1-2 feet …

Fact or Fiction Not rated yet
( Ed: This is a great game to introduce people to each other!) Every person writes 2 facts and 1 lie about themselves. Then each person alternately …

Mail Call Not rated yet
This game is usually played as an icebreaker. Have your group sit in a circle so there are no gaps. (It may be helpful to use chairs if possible.) …

sheep and their shepards Not rated yet
This game is most fun if played with a larger group of teens but definitely gets everyone laughing no matter how many. Arrange chairs in a circle, …

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