10 icebreakers to kickstart your Scouting term
Autumn is upon us, which means we're heading into a brand new Scouting term! Whether you're keen to help new members settle, or just want to get things off to a good start, here are some icebreaker games to play with your young people as they settle in.
1. Common ground
Divide everyone into groups of three or four. Tell everyone that each group has to find their common ground; something they’ve all done before. The catch is, it has to be something they’ve all done but none of the other groups have done, so they'll need to come up with a few options!
2. Two truths and a lie
Get the group to sit in a circle and ask one person to say two truths and a lie about themselves. Once they have finished, ask the group to vote on which statement they think is a lie. If the majority get it wrong, the player goes again. If they get it right, there is a change of player.
Split the section into two lines; facing one another and holding hands. At one end of the line is a chair with a tennis ball on it: you stand at the other end. Get everyone in the section to close their eyes, apart from the two players nearest to you. Flip a coin. Whenever it comes up heads, the players have to squeeze the hand of the next person. This chain continues until the hand of the player at the end is squeezed. That player grabs the ball. Every ball picked up correctly (when the coin lands on heads) scores a point. Any ball picked up incorrectly loses a point.
4. Never have I ever...
Ask young people to sit in a circle and hold out ten fingers in front of them. One player starts by saying ‘Never have I ever…’ and then says something that they’ve never done. Anyone who has done that particular thing then loses a life and has to turn a finger down. The game continues by going clockwise around the circle, with each person taking their turn to say their own 'Never have I ever...' until just one player if left. They are the winner.
5. Coat of arms
Each young person has a piece of paper. Ask them to divide this into quarters with a pencil, drawing or describing their favourite things in each quarter. They could include their pets, favourite food, sports team, favoruite activity and so on. After ten minutes, each Beaver or Cub to stands up to talk everyone through their flag.
6. Desert island picks
Ask everyone to pretend that they're about to be exiled to a desert island for a year. In addition to the essentials, they can take one piece of music, one book and one luxury item with them for the ride. What would they pack and why? Allow a few minutes for the young people to draw up their list of items, before sharing their choices with the rest of the group.
7. Would you rather?
Place a line of tape down the centre of the room. Ask the group to straddle the tape. When asked 'Would you rather?’ they have to jump to the left or right as indicated by the leader.
Questions can range from silly to serious. Some examples include:
Would you rather...
• Have a beach holiday or a mountain holiday?
• Be invisible or be able to read minds?
• Be the most popular or the smartest person you know?
• Always be cold or always be hot?
• Be stranded on a deserted island alone or with someone you don't like?
• See the future or change the past?
• Wrestle a lion or fight a shark?
8. Line up
Ask your group to line up. This game works well with around 8-10 players, but if you’ve got a bigger group, you can split them up into seperate lines and challenge each line to complete the task first. They should form their line in order of….
• Height, from smallest to tallest
• Birthdays, from January through to December
• Shoe size, from smallest to largest
• Alphabetical first names (A-Z)
• Alphabetical mother's first names
• Alphabetical grandmother's first names
• Anything else you think up
9. Beach ball
Use a permanent marker to write a question on each panel of a blow-up beach ball. Standing or sitting in a circle, young people throw or roll the ball to someone else in the circle. When they receive the ball, they answer the question that is facing them and then pass or roll the ball to someone else. This game can be so easily tailored to suit the context of your meeting or season.
Give each young person a piece of white card and ask them to draw and cut out a lifesized shape of a face to decorate. Explain that on one side of the card they should draw something that represents their external life; the things people might already see, know and believe about them. On the other side, they should draw something represents their internal life; such as their thoughts, hopes and goals. This activity works best in an established group where the young people are comfortable and at ease with each other.