Games: Ice-Breakers

stretchAims: getting to know each other from the first day and remember the names of everybody

Numbers: Any
Length: 10-30 minutes depending on group size/s

Alphabetical name game

Place two parallel strips of tape on the floor, one foot apart (or use a nature pattern like the wave). The participants are then asked to stand between the two strips without leaving any space between them. Then they are told to stand in alphabetical order. People are asked to try and stay between the strips; therefore they have to help each other. At the end of the game they are standing in alphabetical order, e.g. first those whose names begins with an “A”, then with “B”, and etc. You can also do it according to other differences or similarities – age, size of foot, height, gender, country or whatever you might want to determine, but the first day it’s always the best to start with names.
Variation: Introduce a silence rule (no talking) or replace the strips of tape with a row of chairs. Get creative.

Catch the Ball

Simple name game where you need to remember the name of the other participant by saying it when you throw him/her the ball or vice versa (say your name when you are throwing the ball). Everybody stay in a circle. It can get more complicated when you start repeating the same pattern – people throwing the ball in the same sequence, but speeding it up, then you introduce a second and a third ball that follow the first one. At some point people can change the direction or you can add  a fourth ball cycling around from right to left and a fifth – from left to right.

Sitting behind a blanket

The participants are split into two groups. Both groups sit on the floor and a blanket is placed between them so they cannot see each other. One person from each group sits directly behind the blanket. Then the two people holding the blanket let it fall, and the two persons directly behind it has to say the name of the other person as fast as possible. The second person to say the name joins the other team, and repeat until everybody sits on one side.

That’s what I like

The first person in line/circle says her/his name and something she/he likes that begins with the first letter of her/his name. For instance “My name is Misha and I like melons”. The next player repeats it and adds her/his own as follows: “This is Misha who likes melons, and I – Philip like the Philippines”. Continue that way till the last person has to reel of everyone’s name. After saying what he/she likes he/she is including an animal expression, some funny gesture, silly face or a sound with an action and the whole circle goes back that way till it gets to the first person who started the game.
Variation: Each person introduces him/herself with an adjective starting with the first letter of his/her name, and does a gesture to illustrate it, e.g. “Merry Misha” and makes a happy face with a bird with her hands.