When you get a group of children together who don't know one another, they may become shy or uncomfortable. Help kids loosen up and get acquainted by playing entertaining ice breaker games. Choose those that require teamwork -- the sillier, the better.
Messy Ice Breaker Games
Get ready for a fun mess with lots of laughs by playing a bubble gum ice breaker. You'll need paper plates, cans of whipped cream and bubble gum. Have two or three children at a time stand behind a table, and place a plate in front of each child. Fill it with a mound of whipped cream and place one piece of bubble gum in each mound. The goal is to use only your face to find the bubble gum, then chew it and blow a bubble. Another messy ice breaker game is a cheese puff toss. Have the children split up into pairs, and stand in two rows about 4 feet apart, with team members facing each other. Place whipped cream on the face of one person from each pair, along with a pair of sunglasses or goggles. Give the other person from the pair a cup of cheese puffs. On the count of three, cheese puffs are thrown at the person with the whipped cream. The goal is to stick as many puffs as possible to your partner's face. Whoever has the most stuck on, wins!
Get your group of children to work as a team with a tangled up game. Ask everyone to stand in a circle and extend their left hand across the circle; each person clasps the left hand of the person directly across from him. Then, ask them to do the same with their right hands. After everyone is holding hands, tell them them must figure out how to untangle themselves without letting go of one another's hands. Alternatively, your group could play a magic carpet game. Place a flat sheet or plastic tablecloth on the ground, then have everyone stand on it. Instruct the children to turn the sheet or tablecloth over without anyone stepping off of it or lifting anyone up.
Help older children get to know one another a bit better. Ask everyone to stand up, then tell them they are to sit down if any of the statements you are about to make apply to them. For example, you could say "Sit down if you have a sister," or "Sit down if you have a pet fish at home." After making each statement, allow everyone time to look around to see who sat down, giving them a chance to learn something about the others in the group. Or, play a name game. Form a circle and have everyone sit down. Have one child start by choosing a word that begins with the same letter his name starts with. Then, ask him to say the word and his name. For example, a child named Billy could say "Brave Billy" or a girl named Mary could say "Magic Mary." The next person must say the first person's word and name, then add her own word and name. By the end, the last person must try to remember and say each person's word and name, along with his own.
Play a fun guessing game with your group of children. Prepare for this game by cutting out images from magazines. Then, tape one picture onto the back of each child, without letting the child see what it is. Let each child have a turn showing the rest of the group what's on his back. He can then ask the group yes or no questions that will help him figure out what the picture is. The pictures can all be random or you could choose a theme, such as animals, superheroes, cartoon characters or items you would find in the outdoors. Another exciting guessing game is a mystery touch game. Fill boxes, bowls or bags with various items and have the children feel inside, without looking, to guess what is inside. Items could include bouncy balls, marbles, building blocks, silky fabric, rocks, sticks or seashells. Just use whatever you have on hand.