Banish awkward perimeter clusters with icebreaker games that will increase confidence and a sense of teamwork. Ease a group of young people through introductions with a series of activities that will test their knowledge of geography, providing a learning tool and friendship boost simultaneously. By creating a reason for children to mingle and communicate instead of standing in silent clumps, you’ll elicit chatter and giggles, instead.
Question and Answer Activities
Tape a sheet of paper labeled with a country to each person’s back. Add a fact or two, depending on the age of the children and their knowledge of geography. The object of the activity is for a child to meet someone and ask three questions until he correctly guesses the country’s name on his back. If he doesn’t guess within the first three questions, he has to move on to someone else. For another question and answer game, have each person pick a folded piece of paper with the name of a country out of a basket. Tell the young people that the object is to find the other matching country within the group. Without giving anything away, they have to rely on questions and yes or no answers to find their pairs.
Give each child an index card with a country, and label parts of the room with a continent name. Watch as the children gather to their area, and assign them as continent committees to come up with a list of five important facts about that area. For another continent activity, opt for a variation of the classic icebreaker activity “Team Architect.” Once the continents have assembled, hand each group a picture of a landmark building or structure within their continent. Set out a table with supplies like straws, chenille wires, frozen juice treat sticks, paper and tape. Assign them to construct a model of their continent’s famous structure using the supplies given. Set a 15-minute time limit to avoid perfectionist tendencies from emerging.
Country Scavenger Hunts
Divide a group into continents, and hand each group a sheet of paper with the outlines of their countries without the names. Give them clues to find the missing country shapes to fit into the map. For a younger group of children who may not remember which countries are inside of a continent, label the map and provide instructions that are more specific. Alternatively, give each group a list of facts about their unknown continent, such as geography, number of nations and surrounding oceans. When they have determined which continent the clues point to, give them the clue to find their continent card.
Puzzle and Bingo Activities
When children arrive, give them each a giant foam puzzle piece labeled as a country. Send them to find another country in their continent before they are allowed to come and put their puzzle piece in place. For another twist on this concept, adapt the classic “Name Bingo” icebreaker game. Give each child a country title and a paper outline of its continent. To finish the game, they need to meet the other countries in the continent and write their names into the appropriate outline on their maps.