Fun Opening Games & Getting to Know You Activities
Everyone stands in a circle. One person starts and they say their name and do an action (jumping jack; bend down and touch toes; sticks out tongue, etc. ). The person to the right of them has to repeat that person's name and action and then make one for themselves. You go around the whole circle this way, with everyone repeating all the names and actions that came before them. When you get to the starting person, they do everyone and the game ends.
Each person is told ahead of time to bring ten objects with some meaning to them to meeting or special event. When they arrive, give them a bag with a number on it, and ask them to carefully place their objects into it. Then make sure each person gets someone else's bag. Give participants ten minutes to write down ideas about what the person who owns the objects is like, and to try to guess who they are. It is best if you don't do the guessing until after everyone has had their say. This would also work as an end of camp game, to see what people have learned about each other.
Equipment: balloon for everyone & string.
Give each participant a balloon and string (about 24" long). Tell everyone to blow up their balloon and tie the string to their balloon and the other end to their ankle.
Object: Stomp on someone else's balloon while trying to protect your own. Whenever a balloon breaks, everyone must stop. If it's a get acquainted game, the person whose balloon just popped tells the group who they are.
Variation: You can use this as a trivia game - put a trivia question inside the balloon before it's blown up, and the group has to answer the question. Keep playing until the last balloon is broken.
Equipment: Dried beans
As each person arrives, they are handed a certain # of beans (keep it small, 5 or so). Give each person the same amount. Everyone mingles after deciding how many beans they want to keep in their right hand (this amount is known only to them...a secret!). You may go up to anyone and guess whether they are holding an even or odd # of beans in their right hand. If you guess correctly, you get all the beans in their hand. If you are incorrect, they may guess the evens/odds of YOUR right hand. Anyone guessing correctly gets all the beans the other person has in their RIGHT hand only. If both people guess incorrectly, you just move on. You can not go back to someone you have already asked before, until you have asked every person in the room. There is a little bit of strategy involved - how many beans to keep in your right hand for guessing, and how many to keep in your left hand to save. You may readjust the # of beans in your hands any time in between guesses. At the end of the get acquainted time, the person with the most beans wins.
Equipment: Masking tape, 3X5 cards/pieces of paper of different, matching colors
As people arrive, give them 2 different colored cards/paper and 2 pieces of masking tape. Tell them to tape the cards/paper to their body. The challenge...Line up, matching and touching their paper to someone else's of the same color.
A bowl is passed around and each child and adult takes a handful of M&M's. ( Skittles work as well and do not melt as fast. You are not allowed to eat them yet. A chart is put up and each color stands for something they must reveal about themselves, or a story they must tell. They go through all the candy in there hand, and if they have more than one of the same color, then they have to answer that question twice. Examples
Red - What is your favorite food?
Brown - What is your favorite gs memory?
Yellow - What is your favorite color and why?
Blue _ Why do you like to be a GS?
Green - Tell the group something about your family
Other ex. of questions for possibly an older group:
Most embarrassing moment
Favorite subject in school
Favorite music performer
Who would you most like to be stranded on a desert island with?
Who would you most like to have dinner with?
Madhatter's Tea Party Game
You need an odd number of people in each group. We used 7, but 5 would work as well. Three would really be too small. Give each person in the group an open ended question like... "the best thing that happened to me this week was..." or "I really hate it when...", etc. Be creative and make sets of questions for each group so each group has the same 7 questions, but each person only has one question. Now have them line up their chairs so there are 3 down one side facing 3 down the other side, and have one person at the top or "head" of the table, the Madhatter. The Madhatter starts by reading her question out loud to the group. Then one side of the "table" starts, and the 3 people on that side make eye contact with their partner opposite them, and answer the question out loud. You need one timekeeper for the whole room, who times one minute. The room can get pretty noisy. The timekeeper yells switch, and the other "side" of the "table" gets a turn to answer the question. Believe me, they haven't had any time to think about their answer, because they've been too busy listening!! After one more minute, the timekeeper yells, "Teacups" and everyone moves one chair clockwise, which puts a new Madhatter at the head of the table, and she reads her question, etc, until all of the questions have been read and answered.
Arrange chairs in a large circle minus one seat. 50 people = 49 chairs. The extra person stands in the middle of the circle. The person in the center walks up to anyone in the circle and shakes hands with the person sitting in a chair. As they shake hands person standing says "Hi, my name is (whatever her name is)" person sitting says "Hi, my name is (whatever her name is)" person standing says "Do you like your neighbors?" The person sitting (looking at neighbors on both sides of her) can say one of two things:
1) Yes, I like my neighbors. But, I don't like people with ???. She can choose anything in the world that she wants to say. Adults can get pretty carried away with it. Ex. I don't like people with red hair. I don't like people with blue eyes. I don't like people who have cats. I don't like people with blue underwear on. etc. When the person says what it is she doesn't like, everyone in the circle who has or does that thing has to jump up and find another empty seat. They can't sit in their original seat. The person that was standing will also be jumping into a seat so someone will be left standing. That person then walks up to someone else and shakes their hand and it goes on and on.
or they can say:
2) no, I don't like my neighbors. For this, the people on either side of you must exchange seats while the person standing is trying to grab one. Person left standing moves to the center and chooses another hand to shake.
Submitted by Renee, Plymouth Bay Council
5 or more people split into two groups
Equipment needed: a "curtain" (blanket, parachute, etc.) to hold between the groups (leader needs helper for this task)
"Curtain" is held between groups so they cannot see each other. One player from each group sneaks up to their side of the curtain and suddenly it drops. The two players are now face-to-face...Which one can call out the other's name first? First to call out correctly can claim that person who now joins the other group.
Pile Up - an Icebreaker Game
Everyone gets a chair and sits in a circle. The game leader has a list of items that she reads out. If any of them apply to you, you move the appropriate number of seats clockwise or counterclockwise. (May be better to use right and left as instructions.)
Anyone with one brother, move one seat clockwise. If you have two brothers, move two seats.
Anyone with black hair, move one seat clockwise.
Anyone who was a Brownie move two seats clockwise.
Anyone who lives in _____ Area, move one seat clockwise.
Anyone over the age of 10, move one seat counterclockwise.
Everyone wearing brown shoes, move one seat.
Everyone in Girl Scouts, move one seat, etc.
The idea is to move all around the circle, and end up back where you started. It becomes fun because if you move, but your neighbor doesn't, you sit on her lap! Sometimes, you can have three people occupying the same chair!!
Make sure you have lots of categories so that everyone gets lots of chances to move, e.g. all hair colors (at different times, of course), and so on.
Contributed by Katie Cox Girl Scouts Overseas, Kuwait
Everyone has a post-it note stuck to their forehead with their name on it. The group splits off into pairs and the pairs talk to each other for one minute to find out as much as they can about each other. After one minute, you swap post it notes. So, for instance, if I initially paired up with Maura after one minute I swap post its with Maura, and I now "become" Maura, and Maura becomes Kim (following so far?). Right, now we both go off and pair up with someone else (who will also have swapped with their initial partner). Again we talk for one minute, but this time I am no longer Kim, I am Maura, and so I have to talk as though I was Maura. After another minute we swap post-its again and I become someone else entirely.
This game can continue for as long as you wish! A fun thing to do is not to initially tell the participants about swapping the post it's - it's a good exercise in listening!
Two Truths and A Fantasy
The girls all take turns saying three things about themselves; two which are true and one that is fantasy and the group has to guess which one is the fantasy.
I went to Disney World this summer
I got an A in Math last year
I flew in an airplane twice this summer
Yes or No
Equipment: 10 beans per person
How To Play: Each girl is given ten beans upon arrival. The girls are to go around asking each other questions about their interests. Each girl attempts to make the others answer "Yes" or "No." If a girl answers with either word, she has to give a bean to the inquirer. At the end of the appointed time, the girl with the most beans wins.
Submitted to wagggs-L by Becky Bozart
Everyone stand or sit in a circle with one person in the middle. "It" in the middle points to a person and says either zip or zap. If they say zip, the person they point to must give the name of the person on their right. If zap is said, they must give the name of the person on their left. If the wrong name is given, they trade places with "It". If they are correct, "It" must pick again. After three correct tries, let another person be "It."