Most often when I am asked for help in planning events for women’s ministries (did you know that I did that? See the “Contact Us: Pick My Brain” tab for more information), I am asked for ideas for icebreakers or games that help us get-to know each other. I actually divide these into two categories because I think icebreakersare really games or activities that loosen us up and help get conversations started and what I call “get-to-know-yous” are activities that help me learn more about you and, in some cases, take the conversation deeper….it is in these activities that team-building begins to take place.
So I’ve shared with you my top five icebreakers and mixers, but I thought I might share with you some of these deeper activities. Some of these came from my own mind, others came from ideas from pinterest, and a couple of these came from a great resource by Group.com called Icebreakers Galore. I’d love for you guys to share your resources with me! Feel free to drop a comment!
Without further ado, my top five get-to-know-yous:
One Unique Thing:
Supplies: Slips of paper and writing utensils
Hand out a slip of paper and writing utensil to each guest. Ask them to write one unique thing about themselves on the paper (something that most people don’t know.) Put the papers in a basket and draw three out periodically throughout the evening. Read the unique thing out loud and ask the group to try to guess whose paper it is. Ask the person who wrote it to tell you more about the story in front of the group (if they are willing.)
Supplies: None needed (except for a little patience and the ability to command the room: )
This game is a great way to get your group up and moving around and to move people into groups that they wouldn’t normally sort themselves in. It also gives an opportunity to share bits and pieces of our story with one another.
Just as a warning- this game requires a pretty big area of to work in and whoever is leading this exercise needs to be able to wrangle the group back to attention when it’s time to move on to the next group of questions.
Before starting this game, explain that you will be calling out a category and then division within each category. Each person will go the category division that best fits her. Once everyone is in her division, you will read a question and everyone will take turns answering that question within her group. When they are finished, they should all raise their hands to let you know that they are ready to move.
You can choose your own categories, divisions and questions, but here are some examples:
Cat 1: Birth Order: The divisions are oldest, middles, youngest and onlys (tell them where each group will meet)
Q: Describe the member of your family you are most like. Why?
Cat 2: How long have you lived here? Divisions: whole life, half of my life, less than a quarter of my life, I’m new here
Q: What do you remember about the day you moved here?
Cat 3: What do you like to do in your free time? Division: read, time with friends, go shopping , watch tv
Q: What’s your favorite hobby?
Cat 4: Vacation destination: home, sunny beach, mountains, chocolate factory
Q: What’s your favorite vacation location?
This is a great activity for forming more of those simple connections that bond us together, and a great follow up activity to “Me, too.” Ask a couple of the ladies to share things they have learned that they didn’t know before.
Pass the Beans:
Supplies: 15 dried beans for each participant
Everyone has a special talent and unique experiences, but sometimes they are hidden, so no one else knows about them. The goal of this game is to reveal those gifts to the rest of the group.
Ask women to form groups of five, and then have each group sit in a circle. Give each person 15 beans. Explain that the girls are to try and collect beans by describing their unique experiences or abilities. For example, a woman might tell about running in a marathon, being able to recite all the books of the Bible, or her passion for painting with watercolors. Whatever activity they describe must be absolutely true.
After someone shares an activity, each lady who has never done that must give the person who shared one bean. Have participants take turns listing their unique experiences and abilities until each person has shared 10 activities.
After everyone has shared at least 10 activities, ask women to report how many beans they’ve collected. Then ask for volunteers to share interesting activities they heard about and encourage those that have done that activity to share more about their stories.
The purpose of these next two games is to go deeper into our stories with one another. These should definitely fall later in your program, after women have had some time to get to know each other a bit.
Supplies: Chairs and tables
This exercise is best done in groups of less than ten(5-8 is the perfect range) sitting in circles or at circle tables. Be sure to have tissues handy as this can sometimes get emotional.
Have the ladies sit in a circle (or around a table) and go around the group answering these questions one at time. Allow about 2-3 min for each woman or more as time allows. Don’t rush these, there are beautiful stories here.
1. What is your happiest memory from your childhood?
2. What is the one thing you will never compromise or can’t live without?
3. What is your biggest fear?
The Hot Seat:
This is another activity that really encourages depth in sharing. This activity is best done in smaller groups of 5-8.
Sit in a circle around an empty chair. Ask for a volunteer to sit in the “Hot Seat.” Ask them to tell about a time in the last week that she experienced the presence of God. Then ask others to sit in the hot seat and share. Make up your own questions or use some of these:
1. Tell us about a time last week you roared with laughter?
2. What was the topic of the last serious discussion you had with someone close to you?
3. In what way did you come to the aid of someone last week?
You don’t necessarily have to come up with your own questions. Let the group come up with questions to answer. Start with a few that are guided and then move to group suggestions.