Icebreakers have a horrible reputation. Just mention the name, and you can hear audible groans and see the cringes. And typically, they tend to be just that: horrible, strewn together afterthoughts, tacked on to our events and activities because "that's how I was taught." But I would submit to you that there are indeed many benefits of incorporating icebreaker activities into your future Bible studies, gatherings, and events. Ponder these points:
Beginning or supplementing your time with icebreakers encourages participants to interact and engage with each other in non-threatening ways.
Inevitably, you will be faced with the shy, timid, or new attendees. Icebreaker activities tend to place everybody in the same situation, thus easing the awkwardness. Sometimes the idea of "everybody doing it" can be uninhibitive and a powerful way to help all feel welcome.
Each time you gather, you most likely have a slightly different group. Even a change of one person can change the group dynamics, and can change how the group interacts. Consider starting your gathering with an icebreaker activity to both spark, and gauge, group interaction.
One set of dominoes
A supply of questions
Favorite movie, book, breakfast cereal
What superpower would you have
Your favorite childhood toy
Your expecations in coming to this meeting
etc... (customize them to fit your needs)
Give each participant a domino
Use any of the following ideas to get your group into smaller groups. Once they have formed that group, give them one of the questions, and a few minutes to discuss. Then use another idea to mix them into new groups, and continue the process.
Look at the half of the domino with the bigger number, and gather with others who have that number.
Look at the half of the domino with the smaller number, and gather with others who have that number.
Add up all the dots on your domino. Get into a group with others who have the same sum as you.
Add up all the dots on your domino. Get into a group containing three members with different sums.
Put your domino behind your back and walk up to a partner. On the count of three, show each other your domino, and look at the half that contains the most dots. Those with the most dots gather in one group, and those with the least amount in another group.
Have participants share fun facts about themselves according to how many dots they have on their domino. Five dots, five facts.
Use graham crackers, frosting, and chocolate chips to create your own dominoes.
Play domino war. Pair up and show domino on three. Whoever has the half with the bigger number wins the round, and the other player gets to eat their loss.
Have a domino party, playing dominoes after the games.
Isn't there a national pizza chain that relates? Hmmm.
Use as a discussion starter. The dots on the domino uniquely identify it. How are you uniquely identified?
Use as a devotional tool. We are spotted with sin, yet God washes us clean (Isaiah 1:18, Hebrews 10:21-23).
Have other domino-related game ideas? Share them in the comments!
Sean Cramer graduated as a DCE from Concordia University, River Forest and served as a Program Assistant/Associate at Camp Lone Star in La Grange, TX. After moving back to his hometown near Rockford, IL, Sean currently works with Developmentally Disabled individuals. Aside from awaiting a Call in professional ministry again, Sean enjoys volunteering, reading, playing games, exercising, and observing his dog be absolutely resistant to any new tricks.