Here are some suggested activities to help start meetings, get to know each other and build teams.
Circle of Trust
Items Needed: Bucket (or container to pass around), slips of paper with age- and group-appropriate questions written on them
How to Play: Everyone sits in a circle and passes the bucket around. Each person takes a slip of paper out of the bucket, reads the question out loud to the group and then answers it. The questions are meant to be in-depth, to get the participants to talk about themselves to the group, which can help establish a safe space and foster trusting relationships.
Two Truths & A Lie
Age Appropriate: 8 years old and up
Items Needed: Paper and writing utensils (optional)
How to Play: Each person may either write down or share out loud three statements about themselves to the group. After the speaker finishes saying the three statements, the rest of the group must determine which one is a lie.
Mix & Meet
Age Appropriate: 6 years old and up
Items Needed: M&Ms, a sign or print out of the meaning of each color
How to Play: Either give the children some M&Ms or allow them to grab some. Remind the children not to eat the M&Ms until after the game. Assign a different meaning to each color of M&M.
Blue = Family
Green = School
Yellow = Friends
Red = Hobbies
Brown = Music/Interests
However many M&Ms they have in their hand is how many facts they must share. For example; if they have 3 blue and 1 red, they share 3 facts about their family, and 1 fact about their hobbies.
Count the Fs in This Sentence
“Finished files are the result of years of scientific study combined with the experience of years.”
You would write a sentence or use the above example and let all the students see it as a group for one minute. Then, ask the students how many Fs they can find in the sentence. (There should be 6 F’s in this sentence.)
A Story in Just 7 Words
The youth are to tell a story, but they can only use 7 words to do so.
Can You Make a Tower?
This game is played with teams. Each team is given 3 pieces of tape, one paper clip, and 5 pieces of paper. They can do whatever they wish with any of the materials but the goal is to make the tallest tower possible.
One person starts by performing a certain movement, like jumping twice, and then the next person would perform the same thing and add a new movement to it as well. This would continue all the way around the circle. Each time someone forgets a move, they are out of the game, and the moves continue around the circle until there is one person left.
To play this game, your group forms two equal circles, one inside the other. Set the circles up so one person from each circle is physically standing back to back to one member from the other circle. (Use a spot on the ground to mark the spot for each circle.) These circles both start moving in a clockwise motion, ensuring each member of the circle passes through the “spot”. Someone who is not in either one of the circles and not facing them, will call stop. At that point, the people on each spot must turn around and face each other. The person who names the other first wins that round and the “loser” joins the other circle.
Split the group into two teams. Each team sits behind one side of the sheet so that they are out of the view of the other side. One person from each side will sit facing the sheet. When the sheet is lowered, the team that says the name of the person on the opposite side first gets that player on their team. The game ends when everyone is on the same side.
Students must silently organize themselves in a line according to birthday or alphabetically.
The number of balloons determines the strength of your team. Each student is given a balloon in the color matching his/her team. They all blow up the balloons and throw them up in the air. The goal is to try to knock down/pop the other team’s balloons. If the balloon pops or hits the ground, then it is out. The team with the most remaining balloons at the end of the time wins.
The students make a circle, standing up. They all put their hands in the middle and grab two random hands. The goal is to get untangled and be back in a circle without letting go of one another’s hands.
Want even more ideas? Try some of these from Act for Youth.