Icebreakers & Mixer Activities
Having reduced vision can make it more difficult for students to acquire accurate information about their social environment or the context of activities. Not being able to observe physical gestures or facial expressions makes it difficult to understand social nuances. Students must learn appropriate social skills in order to prepare them for success in their homes, their friendships as well as for job and career readiness.
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By: Carmen Willings
Updated June 9, 2019
Icebreakers or mixers are a great way to get to know those you may not know in a group. These icebreakers are simple to use and suitable for a wide age range. They require very few props and can easily be used in any setting. These activities can encourage sharing, openness, listening, cooperation, and discussion.
Fact or Fiction
Ask everyone to write/braille on a piece of paper THREE things about themselves which may not be known to the others in the group. Two are true and one is not. Taking turns, have the members read out the three ‘facts’ about themselves and the rest of the group votes which are true and false. There are always surprises and this is a fun way to get to know each other.
Divide the young people into pairs. Ask them to take three minutes to interview each other. Each interviewer has to find 3 interesting facts about their partner. Bring everyone back to together and ask everyone to present the 3 facts about their partner to the rest of the group.
My Name Is
Go around the group and ask each person to state his/her name and attach an adjective that not only describes a dominant characteristic but also starts with the same letter of his name e.g. generous Grahame, dynamic Dave. Write them down and refer to them by this for the rest of the evening.
Each person is given a sheet of paper (make sure it is in an accessible medium) with a series of instructions to follow. This is a good mixing game and conversation starter as each person must speak to everyone else. For example:
The Question Web
You need to have a spool of string or wool for this game. Ask everyone to stand in a circle. Hold on to the end of the string and throw the ball/spool to one of them to catch. They then choose a question from 1-20 to answer (be sure to adapt the questions for your group). Holding the string they then throw it to another member of the group. Eventually, this creates a web as well as learning some interesting things about each other! At the end of the game, discuss how the web is unique and would look different one of the persons was absent. Each person helps make the group unique!
Announce, 'You've been exiled to a deserted island for a year. In addition to the essentials, you may take one piece of music, one book (which is not the Bible) and one luxury item you can carry with you i.e. not a boat to leave the island! What would you take and why?' Allow a few minutes for the young people to draw up their list of three items, before sharing their choices with the rest of the group. As with most icebreakers and relationship building activities, it's good for the group leaders to join in too!
Ask the group to sit in a circle. Write 20 'IF' questions on cards and place them (question down) in the middle of the circle. The first person takes a card, reads it out and gives their answer, comment or explanation. The card is returned to the bottom of the pile before the next person takes their card. This is a simple icebreaker to get young people talking and listening to others in the group. Keep it moving and don't play for too long. Write your own additional 'IF' questions to add to the list.
Name That Person
Divide into two teams. Give each person a blank piece of card. Ask them to write five little known facts about themselves on their card. Include all leaders in this game too. For example, I have a pet bird, I was born in Chicago, my favorite food is mashed potatoes, my grandmother is called Ada and my favorite color is green. Collect the cards into two team piles. Draw one card from the opposing team pile. Each team tries to name the person in as few clues as possible. Five points if they get it on the first clue, then 4, 3, 2, 1, 0. The team with the most points wins. (Note: if you select the most obscure facts first, it will increase the level of competition and general head scratching!)
Would You Rather
Questions may range from silly trivia to more serious content. On the way, you might find out some interesting things about your young people! Place a line of tape down the center of the room. Ask the group to straddle the tape. When asked 'Would you rather?’ they have to jump to the left or right as indicated by the leader. Don't forget to encourage your adult helpers to join in too! I've included 20 starter questions, just add your own and let the fun begin.
Would you rather..?
Great for new groups. Make a 5 by 4 grid on a piece of card and duplicate for everyone in your group. Supply pens, pencils, 20/20 pens or create in braille for braille users and use tactile stickers to mark off boxes. Each box contains one of the statements below. Encourage the group to mix, talk to everyone to try and complete their card. If one of the items listed on the bingo card relates to the person they are talking with, have them sign their name in that box (alternatively, provide students with tactile stickers - each student has a different shape with a key). End the activity after 10 minutes and review some of the interesting facts the group has discovered about each other. Here are a few suggestions, but you can add your own statements appropriate for your group.
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