Category: Icebreakers

Icebreakers: Data Processing

Data processing | Photo public domain

Data processing | Photo public domain

The best icebreakers get more people into the mix. Take a little computer science, add some common characteristics of people in the group and shake it all up.

The idea is that you are going to turn the group into a big computer and sort everyone by a particular data set. For instance, “everyone get in line chronologically by birthday” or “get in line by height.”

Keep it fast, keep it snappy, keep it fun. For instance, as soon as the group gets sorted, change to a different sorting criteria.

Other ideas:

  • Eye color
  • Hair color
  • Shoe size
  • Alphabetical by first letter of middle name
  • Length of hair


If you have a big group you can divide into two or more teams and compete, with prizes for the first team to sort their data.

With Eyes Closed

Line up by:

  • Height
  • Right or left handedness
  • Boy or girl (caution! Stranger danger!)
  • Month born
  • Grade in school

Without Talking

Have the group pantomime:

  • Favorite food
  • Favorite animal
  • First period class

Become a Computer Programmer for Fun and Profit

Two teams, each team gets in a line. From each team select one “programmer.” The programmer sorts the group according to the criteria you set, by asking a single yes or no question, processing the group again and again until everyone is sorted.

Example: Chronological by birth month.

Programmer asks each person in their entire team “Is your birthday before February?” This puts all the January people in one group and everyone else in a second group. Next question might be “is your birthday before March?” And so forth.

Sources: Kim’s Korner for Teacher Talk, More New Games

Fun Ways to Split into Groups

Image via Neatorama

Image via Neatorama

Splitting into teams is a necessary chore in many games. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun.

Here are a few things that you can do to split into groups evenly.

1) Team Captains. As someone who was picked last all through grade school, I’ve never been keen on this approach. But I’ve found that for competitive games like Ultimate Frisbee using team captains to pick their teams can be a good way to split into groups that are evenly matched. Pick your “best sports” and not necessarily your biggest jocks to be captains.

2) Sweetness. Have kids reach into a bag of wrapped candy, like Jolly Ranchers, and pick one candy. Divide into groups by flavor.

3) Spades. Deal out a deck of cards. Divide into two groups (red or black), four groups (suits), three groups (face cards, odds, evens) or more.

4) Ol’ Blue Eyes. Divide into brown eyes and blue eyes. You may have to use a second criteria to even up the group.

5) Odd Birthdays. Everyone born on an even numbered day goes in one group, an odd numbered day in the other group.

6) Four Seasons. Divide into four groups based on whether your birthday comes during the Spring, Summer, Winter or Fall

Icebreaker: People on Vacation

icebreaker: dude on vacation

If you don’t snorkle, don’t start

What better icebreaker than to get everyone in the group on their feet and thinking about their favorite place for a vacation? But don’t blurt it out!

Icebreaker Play

First, get everyone out of their chairs and into a large open space.

Next, have them think of one of their favorite vacations. Throw out some ideas like Disneyland, the Rocky Mountains, Florida’s Everglades.

Now, everyone has to pantomime an action that would be typical of a resident of that place. For instance, if you went to Hawaii you would do a hula dance. If you went to Texas or Oklahoma you might tuck your thumbs in your belt and walk like a bow-legged cowboy.

Without talking, everyone tries to get in a group that visited the same place. At the end of time, share briefly about your vacation with the group.

Ice Breakers for Youth Groups: Human Bingo

bingo tokens | human bingo is one of the great ice breakers for youth groups

Human Bingo is one of the quickest, easiest ice breakers for youth groups, especially if you’ve got a large group and not much time to prepare.

Rules for Human Bingo

1) If you’ve got more than two dozen people in the group make sure you get each person’s name on a slip of paper as they enter the room. Give each person a blank bingo card and have them fill in each square with a signature from one person in the group.

Once everyone has their cards filled in, shuffle the slips of paper and call names at random. Players circle the names on their cards as they are called (names should remain legible). First person to get five circled names in a row, (down, across or diagonal) yells Bingo! and wins a valuable cash prize.

2) If the group is somewhat smaller than two dozen you can play by having various criteria on the card (ie “likes sushi” or “knows how to play piano.”) Players get people in the group to put their names next to one of the criteria that they meet. First person to get five names across, down or diagonally gets to yell Bingo! and wins a valuable cash prize.

For extra icebreaker action, have the winner introduce the people whose names contributed to the win.

Template for blank bingo card, click here (PDF).

Template for a bingo card with sample questions, click here (DOC).

Check this board on Pinterest to find more ice breakers for youth groups.

[Photo by Abbey Hendrickson]