After more than a year of social distancing, your troop may need that extra push to feel comfortable gathering again. Our programs team has rounded up seven ways to break the ice at your next meeting!
Ice Breaker Ideas
- Get to Know All of You
Have the group come up with a list of 10 things they have in common that are not visible (this means they can’t do humans, girls, young, etc.) This may help them realize they have a lot more in common than they originally thought, and finding commonalities makes it easier for people to relate to and get to know each other.
- Look Up, Look Down
- Have the entire group gather in a circle facing each other. Important: everyone needs to be able to see the eyes of everyone else.
- Explain you will be saying two sets of instructions repeatedly, “look down” and “look up.” When you say “look down,” everyone looks down. When you say “look up,” everyone looks up STRAIGHT INTO THE EYES of someone else in the room.
Two possible consequences:
a. if they are looking at someone who is looking at someone else, nothing happens;
b. if they are looking at someone who is looking right back at them, they are both to point in a very exaggerated manner at the other person and let out a SCREAM or YELL. They are then “out” and take their places together outside of the circle to observe.
- Once the “screamers” have left the circle, the circle closes in and you repeat step two until you are down to two people. Yes, they have to do it one more time, even though the outcome is a foregone conclusion!
- My Girl Scouts Who
Everyone gets in a circle and marks their spot. The adult starts in the middle and says, “My Girl Scouts who…” with something about themself. Then, everyone that relates to the saying moves to find a new spot. The Girl Scout without a spot is now in the middle. Play as many rounds as you wish!
Some ideas include: have on tennis shoes, wear glasses, have been to camp, have a sibling, have pets, have brown hair, etc.
- Question of the Day
Pick a different question for each meeting and ask the girls to answer it in just one or two sentences. The question can tie into something going on in their lives, badge activities you will complete during the meeting, or just something silly!
- Stranded on an Island
Start by having girls write down the three things they would take to a deserted island with them. It can be for survival or just for fun. Have everyone read out their answers and write them down on a whiteboard, then tell the girls they have to narrow them down to three items for the whole group! Girls can then vote to eliminate or keep items until only three remain. This gets girls thinking about individual and group wants and prompts them to make personal sacrifices in the name of group cohesion. Plus it can generate some silly ideas and fun group dynamics!
- Toilet Paper Game
Gather everyone in a circle, and tell them to tear off as much toilet paper as they need. Once everyone has toilet paper, have them count the number of squares they selected. They then go around and say that number of facts about themselves!
- What's Your Emoji Today?
Instead of asking the girls how they’re feeling, ask them to take turns making the emoji face that matches how they are feeling. Then, give the rest of the troop a few minutes to guess the emotion before asking the girl to share how she is feeling. This icebreaker is a great way to check in on everyone while turning it into a game for the girls.
Tips for Leading Successful Ice Breakers from GSUSA
- Encourage girls by name (often). During an in-person meeting, you can make eye contact with each girl to make sure that she’s engaged. In a virtual setting, call out each girl by name to encourage participation and show appreciation for her unique contributions.
- Don’t make games mandatory. Remember, not every girl will want to speak or answer every question. Encourage them to participate, but don’t force them to if they aren’t comfortable.
- Don’t interrupt. Aside from the time limits they agreed to, let the girls speak and give them space to fully participate in the activity. Remember, they are not just expressing themselves to their Girl Scout sisters; they’re also building their comfort with virtual meeting tools, and they need the space to do that.
- Be comfortable with silence. It’s natural to want to fill any quiet moments during an activity but remember that the girls may need time to think about the question, and will speak up when they are ready. Filling the silence for them may discourage them from jumping in when they are ready to share.
- Keep an eye on their involvement. Some girls will jump right into troop meetings, but some may not. Watch closely for signs that girls are losing interest or having trouble participating, and try to gently pull them into the fold. If the issue continues, ask their parent or caregiver about ways to better engage them during meetings, and possibly address other challenges the girls may be facing outside of Girl Scouts.