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Icebreakers

Keys to a good icebreaker: Make it quick and move on. Don't drag it out.

My YOUTH PASTOR'S TOOL BOX has hundreds of ideas that will help you with Bible studies, icebreakers, games and more! If you'd like to learn how to get a copy, write me at bradzockoll@hotmail.com

EASTER ICEBREAKER
 
Hollow out some eggs - real eggs, not the plastic ones. Insert a blessing that God has given your youth group this past year (salvation of a teen, the spiritual growth of the group, etc) and insert it into the egg through the top hole of the egg on a fortune-cookie-size slip.  At the Opening Assembly, call up different teens to "break open" the Easter Eggs and read the blessing and have a prayer of thanks.  What a special opening!

MAILMAN ICEBREAKER
 
Here's a simple way to get things going.  Divide your room into two sections and have a red, white, and blue balloon assigned for each side.  Tell the teens you are seeing if your teen group can take over the government contract for the US Mail service and you want to test out the spped of each side.  Adults stand up front and hand the red ballon to a teen on the front row of each side.  The teens on each side must bat the balloon all the way to the back of the room and then back up before you provide them with the white balloon.  When they deliver that one up and back, send them the blue balloon.  The winning side gets first in line at refreshments.

LINK UP
 
This icebreaker starts as the teens first enter the room for the evening, well before the announcements or anything.  You will need a lot of paper clips for this opener; so be ready.  Each teen gets ten paper clips, and the idea is to get other teens to join up and create the largest ring of paper clips in the group.  If you have a large teen group, ten clips will be okay.  If you have a smaller group, twenty or thirty would be great.  The teens must try to persuade others to join their growing ring.  At the very beginning, though, the first three teens are to understand that they may not connect with each other.  Therefore, the beginning icebreaker is to see how the growing groups persuade the newcomers to join up with them.  The new teens may give all ten clips to one team, or "compromise" and split their clips among the groups.  After this icebreaker, you can talk about the persuaion of the world and the compromises some people make. 

NEW NAME
 
When the teens enter the room on Wednesday night, stop them and let them select from a list of nicknames that you have already typed.  They may not make up their own, but choose from the list you have provided.  When they choose, write the name on a name badge and have them wear it for the evening.  Anyone who calls them by another name will lose points and the person who haspoints by the time you start the Bible study will receive a can of Pepsi and a bag of chips.
 
Here is an idea of some names:  ROCKET, SNOWBOARDER, ANGEL, BLAZINGFURY, HUNGRY, INLINE, XGAMES, EXTREME, FIRSTCLASS, etc.
 
Your Bible study can be based in Revelation and the teaching of Christians being given a new name in Heaven.

ICEBREAKER: SUNDAY MORNING SHARE

Lots of times visitors won't respond to your message mainly because nobody has responded in being kind to them. This Sunday, have a big crockpot full of hot chocolate alongside some 2 liters of Pepsi and Coke. Make sure you have plenty of ice and cups.

Teens are not allowed to get the drinks early BEFORE the class begins, but during opening announcments, play some music and then announce that teens must get a drink for someone else. The visitors are to sit still, though - this is the work of the host. Visitors are approached first and asked what drink they will want. The teens then serve them. then teens may serve one another. We have tried this with great success; the newcomer enjoys the peer respect. You may also designate two teens (in private) to go and sit next to the visitor and see to his or her needs: Bible, pencil, bulletin, etc.

BIBLE STUDY ICEBREAKER: HEAR ME ONCE

Here is a way to encourage Bible familiarity and prepaer the teens for the night's Scripture study. It's a backward type of Sword Drill. It's called HEAR ME ONCE. The rule: you will call out the location only once and then the first pair of teens to find the passage - either one - gets a point.

Pair off the teens. Call out the passage in this order: verse, chapter, book. For example, you will yell:

"16" then
"3" then
"John"
"GO!"

This, of course is John 3:16. Note that you do not use the words "verse" or "chapter" or "book." You have already explained the order at the beginning of the game. Also remember, even if a teen asks, you do not repeat any of the information - this adds a challenge of memory to the game. Also, if a team gets it correct, they do not answer the next verse question. This way, there are more chances for everyone. the first team to get four points wins.

ICEBREAKER: WHY GOD IS AWESOME TO ME

Here's an icebreaker that ought to be used at least once every five or six weeks. Start your meeting with a chance for teens to run up to the front (not just stand up)and tell why they are thankful to the Lord. They can start off by saying "God is awesome to me because..." and they can name a miracle in their lives, a blessing they had, or one of His attributes. This is a very uplifting start to any teen meeting, Sundays or Wednesdays.

FAMILY AFFAIR ICEBREAKER

Have the teens put down three facts about their parents that many people don't know. Some of the facts could be their parents' middle names, their nicknames for each other, Dad's favorite radio station or Mom's favorite hobby, the funniest thing they ever did...you get the idea. Give a fun prize: a 1 lb. Hershey Bar or a 2 Liter of Coke.
Have the teens put their names on the bottom of the page and hand the page in, folded down. The rest of the teens are going to try to figure out who is it. The one that fools the most people the longest time wins the prize. This little icebreaker will crack the teens up as well as drawing attention to parents as the theme of the evening.

BACK SPELL

Here's a fun icebreaker that is like the old game password, but with a twist. Choose four teens to come to the front and then divide them into two teams. Put the first team up front, with both teens in chairs, one behind the other, so the first teen is in a front chair and the second teen is right behind him. With these two teens in "single file," allow the back teen to turn around and look on the whiteboard for a five letter word you have written. When you say "GO" that teen is to write the word - one letter at a time - on the back of the person in front of them with their finger. The person in front must call out one letter at a time and then call out the word taht was spelled. The time limit is thirty seconds, and the couple receives 1 point for each letter that is spelled and a bonus two points for getting the whole word right. After the first team competes, the second team is given a words and the time limit. Remember, each word is five letters, and in case of a tie, the team that solves the word in the shortest amount of time wins the round.

YEAH OR NAH

This is a fun, quick icebreaker game. Studetns pop up and tell you "yeah" (Yes) or "nah" (No) to the answer of a question, whether it is correct or not. One point for the team for each correct answer. You can pick out lots of trivia. Here are some samples: (THE ACTUAL ANSWERS ARE IN PARENTHESES)

There exist more chickens than people in the world. (yeah)

How do you keep from crying while peeling onions? Try chewing candle wax - it's supposed to be a powerful cure.(nah)

Who loves soft drinks most? Iceland consumes more Coca-Cola per capita than any other country.(yeah)

Take a look into the heavens. Clouds in the sky fly higher during the night than they do at daytime. (nah)

Do you hear all that strange singing called "Karoke"? The word literally means "empty orchestra" in Japanese. (yeah)

Talk about close calls! A flash of lightning strikes the earth about 1,000 times every second. (nah)

Trying to lose weight the easy way? Melting an icecube in your mouth burns approximately 3 calories. (yeah)

The average person blink over 10,000,000 times a year. (yeah)

Are you musical? Then you can tell that the dial tone of a normal telephone is in the key of "c".(nah)

Deal 'em! Playing cards were originally invented by the Chinese. (yeah)



UNTANGLE

Talk about a fun icebreaker! This one doesn't seem to make any sense but the teens love it. Here's how to get started: the whole group of teens will assemble in a circle with each person clasping a hand of someone different. (In other words, they will be holding one person's hand with their left hand and someone else's with their right hand) IMPORTANT! It cannot be the person next to them. Now that they are in a complete jumble, blow the whistle and give them one minute to get untangled without letting go of each other's hands. There is no prize, but the mayhem is a lot of fun to watch.

VIDEO ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announcements getting boring during your teen meetings? Try putting them on audio or video cassette tape. Act out some of the announcements with some of your youth. Do a mock sports show or try a talk show. Add music in the background. The results will be comical.

TWO GOOD ICEBREAKERS: BALLOON BUSTERS


Get your stopwatch and set it for ninety seconds. This is a simple but hyper icebreaker. Take three boys first and then run a second round for three girls. In each round, give the three teens each a bag of balloons and have them come up front for the contest. When you say GO, have the teens blow up as many balloons as they can until they pop. They have ninety seconds! For this game, its best to get nine-inch balloons.

The second game will involve everybody in a relay race activity. If you have a larger group you can divide them up into more than two teams for this relay. The purpose of the relay is to break the balloons fastest, one teen at a time. On the word GO, each teen in turn must run twenty feet to a chair and grab a balloon from a garbage bag next to them. They must put it on the seat and sit on it. The teen may not run back to his team until his has broken the balloon by sitting on it. You will be surprised at how many times the balloon will shoot out across the room, or the teen will need to bounce up and down continually until the balloon pops! This is a great icebreaker that has minimal cleanup.

ICEBREAKER: THE FLYING FIVE

Award a prize for this fast-paced opener. You will start by announcing that you will give something in a list of five within twenty seconds and then call on another person who must run up and give something in a list of five. Your timekeeper will call out when twenty seconds are over, and then you, the leader, will call another name and give the next list of fives that must be completed. These lists can range from silly to serious. Each teen must run to the front - they only have twenty seconds! The teens must run up and give their list! Here are some topics you can call out:

- GIVE ME FIVE OF THE BEST AMUSEMENT PARK RIDES
- GIVE ME FIVE ANSWERS TO PRAYER IN YOUR LIFE
- GIVE ME FIVE OF GOD'S GREATEST MIRACLES IN YOUR LIFE
- GIVE ME FIVE OF THE GREATEST INVENTIONS OF MAN
- GIVE ME FIVE OF THE BEST HOLIDAYS IN A YEAR
- GIVE ME FIVE OF THE WORST SUBJECTS IN SCHOOL
- GIVE ME FIVE OF THE STUPIDEST SHOWS ON TV
- GIVE ME FIVE REASONS YOU LIKE YOUTH GROUP
- GIVE ME FIVE OF YOUR FAVORITE BOOKS OF THE BIBLE
- GIVE ME FIVE OF THE WORST FOODS
- GIVE ME FIVE THINGS YOU ARE THANKFUL FOR

When you finish and give out your prize (and let everybody catch a breath) talk about some of the serious "fives" given by some of the teens. It will open up your Bible lesson in a great way.

END TIMES NEWSPAPER

Take about ten minutes of the opening and gather your teens into groups. Have them write mock radio scripts that might happen on the day of the Rapture of Jesus Christ. What would be the lead stories when Christians start disappearing from vehicles, offices and homes? Give them thoughts to work on: how would police handle the traffic snarls in L.A.? How would airports explain disappearances? What would the President say? This is a great discussion starter and a good beginning point for a study in Revelation.

ICEBREAKER: COMMERCIAL TIME

Hand these scripts out to various teens in the youth group a few minutes before the meeting starts. Give them the props and tell them that the contest is for the best commercial. Let them read the script right from the paper. It'll be a good icebreaker to start off a study about persuasive speech and the use of the tongue. Here are the scripts:

#1 COKE: You know, after a hard day at school of difficult tests, pop quizzes and moldy cafeteria food, there's nothing like getting home and sitting back with a cold Coke. I can't think of anything better than the best combination in the world: drinking Coke while watching an episode of SPONGE BOB SQUARE PANTS. You ought to try it, too. (sips Coke) Now that's refreshing flavor.

#2: TOOTSIE ROLLS: There are candies and then there are Tootsie Rolls. (eats one and talks while he is eating) Yum. Top flavor. Brittle taste. Chocolate (eats another and keeps talking) Bite size treasures. A tradition of good eating that spans decades. This, my friends, is quality eating. (eats another) So the next time you stop at WalMart, Safeway, Krogers, or your favorite supermarkets, insist- no, DEMAND Tootsie Rolls. They're the best candy America has to offer.

#3 - MILK - We know milk is the only way your body is going to get the calcium is needs. Milk, of course, is the drink of all drinks. But what else is milk good for? Well, for one, it's great (drink and gargle) for a morning mouth rinse. It's also (dip fingers in and wipe on face) a great acne medicine. You know, milk also has that great appearance so that (drink and let out a long stream) is makes a great fountain! Milk - it does a body good!

After you vote - award the winners a can of Coke, a Tootsie Roll amd a small carton of milk. Ask questions about the influence of TV commercials on viewers. Start your Bible study on persuasion.

MONEY ICEBREAKER

This is an especially good icebreaker before you start a Bible study on stewardship and the use of money. Divide the group into teams of three and give each team a piece of paper and pencil. mention a local mall and tell the teens you are going to play a simulation game. Each team gets to go shopping but can only 'buy' one item at each store. You might want to give them a list of the stores, but don't give them prices - let them guess what some things would be. The idea is to see who can 'spend' the most money. Each team is to write down the item that they would buy at each store, and the teams have ten minutes to do so. After the time limit, allow each team to stand and tell what they 'bought' along with the prices. Sometimes you will get hoots and hollers when the other teens realize that the team was way off on the price of an object. This is a fun, low-stress opener that lets teens be aware of money concerns.

OPINION POLL ICEBREAKER

As you open this Sunday's meeting , you can get your kids to share their opinions. Hand out photocopied papers that have questions that will evoke strong opinions, but rather than having essay answers, use boxes that say "Strongly Agree" "Agree" "Don't know of Don't Care" "Disagree" and "Strongly Disagree." You should have three or four adults who can quickly gather the polls and tabulate the answers into one sheet for you. By the time you finish your opening songs, the adults should have the sheets' final tallies so that you can read them aloud. Some of your questions should include:

* I believe that we should go to war to punish who was responsible for the New York and D.C. tragedies.
* If we went into conflict I would find a way to serve in my community to help the cause.
* I believe that God is doing this to teach us a lesson.
* I believe that God is in control of all of this.
* Since this has happened, I have had a closer walk with the Lord.

Spend the first few minutes of the meeting discussing the results. Your Bible study can grow from this opening.

PRAYER WALL

Kim's youth group had a special meeting time of prayer and sharing. In her own words: "What we did that seemed to help them talk about it was create a "prayer "wall" - a long piece of white paper down one hall of the church which they decorated around the borders then wrote their prayers and concerns on colored index cards and glued them to the paper. We will invite other church members to add their prayer cards and concerns as well - it got the kids talking and sharing and their feelings." Kim wrote and had asked for some ideas, but this seems as good as any idea I gave her. I also suggested a candlelight prayer service where teens offer a short prayer before their candle is lit. This is an especially good time to share Psalm 23 and the Savior's care as we walk "through the valley of the shadow of death."

I GUESS I'M FAMOUS...

As the teens enter the building, tape a card on their back that gives the name of a famous person, living or dead. As everyone moves into the room, each teen must circulate and ask other teens questions, so the teen can try to figure out who he is. In other words, he might ask questions like: "Am I, or have I ever been President of the United States?" "Am I a writer?" Does my last name start with a 'T'?" and questions like that. They can only ask each person three questions. Award the first three teens who guess their identity. A cold Coke or Pepsi is a good prize.

ICEBREAKER:
GRAPE EXPECTATIONS

Pick two fairly athletic and/or skilled teens to compete against the clock. Bring them to the front of the room as you open up the night. Put one teen behind a line of tape stretched across the floor, with a bowl full of grapes. The other teen is five feet away, behind a second stretch of tape with a funnel in his mouth. Simple game. When you say "go", the throwing teen will try to toss grapes into the funnel of the catching teen. Remember, the funnel stays in the mouth of the teen and no hands are allowed to help! The time limit is one minute. As soon as one catch is made, the referee pulls out the grape and puts it aside, noting the catch...this keeps the funnel clear for the next catch. Have about three teams compete in this funny competition.
For added fun, keep the grapes in the funnel as the minute continues. It's great fun trying to see the teen balance five or six grapes in the funnel while trying to catch another one!


"LIFE STUDY" TRIVIA QUIZ ICEBREAKER



Use these questions as an icebreaker game, pitting the seniors against the rest of the high school divisions. See who knows the most about life trivia! Answers are in CAPS.

Life and exercise: In terms of aerobics, weight loss, and endurance, which of these three is the best exercise?
a. SWIMMING b. cycling c. running d. weight lifting

Life and work: Which state has the biggest ranch in the U.S.? The ranch is a quarter of a million acres.
a. Texas b. HAWAII c. Arizona d. New Mexico

Life and TV: Which type of programming is the most violent, according to experts? This type of TV program shows 30 violent acts per hour.

a. Western shows b. Cop shows c. CARTOON SHOWS d. Science fiction shows

Life and alcohol: Besides being involved in 42% of all fatal auto accidents, alcohol is in 46% of all homicides, 28% of all suicides and 35% of all

a. robberies b. ACCIDENTAL FALLS c. break-ins


CASTAWAY ICEBREAKER

If you are talking about cooperation and unity within the youth group, try this opener. Depending on the size of your youth group, divide the teens up into groups of anywhere from three to seven. After they circle their chairs, give each team a piece of paper and tell them this scenario (for the sake of this icebreaker, we'll pretend that each group has five teens):

"Your team is going to be marooned on a island due to the fact that your ship is sinking. You know the island has plenty of coconuts, bananas and rainwater, so you can survive. Before your team jumps into the life raft, you are allowed to choose five items to bring with you. Remember, you may only choose five items per team, not per person."

The teens are to discuss and write their items on a piece of paper after they get agreement from the whole group. This icebreaker is interesting - you will hear varied answers as you interview each group! This is a great opening to a study of teamwork found in 1 Corinthians 12:12-26.

DYNAMIC DUOS

Start the evening by recruiting two teens to face the rest of the youth group and prepare to tell a 45 second chapter of a story. One of the teens will tell the story and the other will do all the sound effects.

The teen group will call out three things that must be included in the 45 second segment, according to a letter of the alphabet. For example, if you call out "A," the group may decide that they want the duo to include an apple, alligator and algebra test in the story.

After 45 seconds, blow the whistle and call two more teens to go to the front. Have the group quickly call out three more items from a letter you have chosen (B: "bear" "brick" and "baseball"). That team must continue the first team's storyline and yet add their items.

After four rounds of this, add a last couple to finish up the story (a fun twist is to recruit an adult leader!). Let the teens group decide the winners. Award them each with a can of Coke and a small bag of popcorn as "Theater Prizes." This is a fun active way to start the night.

HERE'S A GREAT ICEBREAKER FOR THIS SUNDAY:

HONOR BARS
Gather your teen staff together and have them think of a reason to give a prize to everyone in the family.

Example: "I would give Tom Smith a prize because he is so friendly to everyone. I would give Marty Wrenton a prize because she is such a funny person. I would give Jim Carson a prize because he is always forgetting things. I would give Brent Wittens a prize because he always sits in the first row at church....etc."

Head to WalMart and buy a big bag of candy bars and start the Honor Bars. It's all tongue in cheek, but every week, hand out three or four candy bars to various teens in the group. Read out the reasons they win. This is light hearted and gets a lot of supportive applause from the rest of the teens. You may even hand out a few because of a recent funny episode on a camping trip or overnighter!

HERE'S A GOOD WAY TO START A MEETING...

FLOWER POWER

During the week, call everyone in the youth group and ask them to bring ONE flower. It can be just the stemmed rose, violet, mum, daisy...as long as it has a stem of at least four inches. They can even get permission and get one from their parent's or neighbor's garden. Your responsibility is to buy an inexpensive but nice vase.

When all the flowers are collected, during the meeting, let one of the knowledgeable staff members make a flower arrangement that night, and then show the group the "finished product." Then the group should vote on who receives the delivery: the pastor's wife, a senior saint, a shut-in, etc. This is a small but powerful group effort that goes far in telling the teens the message of giving.

CHEF ICEBREAKER

Lay out all the ingredients for making sugar cookies on long tables at the front of the teen room. Sugar, measuring spoons, butter, milk, mix, etc. should all be lined up. Choose two girls and two guys to come up front and each work on a separate pile, following directions, but making the mix in less than three minutes! Wherever they are at the end of three minutes, you must collect the mix and bake it in the church oven during the meeting. This is a fun opener that loosens up the group!

ICEBREAKER: A WORD FITLY SPOKEN

The late comedienne Groucho Marx was host of a popular game show called "You Bet Your Life." To open up the show, he would engage the contestants in brief conversation, and if they mentioned the "secret word" that was pre-selected by the judges, they would win $50. The word might be "house", "yes","carrot", or "table." It was supposed to be a word you might use everyday.

You can have fun with this as well. Your staff ought to choose some words and have them written down. Bring a few teens up front who would be good talkers. Tell them the rules, and then ask a few questions. Limit the "interview" to two minutes for each teen, and make the words fairly easy to get. They must use them in normal conversation. For instance your word might be "chore," and you could ask them some of the things they do at home on Saturdays. Or your word could be "church" or "group" and you could ask what things they might remember most whenever they graduate from high school. Reward a Coke and a candy bar to the winners, and use this as a starting point to introduce a Bible study on the use of the tongue, with the key text of Proverbs 25:11 - "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver."

Try this icebreaker at your next teen outing:

COMMERCIAL TIME

At the opening of your meeting, supply these items:

1 can of Coke
1 Hershey Bar
1 box of Kleenex
1 box of Cocoa Crispies
1 box of Q-tips
1 box of Band Aids

...as the teens come in, divide them into teams of three or four and tell them to go to the table and choose the item they want to make a TV commercial - they will be performing a commercial to help open the meeting! RULES: every body on the team must be in the skit, and the skit is to be no longer than 90 seconds.

Your staff will judge the best ones.
Award the best commercial with a Coke and a bag of chips for each actor.

Wrench

LET'S TALK ABOUT ICEBREAKERS...

The goal of the icebreakers I will give you today, is that they are to IMMEDIATELY ABSORB the teen into activity once he enters the room. NO TEEN SHOULD BE LEFT WANDERING AROUND, BORED. These ideas are acually "prequels" before the meeting starts:

1. IDEA #1: Get decks of Rook cards or some of those goofy-looking "Old Maid" cards. Put one deck on each table and, according to your group size, have a deck for each five or six teens. As they walk in the door, tell them you have a six-pack of Pepsi (cold, at that!) for the group that makes the highest house of cards. Let them form their own teams.

2. Break the groups into teams of four or five. As they come in the door, tell them you have candy bars for the winner of the Teen Comedy Opener. Give them each five or six minutes (again, this is at the very beginning) to come up with a comedy skit that welcomes everyone.

3. Give a prize to a group that makes the best poster announcing the next activity. Have the markers sitting out...but the project must be a TEAM EFFORT. Even if one teen is only drawing a border.

HINT: For added effect, have refreshments handy so the teens can enjoy something while they are working on these projects. In fact, having early light refreshments BEFORE you start the meeting is a great way to encourage on-time attendance! When you start, pull the food off the tables.

Let's start out by talking about PRIZES for winning an icebreaker. What do you give to your teens when they win an icebreaker? Make it worthwhile or you will eventually get a mediocre response to your opening games! Here are some tried-and-true ideas:

- a certificate for waffle fries at Chic-Fil-A
- two $1 gift certificates at McDonald's
- a cold can of Coke and a Hershey Bar
- a bag of miniature Reese's Cups (WalMart sells 'em)

...and here is a fun way to get going as the kids come in the room. Beforehand, gather about six stuffed animals from different members of the youth group and line them up museum-style along a table with a notebook sheet in front of them. The teens must figure out which members of the youth group the animals belong to. (Be sure to include a couple of adult sponsors' animals) The person who guesses the most correctly wins - in case of a tie, draw a name out of a hat.

HERE ARE SOME ICEBREAKER IDEAS FOR YOU:

1. As the kids come in, hand out slips of paper that have numbers on them. As you open up your meeting time, call out three different numbers and hand out cans of Coke or pepsi along with a Christian bookmark.

2. Open up the meeting with three Christian posters on the wall. Play Let's Make a Deal, and have three contestants guess the price of
a. a bag of Lay's Potato Chips
b. a bottle of Dove dishwashing liquid
c. a can of Campbell's Tomato Soup

...combine the amount that each contestant was off. The person with the least amount of difference gets to pass or play on the next part of the game. Point to the three poster and tell them that you have written certain prizes on the back of the posters. Do they choose Poster number 1, Poster number 2, or Poster number 3?

(Along with the prizes you have sketched on the back, let them keep the poster.)

When all three have chosen, pull off the least important prize first, then the next important and finally the most important. Some suggestions:

* A box of Raisinets
* $3 at Hollywood video coupon
* $5 gift book from McDonald's
* Pizza Coupon (for free pizza) at Pizza Hut
* Half-off at next activity
* First choice of seat at next bus ride activity
* Free passage to next amusement park trip

QUICK ICEBREAKER IDEAS:

1. Divide the teens into two teams. Open up the evening by playing blurbs from the 50's and 60's TV Theme Shows CD (you can buy it at WalMart or Best Buy. Play ten seconds of the song and have two chairs up front. if a member knwos it they are to run from their chair up to the front and sit down. Then they tell you their guess.

Hint: if you cannot get the CD, merely read out the beginning words of the theme songs that have lyrics..."here's the story of a man named Brady.."

2. This one is worth a candy bar or a can of Coke to the winner. You will take one contestant at a time and they have 30 seconds to tell the most embarrassing thing that every happened to them. Judge the winner by the reaction of the audience.

3. Tape a candy bar under the chairs in the room. After the kids sit down, tell them to check under their chairs. Better yet, tape a dollar under their chair.

4. Bring one teen up to the front for special prayer. pray for their job this summer, for their family life, and also for any special requests they may have. Let the teens gather up front and hold hands, praying for this individual. Each week, choose another teen.


RELATIONSHIP CHARADES
From the teen group, gather some of your actors and actresses and give them a slip of paper which instructs them on how they are to act out their particular scenario. Remember, just like in charades, they may not talk at all. The audience will have to guess what is going on, so the burden is on the acting team to make it as plain as possible. After the three groups receive their paper slips, send them outside for five minutes while you go on with your announcements. After the announcements are finished, start the show! Have three groups perform and then have the teens judge which was the best. The winning team gets a couple of 2 pound bags of Doritos. Here are some of the scenarios from which you can choose:

* BOY AND GIRL ARE TALKING ON THE PHONE. AT FIRST THEY ARE VERY LOVEY-DOVEY (you can tell by their faces) BUT THEN THE GIRL SLIPS UP BY MENTIONING A BOY'S NAME. (She might do this by mouthing a boy in the family, or by holding up a picture of a boy and 'slipping' by saying his name) HER BOYFRIEND ON THE OTHER END OF THE LINE IS VISIBLY UPSET AND STARTS SHOUTING ON THE PHONE. SHE STARTS CRYING, BUT THEN SHE APOLOGIZES FOR MENTIONING THE NAME...HE FORGIVES HER BUT THEN AFTER THEY TALK COZY FOR A BIT, HE SLIPS UP AND MENTIONS A GIRL'S NAME. SHE THEN FLIES OFF THE HANDLE AND HANGS UP.

* TWO GUYS ARE WORKING A SUMMER JOB ON A CONSTRUCTION SITE. ONE IS HOLDING THE NAIL, THE OTHER IS HAMMERING. EVERY ONCE IN AWHILE THE ONE GUY MISSES AND HITS THE OTHER GUYS THUMB. THAT GUY "YELLS" AND SMACKS THE HAMMER GUY. THIS GOES ON UNTIL THE HEAR THE LUNCH WHISTLE. THEY START TO EAT LUNCH BUT THEN THE THUMB GUY HEARS HAMMER GUY TELL A JOKE AND SPITS MILK ALL OVER HIM WHEN HE LAUGHS. THE OTHER GUY SMACKS HIM. THEN IT'S BACK TO WORK. THE THUMB HITTING GETS SO BAD THAT THE GUYS ARE SCREAMING AT EACH OTHER, BUT THEN THE BOSS COMES BY WITH NOTICES THAT THEY BOTH ARE FIRED. THEY WALK OUT CONSOLING EACH OTHER, ARM IN ARM.

* FAMILY MEALTIME. MOTHER COMES IN WITH A MEAL UNDER A BIG COVER. THE FAMILY DROOLS IN ANTICIPATION. MOM OPENS THE LID TO REVEAL A DISGUSTING MEAL. THE FAMILY MEMBERS DON'T WANT TO HURT HER FEELINGS, SO THEY TRY TO EAT IT. THE USUAL ANTICS LIKE FEEDING THE DOG UNDER THE TABLE, TRYING TO HIDE THE FOOD IN THEIR SHIRT, ETC. GOES ON. SKIT ENDS UP WITH MOM ASKING IF THEY LIKED IT. THEY AGREE HEARTILY, SO SHE BRINGS OUT A WHOLE TUB-FULL MORE! THEY RUN OFF, "SCREAMING."


ICEBREAKER:

60 SECOND MOUTH TUG-OF-WAR
Tie a marshmallow to the middle of a five-foot string. Make about seven sets of these "Marshmallow Fishlines." Assemble teams of two at the front of the room. Each pair will be competing against each other. Have each couple stand facing each other about two feet apart. Make sure the string is slack and the marshmallow is resting on a table.
Inform both members of the team that they are to put the free end of the string into their mouth. They are to keep their hands behind their back and not touch the string at all. At the sound of the referee's whistle, the persons at each end of the string must chew the string, getting as much as possible into their mouth and working towards the marshmallow in the middle.
The time limit is 60 seconds. This contest is a sort of "tug of war" to see who can get to the middle object first. The facial expressions are great , but the best part is when somebody cracks up and spits out about a foot of string they worked so hard to tug. After 60 seconds, see who is closer to the marshmallow and determine the winner.

NEW YEARS - OR NEW SUMMER'S - RESOLUTION ICEBREAKER


We do it for the New Year...why not the beginning of the summer?
As the teens walk in to your meeting, give each of them a 3" x 5" card and a pencil or pen. Tell them what they will write is to be kept secret from anyone else in the room. Don't give them the reason just yet, but just tell them to write down at least three New Year's "resolutions" - or goals, or whatever you want to call them. Make sure they put their names on it.

After your opening prayer and announcements, read about five of the best cards and have the teens try to guess who the people are. Some of the answers may be pretty funny, and some may be thought-provoking. Have some of the adults get involved as well.

ICEBREAKERS OF THE EXTREME KIND

1. Get a teen's plastic wading pool and put about five bags of ice in it. Drop about twenty marbles in it. Your opening game is to have different teams fish out six marbles with their bare toes. Oh boy - will you ever hear the screams! Ice breaker indeed!
2. Open up your meeting by bringing some of the boys (about four would be great) up front and giving each of them an ice cube. Immediately set a stopwatch going and give each of them one minute to melt the ice cube as best they can. No blowing on it and no putting it to the body - only hand squeezing and hand rolling are allowed. Find out the real "macho" types in your group as they endure freezing temperatures in order to win.

VIDEO ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announcements getting boring during meetings? Try putting them on audio or video cassette tape. Act out some of the announcements with some of your youth. Do a mock sports show or try a talk show. We did a whole news show once, INCLUDING a weather map, predicting the weather for the next trip. We even added a social column tot he show, with someone teasing about who liked whom.

Add music in the background.

One youth pastor friend of mine would have the actor pause during the announcements and act as if someone were asking him a question. Then the youth pastor secretly gave teens questions to "ask the screen," making it look like announcment time was interactive. It was something the kids talked about for quite a while! The results were comical.

ANIMAL/NUMBER GROUPS

Everyone is instructed to mingle amongst themselves all over the room (or outside in a field.) Be sure that people don't just stick with the same people the whole time (mix them up). Instruct them that when a number is called out, they need to get into groups the size of the number called (i.e. when a 2 is called; get into groups of 2). After you call out a number, yell an object of some sort (i.e. monkey, elephant, statue of liberty, the backstreet boys) and the groups have to portray that object as a group. Example: if i were to call out "4...sasquatch", they would separate into groups of 4 and everyone would be a different body part of the sasquatch and together they would make a whole sasquatch; note that they don't all become individual sasquatches. There are'nt any real winners here, just a fun game to mix it up a bit. This game is tested and proven to be very fun and the kids love it. At camp, we even do it with the teen groups and we find that if the staff gets into it, so do the teens, so feel free to get the sponsors involved.

-submitted by Kristopher Loewen, Walla Walla, Washington

FOOT FELLOWSHIP

WARN YOUR TEENS AHEAD OF TIME TO HAVE CLEAN FEET FOR THIS EVENT! If you really feel crazy and want to get things started off in a hilarious mood, have a foot fellowship as the teens walk in. Supply markers and "Hello My Name Is" stickers. Teens are to take their shoes and socks off and sign their name - with their feet! We have seen this open up a group and get the stiffness out of a meeting as it opens. The teens are to wear their name tag throughout the evening.

GODLY GOALS

As the teens gather into your meeting area, hand out 3 x 5 cards and a pen to each of them. Ask them to find a corner, put their name on the card, and write down some of their goals for one year, five years, ten years, and twenty years from now should the Lord tarry. Gather the cards up, making sure that nobody has peeked at another person's card. Make this a guessing game: Which teen in this room has these goals? Read aloud the goals, especially the twenty-year goals. Many times the group will be surprised at what they hear.

"I didn't know George was pursuing microbiology in college! I didn't even know George wanted to go to college!"

"Melissa is thinking about being a missionary to Spain? That's why she took a Spanish elective at school!"


Then begin your study on Godly goals for life. It would be valuable to do a strong reference into the book of Job and deal with the goals that may face trials.

Try this activity on Sunday in your teen meeting:

LISTEN!

This could be played after a service you have had about having a quiet time with God, which would include shutting out the world's distractions.
Give each teen a pencil and a piece of paper. Have three tape recorders placed at various sides of the room. Each tape recorder has a different set of sound effects or words on it. At a specified signal have your leaders turn on the tape players simultaneously. The challenge is to see which teen can write down the most sounds he or she hears within the time span of the tapes. (Three minutes would be the absolute maximum.) Some of your sound effects could include a person laughing, water splashing, cat's meow, ball bouncing, glass breaking, guitar strumming, etc. Make sure you have the list of what your effects were!
Award the top teens with a devotional "Quiet Time" journal.

Ask the teens for their comments about the activity. You will hear comments like "it got confusing," "it was hard to sort out all the noises," "it was hard to distinguish the different sounds."

After the comments, tell how God's communication can often be drowned out by the confusion of the world if we don't take time to withdraw into a quiet place for time with Him.

This is a good active ilustration on how the many distractions of the world can try to interfere with our clear communication line with God.

HONESTY ICEBREAKER:"ARE YOU KIDDING?"

This opening game is like a quiz show. One teen, representing his or her team, comes up to the front and goes head to head against another player. They may take suggestions from their team, but they write down the answer, just like the final round on Jeopardy. Give them ten seconds to write down a response. They simply answer "KIDDING" or "NOT KIDDING" to each of the statements you give... "KIDDING" means they think the statement is FALSE. "NOT KIDDING" means they think the statement is TRUE. Give ten points for each correct answer. Here are the statements. The answers are in parentheses right after the statement.

The parachute was invented in France originally to save people who were forced to jump from a burning building. (Not kidding.)

The only three women to appear on U.S. coins were Martha Washington, Pocahontas, and Susan B. Anthony. (Not kidding.)

The brand name Pepsi came from the maiden name of the founders wife. (Kidding.)

Baseball pitcher Nolan Ryan set the Major League baseball record for hitting ten batters in a single game. (Kidding.)

The term Adams Apple is from the legend that a piece of the forbidden fruit stuck in Adams throat. (Not kidding.)

McDonalds sold fried chicken at one time in their restaurants. (Not kidding)

Fathers day was officially declared a holiday before Mothers Day. (Kidding.)

After this game, discuss the difficulty in separating truth and error.

"NOW WAIT A MINUTE" TRIVIA CHALLENGE

This is not really a trivia game...rather it is a "set up" in order for you to get your point across.
Announce to the teens that tonight you will pit the adult staff against the teens and see who is better at trivia. Pick three adults and three teens and have them leave the room under supervision. After they are gone, you can let the rest of the group in on the secret: You have really set the adults up with all the answers. You have even told some adults to act as if they have the answers written down. The audience is to act as if nothing is going on and not to say anything, just cheer as if it is a regular trivia challenge match.
Bring the groups back in. Start off on the questioning. Ask the questions from one of our trivia pages or a book of your own. Have the first one who raises their hand get to answer, and award five points for the correct answer. Of course, your adults are going to clean up since you've provided them the answer...but make sure one of them "shows" his cheat sheet "accidentally." When the competing team starts to complain, act as if you don't understand, but as the trivia continues, make it obvious that the adults have been fed the answers...they will know such obscure facts that the other team is REALLY suspicious now.
Announce the winner but keep the teens up front. Reveal to them that the whole thing was rigged and ask them how they felt. Was it worth continuing when you realized someone was cheating? Were you frustrated when you thought nobody was listening to you? Did it make you angry? Thank them, give them a little prize, then start the study by telling the teens that we treat the Lord that way many times: We don't listen to His pleas to us, we cheat Him by doing what we want, our desire to excel overrules our desire to abide by His rules, etc.

KLONDIKE STRENGTH CONTEST

Simple but entertaining. Obtain an exercise hand-gripper - the kind that has the big spring in the middle, where you must bring both handles together under resistance.

Divide the room up into teams.

Your opening challenge between teams is to have a representative come up and see how long they can hold the two handles together with only one hand squeezing. Have a girls' division and a guys' division. The usual length of time holding the handles together is about 30 seconds for girls, about a minute for guys.
To add to the contest, give regular announcements as the contestant stands there, gritting their teeth and trying to hold those handles together. Have a time-keeper/judge standing next to them, registering the length of time. Have the top three in each division win "Three Musketeers" bars for being a "true Musketeer." Also award their team some points.

This may seem overly simple, but be sure to take a camera shot of the guy who is grimacing, trying to hold those to ends of the gripper together for the last few precious seconds. You'll be sure to get cheering from the audience as well. Only one hand holds it, and both ends of the handle must stay together!

NO MAN'S LAND

Here's a fun indoor game, good for groups from 10 to 100. First of all, you'll have to get balloons of different colors. You will need two balloons to be red, two balloons to be white, and one balloon to be yellow. Keep extra balloons of this color in case the originals should burst. Divide the teens into two teams. Lay out a volleyball court, but in this game all the teens will be seated on the ground.
Give one side both the red balloons and give the other side the two white balloons. Tell them that this game is called NO MAN'S LAND and the balloons that are on their side are really atomic bombs; they must get them out of their land! Each team is actually a country at war and starts with a "power" of 100 points.. A mad scientist has decreed that he will detonate the bombs after two minutes, no matter which country has possession of the bombs. The object is to get them out of their area and in the other side by the end of two minutes. However, as they try to get rid of the bombs volleyball-style, they must beware of the danger of letting the balloons hit the ground or of letting the bombs stay on their side for more than ten seconds. To let a bomb land on your side is a loss of a point; having a bomb on your side for more than ten seconds is also a loss of a point. (You will want to have four referees - one for each balloon, keeping track of the points against each side. They should follow that particular balloon.) During the course of play, if they get up off of their backside to hit the balloons, they lose a point for their team. Lay out the boundaries clearly and let the teens know that during the course of action, they may only advance the balloons by batting them with their hands - they may not grab and throw the balloons. A balloon may not be in their possession for more than two seconds. If a balloon hits the ground on their side, it is a point against them. But if time is called at the end of two minutes, the balloons on their side are minus ten points apiece. The points are subtracted from the 100 power points...so in effect, the game is working backwards down to zero. After you blow the whistle and get things rolling, introduce the "Neutron Bomb" (the yellow balloon) after one minute's time. Ending up with that balloon on your side is minus 15 points.
Run three rounds. The team with the most points (furthest away from zero!) is declared the winner.

IF I WERE KING OF THE WORLD...


As your teens come in, hand them a 3 x 5 card, telling them to put down five laws they would enact if they were made king of the world tomorrow. Tell them to remember that when they write these laws, everyone will be required to obey them. You will start a lot of laughter or invite interesting discussion when you gather these up and read them aloud.

Answers may vary from: "Pornographers will be put to death", "No abortion allowed" and "Drunk Drivers should be jailed for life" to "All students should get straight A's automatically" and "People who snore should be shot."

After you have read the cards, you may want to have a brief challenge on the importance of following the right rules: God's Word.

NERVES OF STEEL

Before you open the meeting, have a card table set up. On the card table, unload two or three canisters of "Pick up Sticks" - you can get them at any toy store. Put a guard next to the table, and as the teens are coming into the room, have each teen pull out and keep three of the Sticks. If you have a smaller group, make it five. The ones who arrive early will naturally find easier pickings on the edges - that's okay. Any one who moves one does not go to the next round. Right up until exactly two minutes after you usually start, let the teens continue - if everyone has done it once, go to the second round, which allows a teen to pick up as many as he can until he moves one. You will award a small prize to whomever gets the most sticks. It may not seems like much, but it has the same effect as "Jenga" - people will be standing around, watching the action. You might open up with a parallel challenge, such as the boldness it takes to go witnessing for Jesus Christ.

END TIMES NEWSPAPER

ASSIGN ONE OF THE ARTISTS IN YOUR TEEN GROUP TO MAKE UP A MOCK NEWSPAPER HEADLINE AND STORY PAGE ABOUT THE FIRST EDITION THAT WOULD COME OUT AFTER THE RAPTURE OCCURS. GIVE THEM SOME FOOD FOR THOUGHT ON THIS. WHAT WOULD THE HEADLINE SAY? WHAT WOULD LOCAL PEOPLE SAY TO EXPLAIN AWAY THE INCIDENT? HOW WOULD FUNERAL HOMES HANDLE THE ENSUING TRAGEDIES?
Have this done before the mid-week meeting. Post them up around the room. It will be an unusual thought-provoking start to the meeting.

FAMILY AFFAIR

Have the teens put down three facts about their parents that many people don't know. Some of the facts could be their parents' middle names, their nicknames for each other, Dad's favorite radio station or Mom's favorite hobby, the funniest thing they ever did...you get the idea. Give a fun prize: a 1 lb. Hershey Bar or a 2 Liter of Coke.
Have the teens put their names on the bottom of the page and hand the page in, folded down. The rest of the teens are going to try to figure out who is it. The one that fools the most people the longest time wins the prize. This little icebreaker will crack the teens up as well as drawing attention to parents as the theme of the evening.

ARGUMENT ICEBREAKER

I've been both a participant and a leader in this icebreaker and it never fails to stimulate serious discussion.

For this icebreaker, you will need to break you teens into groups of no more than seven but no less than four.

BEFORE the teen meeting, and IN SECRET, recruit one teen for each group that will be one who will disagree. That teen is instructed that NO MATTER WHAT, he is to do his best to make sure that the group does not reach a unified conclusion.

As the teens gather into the room, form them into groups (with one "disruptive" teen planted in each group) and tell them that you awill be teaching on unity this evening. this first group to come up with an agreed-upon decision will each win a prize. Tell them the subject of discussion is two-minutes long, and the discussion is to be about uniforms on kids in public school. Start your stopwatch for two minutes.

HERE'S WHAT WILL HAPPEN: While the team tries to arrive at a unified decision, your "planted" teen will do everything to disrupt by changing his mind. Even if the group agrees with his disagreement, he is to change his mind. You will see that discussion groups will get hostile toward the teen and even personal.

After the two minutes, blow the whistle and tell the whole youth group the scheme. Many of your teens will be embarrassed as they realize they got too personal when they should have been objective. Ask each of the "spy" teens how they were treated when they disagreed.

Then go into your study about unity (start with Psalm 133:1) and discuss how we must maintain a testimony even when there are those that disagree with us. This is a GREAT discussion starter.

ICEBREAKER: YOU COULD BE A STAR!

We have a lot of fun with this icebreaker. Participation in this is high and the teens love to listen as much as perform.

Here's what you do:

Hand out paper to the teens as they come in to the meeting. On the sheet of paper you will see three sentences:

1. You know, if they don't bring the food soon, I think I'm going to starve.
2. She walked in the room carrying the wedding cake, slipped on the banana and crashed into the table.
3. I think that is the most unusual haircut and set of clothes I've ever seen on a person.

THEN, UNDERNEATH THESE SENTENCES, WRITE THIS LIST:

a. normal
b. angry
c. bored
d. laughing hilariously
e. sad
f. news reporter-style
g. impatient and nervous
h. shouting

Here's the game: Tell the teens that you are looking for some of the best actors and actresses in the room for possible careers onstage and TV. You want teens to come up front, choose a sentence out of the three and read it according to the list of emotions on the list at the bottom of the page. The two top winners will receive a Coke and candy bar. The audience will judge the winners.

Thus, a teen will go up front a choose a sentence, first reading it normally, then angry, then bored, etc. It's always fun to watch. You may be surprised at the great actors in your group! You don't need to let everyone do this, just five or six, if time permits. The teen can choose any one of the three sentences to read, but the one he chooses is the one he uses to read all the emotions; he stays with his one choice.

This is a great icebreaker that introduces a Bible study on the right actions and the proper testimony, and how we can control our emotions.

Use your teens

Your teens should be a part of the opening at your Youth Meetings. Don't choose one or two of the "golden boys," either; mix it around! Even if your teens only read a few announcements aloud, you should still give them the chance to get up front and be part of the meeting. Have a rotating schedule.

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