My love for icebreakers has never been a secret.
I even recently shared Why Women’s Ministry Events Need Great Icebreakers.
Here’s the thing though, not all icebreakers are great.
Not all icebreakers are fun.
Some even make the participants feel stupid.
I was at an event a while back and we played several individual icebreaker games – the winners each received a door prize.
One particular game ruffled my feathers. We were given approximately 10 really hard, random trivia questions to answer.
Two were Bible based, so if your Bible knowledge is lacking you were at a disadvantage.
I heard many others around me grumbling about how hard it was.
Instead of being fun, it was frustrating.
If we had played in teams, rather than individually, I think the response would have been much different.
That got me to thinking about other ways that icebreakers “go wrong”.
I hope this list of 10 Things Icebreakers Should Not Do will prevent any icebreakers you do from being a “fail”.
Icebreakers should not:
1. Make anyone feel stupid
- Trivia-type games should be played in teams
- Assume there are women in attendance with little to no Bible knowledge
2. Humiliate anyone
- Always ask for volunteers
- For something really silly/messy recruit a willing friend
3. Cause division
- Prizes should be minimal to eliminate any jealousy (such as small candies)
- Create new teams for each icebreaker
- Stay far away from controversial topics (breastfeeding, politics, homeschooling, etc.)
4. Exclude someone from participation
- Take into account the physical limitations of your specific group
5. Reinforce cliques
- Divide your women into teams – by color, numbers, stickers, etc.
6. Be boring
- Your icebreaker coordinator needs to be exciting and fun
- Choose an icebreaker you would want to do and sell it!
7. Take time away from the speaker/program for the evening
- Know the time you have and plan accordingly
- Wrap things up quickly if things get out of control in any way
- Be prepared – have supplies ready to go and practice the icebreaker if needed
8. Encourage the sharing of secrets or lies
- It’s just not Biblical
- Be prepared to squelch any “over-sharing”
9. Cause discomfort or anxiety
- Always give them the option to choose another question or skip an item
- Take care not to put anyone on the spot
10. Violate any church policies
- If you’d be embarrassed if the pastor came in during the icebreaker – don’t do it!
- Use wisdom when choosing music, content, video clips, etc.
Looking for great icebreakers?