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youthwork activities


Warm Up Activities

Try some of these ideas to get your group started right!

To print these activities for future reference, go to Text Only Version

To divide into small groups in ways that are more fun than just counting off, click here.

Group Problem Solving Initiatives.

General Group Activities

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Ideas from youth are especially welcome.
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Scroll through the page to find an interesting and fun new activity
Do You Like Your Neighbor
Contributed by Donna Pate
Equipment: Chairs
Description: Place chairs in a circle facing inward with one less chair than the number of people playing (like musical chairs); pick some one to start off in the middle of the circle. That person walks up to anyone in a chair and asks them "Do You Like Your Neighbor?" If that person answers "NO" the two people on either side of him must swap chairs while the person in the middle trys to get one of the chairs. Who ever is left without a chair is "it". If that person answers "YES...I like my neighbor, but I don't like anyone who (fill-in the blank) It could be anything from...Yes, but I don't like anyone who has a nose or is wearing a certain color...be creative!!! The object is to get as many people as possible fighting for a chair. This game is hillarious and make sure you use strong chairs...I've seen several broken in this game!!! Have Fun!!!
A Big Wind Blows
Contributed by LG
Equipment: Chairs for all but one player
Description: All participants sit in a circle with the person starting the game standing in the center. This player has two options. They can state "A big wind blows if" and then state something true of themselves, such as "A big wind blows if you have a little sister". All players that this is true of must leave their seat and find an empty one, including the person standing in the center. The person in the middle can also state "Hurricane", and all players must change seats. It has been a good way for kids in a group to begin learning things they have in common.
Question Jenga
Contributed by S
Equipment: Jenga game, rubber cement, small pieces of paper
Description: Write questions on pieces of paper that will fit onto each Jenga stick. As each person pulls out a stick, they answer the question to the group. Questions might be: Who is your hero? What's your favorite thing about yourself? What's your favorite thing to eat?
I Have Never
Contributed by Bruno
Equipment: Chairs - one less than the number of people playing
Description: Everyone sits in a chair in a circle besides one person that stands up in the middle. That person has to say "i have never" then states something they have never done. Whoever has done it has to stand up and move to a different chair. The last person standing has to be in the middle and say something they have never done. Its a great game so people can get to know eachother.
boppity bop bop bop
Contributed by Indie
Equipment: None
Description: Get the group to circle up. Everyone remains standing and there is one person in the middle. The person in the middle is trying to get someone in the circle to mess up so they can take their place. The person in the middle will go to someone and point saying "zip" or "zap". Zip means left and Zap means right. When the person in the middle says "Zip" the person to whom they are pointing must say the name of the person on their left before the person in the middle says "boppity bop bop bop". If the person who is in the circle cannot do this, then they change places with the person who is "it" in the middle. Good Icebreaker - great with older kids (14-19)
Balloon Toss
Contributed by Barbara
Equipment: One balloon per person
Description: Each person blows up a balloon. The group is then instructed to keep all the ballons in the air as long as they can. This can be repeated to allow the group to better their previous time.
Contributed by Anonymous
Equipment: Prepared "Bingo Cards"
Description: Prepare Bingo Cards that are divided into 25 squares - 5 across and 5 down. In each square write a phrase that could apply to someone in the group. Examples: has traveled in another country; likes to play chess; enjoys dancing, etc. Give each person a card and have them mingle to get a signature from someone who fits the phrase. Noone can sign a card a second time until all names are on the card at least once. When someone has completed a straight line or all spaces on the card, they call Bingo and the game ends.
Honey If You Love Me
Contributed by Melissa in 4-H
Equipment: None
Description: The group sits in a circle. "It" goes up to someone in the circle and says "Honey, if you love me please smile". The chosen player must reply without smiling or laughing, "Honey, I love you but I just can't smile." If the chosen player smiles they are the new "it", if not "It" must try someone else. The rest of the group can judge what's a smile and what's not. We like to play that "it" can ask the same person 3 times in a row, and of course that the gender of the players dosn't matter--it's a friendly game.
Stuffed Animal Throw
Contributed by Cherie
Equipment: 10 stuffed animals
Description: I use this activity to begin a new group. I have the students create a pattern throwing one stuffed animal. Prior to throwing it to a friend you have to say their name. Once we have established a pattern and everyone has thrown to one person in the group, I add stuffed animals to see how many we can get going at the same time. Everyone loves it!
Hot Potato
Contributed by Amy from Youth Mission Team Newcastle
Equipment: Potatoes or tennis balls, music
Description: Firstly you divide into groups of four or more. Then give each group a potato. The activity works by passing the potato clockwise around the group until the music stops. Once the music stops the person left holding the potato stands up and is asked to do an action, i.e cluck like a chicken!. Once they have done this task they can sit back down and the music starts again,they continue passing the potato. The catch is that the person who has been given the action must stand up and perform this action every time they get hold of the potato. The result is that you have a group all doing different actions while passing a potato along to an up to date piece of music. I have worked in fulltime youthwork for two years now and this has never failed to break the ice!
Toilet Paper Ice Breaker
Contributed by Rachel at Our House
Equipment: A roll of toilet paper
Description: Hold up a roll of toilet paper and inform group that it will be passed around and each person may take off as many or as few sheets off as they like. After each person in the group has taken their share, break the news to the group that for each sheet they took, they have to tell the group something about themselves. Example: For 4 sheets...."#1. My name is Bob, #2. My favorite subject is Science, #3. I like to play football in my spare time, #4. My favorite car is the Camero."
Commonality Warm Up
Divide into groups of three or four. Each small group is to find the things they have in common. After 5 minutes each group reports back to the large group.
Cultural Roots
Contributed by Greg
This is a warm up activity which provides a fun and easy way to start talking about cultural diversities.
The leader names a cultural/ethnic heritage and all who are of that background, totally or in part, move to one side of the room. The others go to the opposite side. Each person in the "cultural" side shares a fact or experience about his or her heritage with the entire group. Another heritage is then named and the individuals move and repeat the process.
End with a call for those whose cultural roots have not been called and/or those who do not know their heritage.

Teamwork and Teamplay by Jim Cain and Barry Jolliff
Cowstails and Cobras II : A Guide to Games, Initiatives, Ropes Courses, and Adventure Curriculum by Karl Rohnke
Silver Bullets by Karl Rohnke
Values Clarification/the Classic Guide to Discovering Your Truest Feelings, Beliefs, and Goals by Sidney B. Simon, et. al.
Playback: A Guide to Reviewing Activities by Roger Greenaway


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