Ice Breakers

We begin each children's church session with ice breakers. These fun activities can also be used successfully in the youth ministry or even at a get-together for adults!

These are the only components of children's church that have no spiritual purpose and don't relate to the Main Teaching. So why do we use them? Just to prove to the kids that we are going to have a great time today, as we promised! They help to break the ice (wonder why they're called "ice breakers"?!), help kids get comfortable with one another and with us, and nip potential attitude problems in the bud before they manifest themselves as serious problems. They really gets us in a fun mood to work our ministry, too!

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We begin each children's church session at 10:55 every Sunday morning with an ice breaker. Sunday School is supposed to dismiss at 10:45, but you always have those teachers who like to wait until the last minute. The kids in our children's church ministry know that if they don't get to us by 10:55, they are going to miss some FUN; so they literally beg their teachers to release them. We've had several Sunday School teachers in our church tell us that our kids can't wait to get to children's church.

The following list of ice breaker ideas may help you get your brain rolling so that you can think of some more great ones yourself. Be sure to share your ideas with our readers down at the bottom of this page!

Human Web

For this game you separate the boys and girls into two groups (hopefully, they will end up being somewhat equal). Have each group hold hands, forming a circle, and then have them all walk forward until they are close together and the circle is small and tight. Drop hands. Now each kid should grab any two different hands except for those of his immediate neighbor. This will form a colossal mess! Next comes the fun part! This kids need to untangle themselves without letting go of any hands. They will have to step over arms, duck under, and work at it; but it is fun and challenging!

Mummy Game

This is a great youth ministry ice breaker. For this game you need two rolls of toilet paper and six volunteers (three boys and three girls). Select one boy and one girl to become the "mummies" and the remaining volunteers to be the "embalmers." At your prompt to "GO!" the embalmers will begin to quickly wrap the mummies with the entire roll of toilet paper. Encourage them to be careful not to tear the paper. The first team to finish the entire roll wins.

Egg Race

For this one you need two hard boiled eggs and two spoons. You can either allow all of your children to participate in this relay, or you can just choose four to six from each side (depending on your time factor and size of group). By the way, don't tell the kids that the eggs are boiled! It's a lot more thrilling if they think they are at risk of dropping a raw egg on the church carpet! Chris and I always demonstrate first by racing crazily around the room with the eggs on our spoons, and then we stick the end of the spoons in our mouths and do it that way! They think it's hilarious just to watch us (make sure you don't drop it though, or you ruin it). Divide your teams -- we do boys against girls for everything -- and as soon as you say "GO!" they are to run to the designated point, carefully holding the egg on their spoons, and then return to the next runner. First team with all participants back wins (if you are using all the kids, you can divide each team in half and let them walk the egg to their teammate across the room, eliminating the necessity of having to return the egg to where they started).

Knobby Knees

For this ice breaker you will need two quarters and two jars (like quart canning jars). Obtain one boy and one girl volunteer and have them attempt to drop the quarter into the jar positioned below them. The catch... they must hold the quarter between their knees.

Knobby Knees II

This is a relay ice breaker, and you will only need a balloon (previously blown up) for each team. Simply have them clamp the balloon between their knees, run/waddle to the finish line, and race back to tag the next person on their team. First team finished wins. Warning: Use discernment if you have girls wearing tight, straight skirts!

Baby Feed

ice breakers

Warning: messy ice breaker! You will need two of each of the following: bibs, blindfolds, jars of baby food, and baby spoons. Select teams of two boys and two girls. Have one person from each team sit in a chair with their partner standing behind them. The person in the chair must don the bib, and the standing partner will wear the blindfold. When you say, "Go!" the blindfolded students must feed the baby food to their partners from behind. First ones to drain the jar wins. (It is expedient to use large bibs for this game!)

Pickle Pucker

For this ice breaker you will need two dill pickle spears and two packets of lemon Kool Aid (not the kind with sugar added, just the little packet -- and it can be generic). Choose the most sour looking boy and girl to participate. It's very easy; all they have to do is dip their pickle into their Kool Aid and devour! Oh, but is this super sour!!! They must dip after each bite. First one finished wins.

Draw From the Well

This ice breaker is a relay, so divide into two teams (you could use all of your kids, or if you have too many, just select five or so for each team). Across the room you will have two empty clear cups or glasses sitting on a table -- one for each team. The teams will line up behind a bucket of water with the first person in each line holding a spoon. When you say, "Go!" they will fill their spoons with water from the bucket and quickly transport it to the cup across the room. Then they will run back and hand off the spoon to the next in line. First team to fill their cup wins.

Clothes Pins

For this ice breaker you will need two clothes hangers with 20 clothes pins randomly clamped all over each of them. Choose two students to play. When you say, "GO!" they must remove as many clothes pins as possible... with one hand... without dropping or putting any of them down. Whenever someone drops a clothes pin, stop and count up the total for each. Whoever has the most is the winner.

Bubble Belch

For this ice breaker you will need two cans of soda and two pieces of bubble gum (the firmer gum -- you know, the round pink ones that are individually wrapped -- not the soft sugary ones). Select (or appoint) a volunteer from each team. They must swig the entire can of soda and then pop the gum into their mouths and chew it up. First one to blow a bubble wins! It's funny because they will struggle with belching up the soda while they're trying to chew & blow!

Frisbee Leak

For this ice breaker you will need two frisbees and two glasses or bottles of water. Select four or six participants from each side -- boys and girls. Send half of each team to one side of the room and half to the other. The object is to walk across the room with a frisbee on your head and pass it off to the team member, back and forth until everyone has gone. The catch: the frisbee is full of water!

Balloon Over and Under

For this ice breaker you will need two blown up balloons. Divide the students into equal teams. Each team must stand in a single file line with about a foot between each of them. Hand an inflated balloon to the first person on each time. When you say "GO," they must pass the balloon backwards over their heads to the team members behind them. That person then passes it under -- through their legs -- and they alternate over & under. Whichever team to get the balloon to the last person in line first wins.

T.P. Over and Under

For this ice breaker you will need two rolls of toilet paper. Divide your group into two teams (or just select 10 children to play, if you want to keep it small and simple) and line them up, one in front of the other. Give the first person in each line a roll of t.p. and instruct them to loosely unroll some and carefully pass it under their legs/over their head/etc. alternating all the way to the end of the line and then back again.

Leap Frog

For this ice breaker you will need two canvas feed sacks. We use the "Leap Frog Potato Sacks" from Oriental Trading.

I think this one pretty much explains itself. All the kids get to play -- just divide them into two teams. This is one of the most exciting games we've ever done as an opener! We had church members stopping on their way to the auditorium to watch the action! It's so fun that we do it every couple of months, and the kids never tire of it.

Mount Bubble Gum

For this ice breaker you will need canned whipped cream, paper plates, and individually wrapped bubble gum. You might also want to have on hand wet cloths or baby wipes... to clean up the mess (or large bibs, if you're more into prevention)! Select two or three kids to compete against one another. Each of them will be placed behind a table containing a nice, big mound of whipped cream with a piece of bubble gum hiding in the middle. They must locate their gum with their faces only (you might have to tie hands behind backs) and blow a bubble as quickly as possible. This is very challenging even once the gum is discovered because the wet, sugary cream makes the gum really soggy and goopy. Warning: One can of cream does not really contain much of a mountain; you'll probably need 2-3 cans. Also, make sure that the cream is refrigerated and shaken well; and see to it that you don't spray it until immediately before the game. We once had a disaster where our "mountain" of whipped cream was more like a marsh! I guess you could always use the frozen kind of Cool Whip (thaw it first), but we've never personally tried it.

Whistle Challenge

For this ice breaker you will only need a package of saltine crackers. Select volunteers (three to five is adequate) who know how to whistle. Give them each two crackers and instruct them to chew them as quickly as possible and then try to whistle. The first to clearly whistle gets the prize. Beware: you may get showered with cracker crumbs!

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