6 Games to Get Camp Moving

On one card of each pair, write an item, person, or thing that has a commonly known match (or opposite, in some cases), and on the other card, write the match to that pair. For example, one card could have Cinderella and the match could be wicked stepsister.

When all your pairs are complete, you’ll need duct tape, masking tape or safety pins for the icebreaker itself–enough for each person. Instruct your group members to make a single-file line. Instruct each person that they are to take a card and pin or tape it to the back of the person in front of them. They are NOT to see the card or be told what is on the card on their back.

When everyone is pinned or taped with a card, have players mingle around the room and try to help pairs come together by giving hints to each other about the name or thing on their back. For example, for a person with peanut butter, you could say “a food made by grinding up nuts” but don’t tell them “peanut butter.”

As people get more clues as to the name or item on their card, they will be able to figure out their own card and seek to find their match. When individuals find their match, have them sit together in pairs. When everyone is paired, invite conversation between the new matches, such as questions about where they are from, their favorite activities, etc.

Some suggested pairs to get you started:

• Peanut butter and jelly

• Apples and oranges

• Fred and Barney

• Bart and Lisa

• Cream and Sugar

• Salt and Pepper

• Eggs and Bacon

• Toast and Jam

• Pebbles and Bam-Bam

• Snow White and 7 Dwarves

• Laverne and Shirley

• Richie and Fonzie

• Hammer and nails

• Summer and Winter

• Dog and Cat

• Arm and Leg

• Wilbur and Orville

• Peter Pan and Tinkerbelle

• Angel and Devil

• Tall and Short

• Andy and Barney

(Can you come up with more pairs? Add them to the comments below!)

Chair Challenge

Invite groups to create a standing, single-file complete circle. On the count of three, everyone squats and sits back to rest on the knees of the person behind them. You must hold the group circle for at least five seconds without using hands.

Variations: As your group becomes proficient, have them hold the circle for longer periods of time: 20 seconds, 30 seconds, one minute, three minutes, etc. Challenge other groups to hold their circle for the same amount of time or longer. Add or subtract group members to increase the challenge. See how far a ball or balloon can be passed around the circle, either to the side or over the heads of the members, before the circle collapses.

I Love You, Honey, But I Just Can’t Smile

Assemble a large group into a circle. Have one person be “it” in the middle. The goal of the person in the middle is to swap places with any person on the outside circle who they can get to smile. The rules are that the person in the middle approaches any person on the outside circle by standing no more than a foot from them and reciting, “Honey, do you love me?” in any way they would like, but they are NOT allowed to touch the person in the circle.

Once the person in the circle has been asked, they must reply to the middle person with, “Honey, I love you but I just can’t smile” three times. If at any point the person on the outside circle smiles or laughs, they trade places with the person in the middle.

Being part of a new group or new camping session can be unsettling for new or even experienced campers who know few of their fellow members. Use any of these icebreakers to generate conversation and interaction, and you may be creating the first step in what might become a beautiful friendship.

Beth Morrow is an educator and co-program director for Senior Week at Camp Hamwi, a week-long residential camp that specializes in teens with diabetes who come as individuals but leave as family. You can reach her at buckeyebeth@yahoo.com.

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Related posts:

  1. Camp Business Turns 10
  2. Made For The Shade
  3. Summer Staff Icebreakers
  4. Icebreakers
  5. Snow Games

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