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Icebreakers

May 25, 2008 12:04 PM

Icebreakers are exercises designed to get a group to warm up, to get to know one another, to learn about each other, and to make people comfortable with the group, whether they are newcomers or established members. Pick and choose from the following:

Do you know your neighbor?: in circle, with one person in middle. All people in circle have a designated spot (mark with shoe or piece of tape). Middle person asks anyone in circle if he/she knows neighbors (persons on either side). Person in circle introduces neighbors to middle persons and then says, "But I don't know anyone.wearing blue jeans." Anyone wearing blue jeans must leave spot in circle and find new spot, while middle person tries to grab a spot for self. One person will be left over and takes over middle spot. Can use any attributes ".I don't know anyone.wearing contacts, who doesn't play tennis, from the Midwest, etc."

Nametag swap: participants share three facts about self with someone else, then swap nametags. When meeting next person, introduce self as person on nametag, sharing the three facts. Then swap again. After 3-4 swaps, everyone introduces self with current nametag, with real owner correcting any mistakes.

Name and Initial Activity: in circle, everyone must introduce self and mime an activity that starts with their initial (ex: Pat mimes pitching a baseball). Everyone else must copy each person.

Silent Nametag: hand out index card and binder clip to everyone. Middle of card has name, four corners can have anything (adjectives to describe self, last book read, tennis playing level, hometown/state, job/role in tennis). Index card is clipped to shirt or existing nametag. Participants walk around silently reading others' nametags.

: group divides into two teams, each crouching on one side of raised blanket (like wall between). One person from each team moves close to blanket, and when blanket is lowered, first person to say name of person opposite "wins" that person onto winner's team. Object is to get everyone on one side.

Name Juggle: standing in circle, one person begins by tossing beanbag or stuffed animal to someone else, saying, "Hi, (name of person". Catcher says, "thanks, (name of tosser)" and repeats by tossing to someone else. Names must be said each time item is tossed or caught. Can get 3-4 items in play at once.

Clock Date: each person makes clock out of paper plate, with twelve timeslots. People go around making "dates" with someone different for each hour. Facilitator reads a different question or discussion idea for each date (1-2 minutes each).

Human Bingo: make up bingo sheet of 25 boxes. You can only get someone to sign in one box. Boxes say things like "find someone who played professional tennis", "locate someone who has three or more siblings", "find someone who has started a CTA", etc. Bingo can be five boxes across or whole sheet.

Geography Line-Up: group must line up in order by how far each person traveled to come to workshop, then go around and introduce name and where from.

Frame Up: in groups of four, make flipchart with rectangle in middle and four spaces around (one per person). In middle, group must list 10-20 things all four have in common (all human, all USTA staff, etc.). In outer spaces, each individual puts name and three things unique to them in foursome (only one who is a lefty, only one who knows how to play guitar, etc.). Share and compare all foursomes.

Comic Strip Chaos: cut four-panel comic strips into individual panels and drop into paper bag. All participants get one panel and must locate other three with adjoining panels. Those four introduce in small group. (Can be used for dividing large group into fours).

Beach Ball Toss: beach ball is pre-divided into questions. Group tosses around circle, introducing name and answering question where pinky hits on circle (can choose which one to answer).

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USTA PNW runs "Blanket Down" at their Multicultural College Workshop.
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