6 Ice Breakers and Team Building Games for Camp and Recreation

Equipment:

Ball Toss Race

Have the group get into a circle and have one or more balls ready. The leader will begin by throwing, rolling, or bouncing a ball (depending on the age and skill level) to another player while saying the other person’s name loudly. Explain that it is very important to remember to whom they passed the ball. Keep passing the ball around the circle so that everyone has received the ball one time. You can have students sit down once they have received the ball, to make sure nobody gets it twice. When the last person gets the ball have them pass it back to you. Now without the ball, go around the circle in the same order and have the students say to whom they will pass the ball. Once students have that, try it with the ball and see how fast they can go.

Balloon Master

Have everyone blow up a balloon and tie a string (about 2 feet long) to it. Now have everyone tie the other end of the string around their ankle. Players must run around and try to pop others’ balloons by stepping on them. The last person with an un-popped balloon wins!

Balloon Tower

Have teams (generally 4-6 people) build the tallest free-standing (only touching the floor) balloon tower with the supplies they are given. You will need masking tape and 20-30 various sized balloons.

Knots on a Rope

Tie several evenly-spaced knots into the rope(s). Have the students grasp the rope between knots with one hand, spacing themselves evenly. The object of the game is to get the knots out of the rope, without ever moving or taking the one hand off of the rope.

Chair Game

Every participant should start seated in a chair in a circle. The leader chooses one student to stand in the middle, so one chair is open. The goal of the person in the middle is to sit in the empty chair. All seated students must work together to stop the person in the middle from sitting in the open chair. The person next to the empty seat tries to beat the person in the middle to it by shuffling over, creating a new empty seat. The person next to the newly-opened seat scoots over too, and so on. The game continues until the person in the middle makes it safely to the open seat. The facilitator then picks someone new to go into the middle.

Legos Activity

Before the activity, build a structure with Legos (the more complex the structure, the more difficult the activity). Then put participants in small groups. Each group is given a bag of Legos (each bag contains the same size, color, and quantity of Legos and has identical stock as that of the structure you built). The group has to exactly replicate the structure you already built. But, the structure to replicate is located outside the room or behind a screen, only one person from each group may look at the structure at a time. They cannot draw or take a picture of the structure to communicate it – they have to use their memory. Each team can look at the structure as many times as they want, but only one person can look at it at a time. The first to replicate the structure – exactly with the same size and color Legos wins. This activity works best with Lego sets (i.e. a specialized set to build a car).


About the Author:

Jason Schaitz, MBA, CPRE, is a Parks and Recreation Director with over 15 years’ experience coordinating youth programs, camps, sports, and recreation activities. He also created and manages The Summer Camp Source with the goal of providing free high quality resources for any type of camp, youth recreation or childcare program. Take your program to the next level by visiting our website for free resources and education!

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