I'm saying this is my favorite icebreaker because I use it with almost every group I work with. It's super easy to set up, I can play it with 10 or more participants (if I have enough cards), it's a great way to get people talking (if they want to), and I can pull some good discussion points out to get the brains working and thinking about the team building ahead.
Set Up: Out of one deck of standard playing cards, I use the aces, twos, threes, fours, fives and tens. If you have more than 24 players in your group, pull out more decks.
Here's the ratio to consider: You want to include one of the tens for every five cards you use (and you can add in more if you want - just my ratio). For example, let's say you have 16 people in your group. Use 14 of the lower numbers and three tens. Okay! Ready to play.
Directions: Deal out one card to each person in your group. Yes, they can look at their card, but I will always say, "You might not want anyone to see your card just yet."
Players will be pairing up with others in the group. To do this just raise a hand and look for someone else raising a hand - this is the signal for, "I'd love to talk with someone." (There is some Challenge by Choice in here. I say, "If you really don't feel like talking to anyone at this time, simply keep your hand down. You are free to mingle around and listen to the sharing going on so you can learn about others, but don't bother any of the conversations.)
When players pair up they are going to share facts about themselves equal to the number on the card they are holding. (If I'm holding a four, I say four things about myself.) After one person shares, the other person gets to share. After both players share, the two exchange cards and then go off to talk with another person in the group (if they choose). All they have to do is...you guessed it, raise a hand.
Challenges: Here are a couple more Challenge by Choice opportunities. When you get an ace, say 11 things about yourself. And, the "Double Challenge" - do not repeat anything about yourself over the length of the game (about three to five minutes - less time for smaller groups, more for bigger.)
Questions: Here are some things I like to talk about after What You Say
Have FUN out there my friends.
Keep me posted.
Chris Cavert, Ed.D.
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Dr. Chris Cavert is an internationally known author, speaker, and trainer in the area of adventure-based activity programming and its relation to community and pro-social behavior development.
This blog is a space for hands-on programable fun - energetic activities and ideas that can be used as a means to bring people together; activities and ideas we as educators can add to our social development curriculums.