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Get-acquainted Games

Get-acquainted games are introduced when a group meets for the first time. This can happen when a group is first established, or the first evening at camp, or by the first meeting of a class or the first school hour. Emphasis should be given to playful games to encourage the group to learn about each other. Games of contest should not be used at this point.

Ice-Breakers (warm-up games) or circle games help the group to become better acquainted.

  1. Paper Roll

    Each player takes a few sheets of toilet paper, taking only what he/she thinks they will need. After all have taken their paper, each person will tell something about themselves. For each sheet of paper, the person will say one thing.

  2. M & M’s or Smarties

    This game is similar to Paper Roll, but each player takes a number of M & M’s or Smarties out of a bag. After all have taken from the bag, each person tells one thing about themselves for each piece of candy taken.

  3. Formation 1

    Divide the players into groups of 6 to 9 persons. At the signal, the groups must line up in order alphabetically by their first or last names, or line up by height or age, weight or shoe size.

  4. get acquainted games: he entire group must stand on a board. On command, they line up by alphabet, height or age in the right order without speaking. No player is allowed to step off of the board and touch the ground.

    Formation 2

    The entire group must stand on a board. On command, they line up by alphabet, height or age in the right order without speaking. No player is allowed to step off of the board and touch the ground.

  5. I’ve Never Done That Before…

    The group sits in a circle. One player sits in the middle and tells the group about one thing he has never done before. Any players in the circle who also didn’t do what the player in the middle said, must stand up. Each player exchanges places with another standing player. The player who does not get a new place then goes in the middle.

  6. Zip-Zap

    The group sit on chairs in a circle. One player sits in the middle of the circle. He then points to a player in the circle and says ‘Zip’ or ‘Zap’. When ‘Zip’ is said, the chosen player must name the player on his left. By ‘Zap’, he must name the player on his right. (This can be changed.) If the chosen player doesn’t say the name within 3-4 seconds, he must exchange places with the player in the middle. If the player in the middle says ‘Zip-Zap’, everyone must find a new place to sit. Whoever doesn’t find a place must go in the middle.

  7. Name Pantomime 1

    Every player must use pantomime to act out his name using a word for each letter of his name. Example: D= detective, A= angel, S= Sun, etc. The others must guess the players name. If all of the players know each other well, the leader will whisper in the players ears whose name they should pantomime.

  8. Name Pantomime 2

    Each player acts out each letter of their name in pantomime. Example: the player lays down on his back with his arms and legs pointing up to form the letter ‘U’. The “L” can be acted out by pointing at the leader, an “I” can be shown by pointing at one’s eye, etc. Who can act out their name the fastest? Of course, players with long names or who have difficult letters to act out will find this more difficult. The more this game is played, the easier it will become through new ideas and repetition.

  9. Who is it?

    Every player receives a card. On the card, he will write his name and 4 to 5 things that describes him. Then, all the cards will be collected. New blank cards will be passed out. On these cards, each player writes the names of the people being described by the leader. The player who has the most correct answers is the winner.

  10. Greeting Rituals

    Everyone sits or stands in a circle. The leader starts. There are many forms of greetings in the world. Today we will practice some of them. The leader shakes hands with the person next to him. This person shakes the next persons hand and so on. In the next rounds, the greeting is done by rubbing noses together, rubbing cheeks together, kissing the left cheek and then the right, etc.

  11. Shoe Pile

    Everyone takes off one shoe and throws it onto a pile in the middle of the group. Then everyone will choose a shoe from this pile (but not his own shoe) and try to find the player who owns the shoe.

  12. Ball of Yarn Game

    A ball of yarn is used in this game. The first player starts by holding the ball of yarn. He asks another player a question, then throws the ball of yarn to him. After he answers the question, this player throws it to another player, asking another question. After a while, a terrific spider net will be made. With luck, it will be strong enough so that at the end of the game, one person can lay on it and be picked up by the group. This symbolizes that the group supports each other.

  13. Pack your Suitcase

    Everyone sits in a circle. One player begins by stating his name and names one item he would like to put in his suitcase. The player on his right is next. Each player repeats the names of the players and what they ‘pack’ in the suitcase and then says his name and what he will pack.

  14. The List

    This is for groups who already know each other a little. The leader makes a list of statements that describes each of the group’s members. This list is then passed out to the group. Each player writes down his guess of the name of the player being described in each statement on the list. The player with the most correct answers is the winner. Some examples are: who doesn’t like tomatoes, who ate at Burger King today, who went for a walk with his parents last Sunday, who wears red socks, who just saw the film “Harry Potter”, etc.

  1. I love….

    Take a ball or a cutout heart and give it to the first player. He says “I love ice cream”. He then gives the ball to another player who says “I love basketball”. The game is over when the players can’t think of anything else to say. This is a good game to learn about the others’ hobbies and such. To speed up the game, the players must answer within a few seconds. Like answers are not allowed. There are no wrong answers.

  2. What if game…

    The team leader says a sentence “If I won 1 million Euro from Günter Jauch, then I would…!” Everyone then writes his answer on a piece of paper. The papers are then collected, mixed-up and passed out again. Every player reads the answer on the paper he just got. The group then tries to guess who wrote it.

  3. True or False

    Every player tells about his interests (hobbies, school, job, friends, vacation, etc.) and includes one false statement. The group then tries to guess what the false statement is. The object of this game is that everyone tells something about themselves to the group.

  4. Handwriting

    Every player is given a piece of paper and felt-tip pen. He must make a fingerprint, a lipstick kiss or a shoe print on is paper. All papers are collected. Now the group guesses whose paper belongs to whom. This can be played with numerous detectives or everyone can play, as the reason for this game is for everyone to use their criminal investigative abilities to solve the mystery of the clues.

  5. Introduction

    When introducing themselves, it is difficult for some children to tell the others something about themselves. It usually ends in each person telling the same things as the last person. It is a good idea to choose 2-3 questions from a hat which have to be answered together with the normal introductions.

    • What is the loudest noise you have ever heard?
    • What is your first memory in life?
    • What would you wish for, for our group?
    • Name all of the places where you have already lived!
    • What is the funniest film scene you have ever seen?
    • What was your nickname as a child?
    • What was your worst experience with bad weather?
    • What was your best experience on another camp?
    • Where is your favourite place in nature?
    • What is your favourite meal?
    • What is your favourite music?
    • What was the strangest experience in your life up until now?
    • What was the scariest experience in your life up until now?
    • What was the nicest experience in your life up until now?
    • What was your best result in school and in which subject?
    • Which pop star would you like to be?
    • Which footballer would you like to be?
    • If you could be someone else, who would it be?
  6. Bang

    All of the group members stand in a circle. The group leader calls out a name. The players on the left and right of the chosen person make a pistol with their hands, pretend to shoot at the chosen person and say „BANG“. The person who was called out throws himself to the ground and ducks. Out of the game is either: the person who ducked too slowly. If he ducked quickly enough, then the slower one of the two shooters is out.

  7. Pip squeak

    Everyone sits in a circle. A volunteer sits in the circle and is blindfolded. The group leader points to a person who must make a loud noise (peep, grunt etc). The blind person in the middle must guess who made the noise.

  8. Whose balloon is this?

    Each member of the group receives a balloon which they blow up and write their name on. All of the balloons are released into the air and fly about. When the leader shouts “STOP”, everyone snaps a balloon and brings it to the person whose name is on the balloon.

  9. Speed-dating:

    The entire group is split into two rows, facing each other. The children should be standing opposite to one another so that everyone has a partner. Then the team leader announces a topic (e.g. family, school, dreams, motto for life, what annoys you?). All the children in one of the rows should then discuss this topic for one minute with the person standing opposite. Each time they must also obviously say their names. After one minute the team leader gives a signal, and the other row (which was previously listening) should then discuss the same topic (also for one minute). After this minute, the team leader should whistle, and then the rows should shift to the right, so that one child is left out; and for the next round the children are standing opposite the next person in the row. The children left on the ends should just change sides. The team leader should give a new topic and the next round starts. It is important during this game that the child who is listening just listens attentively and doesn’t ask any questions.
    A contribution from Andrea (CH)

  10. Animal world

    Everyone sits in a circle. Each person should think of an animal which begins with the same letter as their name. Going around the circle, each person says the animal and then their name. The person on the left of each person then has to repeat that name and animal, and then add their own name and animal. This continues in this manner. It’s almost the same as “packing suitcases” apart from over time, the children will be able to memorise each others names.
    Sent in by Felix H.

  11. Personal Descriptions

    For groups which do net yet know one another: everyone writes a personal description on a pre-prepared piece of paper (home town, birth town, age, hobbies, favourite food, favourite colour, favourite music etc) . The pieces of paper are collected in, mixed up, and then given out. Everyone has to then look for the member of the group whose description they are holding.
    (Sent in by Beatrix).

  12. Name- telling–Record

    The group stands in a circle and person times with a stop clock. One person then starts by saying the name of this neighbour on the left, the neighbour then does the same thing until all the names in the circle have been said in this way. After this you can try to set new records for the fastest time. The game is particularly suited to big groups. .

  13. Name-notes

    Each player receives a slip of paper with questions e.g. who has more than 5 siblings? Who has been to Italy? Etc. Ask the other group members the questions. When you find someone who fits the question, write their name on the paper. The questions can be quite crazy. One person’s name can’t be written down twice. Who is the first one to have a name to all the questions? The first three notes are checked for correctness, and then if e.g. Alex said he can do a hand-stand he then has to do it in front of everyone.
    (Sent in by Lars Göhl).

  14. Winking with mixed up names

    The group gets into pairs and stands in a circle. One person should be left. This person calls out a name of someone in the group. However, rather than the named person trying to escape from his partner to the single person, the partner of the one whose name was called out has to try and escape whilst the named person holds on to them. Because you are used to responding on hearing your own name, the game can be very chaotic whilst at the same time learning the names of group members. If someone manages to escape from their partner, the one left standing has to now find themselves a new partner in the same way etc.
    (Sent in by Kathrin P.)

  15. All who..

    All sit in a circle of chairs, someone stands in the middle. They say e.g. “all those with green eyes” or “all those who have siblings” etc. These people have to then get up and swap places, whilst the one in the middle tries to snatch a seat. Whoever is left standing is now in the middle.
    (Sent in by Saskia M.)

  16. Secret telling Key Ring

    Each participant pulls their keys out and explains where each key leads, and what other important things are on the key ring. One person begins by throwing his key ring (after explanation) to anyone, who then has to re-explain what the keys etc are. Continue in this way. At the end everyone obviously gets their keys back...
    (Sent in by Rebecca from Menden (Sauerland)

  17. Atom-game

    All participants (including the team leader) get mixed up, then the team leader says: “all those who have red shoe laces!” or “all those who are wearing braces”, upon which participants need to find those who match the descriptions and touch them with one finger. Thus you build an “atom” . The person who has those particular descriptions should say their name.
    Sent in by Hinack

  18. My right, the space to my right is free...

    In this game a chair is kept free in the circle of chairs. The child sitting on the right of the empty chair begins; “My right, right place is free, I wish for ... to come!! The child whose name is called out sits on the empty chair. The next person to go is the one who is now sitting on the right hand side of the empty chair which was made available in the previous round. A different variation; you can specify how the named person should come to the free chair e.g. by being a car, a snake or a frog etc. In big groups this game is very enjoyable. The participants quickly learn names and can quickly remember other participants.
    Sent in by Julian H.

  19. Hello?Bingo!

    In this game the objective you have pre-prepared notes with different characteristics on them, and the aim of the game being that you have to find someone who matches the characteristics. As soon as you find someone that matches a characteristic, you write their name on the note. The same person should not be named more than twice on one piece of paper. Whoever manages to fill in all fields first, wins.

    Find someone, to whom the following things match:

    • Has Children
    • Likes going to the cinema :
    • Is left handed:
    • Has more than two siblings
    • Received a penalty ticket in the last month:
    • Likes eating sushi:
    • Sings in the shower:
    • Speaks an eastern language:
    • Is a member of a sports club:
    • Likes reading crime stories:
    • Owns a dog and a cat:
    • Birthday is in the same month as mine:
    • Plays a musical instrument
    • Likes travelling to distant lands:
    • Has watched all episodes of Star Trek

    Sent in by Niels Pflüger

  20. Blanket Game

    This game is for groups who already know each other quite well. The group is split into two. A blanket is pulled between the two teams. Bit by bit someone from each team has to sit behind the blanket. This should happen with as little talking as possible otherwise the other team may listen/overhear. As soon as one person from each team is sitting, the blanket should be dropped. The two people sitting behind the blanket have to try as quickly as possible to say the name of the person sitting opposite them. Whoever says the name last has to move into the other team. The game ends when all the players are in one team.
    Sent in by Sandra M.

  21. Alphabet salad

    Each participant is kitted out with a piece of paper and a pencil. The first letter is said out loud to all (e.g. N). Then it has to be asked around whose name begins with this letter. However, the question should be “what is your name” not, “have you seen someone called…?”

    If your own name starts with this letter then you can rule out that someone else’s name will also start with the same letter.

    As soon as you find someone then you write their name down and go to a helper to obtain the next letter. Whoever has all ten letters and names wins and receives a small prize!
    Sent in by Jenny G

  22. Circle game

    All participants sit in a circle and say their own name as well as a hobby that starts with the same letter as the name. The next person has to repeat the name and then says his/her own name. Continue around the circle in this way.
    Sent in by Katharina Klose

  23. Wool Game

    The leaders have a ball of wool in their hand and throw it to the children. Whoever catches it has to say their name and an animal or hobby that begins with the same letter as the person’s name.
    Sent in by Katharina Klose

  24. Name-Ball

    The players stand in a room and one person stands with their back to the others. Then this person throws up a ball whilst at the same time calling the name of one of the players who has to try and catch it.
    Sent in by Nicole H. from Berlin

  25. Zipp- Zapp

    All the children sit in a circle. One child goes around the circle asking each player what the name of their neighbour is. If the child says Zipp then the person who is being questioned has to say the name of the neighbour to their right – if the child says Zapp then they have to say the name of the neighbour to their left. If Zipp-Zapp is said everyone has to swap places. If someone says the wrong name they have to enter the circle and continue the questioning.

  26. I am sitting in the open

    Everyone sits in a circle of chairs – ensuring that there is one spare chair. Whoever is sitting to the left of the spare chair starts by saying: “I am sitting”, the second child then says “in the open” the third says “and love very secretly” the fourth child then picks out another child naming them. The selected child then has to try as quickly as possible to get to the spare chair whilst the two people sitting either side of them have to hold onto them. If they succeed the child then has to repeat what was said previously- beginning with “I am sitting”

  27. Throwing a ball

    All sit in a circle of chairs, the group leader throws a ball to someone who has to then say their name, how many siblings they have, what they like eating and what their favourite animal is (these can be changed as desired) Then the ball is thrown on. If the children already know each other then the person throwing the ball has to say the name of the person who has to catch the ball – this person then has to present themselves (this way they may learn something new about their friends)
    Sent in by Karoline A

  28. Surprise ‘kinder egg’ round

    Each participant receives a Kinder egg. They are collectively opened and eaten. Following this is a ‘swap’ round – each participant says a few things about themselves and the object from the egg should be tied in to their own personality (e.g. Aeroplane – I like travelling/or I am scared of flying).
    Sent in by Guido I.

  29. World map

    The participants create an imaginary world map on the floor and stand in a country which they have previously travelled to. Then each person says what they liked and disliked. In this way you get to know each person better and also gives you topics which you can talk about that are better than just small talk
    Sent in by Raphael S.

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