Ice Breaker - The Name Game

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This icebreaker is ideal for almost any setting because no materials are needed, your group can be divided into manageable sizes, and you want your participants to get to know each other anyway. Adults learn best when they know the people surrounding them.

You may have people in your group who hate this icebreaker so much they’ll still remember everyone’s name two years from now! You can make it harder by requiring everyone to add an adjective to their name that starts with the same letter (e.g. Cranky Carla, Blue-eyed Bob, Zesty Zelda).

You get the gist.

Ideal Size

Up to 30. Larger groups have tackled this game, but it becomes increasingly harder unless you break into smaller groups.

Application

You can use this game to facilitate introductions in the classroom or at a meeting. This is also a fabulous game for classes involving memory.

Time Needed

Depends entirely on the size of the group and how much trouble people have remembering.

Materials Needed

None.

Instructions

Instruct the first person to give his or her name with a descriptor: Cranky Carla. The second person gives the first person’s name and then his own name: Cranky Carla, Blue-eyed Bob. The third person starts at the beginning, reciting each person before her and adding her own: Cranky Carla, Blue-eyed Bob, Zesty Zelda.

Debriefing

If you’re teaching a class that involves memory, debrief by talking about the effectiveness of this game as a memory technique. Were certain names easier to remember than others?

Why? Was it the letter? The adjective? A combination?

Additional Name Game Ice Breakers

Introduce Another Person: Divide the class into partners. Have each person talk about himself to the other. You can offer a specific instruction, such as "tell your colleague about your greatest accomplishment. After switching, the participants introduce each other to the class.

What Have You Done That's Unique? Request each person introduce himself by stating something he's done that he thinks no one else in the class has.  If someone else has done it, the person has to try again to find something unique!

Find Your Match: Ask each person to write two or three statements on a card, such as an interest, goal or dream vacation. Distribute the cards so each person gets someone else’s. The group has to mingle until each person finds the one who matches their card.

Describe Your Name: When people introduce themselves, ask them to talk about how they got their name (first or last name). Perhaps they were named after someone specific, or maybe their last name means something in an ancestral language.

Fact or Fiction? Ask each person to reveal one true thing and one false when introducing themselves. The participants have to guess which is which.

The Interview: Pair up participants and have one interview the other for a few minutes and then switch. They can ask about interests, hobbies, favorite music and more. When finished, have each person write three words to describe their partner and reveal them to the group. (example: My partner John is witty, irreverent and motivated.)