Leading a troop is so much fun! You get to spend time with your girls, teach them about their special interests, and help them achieve their goals. However, whether it’s the first time your scouts are meeting each other or you’ve reached a bit of a lull, you might be itching for some activities or icebreakers to help things run a bit more smoothly.
If your scouts are in middle school or high school, it can be hard to know where to start, especially if they haven’t seemed very invested in the icebreaker games you’ve tried so far, or have a lot of anxiety when it comes to icebreakers. These are some of the best icebreakers that my girls have responded well to that will definitely make a difference for your troop!
If you have never played salad bowl (also known as fishbowl), it’s one of the most fun icebreakers that combines guessing games like charades, Pictionary, and catchphrase. The group creates one set of guessing options, then rotates through various forms of guessing games with the terms, so it tends to get faster and faster as it goes. This one is a huge hit with my girls.
There are different variations on the specifics of how this game is played, making it more or less beginner-friendly, but you can find one set of game rules and time limits here. Feel free to customize it as needed, we skipped the final round with the bedsheet.
This activity may admittedly be tough for girls who don’t like the spotlight on them, but if your girls are comfortable in front of a group with directions, this game can elicit a lot of laughs and create fun memories that will be referenced for years to come.
The Name Game
This game is the perfect icebreaker for large groups to help them get out of their comfort zone, and it’s one of the most simple games you can play. At the start of the game, set up two chairs facing each other, and have two (maybe introverted) scouts hold the top corners of a blanket or sheet of some sort. Have 1 girl stand on each side of the blanket facing each other, but keep who’s on each side a secret. Then, on the count of 3, drop the blanket. Whoever says the other person’s name first “wins” that round, although you don’t have to keep points.
You can shuffle people around at random to ensure the next person each scout gets isn’t the same. The goal of this game can be to help the group of people learn others’ names, but it can be even funnier when it’s a very established group.
Write one sentence and pass it on
If your girls are uncomfortable talking in front of their peers, but they have a lot of creative energy, group storytelling is a unique activity they may not have tried before. The idea of this game is simple, and works best with smaller groups: Each girl gets a sheet of paper and a pen or pencil, and she writes the first sentence of a story. She then passes the paper on to the next girl.
The next girl looks at the first sentence and writes the next sentence she thinks would come in the story. This can be as serious or as silly as she wants, the only rule is that she can’t derail the story. She then folds the part of the paper with the first sentence over so only her sentence is visible, and passes the paper on to the next scout, who writes the third sentence, et cetera.
At the end of the game, you’ll have as many stories as the number of scouts you have, and the girls can have fun sharing their stories with each other or in front of the group. This is an easy way to involve a more creative kid who doesn’t usually have a lot of fun with new groups.
If you’d like a similar option that allows your girls to talk more while writing, you can also provide mad libs for your scouts to work on together. It still has the goofy storytelling elements without the mental energy necessary to write their own stories. As the leader, you can even create your own mad libs story to make it particularly funny and applicable to your group!
Sit down if…
This is another simple icebreaker activity that’s easy and fun for a larger group of scouts who are introverted on their first day, and it’s a great option if you need virtual icebreakers. Come up with a list of ice breaker questions, have everyone stand in a large circle, then have people sit down if different questions apply to them.
You can have funny icebreaker questions like “Sit down if you like pineapple on pizza,” or normal ones for building relationships like, “Sit down if you play a sport.” They don’t have to be in any particular order. This game is really good for helping your troop members find common ground. Just avoid any open-ended questions, you want it to be easy yes or no questions.
Just make sure your questions aren’t exclusive to anyone in the group. Be sensitive to questions about things like parents, expensive travel, or any kind of personal information that may make them uncomfortable. If you have any girls with disabilities that prevent this game from working or you have a virtual team, you can modify it to something like “raise your hand if.” This game provides a great opportunity for building rapport with your troop, and I’ve had great success learning things I might not otherwise learn about a new batch of students.
If you try some of these icebreakers for older scouts with your troop, they are guaranteed to help you bond. Have fun leading them, and let me know which one is your favorite!