Getting to Know You—and You and You and You

October 11, 2013

This is a medium-paced, low-energy game that is great for children who don’t know each other yet. Children ask brief interview questions of each other, pay attention to the answers, and then (if the moderator chooses) introduce a new friend at the end of the activity.

If some of the parents of your children are business people, they are going to LOVE that you’re playing this game! It’s basically a networking activity, and teaches children to make connections between people.

Ages: 7 to 11 years old

Group Size: 10 to 20 people

Equipment: pre-written or pre-Xeroxed sheet with questions on it. The number of questions on the Xerox should be equal to the number of children participating in the activity.

Time: 20 minutes to write the questions and Xerox the sheets; 20 to 45 minutes to play the game (depending on the age of the kids and the size of the class).

Instructions

Each participant takes his question sheet, and asks one question on the sheet to a new classmate. The participant will then approach another child, fill in the child’s name, and the answer to the question they ask. They are free to ask any person any question, and by the end of the exercise, after they have interviewed each kid in the group, all of the blanks should be filled in.

Here’s a sample list of questions, for a group that has 11 participants:

1. What color are your eyes? Name: _____________ Answer: _____________

2. Do you have any pets? Name: _____________ Answer: _____________

3. What’s your favorite tv show? Name: _____________ Answer: _____________

4. Do you have any brothers or sisters? Name: _____________ Answer: _____________

5. What did you do over the summer/winter? Name: _____________ Answer: _____________

6. What is your favorite animal? Name: _____________ Answer: _____________

7. What is your favorite color? Name: _____________ Answer: _____________

8. When is your birthday? Name: _____________ Answer: _____________

9. What color shoes are you wearing? Name: _____________ Answer: _____________

10. What is your favorite movie? Name: _____________ Answer: _____________

11. Do you speak another other languages? Name: _____________ Answer: _____________

Goals, Useful Tips, Alternatives

Benefits / Goals: The activity does a couple of things. It

  • enables listening skills by having kids seek information from each other;
  • encourages kids to approach peers who they haven’t met yet, but with the confidence of having something to say;
  • helps kids develop an understanding likenesses and different points of view; and
  • assists the “friend-making” process.

How the Activity Helps Build a Team: The activity helps kids to get to know one another, and hopefully develop bonds over shared experience (ie, “I speak Russian too!”).

Useful Tips: Most of the kids will end up using the sample questions, so if you make your own sample questions, try and come up with ones that will spark up a conversation.

It’s interesting to see how children ask each other questions. Some will be curious about certain questions, and others may ask their interviewee, “What question do you want to answer?” It’s a very useful exercise for the kids to get to know each other, but there’s a lot that the instructor can learn about the kids, as well.

Problem Areas: The game may be slow-going for kids who are still getting used to writing, but that’s fine. You can tailor the questions to be answered with one-word answers (ie, “What’s your favorite color?“).

Also, for younger kids, the time length of the activity can be a challenge. If that’s the case, you can split the group into two, and run the game twice (once in the morning and once in the afternoon, or once a day for two days in a row).

Variations: Some moderators choose to add a presentation element to the end of the activity, and have each child introduce another child to the class by saying, “This is Candace. She likes horses.” Moderators can assign each child a different person to introduce, so that a child/some children don’t get left having nobody to introduce them.

Warm Fuzzies

We hope you enjoy the game! Kids seem to enjoy it, and here’s a quote that you might enjoy:

“Those who educate children well are more to be honored than they who produce them; for these only gave them life, those the art of living well.”

—Aristotle

That Aristotle was on to something! Most people can think back on a teacher they had who meant the world to them. Parents, obviously, impart love and wisdom and guidance to their children, but educators and youth leaders are there when kids start interacting with others outside the immediate family unit. That’s something that doesn’t happen in the home—it happens in the “real world,” and learning the “art of living well” can happen very early on!

Also, it’s wonderful that he refers to educators as those who teach “an art.” Teachers are trained so extensively, that the training can almost feel like a science. But in the classroom, or in front of the youth group, or when leading the camp kids or the Scout squad, that’s where the activity or the lesson feels less structured and formulaic, and it begins to feel like an improvisation—and it begins to feel like art.

Category: Age 7-8, Age 9-10, Ages 11-12, Ice Breaker, Promotes Communication, Social and Emotional Development, Time: 30 to 60 Minutes

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