Building Positive Relationships
When you bring families together, a well thought out icebreaker can help them begin to connect with one another. Just a few moments moving around the room or chatting can set a positive tone for the event. The icebreaker should not take more than 15-20 minutes. Select one to fit the size of your crowd and the room capacity. Keep in mind that some participants may have limitations that require you to adjust the activity. If the group meets regularly, consider team-building activities that encourage deeper bonding.
A quick energizer is a great jump-start for long meetings where there may be lots of talking. It helps to inject some level of physical movement and brain stimulation. There are tons of similar icebreakers you can use, the idea is to quickly jump start the action and break down social barriers. For more ideas check out: http://www.icebreakers.ws/ and https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_76.htm
Sample Icebreakers/Community Building to Get You Started
This activity helps participants get to know brief facts about one another. Begin by calling “Mingle, Mingle”, to instruct the participants to walk around, greeting one another but not stopping. Then call out, “Huddle 3” for example, which means they need to form groups of 3. Read a prompt for them to discuss, which may be related to the theme of the event. (What would be the name of your book about your life story and why? Who was a role model for you growing up, why? Allow participants to discuss for 3-4 minutes in their small groups before calling out “Mingle, Mingle” again. Now call out “Huddle # for whatever group configuration you want and read out another question for them to discuss. Repeat as often as time permits.
Form two rows of people and have them stand back to back. On a given signal, everyone turns to face each other and talks non-stop – about anything and everything – for 30 seconds.
Give everyone a Bingo card. In each square a personal characteristic is listed, such as, “Was born in another country” or “Loves to cook” or “Has brown hair” or “Grew up on a farm.” Questions can be about favorite foods, music, hobbies, culture, heritage, career/job etc. All Bingo cards are identical. Participants circulate around the room and find someone who fits a characteristic and signs his or her name in that square. They then move on to another person and continue playing until they reach Bingo (a completed horizontal, vertical or diagonal row. No one can sign in more than one square. Play until the first person gets a Bingo or with enough time that everyone gets a “bingo. “
Sample Family Bingo