Whenever a group comes together and the group members do not yet know each other, introductory games can be used to facilitate the start and integration. Getting to know new people begins as early as childhood in the toddler group or, at the latest, in kindergarten, but continues into adulthood. That is why there are many get-to-know games for children and get-to-know games for adults. We want to give you a few suggestions that you can use to familiarize yourself with others in a playful way.
Getting to know children games
The best games for children to get to know each other are those in which, on the one hand, the names are learned and, on the other hand, you learn something about the other group members. Kindergarten children and school children can find out relatively easily who has the same interests and where the ‘chemistry' could be right. Even shy, shy children find it easier to connect with their peers through such games to get to know each other.
Off to the corner
Game material : a room with four corners (outdoors, four markings on the floor adapted to the size of the group), game master
Age : Children and adolescents (also suitable for adults)
Group size : from approx. 10 participants
execution : The game master determines a super-category and assigns possible answers to each of the corners / markings. For example, he asks: “Which fruit do you like best?” One corner is the apples, the other strawberries, the next tropical fruit, the last one means, for example, “I don't like fruit at all”.
You can do the same with holiday destinations: mountains, beaches, city trips or “I prefer to stay at home”. You can also ask the question with animals: “Which of the animals do you like best?” As answers: dog, cat, horse, “I don't like animals”. Or: “Do you have a pet? Which one? ” Answers: dog, cat, other, none at all. The list can be expanded as required.
The answers give the group a quick start on the conversation. You can also give children the opportunity in between to explain something from the corner. Example: “My name is … and I have a dog (possibly also name the breed) whose name is …”. “My name is … my favorite color is …”.
Names and idiosyncrasies
Game material : Thick felt-tip pens, large sheets of paper (A4 and larger)
Age : from 8 years
execution : Each player receives a piece of paper and a pen. Now the letters of the name are written one below the other on the sheet. After each letter, the player must then write down his own positive or negative (character) characteristics that begin with this letter. It looks something like this:
D. assertive, democratic, diplomatic …
A. adventurous, mindful, agile
N nice, nervous, normal
I. intelligent, imaginative, impulsive
E. honest, headstrong, empathetic
L. dear, capable of learning, unstable
Double letters are left out. Then everyone can present their own “placard” to the group and explain why they wrote down exactly these properties.
The introductory game can also be used as a Reflection game be performed. Each of the group receives a sheet from another player and is then also allowed to write a quality behind each letter that, in his opinion, suits the person. The results are then discussed together in the group.
My name is … and I like …
Game material : none
Age : from 8 years
execution: All sit in a circle of chairs or on the floor. A theme is set, such as animals. Each one in turn gives his / her name first and then an animal that begins with the first letter of the name. For example: “My name is Nico and I like hippos”. The next one continues, points at the player and says “This is Nico, he likes hippos. I'm Sarah and I like storks”. Then the next person has to repeat everything and assign the names correctly with a hint of the finger: “This is Nico, he likes hippos. This is Sarah, she likes storks. I'm Erik and I like donkeys.”
That goes on until everyone has had a turn. Errors are not punished in any way, but they are corrected directly.
With smaller groups you can play through several rounds and then always add an additional animal. For example, Nico likes hippos and rhinos. Sarah likes storks and snakes, etc .. Of course, the statement doesn't have to be true. First and foremost, this introductory game is about memorizing the many new names better. In elementary schools, the game is also often played in the big one Break played – just like that.
Games for adults
If several unfamiliar adults meet in a larger group, a brief round of introductions is usually sufficient to get to know each other for the first time. Nevertheless, it can be helpful for adults to play games or team building games too, so that they can have a little something to talk about afterwards. Through such games to get to know each other, you learn a little more about your counterpart than just their name. For example, you get information about hobbies, certain inclinations and also get a little insight into the character traits of the individual people. Such adult games are usually a group activity in a workshop or seminar. Such get-to-know group games are particularly useful for introverted people in order to be able to approach strangers and get into conversation with them.
The sock game
The sock game is one of the introductory games that are ideal when the participants are still completely strangers to each other. It is really good for getting to know each other because it creates a relaxed atmosphere and people laugh a lot when they first meet.
Game material : none
Attendees : from 5
execution : The game master asks the group to line up according to their sock length. Action is required now. All raise their trouser legs. The one with the longest socks stands on the far left and the one with the shortest stands on the far right – maybe someone has none on. Once the first lap is over, you can continue: who had the longest and who the shortest journey? Who has been in their job the longest, who has only just started? Who is the oldest and who is the youngest?
In the next round, groups are formed. Sort by the color of the socks, last vacation trip (e.g. hiking vacation, beach vacation, balcony or gardenia), hobbies, own home or rent, state, etc.. The seminar participants are guaranteed to get into conversation afterwards.
Marshmallow Tower Challenge
The Marshmallow Tower Challenge is one of the introductory games that is perfect for team building. You can play it yourself with larger groups, because teams of five are always formed who have to master the challenge together. The marshmallow tower construction is suitable as an introduction to a seminar.
Game material : Depending on the number of participants, individual spaghetti, marshmallows (you will definitely be nibbled), several rolls of narrow masking tape (one per team), stopwatch / timer, tape measure / meter
Attendees : at least 10 (ideally divided into groups of 4 or 5)
Duration : 20 minutes
Gameplay : The composition of the individual teams is drawn by lot. The best thing to do is to write all the names on pieces of paper, fold them, mix them up and make four or five piles with the pieces of paper. A game master opens the slip of paper and reads out the names of the individual team members. Each group receives 20 spaghetti, at least one marshmallow (a whole pack, better as nerve food for the participants) and a roll of painter's crepe.
The groups are given the task of building a spaghetti tower and to top it off with a marshmallow spire on top. The participants are now working in teams, planning and designing. The group that builds the tallest marshmallow tower that actually has a spire in 20 minutes wins the challenge.
The game also easily falls under the children's introductory games or introductory games for young people. If you have a comparison, you will find that elementary school children have the least problem with the task – they just start building. Older participants plan first before they start. If you have two groups – a children's team and an adult team – it is not uncommon for the youngest to win the introductory challenge.
There is plenty of physical contact in the Gordian Knot introductory game. Therefore, you shouldn't play the game the first time you meet. If seminars last several days, you can play such sociable introductory games after two to three days if you already know each other a little and are somewhat familiar with each other. In the case of a very large group of participants, it is advisable to split them up so that there are a maximum of 20 people in a team.
Game material : none
Attendees : at least 10 people
Gameplay : The participants stand in a tight circle (if there are many participants, form several circles) and stretch their hands forward to the center with their eyes closed. Each participant grabs a different hand with both left and right and holds it tight. From now on you can't let go of your hands. The eyes are opened and the game of untangling can begin. It is important to untie the human knot that has arisen. Climb over it, turn, crawl under it … everything is allowed, but you are not allowed to let go. If a group is finished too quickly, it can start again.
The purpose of the introductory games
Get-to-know games loosen up the atmosphere, provide topics of conversation and are also fun. Participants who were previously completely strangers can find each other more quickly. Some employers send their employees to team building seminars from time to time, which also include games and team challenges. Ultimately, it's about getting to know each other better, getting familiar with each other and, in the best case scenario, building trust. Some introductory games are also educational games at the same time – for example the Marshmallow Tower Challenge.
The learning goal of the game is, for example, that you shouldn't always plan everything completely to the end. Unpredictable events cannot be planned, and the best advance planning can quickly come to an end like a house of cards. Trying is better than studying – there is something true about it. This is why children often do better in this complex game because they are more willing to experiment than adults.