Q: Due to the start of the school year, a lot of new young people have moved up into the youth group I lead. Do you have any good icebreakers I can use to help them get to know each other better?
Effective icebreakers can therefore be a great way to help the group form. One fun option is to use the toilet paper icebreaker – here’s how it works:
1 roll of toilet paper. If you have a very large group of young people, it may be worth splitting into smaller groups and giving each small group a roll each.
How to play the Toilet Paper Icebreaker
Have the group sit in a circle. One-by-one, pass around the roll of toilet paper and have each person take as much paper as they would normally use when using the restroom – this includes leaders!
When everyone has taken their share of toilet paper, advise them that for every square of paper they took, they have to tell the group something about themselves. i.e. If they took 8 pieces of paper, they would have to tell the group 8 things about themselves.
They can share anything they like, such as:
- Favorite sport
- Favorite band
- How many brothers & sisters they have
- Where they live
- Other interests
- Favorite food
- Funniest thing that’s happened to them
- Anyone famous they’ve met
- What they want for Christmas
- What pets they have
- A country they’d love to travel to
They don’t have to go super-deep where they’re revealing their deepest and dark secrets, like the most embarrassing thing that’s happened to them; just whatever they’re comfortable with. Remember – at the forming stage, they still need to build up trust with each other.
Finding common ground
The Toilet Paper Icebreaker is also a great way to help emphasize similarities and common interests between the young people. After each person has shared about themselves, pick out one or two facts about them and see if anyone else in the group has similar interests or experiences. For example:
- Bobby’s favorite sport is football – is that anyone else’s favorite sport?
- Jenny loves Chinese food – who else loves to eat Chinese?
- Andy has a dog – does anyone else own a dog?
Try to pick out the things that it’s likely other people will have similar interests in, rather than some of the more vague facts you’re likely to hear. This will help show the young people that despite differences between them, there are still common areas that they can agree on, helping set the group off on the right foot.
Question: What other interests/topics would you suggest young people share about when playing the Toilet Paper Icebreaker? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below.
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