Salt & Light Retreat Resource Manual
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Comic Strips; Animal Sounds; Hint
1) Before the kids show up, get an idea of how many teams you want to work with. Find that number of comic strips. Paste the comics onto cardboard or a harder construction paper and cut them into puzzles of up to ten or so pieces (more if you want
larger teams). On the other side of the construction paper leave a spot for the kids to write their name. When the kids arrive, randomly hand out the name tags. Get the kids all riled up with a huge game such as everybody's it, or Simon says or another game of that type where the kids are just in one huge group. Then tell the kids to take off their name tags and solve the puzzles.  Make it a race against the other teams and have fun while watching the kids run around searching for others with the same comic.
2) As the kids walk in hand them a folded piece of paper with the name of an animal on it (the amount of names, and the number of pieces with the same name depends on number of teams, and how large you want the teams to be), tell them not to look until you say to. When everyone has arrived put them into a boundary (if you’re in a gym, use the lines on the floor, if you’re on a field, use something VERY visible to show your boundaries). Tell the kids that they can't step out of the boundaries. Now, tell them that each piece of paper holds a name of an animal and that there are so many other people with the same name. Tell them that they have to act out sounds and actions that would tell other team members that they are part of their team, they are not allowed to speak any words, only noises. Tell them to unfold their papers and go to it. (Never have I ever heard my kids be so loud and
laugh so much!!!!)
3) Just a hint. If the kids come in groups that are brought by adults, and the adults are going to stay all night. Get the adults
involved. The kids will relax and be more interested in what is happening if they see the adults acting foolish along with them
Duckie Wuckie
This is a game good for all ages.  Have the group sit on chairs in a circle facing each other.  A person in the center is given a pillow, blind-folded, and spun around.  She then takes the pillow places it on the lap of someone in the circle and sits down on it.  The she asks, “Is there a Duckie Wuckie there?”  The person being sat on disguises there voice and says, “Duckie Wuckie who?”  Then the person in the middle guesses who the person is.  If they guess right the new person is in the middle, if she guesses wrong, she stays in the middle and the process is started all over again.  While the person in the middle is being spun around the outside people in the chairs must move around. 
Dueling Nose Penlights
This has been a pretty successful way to start our club on time, as I know many of you
probably struggle with that problem: What you do is turn off the lights and immediately start the skit. Then have two leaders ready at the front of your Club room. These two leaders each have a pair of small pen lights that light up when you push on their sides. The leaders shove the lights up their noses as the music of “Dueling Banjos” (from the movie Deliverance—squeal like a pig!) begins playing. One leader plays the banjo and the other a guitar and they shine the light in their noses on every banjo or guitar note.  It is funny from the beginning, but when they start to jam it really gets funny! It is also great to use as a way to sell camp since many camps have a western theme. I don’t guarantee results, but if the timing is good, it should be pretty funny.
Famous Animal Crowdbreaker
 
This is a good way to get people into small groups.  Have the group leaders place written names of different cartoon characters on the backs of the retreatants without letting them know what is going on.  Then have the retreatants ask other retreatants yes or no questions about the person on their back.  Once they figure out who they are have them group themselves together either by shows or by companies (Warner Bros. or Disney).
Goin' On A Picnic  
Age Group: Early and Mid Adolescents
The leader explains to the group that he is going on a picnic, and any of them can come along with him...provided they bring the something appropriate with them.  The leader starts by saying his name and one thing he will bring...for example, my name is Tim and I'm bringing some tea to the picnic. Each person playing the game must then do the same thing, and the leader will tell him or her whether or not he or she can come. The trick is, a person can only come if the thing they are bringing begins with the same first letter as their name. Go around the circle until everyone has figured it out.
Human Bingo
 
This icebreaker is good for all ages and takes about 10-15 minutes to do.  Handout the worksheet that is found in the index in the back of this book.  Then tell them to have other people sign your worksheet according to the actions that are written on the piece of paper.  You cannot have the same person sign your sheet twice.  Do this until your whole worksheet is filled.  This is a good way to get the retreatants up and going and to get new people.
I Wanna Meet
Put the group into a large circle of chairs. Pick one person to be in the middle and remove that person's chair. The person in the middle yells "I wanna meet...", finishing the sentence with whatever they want "... everyone with red hair...all the girls...everyone who's birthday is in June...everyone who hates spinach", etc. Then, everyone who meets that criteria must get up and run to an empty chair at least 5 chairs away from their previous position. The person left without a chair gets to yell "I wanna meet..." next.  You have to be careful with this one. Occasionally, kids will want to know more about each other than you think.
Moose, Moose
You need at least 5 people (you can play with less) to play. You start with everyone in a circle. One person is Moose, Moose.  This person starts the game. Now, everyone in the circle chooses an animal, like, gator, gator or cat, cat or shark, shark. Along with the animals, you have hand signals. For example, Moose, Moose would put both hands on their head and make like two horns (like Bullwinkle), another example would be gator, gator, he would put his arms in front like an alligator's mouth.  You can make up more animals with hand signals as needed.  Now Moose, Moose starts the game by signaling his signal and saying "Moose, Moose Cat, Cat" the game is now on cat, cat.  You keep passing the game from player to player in no particular order. When someone messes up they must move from their position and sit to the left of Moose, Moose, we called that character Pig, Pig and they made a pig nose as their signal.  The game can get real intense and fun, because when someone slips up everyone laughs. It's usually a funny mistake.
Name Game 1
Variation 1
Group in a circle; first person says name; 2nd person says first persons name, then his name; 3rd person says 1st person's name, 2nd person's name then his own name.  Go around until last person has said everyone's names.
Variation 2
As above, but include something else other than name, e.g. "My name is XXX and I like apples".
Name Game 2
Go around in circle; introduce name and do an action; the whole group then says name and does action. Take turns to do this for each person.
person: "My name is XXX" <action/sound>
group: "His/Her name is XXX" <action/sound>
next person: "My name is YYY" <action/sound>
group: "His/Her name is YYY" <action/sound>
Name Game 3
Take turns to introduce self (name), state an animal/object that you like, and state why.
Newspaper Game, Pepper Bopper
Any Size Group
Get a soft pillow or something else you can get hit with that doesn't hurt. (We have these foam bats that work great). Have the group sit in a circle with one person in the middle. Pick someone to start. They stand up and yell the name of another person in the group and "IT" has to hit that person before they stand up and yell another name. (We limit the hitting to knees and below).  After "IT" gets someone they take that persons place and start it over again.
Obvious Observing:
1. Break the class into groups of two. Have them stand facing each other and observing each other.
2. After a short observance time, have the partners turn their backs to each other and make three changes in personal
appearance (change hair, move a ring to a different finger, unbutton a sleeve, etc.)
3. Let them observe each other again and try to identify the changes.
4. Repeat this process with different partners and different numbers of changes with more or less observance time.
Shoe Game
Everybody takes off a shoe and throws them in a pile on the floor. At the count of three, everyone has to grab a shoe from the pile, then find the person with the matching shoe on their other foot and find out their name and three things about them they didn't already know (like where they go to school or how many brothers or sisters they have).  This is fun because everyone is trying to find someone while someone else is trying to find them. Works best with larger (>10) groups. After everyone has found their person and asked them the questions, then go around the circle and have everyone introduce the person they talked to and tell the three things about them.
String Game
Pass around a ball of string and some scissors and ask everyone to cut off a piece. Some will take tiny pieces, some very long ones. After everyone has a piece, go around they circle and have everyone say one thing about themselves for each finger width of string. This usually gets a few laughs for the person who cut off several feet!  This can also be done with M&Ms and toilet paper.
Stupid Name Game
*this is great for an ice breaker or for getting names memorized
1. Have students stand in a circle.
2. You will start by stating your name and showing an action or mannerism that you commonly do.
3. The person to the instructor's left will state the instructors name and mannerism and then add his/her name and then his/her mannerism. This continues around the circle until the last person can remember every person's name and mannerism.
Surveys Game
We did this on our Intermediate (7th and 8th grade) retreat. Everyone wrote (on a 3x5) 5 little known things about themselves with their name at the top of the card. The cards were then turned over to the moderator (in this case the youth minister). The youth minister would say: "I am ___________" and the group had to guess who was associated with this fact. The group had 3 chances. A correct answer was rewarded with a small snack. If after 3 attempts no one was right, the person who wrote the fact got the snack.  We got to learn a lot about the various members of the group, and it was fun!
Turns and Trades
Number of  people: 15 or up
Number of minutes: 10
Retreatants: high school (voluntary), college 
You need to make two circles.  The inner circle facing out and the outer circle facing inward.  Then have the kids pair up with the person in front of them in the circle.  This should even up the number of people that are in the outer and inner circles.  Then have the partners introduce themselves to one another.  Then have them trade something that belongs to them with their partner.  Then have the outer circle move 2 to the right.  Have the new pair of people introduce themselves and then trade something that belongs to them (not what they previously picked up).  Then have the outer circle shift 2 to the right.  Have this new partnership introduce themselves and then trade something that was given to them.  Then have the outer circle shift 2 to the right one more time.  Have this final partnership introduce themselves to one another then trade the final object that is not yours.  Now each person should have an object that belongs to someone you have not yet met in this game.  Now they break the circle and find the owners of the objects and introduce themselves to each other, until all the objects are returned to their rightful owners.
Who am I?
Make up a card for each attendee with the name of a famous person, living or dead, fictional or real and tape it to the person's back. They then have to circulate throughout the room and ask people questions about who they are. They can only ask each person once and they cannot ask the questions of people they already know.  I used this once with a group of 150; worked real well. It's somewhat similar to the idea above.  This only works, I guess, with a pre-registered group... I knew that later on I would want the kids breaking up into groups, and I didn't want them to automatically group with people they already knew. What I did was on the back of their pre-prepared name tags, I wrote a word. I wrote the same word on the back of ten name tags, dividing the 150 kids into 15 groups.  When it came time for them to get into their groups, I told them all to go ahead and split up. After a few minutes of hustle and bustle, I told them to stop. No more talking. I instructed everyone to remove their name tag, unfold it and look at the word inside. Do not show it to anyone. Now, without saying anything out loud, I want you to track down the other nine people in your group. Go!  The words included "BUS", "APPLE", "SKYSCRAPER", "COMPUTER", et cetera. Charade-type words that can be acted out. It was hilarious!!! Eventually, everyone got in a group and all were laughing; they didn't even realize they were separated from their friends because their newly formed group was already acting as a team to locate lost members. One of the teams went so far as form a bus and "drive" around the auditorium, picking up the other "bus" people.