Icebreakers, team builders and energizers

Need a quick activity to add to your next 4-H Club meeting? Try one of these fun resources.

The plan for your 4-H club meeting looked great on paper; you had volunteers to help set up and clean-up, a craft project, an agenda for a short business meeting, a science activity and a demonstration provided by one of the older teens in the group. Everyone arrived on time and was excited to participate but despite your careful planning, things did not go as planned.

The craft project that was supposed to take a half-hour was completed in 10 minutes. The business meeting was cut short because the group needed to collect some additional information before making a decision. Then your cellphone beeped with a text message from the teen who was supposed to provide the demonstration; she isn’t feeling well and will have to reschedule. While the science activity went really well, you now have 35 unscheduled minutes in your afternoon and a room full of 7 to 10 year-olds with nothing to do.

To prepare you for a challenge such as this, check out these fun games and activities from the authors of Unbored Games: Serious Fun for Everyone. The book contains more than 70 games, as well as suggestions for customizing old favorites. You can teach a simple game to young people and challenge them to “hack” it by coming up with new variations or rules. They’ll build skills in creativity, decision-making and team building in the process. For a preview, consider these activities from the Unbored blog:

  • Concentration Clapping Game – You might remember this one from when you were a kid. The blog features links to videos with game variations.
  • Actionary – A fun blend of Charades and Pictionary. One variation involves sculpting with Play-doh.
  • Wall Ball – If you have a ball and a wall, you can create a game.
  • Nimmity Bibbles – A variation of “Simon says.”
  • LED Glowies – Imagine the creative possibilities that exist when you attach an LED bulb to a 3V lithium battery with electrical tape. 
  • Magnetic Obstacle Course – Use rare earth magnets to guide another magnet through a maze.

Michigan State University Extension recommends you tuck a few of these games into your planning notebook and you’ll never be worried about unanticipated “downtime” again.

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