Even outgoing children can use a hand with introductions and learning everyone's name. Before your next class or child-focused event, prepare some icebreaker games for introductions so that all the children feel comfortable and at ease. The sooner they get to know each other, the sooner they can start making friends and having fun together.
Make a list of common pairs, such as milk and cereal, on separate strips of paper. Give a strip to each child and tell him to mingle with the other children to find his partner. When partners meet, they have to introduce themselves and learn one interesting fact about one another to tell the group. Pair up children and tell them to introduce themselves to their partner. Have the pairs talk for one minute, then blindfold the children and spin them around. Tell them they must now locate their partner using only his voice. When they encounter a child, they must ask "Are you (partner's name)?" The other child, provided she is not the partner, will reply, "No, I'm (child's name)." Remind children to be careful and move slowly. When everyone has found the original partner, sit in a circle and let everyone see the face connected to each voice they encountered.
Have kids stand in a circle. Tell them they must say their name while doing a signature dance move. Demonstrate with your own move and name, then have the kids repeat it. Pick an outgoing child to go first. When she's finished, the next child must repeat the first child's name and move, then do his own. The third child must repeat the first and second children's name and move. Continue to the end of the circle, when everyone will be laughing at the repetition and trying hard to remember everyone's dance move.
Give each child a piece of posterboard and acid-free markers or paint. Tell the children to write their name any way they wish -- block letters, bubble letters or even upside down. Sit children at a common table so they can talk while they work. When everyone is finished, give each child a minute to show off her artwork and say her name. After the activity, hang the posters on the children's desks or personal areas to remind others of peers' names. Have each child draw a self-portrait. It doesn't have to be a stick figure or a human; in fact, some children may see themselves as fierce tigers or beautiful butterflies. When every child has finished, have them tell the group why they drew themselves the way they did. Children can learn much more about their group mates than just a name this way.
Quickly go around the room and have each child say his name. Count the children and arrange chairs in a semicircle. Use one less chair than the number of children. Have the children stand inside the circle and tell everyone that you are going to say a sentence, for example, "I like chocolate ice cream." Any child who agrees with your statement has to find a seat to avoid being left standing. You'll get a lot of giggling and scrambling for seats. After the first round, the child without a seat is out. Remove another chair and play again until all but one child have been eliminated. Children will learn a lot about each other and get more comfortable together.
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