We’re living in interesting times, aren’t we? A year ago many of us never imagined we’d be participating in online Bible studies or leading small groups via video chat. However, here we are, heading into the fall season and looking for creative ways to engage with others while social distancing. It’s rather exciting—something about meeting digitally makes classic games like charades or a scavenger hunt a bit more exciting. You might be surprised to find that it’s not that hard to get everyone in your group engaged by sharing some laughter and moving around a bit!
So, whether your group is struggling with a little case of “Zoom fatigue,” or you just want ideas to liven things up, we’ve got some fun ideas to mix it up with your small group meeting this fall.
Ice breakers and ideas to shake up your digital meetings:
- Bible drill! Whether you participated in Bible drills as a kid or it is a new concept to your group, this can be a fun way to have everyone flipping through his or her Bible. Start by calling out books of the Bible and having people race to find them (when they find it, they raise their hands if meeting digitally, or they step forward if meeting in person), then add a challenge by calling out specific verses or passages of Scripture (like the Lord’s Prayer or the Sermon on the Mount). Finish off the game by calling out the passage your group will be studying.
- Name game. Have everyone say their first name and an animal that begins with the same letter, for example: “Katie the kitten” and “Ben the bear.” This will give everyone a mnemonic device to remember everyone’s names. If you want to add a challenge, say your name and animal, then the next person does theirs, plus yours. Then the third person does theirs and the second and first person’s names and animals. This moves down the line until the last person has to do everyone’s.
- Who’s that baby? If you’re the meeting host, gather baby photos of each small group member. Have meeting members try to guess who their friends are when shown a baby picture. The person who guesses the most photos correctly wins!
- Digital scavenger hunt! Have a list of items and call out items one by one. Whoever is the closest to the item or is the quickest to put it on the screen gets a point.
- Get moving! Find a short exercise video or song and take a “movement break.”
- Hot seat. Select one person in each meeting (check with them beforehand) and ask them fun rapid fire questions so everyone can get to know each other better.
- PowerPoint surprise. Have each person prepare a three minute PowerPoint presentation and then have another person narrate the presentation without seeing the content beforehand.
- Where in the world? Try out fun, well-known virtual backgrounds and have meeting members guess the location (perhaps a well-known coffee shop from a TV show, a historical location, or maybe a location in your church).
- Never Have I Ever. Have each meeting participant hold up ten fingers. The meeting host calls out things like, “Never have I ever attended virtual church in my pajamas,” or “Never have I ever done my Bible study in my car.” (Get creative!) The last person with any fingers raised wins.
- Pictionary! This classic game works well for in-person and digital groups. Divide your group into two teams, use a Pictionary-word generator (or use phrases from your study). The designated artist has one minute to draw the word or phrase as his or her team tries to guess. If the team guesses correctly, they get a point.
- Charades! This game-night classic also works well for digital groups. Split the group into two teams and use a Charades-idea generator (or use phrases from your study). Have the person acting out the charade use the Zoom “spotlight” feature while his or her team has one minute to guess the correct phrase.
- Hats of celebration. Celebrate holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, decades, and more by having everyone wear a fun hat or themed outfit to your meeting.
If your group is continuing to follow social distancing guidelines in your area and meet digitally, we encourage you to schedule meetings simply for the purpose of getting to know one another. Perhaps have everyone bring dinner, coffee or tea, and spend a little time catching up and doing life together.
Tell us what your favorite ice breaker or activities are to liven up a small group!