Why Have a Book Club?
Selecting Your Group
Ice breakers are a good way for group members to become acquainted with one another, to become comfortable in the group, and to have FUN!
Ice breakers don't have to be complicated and don't need elaborate set-up or lots of materials. You don't necessarily have to do a new ice breaker every time. If one seems to be a group favorite, use it again.
You might want to do a longer ice breaker the first week, but in subsequent weeks something short and easy works very well.
Be creative with materials you may have at home or at the library (board games may have timers, colored objects, etc.), look at any early literacy props you may have, such as colored blocks, that might serve a purpose in your ice breaker. Search the internet for other ice breaker ideas. Get group members involved in choosing their favorites.
Toss ball to each other. Whoever gets the ball says their name and something they ate that day (or answers any question leader comes with for the group) then tosses ball to another person.
Have the group put themselves in order by birthday (month and date) without talking. If the group is large enough, divide into two and see who can do it fastest.
Build a Story
One person starts a story with a couple sentences; go around and have the rest of the group add their own crazy ideas.
Have items of several different colors. These could be anything: blocks, stickers, puzzle pieces, pencils, etc. After everyone has chosen their item, answer the question that goes with the color. Ideas below, but you can devise your own code.
Red: favorite vacation
Blue: favorite class in school
Green: favorite ice cream
Yellow: something we don't know about you
Brown: favorite teacher
Orange: if you could change your name, what would it be
Mothers and daughters could compare their favorites at a particular age: clothes, books, food, hobbies, games, movies, teachers, crushes, etc.
Guess The Character
This activity works well after having read a number of books together.
Give each person a card with a character or author's name from one of the books read. Have them share as a pair (they're helping each other on this), but keep hidden from other members of the group. Have group try to guess what characters each pair has on their cards by clues they give us about the characters.
Divide group into pairs. In a Mother/Daughter Book Club, mothers can introduce daughters and vice versa. If members of the pair don't already know each other, have a minute or two for a brief conversation and then have each introduce the other to the group.
Memory Name Game
Everyone has to say a word beginning with the first initial of their name and also remember all the other words that were said previously: "Mary likes marshmallows, Tom likes tomatoes, Karen likes kangaroos, Lisa likes lobsters...My name is Brian and I like balloons..." Good for learning names of others in the group.
Pass The Hat
Think up one or more questions per person. Cut the paper up so that each question is on its own bit of paper, fold the papers up and put them in a hat or similar receptacle. Take turns pulling a question out of the hat and answer the question. Once somebody has answered their particular question, other people might want to share their own answers. Questions could be about hobbies, pets, musical instruments, travel, jobs, favorite foods, favorite books, authors, what would you do if you won the lottery, if you could meet any person living or dead, etc. Invite group members to come up with their own questions.
Pass 10 pennies to everyone in the group. People take turns saying something that IS NOT TRUE for them, but they think IS TRUE for a number of others. For example, if you say, "I don't have a sister," then everyone in the group who DOES have a sister has to give you a penny. The next person might say, "I've never been to Florida." Anyone in the group who HAS been to Florida has to give that person a penny. The object is to see who ends up with the most pennies. This can take a long time so set a 10 or 15 minute limit. You don't have to use pennies, other objects can work, or hold up 10 fingers and put a finger down every time they "lose" a round.
Pass around a bowl of pennies or other object. Have each person take however many they want. After they've taken some, tell them that they need to tell the group one fact about themselves for every object they took. Or roll one die and tell as many facts about themselves as the number they rolled.
Two Truths and a Lie
Tell two things about yourself that are true and one that's a lie. Have the rest of the group guess which is which.
What Book Is This?
Describe a good book that you've read by giving clues about plot, characters, author, etc. and have the rest of the group guess what book it is. Can also act out book titles by playing charades.
updated February 2012
M. Severson, G. Cramer, J. Kreuser