If you have an upcoming parent-child event, such as a scout camping trip or a Father's Day luncheon, warm up the group with a fun icebreaker activity. These types of games promote group participation, ease any nervous tension and allow parents and children a chance to get to know one another better. Choose from several types of icebreakers that children, teens, young adults and all ages of parents will enjoy.
Getting to Know You
Before the event, ask the parents and children (young or adult) to complete a questionnaire about each other. At the event, they read the answers aloud to the group. Some examples of questions include, "What's your parent's/child's favorite store?" and "What's your parent's/child's email address?" Young children's answers to these icebreaker questions can be very entertaining. If the event is comprised of teenagers and their parents, ask more advanced questions to allow them to learn something new about each other. For example, ask the parents, "Who is your teen's favorite musician?" and "What country does your teen dream of visiting?" Ask the teens, "What's your parent's favorite holiday (or season)?" or "What did your parent want to be when he was a teenager?"
The egg toss is a physical game that is perfect for an outdoor parent-child event, such as a picnic. Line up the parents and children facing each other in parallel rows. They start by standing only a foot apart from each other and back up a step after passing the egg back and forth. The winning parent-child team is the one that is able to throw the egg back and forth the longest without accidentally breaking it.
If your event features mothers with their children, play an icebreaker about famous mothers. The famous mothers can be real or fictional and may include famous ladies like, Mother Theresa or Mother Goose. Write down the names of the mothers on small note cards. Tape the cards to the participants' backs without telling them who they have. They must ask the other participants to give them clues about the name on their backs.
Handful of Candy
When parents and children are first seated at the meeting or event, pass around a bowl of small candies, such as M&M's. Tell the group to take a handful, but wait to eat the candy until further instructions. After the bowl has been passed around the room, tell them that they must state one fact about their parent/child for each piece of candy in their hands. Examples of facts may include, "My dad is an accountant" or "My daughter plays the flute." Participants who grabbed a large handful of candy must state lots of facts, so it can be funny for the other participants. If the event is outdoors, such as a parent-child camp out or a family reunion retreat, pass around toilet paper instead. Tell everyone, "Take as much as you need" to start the game. Participants must state one fact per square of toilet paper.
Choosing the Icebreaker
Parents and children can have a great time playing icebreakers that allow them to bond. Choose a game that fits the setting of your activity. If you are planning an icebreaker for a weekend-long event, write an extended list of "Getting to Know You" and plan a game-show setup, such as "The Newlywed Game" format. For additional options, check out the games from Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Foundation or from Geneaology.com.
No matter where you are or the age of the children present, parent-child icebreaker activities can set a fun tone for the entire event. Plan one that encourages participants to learn about each other so they can become closer.