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One of the most important aspects of teaching children is to keep their attention and to create an interesting and encouraging environment.
Research has indicated that promoting interaction between children results in a positive outcome when learning.
Ice breakers have an important role when encouraging interaction within a group of children who have met each other for the first time. Ice breakers can adopt various formats, these include getting to know you games and fun group games.
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Icebreaker games work because they help a group of children to unite and work as part of a team. They are useful to reduce anxiety that may be experienced by some of the participants when introduced to other people. They can stimulate friendships and encourage cooperation and participation.
Ice breakers can help new groups to get to know one another, encourage new members to integrate into a group and feel comfortable together. They are useful in developing listening and verbal communication skills. Icebreakers create a good atmosphere for learning and participation and are vital for building a good rapport with staff.
Careful consideration should be given to selecting an appropriate icebreaker for a group of children. Many icebreaker games can be changed to meet the needs of the group, it is important to ensure that it has some relevance to the group. The icebreaker should fit with the number of participants. It should be explained carefully and it must be ensured that all children understand the rules of the game. The icebreaker should not be too time consuming. The area in which the icebreaker is to be done also requires consideration as active physical icebreakers require a reasonable amount of space. A risk assessment should be carried out before completing an icebreaker. Equipment needed will also require consideration and necessary equipment should be obtained prior to carrying out the activity. It is essential that personal awareness is considered when planning and carrying out an icebreaker. Many icebreakers involve participants revealing personal details which if carried out inappropriately can cause distress and a bad atmosphere within the group.
There are numerous disadvantages to icebreakers. Some children may find participation stressful and embarrassing. They may have inadequate social skills to participate. Ice breakers can be time consuming and can seem pointless. Icebreakers can also discriminate against some individuals, this may include those people with physical or sensory impairment. There may also be a risk that children will not fully participate.