First-Day Cabin Icebreakers

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Here are some fun activities and icebreakers perfect for the first day of camp! Mix these games in while going over the camp rules, and you’ll get to know your campers in no time. These also help break things up and keep a fun camp atmosphere while discussing a heavier subject. Look for the bonus content at the end to add some extra fun to your icebreakers

Who’s your counselor?

This is a great way to get your campers to work together while learning more about you. Have your campers come up with 5-10 “facts” about you. The crazier and the wackier the better. Then have each camper or those that want to speak present you with their “facts.” Discuss each one and why they thought that about you. This activity makes you more approachable as their counselor.

Name Memory Match

This activity requires a blanket or a sheet and a person to hold it on each side. Split your cabin into two groups on either side of the blanket. Hold the blanket up in between the two groups as one person from each side stands up. When the blanket falls the two people race to say the other persons name first. Continue with different people until everyone knows everyone’s name.

Look Up!

This icebreaker is similar to Name Memory Match. Have everyone sit in a circle at the prompt “look up” everyone looks up and points at a person in the circle. If people are pointing and looking at each other they must immediately say the other person’s name for as long as possible in a single breathe. Whoever says the other persons name for the longest stays in the circle. The game continues until there are two players left whoever says the other persons name for longer wins.

Count to 20

Have your campers sit in a group with their eyes closed and count to 20. Seems simple right? Here’s the catch, you can’t go in order, anyone can say a number at any time and one person can’t say multiple numbers at the same time. If two people speak at the same time you start over.

Show and Tell

Have each camper grab something from their pack and present it to the rest of the cabin. Ideally the item has something to do with a hobby of theirs or relates to their personality. You can go first to show your campers how its done. Have each camper say their name before they introduce everyone to their item.

Sync Claps

Get your group in a circle facing each other with arms at their sides. Direct 2 participants to give each other a high five then one of those people gives the next person a high five. The high five continues around the circle gaining speed trying to go as fast as possible while still hearing each high five. Variations on this icebreaker adding a double clap, going in opposite directions or trying to create the sound of one giant high five with the whole group.

Create a Cabin Handshake

Have each person in your cabin come up with a handshake move that everyone can do. Then combine all of the moves into one awesome cabin handshake.

Helium Stick

This requires a light stick, pool noodle or tent a pole (a hula hoop can also be used). Have all of the cabin members form two lines shoulder to should and facing each other. Now participants hold an arm out straight toward the other line with their pointer finger out. Set the stick on its side laying across all of the fingers (parallel to the ground). The group must work together and lower the stick to the ground. If the stick falls, or if someone pinches or grabs the stick you must restart. You may be surprised that when the task begins the stick goes up instead of down. This is because the stick is lighter than the force being applied to it. If just a stick is too easy consider adding washers to the ends of the stick. If a washer falls off you must restart. For the hula hoop the participants will be in a circle.

Letter from the Future

It’s the first day of camp. Excitement is high and expectations for the week will vary. Let’s figure out what your campers expectations are. What are they most excited about? What are they nervous about? What’s something they want to learn while at camp? Have your campers write down answers to these questions or more that you come up with. The day before they go back home revisit what their time was like. Did it meet their expectations? What did they learn? How did they overcome their fears? This is a great way to reflect on the growth that has happened during camp and to remember their experience.

Sneaky Steve

Gather all campers in a circle and place folded papers in the center. One paper has a double “S” that stands for “Sneaky Steve.” Sneaky Steve’s mission is to secretly wink at someone to tag them out. When tagged, the player is out of the game. Everyone must watch out for Sneaky Steve’s sly moves. If a camper suspects who Sneaky Steve is, they can call them out. The accused camper reveals their paper; if it’s Sneaky Steve, the game ends, and the players win. If it’s not Sneaky Steve, the accuser is out. Sneaky Steve wins by tagging out all campers except one.

The Lore of Sneaky Steve

Everyone needs a good backstory so sneaky Steve has one too!

Once upon a time, in the heart of the lush forest that bordered [insert your camp here], there lived a mischievous raccoon named Steve. From a young age, Steve had always been fascinated by the bustling campgrounds nearby. He loved to watch the campers as they played games, roasted marshmallows, and told stories around the campfire. As Steve grew older, his curiosity only intensified. He longed to join in the camp’s festivities, to experience the camaraderie and excitement for himself. But try as he might, Steve knew he could never truly be a part of the human world. He was just a raccoon, after all – a creature of the woods.

One summer day, as the campers gathered for their favorite games and activities, Steve watched from the safety of the trees. He longed to join them, to be a part of their joyful laughter and boundless energy. But deep down, he knew he could never truly belong. As the sun began to set and the campers gathered around the fire, Steve felt a pang of sadness wash over him. He had always been an outsider, destined to wander the forest alone. But just as he turned to leave, a voice called out from the darkness. “Hey there, little guy,” said a camper, peering into the shadows. “What are you doing out here all alone?” Steve hesitated, unsure of how to respond. But as he looked into the camper’s eyes, he saw nothing but kindness and warmth. In that moment, he knew he had found a friend.

The camper invited him to the campfire to join in with the fun and games but there was a problem. Sneaky Steve is a raccoon. He can’t talk. This didn’t stop the campers though, with a little bit of creativity the game “Sneaky Steve” was born.

Wrap it up

In conclusion, this is the end of the blog. Hopefully these icebreakers help make your summer an awesome one! For more activity ideas take a look at our other activity blogs, 5 Summer Camp Activities all Staff Should Know and Icebreaker Games for Kids.

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