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101 Icebreakers Review by Cindy West

By Gary Miller and Heather Horn
Healthy Learning
PO Box 1828
Monterey, CA 93942

101 Icebreakers isn't necessarily what you might consider homeschool curriculum. However, because many of us are involved in groups outside of our own homeschools, I believe this book might prove useful anyway. Those of us who lead groups will find the book especially useful.

The purpose of the icebreaker activities is to help a group of people get to know one another and feel more comfortable around each other. Whether you lead children in a co-op, a church class, or a scout group, you'll find many of the activities to be suitable for grabbing their attention and getting them motivated for the lesson ahead. Most of the activities, though, are more appropriate for teens and adults. They can be used for youth or college groups, for women's or men's ministries, or even within the workplace.

Even though there are some really fun ideas, the book is not written from a Christian perspective. In fact, you may find a few of the ideas to be inappropriate. For instance, one activity uses rubber chickens and is really very innocent in its play, but the title ("Flip Me the Bird") is suggestive of behavior that Christians wouldn't want to teach. Another activity ("Astrology") asks the group members to divide up into smaller groups based on their astrological signs. They are then expected to develop a list of commonalities within each group. Despite these negative examples, most of the ideas are very innocent and can be lifesavers to the busy leader needing a quick icebreaker.

The book is broken into five chapters: "Short on Time," "Minimum Materials Needed," "Getting Comfortable," "Engaging the Masses: Extra-Large Groups," and "Better Business." There are activities for various group sizes, from five to seventy or more people. Some ideas are active (relays or blindfold games), while others ask people to write things down and share them with the group.

A black-and-white picture is included with each activity, and all the directions (along with a materials list) are written on one easy-to-read page. At least one variation idea is given with each activity, and leading questions are included to help the leader get to the point.

After using the book several times with children and teens, I've decided it's a keeper. I've even been able to take some of the ideas and lead into a Bible lesson very easily. Of course, there are some activities I'll choose not to use, but that tends to happen with many of the resource books on my shelf. I think the ladies planning the next women's ministry event at our church will appreciate my passing the book along!

-Product review by: Cindy West, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, June 2008.