Group Size: Small, Medium, Large
Materials Needed: Varies
Name Games are useful at the beginning of a group to help participants get to know each other’s name and build an effective community. Encouraging young people to learn each other’s name and build an effective community. Encouraging young people to learn each other’s names (and learning them yourself) is an important way to help a group develop a sense of belonging and group identity. Research in Club shows that greeting youth by their name boosts the overall Club Experience.
Name Motion Circle: Each participant steps forward saying his/her name while performing a brief boy movement of choice—for example, clapping or jumping in place. The group repeats the name and movement together. Adapt by having the group say all names with matching movement of everyone who has already gone, before moving on to the next person.
Alliteration Game (adjective, animals, food, etc.): Each member says his/her name with an adjective that describes him/her, using the same first letter as their name (i.e., Amazing Amy, Fun Frank, Carrots Carlos). Before the next person goes, he/she repeats the name and adjective (etc.) of each person who went before.
Beat the Fist: Ask participants to stand in a circle. Have all participants make a fist with one hand and extend it to the center of the circle. One person stands in the middle of the circle and begins calling out another person’s name. The person whose name is called must say someone else’s name before the person in the middle taps their fist. If the person whose name is called cannot name another or if they flinch (pull their arm back) they become the person in the middle. Continue to play for several rounds.
Good to Meet Ya, Gotta Go: Begin by explaining (at a very fast pace if you like). “We live in a very busy world and we don’t have a lot of time to meet and greet each other, but let’s take a second to do so now.” Give participants 90 seconds to meet and greet as many people in the room as possible by shaking hands and saying, “My name is _______. Good to meet ya, gotta go!”
Toss a Name Game: Arrange the group in a circle. One person starts off by saying the name of someone else in the circle and tossing the ball to them. That person then in turn says the name of a different person and tosses the ball to someone else who had not yet received the ball. That continues until everyone in the circle has received the ball once. Generally, the objective is to pass the ball around the circle without dropping it. If the ball is dropped, the group restarts until completed without dropping. You can add a “Thank you, (name)” from the receiving person if you like.
Name Train: Form a large circle with two or three leaders (engines) in the center of the group. Introduce everyone to the Name Train steps: left leg-kick and pause, right leg-kick and pause, kick- left, right, left. All players in the train as well as the new person, say “welcome,” the new person’s name, on each kick as they perform the steps- Jane (pause), Jane (pause), Jane, Jane, Jane. This newest player goes to the end of the line and everyone turns around so she becomes the “engine” and selects the next person to welcome. Everyone stands with their hands on the shoulders of the person in front and the direction of the train changes with each new player. The train moves on to the next person. Have a few trains moving along until everyone is a part of a train. Then begin dropping off your passengers with the same steps, only saying “farewell” in place of welcome. When all the passengers have been dropped off, see if anyone can name every player in the game.