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Mixers and Group Games

Simple internet searches might show millions of other game ideas as well. Always consider the cultural backgrounds of those who might be present, however, to make sure your friends always feel welcome. Games requiring physical contact between men and women are not recommended in general for international students since those from more publicly conservative backgrounds might be offended. Even a game that wastes a lot of food might be offensive to someone whose culture struggles with resources. Think before you play!

  • LINEUP GAME Get in groups of five to ten people each. First group that gets itself into order according to the category you name, wins. For example first letter of middle name, shoe size, height, birth date, etc. Just be sure to pick subjects that people can line up easily.
  • COUNTING GAME  Have everyone in your group pair up and face each other. Each person holds up zero to ten fingers behind their back. On the count of three, have them pull their hands from behind their backs. The first person to yell out the correct sum of all the fingers wins. Do best two of three. Then the winners play each other until you have a champion.
  • VARIATION: THE MATH GAME  Competitors hold just one hand behind their back, revealing the number of fingers at the signal. Whoever yells out the sum of the fingers wins the first round. For Round 2, multiply the fingers. Round 3 is the difference between the two numbers. Rotate through as many rounds as you want, but for the championship round (between the two survivors) have them square the total of the two sets of fingers. For example, Person A shows three fingers, Person B shows four, so the winning answer is 3+4 = 7 * 7=49
  • APE, MAN, GIRL GAME  This is a variation of the rock, paper, scissors game. Have people pair off. Then, when the signal is given each person strikes a pose like an ape, man, or girl. Be sure to demonstrate what each looks like ahead of time. The ape beats the girl, man beats the ape, the girl beats the man. Eliminate the losers and pair the winners until you get a champion.
  • BALLOON GAME  Tie a balloon on a string (at least two feet long) to each person’s ankle. The objective of the game is to be the last person with an un-popped balloon around one’s ankle. Note: this game takes some prep work. Balloons must be blown up and string cut in advance. It is a fun game, though. Don’t try this in someone’s living room if you want to be invited back!
  • SQUIRT GAME  Everyone sits in a circle. Designate one person as the “squirter” for 1st round and put a spray bottle of water in his hand. This student names a topic, such as “States in the U.S.”, and secretly thinks of one item in that category. Squirter goes around the inside of the circle, pointing the spray bottle right in the face of each person, who must quickly name an item fitting the topic. Squirter lets them have it if they don’t name one right away, OR duplicate something already said, OR name the item chosen by the squirter. The person who got squirted becomes the new topic selecter and bottle holder.  This game is fun because you can make it fit many different types of international students: Olympic events, Soccer players, Continents in the world, and so on.
  • WHO AM I?  Write out names of famous people on name tags. As people enter the room, place one on each person’s back without them knowing who it is. They then go around and ask people to look at their name tag and then ask them yes or no questions to figure out who they are.
  • COMMUNICATING CHALLENGE  Give everyone a number. They have to arrange themselves in numerical order by communicating with each other without speaking or holding up fingers. They make up their own sub-language or sign-language and it often is pretty amusing. Round two. Have people arrange themselves in order of birth or in calendar months.
  • HUMAN FOOSBALL  If the audience is situated in rows, either on chairs or on the floor, every other row turns around and faces the opposite direction. Use a balloon to bat around like volleyball. A point is scored when a team gets the balloon past all of the opposing team and hits the wall (indoors) or beyond a boundary (outdoors).
  • PERSON SCAVENGER HUNT BINGO  Make a bingo board of things a person may have done or has in their possession. Give each person a copy and have them ask people if they qualify for any of the squares. If so then they have that person sign their name on the square. (i.e. One square can be, “Find a person with 5 brothers & sisters”, another can be, “Find someone who forgot to brush their teeth this morning”). Give them a time limit. The winner is the first person who gets 5 in a row or the most names.
  • CLUMP GAME  Call out numbers and have the people get into groups of that number. Variation: Find people who have a certain thing in common, such as the same shoe size.
  • SIT DOWN IF  List of questions (the wilder the better) beginning with the phrase, “Sit down if you (blank)”
  • AURA  Get into pairs and face each other. Place your palms on other’s palms between you a little above shoulder height. Both close eyes, pull palms apart (approx. 12 inches) and turn around in your spot 3 times together at the same time. The goal is to reconnect palms after spinning while keeping your eyes closed. May want to break into all guy and all girl sub-groups to respect modesty boundaries.
  • ELBOW TAG  Get into pairs standing side by side and lock elbows. Leave one person to be “it” and one or two to be unattached. “It” chases unattached people, who can lock elbows a member of any pair. The person on the other side of the pair must then break off and run away. This can be done with longer chains if the numbers warrant it. Be cautious of cultural backgrounds and never require students to participate if you sense hesitation.
  • BANANA RELAY  Seat each team on a row of chairs with a banana at one end. Pass the banana from one end to the other, then have entire team shift down a seat with end person coming to front. After entire team has rotated back to original positions, end player must eat the banana.
  • SCAVENGER HUNT  MC addresses the audience from the stage. Have audience break into groups of 3-7 people (depends on how large your group is). The MC calls out different items or activities for the groups to produce. The first group to come up to the front with the item gets a point (the entire group does not have to go). Group with the most points wins.

Suggested items and activities:

  • Red (or another color) shoelace – has to be removed from the shoe
  • Pen with a chewed cap
  • Penny or any coin with a certain date
  • Paper clip
  • Stamp
  • Group of friends picture
  • 2 people with their shoelaces tied together
  • Gum in the wrapper – Emcee thanks the person and then eats the gum
  • Key chain with at least 8 keys
  • Bookmark
  • Store receipt
  • Etc.


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