By day, David Reichley is the mild-mannered director of Wayfarer Camp. But at camp, David turns into REC MAN, whose curly blond wig has the ability to help any and every camper have fun. Each month, REC MAN will present a new game that you can use in your student ministry.
This month’s game is Human Bingo. It’s a great icebreaker game to play with a new group. While it requires a little work to set up, the payoff is worth it.
Preparation: Before students arrive, you will need to create bingo cards. The cards should have 25 squares – five rows of five squares, as you see in the picture above. The middle space should be a free space, as in regular bingo.
Fill the squares with statements that describe one or more students in the group. These facts can be facts you know, specific to one student, or generic facts that apply to many students. Come up with enough facts to fill the 24 spaces on the card (aside from the free space).
For example, squares can be things like: likes sushi; is an only child; loves chocolate; has never been snow skiing. The more creative you are, the more fun the game will be.
Supplies: Each student needs a bingo card and a sharpie or pen.
Participation: All students participate at once. Adult leaders can join in the fun.
Start: When you say “go,” students should mingle with each other. As they do, they should ask questions of other students to find a square that applies to them. Once a student finds a match, he or she should have the other student initial the box.
Finish: Students continue to do this until they complete a line on the card horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. When this happens, the student with the completed card should shout BINGO! At this point, the leader of the game should check the card to make sure the bingo is legitimate. Award a prize to the winner.
Rules: If your group has at least 20 people, it’s best to make sure that no one initials any single card more than once. With smaller groups, you can allow for multiple initials, but you may want to keep students from getting one person to initial a card twice at the same time.
Debrief: After the game, you may choose to go through each square and ask students to raise their hands if that square applies to them. This will help students get to know each other better and will also allow you to initiate discussion. This is another good reason to make the squares as unique as possible.
So, if you are looking for a way to get students moving around and to break the ice as they get to know each other, give Human Bingo a try. And always remember … Have fun!
Your friendly neighborhood REC MAN