Updated: Nov 11, 2022
How to Make Ice Melters Interesting for Introverts
PLUS Four Printable Ice Melter Activities
Many introverts hate ice breakers for a variety of reasons. While extroverts often enjoy attention, those who are introverts find it overstimulating and overwhelming to be in the spotlight. Stereotypical icebreakers tend to move quickly, allowing little time to think about what you’re going to say or do in advance.
At Kikori, we believe that it is important to support youth in moving outside of their comfort zone and that may happen at different speeds for each individual. We also believe that activities should be built for all intelligences and that those who are more introverted possess special gifts that should be celebrated.
Why Ice Melter?
We first learned of the term “ice melter,” rather than ice breaker, from one of our mentors, Laurie Frank. She and our professor, Carla Hacker, shared with us that the goal of this initial get-to-know-you activity shouldn’t be to break the ice but rather to melt it in a way that helps to build relationships in a safe way. We were also fortunate to participate in Callie Aumen’s and Robyn Handley’s webinar through the Association for Experiential Education, specifically on IceBreakers for Introverts which helped us solidify the importance of ways to make ice melters for introverts.
Here are five tips to ensure that you help your participants melt the ice, rather than break it!
Teach about Growth Zones and Comfort Zones. One of the most important concepts for your participants is to help them build awareness around their comfort zones and growth zones so as to normalize the feelings of resistance and anxiety as normal when we are faced with something new and scary. It is important to help youth build their ability to recognize how they’re feeling and begin to name those emotions so they can speak to them.
Offer Challenge by Choice during your activities. Once youth know where their comfort zone is and their growth zone is, you can offer them Challenge by Choice which inspires and allows youth to make choices about the level of participation that they are comfortable with. Encouraging youth to step out of their comfort zone while also letting them know that they have choice and control are important factors.
Build in smaller interactions to break up large group interactions. Activities that include public performance are the pinnacle of the day for some youth, however can be very anxiety-inducing for others. In order to prevent youth from shutting down, it is helpful to build in small group activities where members of the group can come up with the action or idea together. It’s also helpful to provide space within the small group for roles that are not “performing roles” but are still important to activity completion.
Incorporate writing and/or Pair-Shares into your activity. By building in writing or thinking time as well as Pair-Shares, youth are provided with a consistent structure where they know they will be given the time to process and plan prior to sharing. This is also a great habit for kids to get into insofar as taking a pause and practicing self-control and individual thinking.
Build anonymity into the activity. Within many activities, youth are expected to share their thoughts, ideas and/or questions. By writing these activities on paper and collecting them in a jar or container, it is fairly easy to build in anonymity. If youth are writing their answers on paper, another more wild way to play a question activity would be to crumple their paper into a “snowball” and have a “snowball fight.” In this way, there is anonymity with the questions or written words as well as fun with the way the words are delivered. There is still a chance for individuals to make a negative statement about someone else’s ideas so it is helpful to be intentional about modeling “put-ups” (versus put-downs) which is supportive, kind language.
Are you doing a virtual activity? The participant that shared their screen or started the whiteboard can enable or disable annotations at any time or make annotations anonymous.
Interested in building community through Ice Melters with your groups?
Download Kikori through Apple, Android or Desktop for free! Each of the activities in the Ice Melter Printable below are available within the Kikori platform along with 450+ more experiential activities aligned with CASEL Social Emotional Learning standards!
Click the link below to download the FREE Ice Melter Printable below!