I don’t know about you all, but my Little and I spend a good deal of our time together in the car. It’s the one constant with all of our outings. I will pick her up in my car, we will drive to the outing location, and then drive back to her house, if not stop somewhere in between those last two points. With a budding teenager in my passenger seat, I can only get so far with the classic conversation stand-bys- “How’s school?” “How’s your family?” “What’d you get up to this week?” I hear a lot of “Nothing”‘s and “I don’t know”‘s, so anything I could do to flip the script was welcomed.
Apart from the frequent ice breaker questions we encounter in our professional lives, ice breakers in a match context were introduced to me by my BBBSLA Match Support Specialist. He had positioned using ice breakers as a standalone game, possibly taped to Jenga pieces. Knowing my Little and I spend so much time in the car pushing our words around, I thought these questions might be better suited to a turn-taking game- my Little pulls a question out of a jar (after all, I’m driving!), and each of us takes a turn to answer it.
To make this dream a reality, I printed out the list of questions from my Match Support Specialist and cut each of them out into individual strips. The questions ranged from something as simple as, “What’s your favorite holiday and why?” to more complex questions, like, “What does love mean to you?” I also added a few “choose your own” slips into the mix, so that we had a chance to make up our own questions to ask. I folded each strip and placed them into a cleaned-out pasta sauce jar, decorated the outside of the container, and voila! We had ourselves a conversation-based game for our car rides!
Upon picking up my Little for an outing that I knew would be a solid 40 minute one-way trip, I pulled out the jar of questions from my car’s center console and explained the concept to her. She was reluctant to try it at first, but once she started reading and answering the questions aloud, they triggered some really interesting conversations between us. For instance, my Little excitedly spoke at length about the characters she loves to draw, the challenges she was facing in improving her drawings, and memories from her early childhood that she hadn’t shared before. It was also a great way for her to learn about me, as her Big. When we returned to the car after our outing, she even asked if we could play again- before slowly drifting to sleep on the drive back, that is!
In sum, I couldn’t recommend this game more, especially if you struggle to pull conversations out of thin air with your Little. I think it’s a more intriguing way to start discussions, as opposed to asking questions point-blank without the jar, as it sets a tone for a consistent dialogue between participants.
How do you engage your Little in meaningful or interesting conversations? Have you ever tried a solution like this? Let us know in the comments! And if you are interested in receiving the list of questions I used for our ice breaker game, feel free to send me a message, and I’ll be sure to send them your way!