Shopping Cart

Icebreakers—Literal and Figurative...

Posted on

Hi! Pleased to meet you. I’m John.

The first day of camp is always an exciting scene! When campers get to their cabin, it’s normal for there to be some shyness and nerves about meeting new people. Starting conversations with other kids can feel a bit difficult to begin with, but before campers know it, they’re sharing a laugh or two and learning about one another.

Initiating friendships is often referred to as ‘Breaking the Ice’. We even sell the Buddy Talk Icebreaker Game that helps get new friends talking. But why? How did this term get so intertwined with introductions and making friends?

Well, the origin of the phrase dates back to the 1600s. In those days, it was common for ships that were navigating through Arctic regions to get stuck in the thick ice chunks of the cold ocean waters. Whenever a ship got stuck, crews of other nearby ships would sometimes come to their aid, breaking up the ice to free a trapped ship.  

Literally breaking the ice proved to be a very difficult job—and dangerous too. It required a great, coordinated effort among all the ships involved. The rescue ships, using sheer force combined with strategic maneuvering—would break the ice apart and forge a path for the trapped ship to make its escape. Freeing a ship typically took many hours or possibly days to achieve, but in such cold and merciless conditions it was a matter life and death.

In time, the phrase ‘break the ice’ developed a connotation; people started applying it to any situation that called for overcoming a barrier and establishing a connection. The phrase is now mostly used in reference to initiating a conversation in social situations. Check out our Buddy Talk Icebreaker Game as well as our collection of cards, dice, and plenty of other fun games to make breaking the ice easy at camp!


Thanks for reading, Camp Folks. And, as always, Happy Camping!


- John

Posted in Adage Origin


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published