Anywhere Games, Games & Icebreakers, Mixers

Degrees of Separation


Preparation: Paper and pens for each group.

To start this game have students and leaders get into groups of 3-6 people. Each group will need a piece of paper and a pen. Once everyone is in a group, start off by giving the groups a word like “Church”. Have the groups come up with as many words that have to do with church as they possibly can. For example, words like cross, Jesus, Bible, guitar, chairs, sermon, pastor, people, etc. Any word that can be associated with church/youth group works. Some of my students get smart and start naming books of the Bible! See how many each group can get in 3 minutes!

You can practice this version 2 or 3 times and then move to the degrees of separation. The degrees of separation works in the same way, but every new word gets farther away from the original word as it possibly can. Every time a group writes a word that is not associated with the previous set of words, it counts as a degree of separation! See how many your students can get in 3 minutes.

You will laugh at where their minds go. We went from Church to Chuck Norris! Example Word: Church – cross, wood, forest (forest would be the 1st Degree of Separation) forest, leaves, animals, zoo (Zoo would be the 2nd Degree of Separation) and so on. Students love this game and when you have them read their answers out loud, they will all be laughing!

Idea Submitted by Paul Pellizzari


Jonathan McKee

Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Guy's Guide to FOUR BATTLES Every Young Man Must Face; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.


  1. Patrick Garrett
    November 14, 2012 at 12:00 am

    Thanks Paul; good idea! Easy to to play!

  2. Ken M
    January 16, 2013 at 12:00 am

    I’m sorry, but I’m not sure how animals and Zoo are not assoicated with each other? I can see how leaves and animals would be not assoicated. So I must be missing something. I like the concept, just not sure I follow the reasoning 🙂

  3. Jim Yates
    February 20, 2016 at 12:00 am

    Does anyone have any other examples their young people came up with in playing this game?

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