If you’re meeting a middle-schooler for the first time, the standard questions (name? grade? school?) are the obvious starting point. But since many 11- to 13-year olds haven’t yet learned how to carry a conversation, it’s up to you to keep things going.
One of the easiest ways to do that is by saying, “Tell me about your xxx” where xxx is the kid’s t-shirt (assuming it has a graphic or phrase on it – please don’t ask them to tell you about their plain old navy blue tee), cap, earrings, cast, instrument case, nail-polish (ask the color, ladies – it matters to them; guys, don’t ask about this), shoes, or anything else that’s easily seen and identified.
Once you’ve met a kid and broken the ice, here are 3 different question categories to keep things rolling:
1. Would you rather questions.
You can find hundreds of these lists online – most of which are entirely out-of-bounds for any ministry setting. Brainstorm a list with your leadership team. Here are few to get you started:
- Would you rather have a dragon or be a dragon?
- Would you rather eat frog legs or drink broccoli juice?
- Would you rather wear a snowsuit in the desert or a bathing suit in Antartica?
- Would you rather give up your phone for a day or pizza for a year?
- Would you rather always wear a blindfold or a nose plug?
- Would you rather have a kangaroo or a koala for your pet?
- Would you rather be able to only whisper or only shout?
- Would you rather be a cat or a dog?
- Would you rather visit the deep sea or deep space?
- Would you rather have an elephant trunk or a giraffe neck?
- Would you rather be a Disney princess/hero or a Disney villain for a day?
- Would you rather give up your phone for a year or wait until you’re 18 to drive?
- Would you rather eat an entire box of Lucky Charms or an entire bag of Doritos?
- Would you rather eat breakfast food for dinner or dinner food for breakfast?
Follow up with, “Really? Why?” to keep the conversation going.
2. What’s your favorite questions. Easy Peasey:
- favorite movie
- favorite snack
- favorite song
- favorite book (“I’m allergic to books” doesn’t count)
- favorite tv show
- favorite hobby
- favorite cartoon character
- favorite food
- favorite ice-cream flavor
- favorite pizza topping
3. If you could questions. Here are a few to jumpstart your own list:
- If you could take a vacation anywhere, where would you go?
- If you could skip school and do anything you wanted for a day, what would it be?
- If you could have any meal you wanted, what would it be?
- If you could go to any concert, what would it be?
- If you could be on a tv show, what would it be and what character would you be?
- If you could call any celebrity right now, who would you call and what would you say?
- If you could ask (insert famous name here) any question, what would it be?
- If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would it be?
- If you could jump 10 years into the future, where would you live and what would you be doing?
- If you could write a book, what would it be about?
- If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
- If you could have been the inventor of anything that already exists, what would it be?
- If you could invent something brand new, what would it do?
It’s up to you to start and maintain a conversation with a middle schooler. But it’s not up to you to carry the conversation as a monopoly. Be sure you give them space to respond and ask their own questions in return. Not only will you be doing great ministry; you’ll also be teaching and modeling an important life skill.
5 thoughts on “4 Ways to Start Conversations with Middle Schoolers”
Love these ideas!
Wow, that’s hilarious. I’ll have to use those. If you want, you can read my blog at https://archiesugar.wordpress.com/.