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Name Games

The Story of My Name

Description of a Name Game
& Get-to-know-you Activity

James Neill
Last updated:
12 Aug 2004

The Story of Your Name

  • What's in a name?  More than we often realize.

  • This is an interesting, novel way for people to introduce themselves to others, especially in ethnically diverse groups.

  • Ensure that an appropriate group atmosphere is established in which people have already done some initial warm-up activities and name games.

  • Ask participants to turn to a partner and explain what your name means (if anything) and where it comes from.

  • Most people reveal a surprising amount of interesting information about where their name comes from and what it means.

  • The greater the ethnic and cultural diversity in the group, the better this exercise tends to work.

  • Can be specifically used to help build intercultural respect and understanding or to more generally help develop self-identity and open respect and sharing.

  • Optional: Ask each person to introduce his/her partner to the larger group and to explain what his/her name means and where it comes from.

  • Optional: The activity can be extended into revealing the background behind other names e.g.,

    • Nicknames

    • Pets

    • Alter-ego or "fantasy name"

    • Names of children - or what would you name your children if you have them?

Equipment: None

Time: ~30 mins

Brief description:

Where does your name come from?  Share the story of where your name comes from and what your name means.  Everyone's name has a surprisingly interesting origin.  Helps to build intercultural respect and understanding.


Other descriptions:

What's In a Name?