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Saturday, October 2, 2010

DIY Project: A Puzzle for an Ice Breaker

With the exception of our parents, our families haven't really gotten to a chance to mingle. Some of the women will meet two nights before at my shower so I'm hoping that encourages mingling the day of.

Just in case our guests suddenly become shy, we're including a crossword puzzle in our program. (I grew up watching my dad spend Sunday morning on the paper's puzzle and working my own puzzles.) To give everyone an equal chance to find the answers, we put clues here on our blog, our Google Map and our table numbers, and in our program. For some of the clues, we've identified the guests who know the answer (they were present for the occasion we called out).

Once we decided on a theme for the puzzle - restaurants and bars where drinks and meals were shared - it was easy to map special occasions to places. We created a list of one word restaurant names - stringing multiple words into one and noting that in the clue - and wrote up a short description of why the place was important. For example, the restaurant (Max's Cafe - MaxsCafe - at Stanford) where cubes met my family for the first time last year on Father's Day.

Then we pasted the list into the PuzzleMaker at Discovery Education and we had a crossword. 
If you didn't like the look of the puzzle you could generate a new one. I played with width - from 50x50 to 100x100 to 75x75 - until I had a shape that would fit in our program.

I then took a couple of screen shots and finalized the layout in Adobe Photoshop. An easy low cost ice breaker.

Did you do anything to encourage your guests to mingle?

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