Ice breakers are an opportunity to set the tone for the entire meeting. Great ice breakers can achieve several goals including team building, getting to know your team, remembering names, and incorporating play and creativity. The following is a list of ice breaker activities you can play with your team to start your meetings with high energy and creative thinking. These activities are accompanied with debrief questions and tagged with their specific purpose depending on your ice breaker needs. Even if you have done one of these activities before, the activity is never played the same twice. There are always different answers, because they are played on-the-spot.
Purpose tags Fun, problem solving, getting to know your team, name game
Five-Second Favorite The facilitator chooses a topic (favorite ice cream, favorite vacation, favorite time of day). Each person has five seconds to answer, no repeat answers. Purpose:Fun, getting to know your team
Declare Yourself from Kat Koppett'sTraining to Imagine Have the participants stand in a circle. One at a time, as they feel the impulse to, each participant takes a step toward the center of the circle. First the person who has stepped forward looks around the circle, making eye contact with the other participants. The they say, "I am (name), and I am here to (have the them state their intention of the meeting)." After a moment, they step back, and someone else steps forward until everyone has participated. Use this to close a meeting and state action items or takeaways.
Debrief questions How did this feel? What surprised you? How do you feel as a team now? Purpose: Getting to know your team, name game
Have the participants stand in a circle. Explain that the group will count from 1-20 (or 1 to 10 if you want), in order, all whole numbers, no tricks. Have them close their eyes or focus on the center of the circle. Each person can say a number whenever they wish, with the exception that they cannot say two numbers in a row. There is no established pattern or secret communication (no eye contact, no skipping every other person). Finally, and most importantly, whenever two or more people start to say a number at the same time, the group begins again with 1. Remind the group that there is no secret trick. Counting to 20 one person at a time would be easy if you planned who went next.
Debrief questions When did you choose to say a number? When did you choose to listen? What contributed to the group's success? Purpose: Problem solving
Name Game - Call and Respond Have the participants stand in a circle. One at a time, have participants say their name and a gesture (peace sign, waving hello, small jump). Be as creative as you'd like. The group will repeat the name and gesture. Once more, go around the circle with your name and gesture and have the group repeat each person's name/gesture. Now go around the circle and say everyone's name/gesture along with that person. Repeat the last step one more time. With the established names/gestures, one person will say their name/gesture and say another person's name/gesture to pass to them. Then that person will start with their name/gesture and pass to someone else by saying another person's name/gesture. There is no pattern. Participants can call to anyone in the circle.
Debrief question What worked well in this activity? Purpose: Fun, Name game
Name Game Have the participants stand in a circle. Toss a ball or another object in any order. When you catch the ball, say your name. Continue in this phase for 1 minute. Now toss the ball in any order and say the person's name you are tossing it to. Continue in this phase for 1 minute. Next, toss the ball with the name of the person that needs to receive the ball next. If you toss the ball to John and say Stacy, John will pass the ball to Stacy, and continued. Purpose: Fun, Name game, problem solving
Draw a Question Everyone write down a fun question. If you could have any super power, what would it be and why? If you could travel to a fictional location (Hogwarts, etc.), where would you go and why? Shuffle the questions and have attendees draw a question and answer it. Purpose: Fun, Getting to know your team
Useful Objects Split into teams. The facilitator chooses a random object. It could be a pen, the conference table, or a bowl of spaghetti. Teams must list as many creative uses for the item in two minutes. Any ideas are accepted. Imagination is encouraged. Teams will share their creative results. The team with the most uses wins. Purpose: Fun, Problem solving
Middle Word Stand in a circle or in pairs. To start, face each other, count to three together, and then both participants say a random word at the same time (a place, a thing, a concept, anything). Use those two words to inspire your next word, trying to arrive at the same word on the next count to three. Again, count to three together and say a word at the same time. The pairs try to reach the same word. If standing in a circle of people, one person would turn to the next and count to three. The group would build off of the previous pair. Purpose: Fun, Problem solving