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53 Ice Breaker Games [That Your Team Won’t Find Cheesy]

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We all know how important personal interaction and tight bonds are in our lives. As much as this is true in family and friends circles, it is also crucial at work. Personal interaction is the foundation on which happiness and successful results are built and taking the time to use get to know each other games or ice breakers can be invaluable for any business or team.

An in-depth study from TINYpulse, an employee engagement company, studied more than 40,000 workers’ inputs from more than 300 companies globally. They found a correlation of 0.92 between employee fulfillment and their relationships with colleagues. Since you can end up spending more time with coworkers than with your family or partner, it is a topic that deserves much attention.

But how can you break the ice without also frustrating your team or making them roll their eyes? Using facilitator-tested and proven methods like those below are a surefire way to open your meetings more effectively and engage your team.

You’ll find classic conversation starters like Two truths and One Lie, fun games like The Marshmallow Challenge or even a Virtual Scavenger Hunt! You’ll find our collection of 53 ice breakers separated by category and find some useful tips for running them in your workshop or meeting too!

Purpose of ice breaker games

So how do you avoid creating a frustrating, patronizing ice breaker game that won’t make participants feel like they are wasting their time?

The benefits of a good ice breaker far outweigh any negatives. They can take care of introductions in a much more fun way than just simply going around the room and stating what’s on your business card. They can make people remember names easier & help start conversations.

When done right, ice breakers can quickly build a sense of community, set the tone for the upcoming session & give participants ownership of the learning ahead.

They are also a great way for people to share their expectations, and for facilitators to introduce the topic of the day through the game. It helps participants to loosen up, understand each other more and enable better collaboration and networking. Last, but not least, it is a surefire way to energize the group and have everyone focused and ready to go.

Done wrong, an ice breaker can be awkward or take up large amounts of your meeting. By choosing a proven ice breaker from the selection below, you can see results and add an opener to your session in a pinch!

Ice Breaker Games to Get to Know Each Other

Whenever you have a group of people participating in a meeting, project, or event, they need to get to know each other to be comfortable working together.

This does not only mean just memorizing names, but also involves getting the facilitator or leader of the session familiar with everyone and getting a read on the energy of the room.

One of the other major benefits of these games is in allowing group members to break free from dry or boring introductions and get to know each other more meaningfully. Let’s dive in!

Just One Lie

This method is an adaptation of the well-known ice breaker ‘Two Truths And A Lie’ to create an activity that can be run throughout a day of a meeting or workshop.

Participants mingle and ask questions from each other while noting the answers on post-its. But everyone includes one lie. The result is that you have a board of interesting facts about all the participants, among them, one lie. Throughout the workshop you can return to these boards for participants to introduce each other and find out what was the lie.

Just One Lie #ice breaker #energiser #team #get-to-know 

This method is adapted from the well-known icebreaker ‘Two Truths And A Lie’ to create an activity that you could return to throughout a meeting.

Diversity Bingo

Diversity Bingo is one of our favorite group ice breaker games. This game help participants to get information on each other in a fun, competitive way.

First, create a bingo card containing a grid of squares with a statement or question in each square that will apply to some members of your group and is in line with the objectives of your class, workshop, or event. After each player gets a bingo card, they mingle around introducing themselves and finding other participants who can sign their cards indicating that a statement applies to him/her.

To avoid having people only talk to one or two people and filling up their card, limit the signatures they can give to 1 or 2 per card. When everyone has reached bingo or is super close, you can share something you’ve learned about each other, yourself and the experience of this ice breaker activity.

Diversity Bingo #ice breaker #get-to-know #opening #teampedia #action 

This game helps participants to get information on each other in a fun, competitive way.

Group Map

Do you have people who come from many different places to your session? If you’re looking for fun icebreakers for meetings that are active, Group Map is a good bet!

A great way to get to know each other is to have participants place themselves on an imaginary map laid out in the room representing the country according to where they grew up. Ask them to share one internal value they got from that place, and why that is important for them.

Encourage people to share a short story if they want. Sharing customs and values from your childhood can create more understanding and help form stronger bonds – a hallmark of a good icebreaker.

Icebreaker: The Group Map #get-to-know #ice breaker #remote-friendly 

Ask people to place themselves on an imaginary map laid out in the room representing the country according to where they grew up. Ask them to share one internal value they got from that place, and why is that important for them. Encourage people to share a short story if they want

Two Truths and One Lie

A simple and classic ice breaker game. Each employee shares three statements about themselves – two true, and one false. Then, everyone tries to guess which is the lie by asking questions. Try to find out as many details about the statements as possible and watch the speaker’s reactions closely. The whole point is to learn facts about your peers while inserting an element of mystery.

This team icebreaker helps the group learn about each other and gives both introverts and extroverts an equal chance to reveal themselves and discover others’ assumptions. It’s been done before, but if you’re looking for simple ice breaker games for work, this is one everyone is sure to know and requires zero prep from the facilitator.

Everyone is a Liar (Two truths and one lie) #warm up #ice breaker #remote-friendly #online 

Starting a meeting or after a break in a group where participants don’t know each other or don’t know much about each other

Unique and Shared

Create groups of 4-5 people, and let them discover what they have in common, along with interesting characteristics that are unique to a person in the group. This icebreaker promotes unity as it gets people to realize that they have more common ground with their peers than they first might realize. As people become aware of their own unique characteristics, they can also help people feel empowered to offer the group something unique.

Common and Unique #get-to-know #teambuilding #ice breaker 

Create groups of 4-5 people, and let them discover what they have in common, along with interesting characteristics that are unique to a person in the group.

Passions Tic Tac Toe

The goal of this icebreaker game is to help the participants to get to know each other at the beginning of an event or to help identify their values during the later part of a training session.

Create a 3 x 3 grid for each participant and have them fill in each block with a different personal passion randomly. After the individual work, have everyone walk around the room and compare notes. When they find the same passion listed in both grids, ask them to sign for each other in the appropriate square. The winner is the participant who manages to have other people’s signatures on three lines (vertical, horizontal, or diagonal). You can continue the game to have as many winners as you possibly can.

Passions Tic Tac Toe #get-to-know #values #ice breaker #thiagi 

This simple game that explores the concepts from these two quotations: “Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you”. —Oprah Winfrey. “Getting to know someone else involves curiosity about where they have come from, who they are.” —Penelope Lively, novelist

​Jenga questions

Jenga is the starting point of many fun gatherings. It’s a super easy ice breaker activity to explain and pick up & anyone can join any time. You can spice up a regular tower-toppling contest by writing intriguing questions on each block (or as many as you can).

When you draw each block, read the question out loud & answer before placing the piece on the top of the tower. This can ignite exciting conversations about everyday topics like favorite downtime activities to more in-depth stuff, like career and self-development goals. Games with an edge or a unique spin can often generate curiosity and engagement in a group, so this is absolutely worth pursuing if you find traditional openings are met with resistance in your group.

Quotes

This fast-paced icebreaker activity allows participants to get acquainted with each other while also being inspired. Prepare a set of inspirational quotes prior to the session and the number of participants on individual slips of paper. Put the pile in the center of the room. Each participant picks up one quote, then picks a partner and begins to discuss what the quote says to them, if it is meaningful, and how.

Then after a minute or so the facilitator gives a signal and participants switch partners, and may switch quotes as well if they’d like. This can continue for 4-5 rounds for around 15 minutes. Choose quotes that relate to your meeting topic or company culture for an even more effective opening to your session!

Quotes #ice breaker #energiser #online #warm up #remote-friendly 

For participants to get acquainted with each other in a meaningful way

Speed Dating Icebreaker

The goal of this game is to have a succession of very rapid conversations in an extremely short amount of time with as many people as possible. Have people sit in pairs, with colleagues that they don’t directly work with on a day-to-day basis. Determine the time limit (say 3 minutes for each conversation) and set a timer. When it starts, each pair has to start speed networking & find out as much professional info about the other as possible.

While it’s natural for group members to want to spend time with people they know, encouraging your team to mix is an important step to improving team cohesion. This activity is great for starting that process!

Speed-dating #teambuilding #ice breaker 

This can be used as a teambuilding activity or a way to introduce participants to each other.

Break the ice with the help of your key

Games and activities that include physical objects can help ensure the session is memorable and specific to those people present. In this ice breaker, ask participants to sit in a circle and bring their keys with them.

Explain that they will get to know each other through their keys. Ask them that one by one present all the keys they have on their keychain and tell a few sentences about the area the key represents – the city or neighborhood they live in, the activity it represents (bike or locker key) or the person they received it from.

Be sure to start the circle yourself so the participants get the feeling of how it should be done. Bonus points if you can demonstrate openness and vulnerability for your group to follow!

Break the ice with the help of your key! #team #get-to-know #teambuilding #ice breaker 

The key ice breaker is a team building favorite and a great exercise to get to know each other in a group or team.

It is easy to understand and set up, can be modified according to the objects participants have, fast way to get info on each other, and surely makes everyone included!

Whose story is it?

Start this ice breaker game by writing your funniest or weirdest story on a small piece of paper. It has to be a true one, no fiction! Then fold the paper up and drop it into a bowl or other container. The facilitator or the person leading the program randomly reads every story & the group has to guess who the writer is. This is a great way to get to know each other and find out new things, even if you’ve worked together for a long time.

​Trading Card Icebreaker

Starting a meeting by defining your personality and being creative is a great way to kick off a more involved team project.

This activity from Gamestorming works great because it lets people self-define and share their personality outside of their day-to-day work. This approach means people get to connect more meaningfully and authentically while also creating fun and memorable cards that serve as conversation pieces as the meeting progresses.

Trading Cards #gamestorming #ice breaker #opening 

This meeting starter is great because it lets people self-define,  gives them a “personality” outside the typical work environment. Additionally,it gives participants quick snapshots of multiple players (since they see many cards as they’re being passed around), and it creates memorable visuals that give people conversation pieces as the meeting progresses.

​Find your pair

Prepare word pairs, like salt and pepper, milk and honey, sail and wind, etc on separate pieces of paper. Tape one to each person’s back. People then have to walk around and ask closed questions (with a yes or no answer) to find out what their phrase is. Once they find out, they have to find their pair & by continuing to ask questions (these can be open or closed) they have to learn 3 new things about the other.

​Toilet Paper Icebreaker

This is one of those ice breaker activities that is easily prepared in most live settings – you only need one roll of toilet paper. Pass this around, and have everyone rip off how much they would usually use. Everyone will feel awkward & will not really see the point at the beginning & possibly think you’ve lost it.

When everyone has taken off a few squares, they should count them. The amount they have is how many fun facts they should reveal about themselves. A warning though: this is an activity that is best suited for more lighthearted occasions and you’ll want to know your audience a bit before trying this!

​Show and tell

Group icebreakers are important, even in teams that know each other well. For more established groups, where people are more familiar with each other, it’s always good to dedicate a day, or an afternoon for “show and tell”. Each team member gets the chance (not all at once of course) to showcase something – an object or a topic that they are interested in.

Try making this activity part of a group routine at the start of every team meeting for bonus points. Creating this habit gives less exhibitionist characters a chance to share and it is also a great practice to hone presentation skills and handle the attention & tricky questions.

Show and Tell #gamestorming #action #opening #meeting facilitation 

Show and Tell taps into the power of metaphors to reveal players’ underlying assumptions and associations around a topic

The aim of the game is to get a deeper understanding of stakeholders’ perspectives on anything—a new project, an organizational restructuring, a shift in the company’s vision or team dynamic.

Quick ice breaker games

When you have a tightly packed agenda, it’s useful to have some quick icebreakers you can use to warm up the group in a pinch. These activities are simple to explain, fast to run, and work great in large or small groups. They also can double as after-lunch energizers to encourage team members to engage in what’s next!

Here are some of our favorite games you can use to break the ice in a group in ten minutes or less! 

One Word at a Time

Ice breaker ideas can come from anywhere, and so can great ideas. Create a surprise sentence by saying one word at a time. Give a general topic. The first person in the group says one word to a topic. The next person continues with another word.

Eventually, the group creates a whole sentence by each member contributing only one word at a time. The outcome is always unexpected & almost always funny. Make sure people don’t say two words when using articles or pronouns.

One Word Method #product development #idea generation #creativity #ice breaker #online #warm up 

Creating a sentence relating to a specific topic or problem with each person contributing one word at a time.

Apple, Orange and Banana!

Some of the best quick icebreakers promote team bonding by simply encouraging the group to be silly and have fun. This game is designed to do just that!

Start by asking your group to stand in a circle with their hands on the shoulders of the person in front. Explain that when you shout either apple, orange or banana they must perform the associated action: moving forward, backward or spinning around. When the group is comfortable, mix it up by saying two or even three words in sequence!

This great icebreaker game gets everyone moving, generates lots of laughter, and is a wonderful activity to use after breaks too.

Apple, Orange and Banana! #energiser #icebreaker #ice breaker #fun #teambuilding 

Fun energiser to create energy and fun. Great to use after breaks such as lunch or coffee breaks.

Conversation Questions

Sometimes the best and fastest icebreakers are also the simplest! Use this collection of 25 icebreaker questions as the basis for letting to group get to know each other, or have participants answer in rapid-fire!

Small groups might wish to mingle and ask questions one on one, while you might invite larger groups to answer questions by raising their hand to answer. Whatever way you go, these icebreaker questions are a great starting point for team bonding and helping participants get to know other group members.

Conversation Questions #connection #icebreaker #trust #meeting facilitation #opening 

25 best questions

Diversity Welcome

Quick icebreakers also have the potential to set the right tone for your meeting or workshop. The focus of his activity is to promote diversity and help create an inclusive environment for your session. Start by naming a possible trait of someone who may be present and saying they are welcome. For example, “If you love dogs, you are welcome here! If you prefer cats, you are welcome here!”

Slowly move into deeper territory by naming traits and concepts that resonate with your audience. With established groups, invite participants to share their own welcome, focusing on helping everyone in the room feel safe and welcome.

Diversity welcome #diversity #inclusion #opening #remote-friendly #hybrid-friendly 

The intention of the diversity welcome is inclusion. It can be long or short. The common element is to inclusively name a range of possibilities with a genuine “Welcome!”

Stress Balls

We love games that not only function as a fun introduction but also offer a way to improve company culture. Stress Balls is a fast-paced icebreaker that helps highlight the importance of communication and teamwork while also encouraging lots of fun.

Begin by simply asking participants to stand in a circle and pass a ball to their left. Debrief and ask how the task went before asking participants to try again while moving the ball faster. Introduce further complexity until the game becomes a mess! While the result is chaotic fun, it also offers a very teachable lesson about how teams can communicate in order to achieve great results.

Stress Balls #energiser #communication #teamwork #team #thiagi #action #ice breaker 

Understanding the importance of communication and teamwork is an important requirement for high performance teams of knowledge workers. This exercise is an effective energizer that requires communication and teamwork. Ask participants to form a circle and throw a ball around to simulate the movement of a message. Change different variables such as speed, quantity, and complexity to create a mess.

Object Meditation

Just because an icebreaker can be done quickly doesn’t mean it can’t also be mindful! This focused meditation activity is a wonderful way to open a meeting and encourage everyone to be present.

First, have everyone choose an object that is close to them and invite them to close their eyes. Next, ask the group to notice how they feel and to consider any feelings that aren’t serving them right now. Invite them to transfer these feelings into the object they are holding for the duration of the meeting and then come back to the room.

Combined with a quick debrief, this method is a great way to gently break the ice with your group. Check out the full method below for a script you can follow too!

Object Meditation #icebreaker #meditation #emotional intelligence #managing emotions #check-in #self-awareness 

A focused meditation to become present and aware. We accept our feelings, leaving behind what we doesn’t serve us right now. A ideal way to open a workshop or team meeting.

Name Game

Use this ice breaker activity at, or very near, the start of a course, workshop or meeting where people don’t know each other to help get to know everyone’s names. Have the group sit in a circle where everyone can see the others. The first person says their name. The next person continues, but after saying their own name, they repeat the first person’s name. This continues with each person repeating one more name. Reassure people towards the end that it’s ok if they get stuck & encourage the others to jump in to help if anyone is lost.

Name Game #opening #ice breaker #energiser 

Use the exercise at, or very near, the start of a course, workshop or meeting where people don’t know each other as it helps to learn names of each other

​Have you ever? (Stand up if)

Prior to the workshop the facilitator prepares a list of questions which can only be answered with yes or no. These questions should begin with “Have you ever…?” or “Stand up if…”. The facilitator reads out the questions or statements one by one. For each statement the participants stand up if they could answer the statement with yes. The questions should be designed to not be discriminatory, intimidating or insulting. Possible topics can be countries visited, dishes, games or sports tried, movies seen etc. This should be quite familiar to people before they attend the meeting or workshop and is quick and easy to understand – ice breaker ideas don’t need to be brand new to be effective!

Stand up if #ice breaker #sharing #opening #energiser #online #remote-friendly 

short, fun, energizing team activity

Line Up

This is a quick ice breaking game where players have to form an orderly line without any discussion, or any verbal cues or help at all. The line is formed by predetermined criteria (like height, or color of each person’s eyes etc.). The tasks can get more complicated the more familiar the group is. This icebreaker helps develop team collaboration and non-verbal communication.

Line-Up #hyperisland #energiser 

In the short group challenge, participants must organize themselves in a line according to a certain criteria (like height) without speaking. The activity promotes non-verbal communication and teamwork. Simpler versions of the activity can be used in early stages of group development while more complex versions can be used to challenge more established groups.

Ice Breaker Games to Kick off Meetings

An ice breaker at the start of a meeting is a great way to encourage group members to be present and get things started on the right foot. Effective opening activities energize everyone, helping them ‘arrive’ mentally and leave behind whatever task or thought they were previously working on.

They can also help clarify the objectives of the meeting and position the group for what’s coming next. Here are some meeting ice breakers to help ensure your next team meeting is a success!

Coat of Arms

This game is a great way for players to introduce themselves and their colleagues. It’s especially fun for people who think they already know each other very well – almost every time there are at least a few surprises!

Sometimes these new nuggets of wisdom can have an immediate effect on the employees’ relationships, current projects or challenges. Since you have to draw, rather than explain, it serves double duty for topics like problem-solving, creative thinking and innovation. Fun icebreakers for meetings don’t get much better than this!

Coat of Arms #teambuilding #opening #ice breaker #team #get-to-know #thiagi 

Coat of Arms exercise provides a way for participants to introduce themselves and their colleagues, particularly for groups who think they already know each other very well. Almost invariably participants discover something about their colleagues of which they previously had no idea. Occasionally this revelation has an immediate and direct application to another participant’s current project or challenge. Because this activity forces people to use drawings rather than words, it is particularly useful as a dual-purpose introductory exercise in training sessions that deal with such topics as innovation, creativity, and problem-solving.

One Word Exercise

Pick a phrase that is central to the reason you’ve gathered and have everyone write down or say a word that comes to their mind in relation to it. If you’re leading a meeting about planning an upcoming project, ask participants to share one word that they think describes the goal or the processes that are needed.

Once everyone has shared their phrases, discuss the results. This ice breaker helps explore different viewpoints about a common challenge, before starting the meeting.

The real reason why you are here

When we first arrive in a meeting, we’re often carrying other things with us. The stress of unfinished work, thinking about the evening or just what we’re having for lunch. Encourage your team to be present and think about why they are in your meeting or workshop with this simple ice breaker that helps spark conversation.

Begin by asking the group to state the concious reason for being in the meeting, and then invite them to consider the deeper reasons for being in the session. The surfacing of these deeper reasons for being present can be surprising, but are often useful for the group to discuss while breaking the ice!

The real reason why you are in this workshop #warm-up #constellations #objectives #icebreaker 

A deep-dive method to reveal the subconscious reason why you are in a workshop. Facilitator goes first and by doing so invites the other participants to incorporate the

LEGO Metaphors

Each participant gets a set of few LEGO bricks (identical sets to everyone – a few items, around 5-10 bricks per person will suffice). Everyone builds something that relates to the topic of the meeting.

Afterwards, everyone gets 30 seconds to explain what their building means (e.g ‘My Home’, ‘Interesting Experiment’, ‘The coolest computer ever’) and how it relates to the topic of the meeting. (Optional: the figures/buildings and the metaphors may be used later on to help discussions around the table.) Remember that icebreaker games for work don’t need to sacrifice fun, and some of the best team building icebreakers are creative and allow people to get in touch with their inner child!

Celebrate the wins in your team

An easy icebreaker that will have everyone feeling good before a meeting. Go around a circle and highlight a story – an action, decision or result – that can and should be praised from each team member. Something where they reached beyond their typical responsibilities and excelled.

Have everyone acknowledge and thank each other for surpassing expectations. This is a great mood booster – by lifting each other up, the energy just starts to vibrate in the room. Everyone likes to be recognized. Ice breakers for meetings that give people the chance to celebrate success can be key in setting a great tone for the meeting to come.

Purpose mingle

You can use this at the beginning of each meeting, it’s so simple – the mark of many ice breaker activities. At the beginning of each meeting, have people walk around & share with others what they will contribute to that particular session. It’s a great way to enhance engagement & help people set goals & hold themselves accountable. It also makes others aware of everyone’s intent.

Mindfulness Icebreaker

Meetings can sometimes become difficult because attendees come in stressing about the topic or are distracted by things outside of the meeting.

In this mindful ice breaker, ask people to take a few moments to “check-in” with themselves and write down their worries, energy levels, and what else is on their mind. After everyone is done, they should rip up their answers and discard them. This helps them identify their state, let go of their worries and have better focus & more empathy towards others.

What are you bringing to the meeting #teampedia #opening #team #check-in 

A good way  to start a meeting/workshop/training to see how participants are feeling, what might be distractions that they are carrying with themselves into the room and how low/high their energy level is.

Fun Ice Breaker Games to Support Team Building

Ice breaker games are not only useful at the beginning of meetings or getting to know new people. They are also a great way to support team building, by creating a positive atmosphere, helping people relax and break down barriers. They can reveal new information about colleagues that otherwise you wouldn’t discover during your everyday routine.

Team icebreakers such as those below are great for enhancing team building and empowering everyone in the group to move forward together. Let’s take a look!

Break the Ice with The Four Quadrants Activity

The Four Quadrants is a fun and creative team icebreaker than can be adapted for any situation. It is super easy to prep for and set up – you only need large sheets of paper (flipcharts or similar) and markers. Have people draw up a 2×2 grid and ask them four questions. They should draw the answers in each quadrant.

Questions can cover topics like current challenges, stressors, defining moments, moments of pride, fears, desired outcome for the current gathering etc. Afterwards they can show each other their drawings and discuss their creations. The exercise is fun, colorful and visual and can be modified to work with any group and/or topic just by changing the questions.

Break the Ice with The Four Quadrants Activity #team #icebreaker #get-to-know #teambuilding 

The Four Quadrants is a tried and true team building activity to break the ice with a group or team.

It is EASY to prep for and set up. It can be MODIFIED to work with any group and/or topic (just change the questions). It is FUN, COLORFUL and VISUAL.

Team Jigsaw Puzzle Game

Separate people into same-sized teams. Give each a very different jigsaw puzzle (with equal difficulty & number of pieces). Each group has the same amount of time to complete the puzzle.

The secret twist is to switch up a few pieces with the other groups beforehand! Fun icebreakers can help keep a team on their toes and encourage creative thinking – try ice breakers for meetings that include an edge of competitiveness and fun to really liven things up.

The goal is to finish before the others – so they must figure out collectively how to convince other teams to give up pieces they need. This can be through barter, merging or changing teams, donating minutes, etc.

This is a longer game, but one that is worth doing, since it encourages teamwork on several levels – internally and externally too.

Back to Back Drawing

Two people should sit facing away from each other. One receives a picture of an object or phrase. Without saying directly what they see, they should describe it to their pair without using words that clearly give it away. Their pair has to draw a specific picture.

The game requires two people to sit facing away from each other, where one team member is given a picture of an object or word. Without specifying directly what it is, the other person must describe the image without using words that clearly give away the image. This is a great game to develop verbal communication and remember that icebreaker games for work do not need to reinvent the wheel to be effective.

Back-2-Back Drawing #communication #collaboration #trust #ice breaker #teampedia #action 

This is a communication exercise when participants in pairs have to use only verbal communication to help their pair to draw a specific picture. There are several variations of the exercise detailed in the instructions.

Scavenger Hunt

Everyone has great memories from childhood scavenger hunts. It is a no-brainer then to recreate this experience as one of your icebreaker activities for adults.

You can do this indoors at the office or outside if the weather is nice. Working with a remote or hybrid team? Try the virtual scavenger hunt below! They require a wide range of skills and thinking and diverse personalities to be completed successfully. It is also a great opportunity to mix people into teams who don’t typically work together and bring them together with ice breaker games.

Virtual scavenger hunt #energiser #teambuilding #remote-friendly 

A fun team-building energiser that encourages groups to recreate the scavenger hunt experience in a fully remote environment! 

Electric Fence Icebreaker

This is a great energiser that requires players to move about as they build an imaginary electric fence. They have to try and cross it without touching it and getting “electrocuted”. The fence can be represented by a rope or a shoe string tied between two objects. It should be about waist high. Players can’t go under it, this is not limbo dancing!

They must also be touching a teammate with at least one hand at all times. This ice breaker activity requires quick brainstorming, problem-solving and negotiating other ideas. Make sure that people who are uncomfortable with physical contact have an option to not participate but still feel involved in the brainstorming part. Inclusive games make for some of the best ice breakers: be sure to bare this in mind when deciding on icebreaker games for work or your next meeting.

Low Tech Social Networking

The object of this ice breaker game is to introduce event participants to each other by co-creating a mural-sized, visual network of their connections. – great for medium size events where participants come from different organisations. All participants will need a 5×8 index card and access to markers or something similar to draw their avatar. They will also need a substantial wall covered in butcher paper to create the actual network.

Once their avatar is ready, they “upload” themselves by sticking their card to the wall. Then they find the people they know and draw lines to make the connections. This is one of our favourite ice breakers when working with large, multi-discipline groups where connections might not be immediately obvious.

Low-tech Social Network #gamestorming #ice breaker #opening 

The object of this game is to introduce event participants to each other by co-creating a mural-sized, visual network of their connections.

Ice Breaker Games to Improve Teamwork and Collaboration

Ice breaker games usually all have a strong aspect of teamwork and collaboration as people work together in groups to accomplish a challenge or solve a puzzle. Therefore these team icebreakers can also be used as part of team building events and team development workshops. They are meant to fast-track group familiarity and increase the socialization process in a new or existing environment.

With increased social interaction, people naturally learn how to work together more productively – the mood can warm up between colleagues who are normally highly formal with each other. The best ice breakers have the power to strengthen coworker bonds, stimulate better brainstorming sessions, and create an atmosphere of inclusivity.

Here, we’ve collected ice breaker activities to help improve teamwork and collaboration in a more involved manner.

The Marshmallow Challenge

In eighteen minutes, teams must build the tallest free-standing structure out of 20 sticks of spaghetti, one yard of tape, one yard of string, and one marshmallow. The marshmallow needs to be on top. It emphasizes group communication, leadership dynamics, collaboration, innovation and problem solving strategy.

Genuinely fun icebreakers for meetings can be hard to find – The Marshmallow Challenge is one of those icebreaker games for work that feels almost like play. The Marshmallow Challenge was developed by Tom Wujec, who has done the activity with hundreds of groups around the world. Definitely give it a try.

Marshmallow challenge with debriefing #teamwork #team #leadership #collaboration 

In eighteen minutes, teams must build the tallest free-standing structure out of 20 sticks of spaghetti, one yard of tape, one yard of string, and one marshmallow. The marshmallow needs to be on top.

The Marshmallow Challenge was developed by Tom Wujec, who has done the activity with hundreds of groups around the world. Visit the Marshmallow Challenge website for more information. This version has an extra debriefing question added with sample questions focusing on roles within the team.

Egg drop

This fun activity could be used as an icebreaker both for people who have just met and for already existing teams. Breaking people up into groups, each one needs a fresh egg, some straws, masking tape and other items for creating a package to protect the egg.

Using the raw materials provided, the team goal is to build a structure that will support a free-falling egg dropped from a predetermined height (e.g. 7 feet) without the egg breaking. Get to know you games with an element of danger are always fun ice breakers for meetings. This is a method that fosters team communication, collaboration and strategic thinking as well.

Egg drop #teampedia #collaboration #teamwork #ice breaker #team 

This fun activity could be used as an icebreaker for people who have just met but it can be framed as a method that shows and fosters team communication, collaboration and strategic thinking as well.

Helium Stick

Solving seemingly simple problems as a group to get everyone working together at the start of a workshop. This game requires one long, thin, light rod (e.g. a broom handle) and a bunch of curious participants!

First, line up people in two rows facing each other. Introduce the Helium Stick and ask participants to hold their index fingers out. Lay the Stick on their fingers & before letting go, have everyone adjust their position so the Stick is horizontal and everyone is touching it. The goal is to lower the Stick to the ground in a way that no one lets go of it at any time.

Pinching, grabbing, or holding on properly to the Stick is not allowed. If the group makes a mistake, they start from the beginning. Helium Stick is a fun icebreaker that asks participants to really engage with one another and we’d recommend it for any team building workshop!

Helium Stick #teampedia #team #teamwork #ice breaker #energiser 

A great and simple activity for fostering teamwork and problem solving with no setup beforehand.

Blind square – The perfect square

Blindfold your seated participants. Take a long string or rope with the ends tied together & place it in everyone’s hands. Leave the circle and ask them to form a perfect square from the rope without looking.

When people think they are finished, they can remove their blindfolds to see the result. Ice breakers for meetings don’t always include props or blindfolds, but deploying them effectively can make for a memorable ice breaker.

Blind Square is one of the icebreaker games you can use to highlight leadership and communication – some people will want to take charge, while others are more comfortable following direction. Also, it can be repeated after the first try to see if they can improve their collaboration.

Blind Square – Rope game #teamwork #communication #teambuilding #team #energiser #thiagi #outdoor 

This is an activity that I use in almost every teambuilding session I run–because it delivers results every time. I can take no credit for its invention since it has existed from long before my time, in various forms and with a variety of names (such as Blind Polygon). The activity can be frontloaded to focus on particular issues by changing a few parameters or altering the instructions.

Fun Ice Breaker Games

The best ice breakers have the power to strengthen coworker bonds, stimulate better brainstorming sessions, and create an atmosphere of inclusivity.

They’re also incredibly fun to play, making them a welcomed break from regular work activities. They break down barriers that might exist between employees & make it easier for people to communicate with one another.

Ice breakers should also encourage lighthearted interactions that wouldn’t usually take place in the context of a normal workday. When the correct game is chosen, everyone benefits from the energy they bring to any meeting or event. Remember that even some business-critical meetings can benefit from a bit of levity and fun!

Here are some ice breaker ideas for when you just want to have fun with your team.

Portrait Gallery

This ice breaker activity is a fun one that requires some creativity. It enhances a sense of community because people have to draw the others as a group – not just between the drawers, but the recipients of the portraits too. The outcome is very visual and colorful, the images can be put up in the meeting room. Meeting ice breakers that produce physical results that can be shared can really help ensure the good vibes of the meeting continue afterward!

Portrait Gallery #hyperisland #team #ice breaker 

The Portrait Gallery is an energetic and fun icebreaker game that gets participants interacting by having the group collaboratively draw portraits of each member. The activity builds a sense of group because it results with each participant having a portrait drawn of him/herself by the other members of the group together. It also has a very colourful visual outcome: the set of portraits which can be posted in the space.

​What is my name

Stick the name of a well-known celebrity or public figure on people’s backs. Have players mingle and ask each other questions to find out who they are. This is a light game that initiates easy conversations without forced & awkward small talk. Make sure the figures are generally well recognizable. What is my name is one of those icebreaker games for work that is easy to set up and get going and is fun for all involved.

Rock Paper Scissors Tournament

This is a warm-up to really get a group energized. It is a game based on the traditional Rock Paper Scissors game but with a twist. The people who lost become fans and have to cheer for the players still in the game. The final is cheered on by a large crowd & the excitement is through the roof! If there are a larger number of people, you can have multiple tournaments. Fun icebreakers don’t need to be complicated. Keep your ice breaker simple and ensure everyone can get involved easily.

Rock, Paper, Scissors (Tournament) #energiser #warm up #remote-friendly 

This is a fun and loud energiser based on the well-known “Rock, Paper, Scissor” game – with a twist: the losing players become the fan of the winners as the winner advances to the next round. This goes on until a final showdown with two large cheering crowds!

It can be played with adults of all levels as well as kids and it always works! 

Minefield

Set up harmless obstacles in the room you’re meeting in. Use squeaky toys, whoopie cushions, bubble wrap and the like. Everyone takes turns going around the course while blindfolded, guided by their teammates. The goal is: help each to navigate through the minefield.

While this game often results in lots of laughter, it also helps teach the importance of clear communication and trusting your team.

Minefield #teampedia #teamwork #action #team #ice breaker 

A fun activity that helps participants working together as a team while teaching the importance of communication, strategy and trust.

Crazy Handshake

This ice breaker helps people ease into a group and brings out their creativity without a lot of effort. Splitting the group into pairs, each pair develops a creative handshake. Once done, the pair splits and each individual partners with another group member. The newly formed pair then teaches each other the original handshakes and together creates a new one. You can break up and pair off people as many times as you want.

Crazy Handshake #ice breaker #get-to-know #opening #teampedia #team 

This activity helps people ease in a group and brings out their creativity without a lot of effort.

The Movie Pitch Icebreaker

Divide players into several groups and have each team come up with an idea for a movie they want to make. They should prepare a pitch within 10 minutes. Once everyone had a chance to tell their idea, all players vote on which idea deserves ‘funding’.

The winners won’t start to make their film, but they should get awarded with either a funny object or some treats. We love using creative icebreakers like to ease people in and get used to collaborating and giving feedback ahead of the main discussion.

Bang!

For this game, you have to have quick reactions or you’ll be eliminated. Have everyone stand in a circle with one person in the middle as the ‘sheriff’. They must surprise other players by pointing to them. These people must quickly crouch and those on either side of them have to quickly ‘draw’ their weapons. If you are too slow, you switch places & become the sheriff.

This icebreaker is a wonderful way to increase group energy before starting a meeting in earnest, and it also helps people learn names too! If you’re working with an especially large group, note that it’s better to play in parallel before finishing with a final showdown!

Bang #hyperisland #energiser 

Bang is a group game, played in a circle, where participants must react quickly or face elimination. One person stands in the middle of the circle as “the sheriff”, pointing at other players who must quickly crouch while those on either side of them quickly “draw”. A good activity to generate laughter in a group. It can also help with name-learning for groups getting to know each other.

Share a joke

Have new teammates tell a joke at their first all-hands meeting. This is a great way to encourage people to be vulnerable and also ensures the meetings start on a cheery note. Remember that opening activities needn’t be complicated to be effective and when looking for ice breaker ideas, don’t discount the simple joy of making others laugh!

Sound Ball

This is a simple icebreaker activity that energizes participants, and it’s also suitable for highlighting spontaneity and teamwork. The activity involves participants standing in a circle and throwing imaginary ball(s) to each other in increasing pace. When throwing the first ball, the person starting should make a special sound that has to be repeated by the catcher upon receiving the ball.

Once the ball is being thrown around at a fairly brisk pace, you can introduce another imaginary ball and start throwing it. When the group gets proficient at it, you can have three or four balls in play!

Sound Ball #energiser #ice breaker #thiagi #team #outdoor 

This a simple icebreaker activity energising participants, also suitable for debriefing learning points towards spontaneity and teamwork. The activity involves participants standing in a circle and throwing imaginary ball(s) to each other in increasing pace.

The No Smiling Icebreaker

This is a seemingly contradictory ice breaker that actually results in lots of smiles. Instruct everyone to keep a straight face and do not smile under ANY circumstance in the first five minutes of the meeting. People turn into children with an instruction like this, and immediately start looking at others, seeing how they are coping. The anticipation makes everyone giggly, so after a while they cannot suppress their laughter anymore. This activity takes zero prep and so is a great one to pull out at the last minute!

Hello Kitty

Starting a meeting with smiles and laughter is a great way to set the tone for the session. In this fun icebreaker, separate your group into teams of kittens and puppiess. Puppies try to make the kittens laugh or crack a smile by simply saying, “Hello Kitty” in an amusing manner. Any kittens who smile or laugh join the puppies until their is only one kitten left standing!

Encourage the group to be creative and be sure to give kudos to the funniest participants or those who manage to keep a straight face!

Hello Kitty #hyperisland #energiser #remote-friendly 

A simple and short group game all about trying to make each other crack a smile. Participants take turns being ‘kitties’ and ‘puppies’. The puppies try to make the kitties crack a smile or laugh. The last kitty standing is the winner! An original from The Northern Quarter Agency.

Now over to you!

Your meetings and workshops don’t have to be boring. We hope you have found some useful tips for practical and fun ice breaker games you can use in your next session!

What are your favorite ice breaker activities? Have you tried any of the methods above? How did you find them? Let us know about your experiences in the comments.

Want to go further? Check out our workshop and meeting templates to start building more engaging sessions with better outcomes!

17 Comments

  1. tHIS was a life saver.
    I forgot that I had to present a game (or what-ever) for a Red Hat meeting tomorrow.
    You SAVED THE DAY, so to speak….so many, many thanks.
    frankanz

    1. Robert Cserti November 5, 2019 as 1:09 pm

      That’s fantastic to hear, I’m so happy we could help you – thanks for sharing your story :-)

  2. Maria Duloquin November 27, 2019 as 2:57 pm

    Thanks for this list! some great finds in here (I LOVE the portrait gallery!) – have saved 10 faves and will definitely us the passions tic-tac-toe and rock paper scissors tournament at next workshop :D

    1. Robert Cserti November 29, 2019 as 9:07 am

      That’s awesome to hear, I’m happy you got some useful ideas! (The portrait gallery is one of my favourite tools, too :-)

  3. Nahla ElShall January 25, 2020 as 3:03 pm

    Great list! Here are some of the icebreakers I use:
    1- Batikha (Watermelon in Arabic)
    The group sits or stands in a circular form. One person starts by placing their palms on their mouth as if they are holding a ball (watermolon) and passing it to the person on their side (if they pass it to the person on their right, they must use their left hand pointing to the right direction), the next person carries on with this rhythm. At any point anyone could decide to reverse the path of the ball by changing their hand and the pointing to the other person. This is when it gets tricky because if anyone else -other than the person pointed to) takes an action by raising their hands they get out of the circle. Additional if someone points the ball upwards, it means the next person will be skipped and the following person should complete the cycle. I don’t know if it makes sense in writing, it’s very simple through :)
    2- Say what?
    This games involves a person (usually the trainer) asking each one individually a series of questions. The person who answers must answer truthfully without saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’ or make any gestures or sounds that means yes or no. They also can’t think for more than three seconds and they cannot repeat what the trainer asked. The trainer must get tricky by asking follow-up questions like: What’s your favorite book? answer… But isn’t out of publish? The participant will probably say no and lose.

    1. Robert Cserti February 5, 2020 as 2:05 pm

      Thank you, Nahla, great to see your favourite ice breaker activities, too – thanks for sharing!

  4. Joshua Yang May 28, 2020 as 1:07 am

    This is an Awesome with great fun usable ideas!!

    1. Robert Cserti May 28, 2020 as 9:21 pm

      You’re welcome, Joshua – great to see that you’ve found the post useful!

  5. Pierce Fabreverg September 28, 2020 as 5:19 pm

    Board/card games teach important social skills, such as communicating verbally, sharing, waiting, and taking turns. It can also foster the ability to focus and lengthen one’s attention span by encouraging the completion of an exciting, enjoyable game. Check this newly found card gamehttps://lagimcardgame.com/ and see how interesting and creative it is.

  6. These are some amazing ideas! Thank you

  7. These are all so good! You usually can’t find so many good ideas in one place. Thanks so much!

  8. Excellent list and love the card format of the activity. Thanks. For Icebreaker questions I use icebreakrs.io.

  9. Azer Sanili August 4, 2021 as 8:09 am

    Thank you very much! Very useful!

  10. Balarami Reddy September 14, 2021 as 5:47 pm

    thank you very much very useful

  11. Balarami Reddy September 14, 2021 as 5:56 pm

    This will help each other in the team professionally and personally , we can share ideas and solve problems .Awesome!!

  12. Kay Fitzgerald October 28, 2021 as 11:14 pm

    Thank you for this great collection of wonderful and fun icebreakers and activities. Here’s a favorite icebreaker called Paris, Rome, or New York.

    Objectives:
    To get participants to share their opinions, encourage listening, and promote better discussion in the group.

    Method:
    This is a very simple exercise that participants can also have some fun with.

    Ask participants of the training event to imagine themselves in each of the cities above. And, what they would like to do there? What would they work at? Would their life be different? If so, in what ways?

    Once each person has described who they would like to get the group in a circle to discuss the exercise.

    This exercise also encourages questioning and listening skills within the group and individuals’ perceptions of different things.

    Discussion Questions:
    Did anyone feel uncomfortable doing this exercise? If so, why?
    How can this exercise help us during today’s training event?
    Of all the places presented does anyone want to change? If so why or why not?

  13. Great ideas and will use this week at our yearly NHS Nurse away day. Thank You

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