Whether it's kicking off a meeting or getting to know new team members, an effective ice breaker game can help set the right tone and help build connections. But how do you choose the right one?
In this post, we'll share a collection of tried and tested ice breaker games you can use to engage and energize groups of any size. Whether you just want to have fun, encourage team building or level-up your meetings, there's an activity here for you.
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 59 of the best ice breaker games separated by category and find some useful tips for running them in your workshop or meeting too!
- Purpose of ice breaker games
- Ice breaker games to get to know each other
- Quick ice breaker games
- Ice breaker games to kick off meetings
- Fun ice breaker games to support team building
- Ice breaker games for small groups
- Ice breaker games to improve teamwork and collaboration
- Fun 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!
Ready to design a session around your chosen icebreaker? SessionLab makes it easy to build a complete agenda in minutes. Start by dragging and dropping blocks, add your timings and adjust with ease to create a minute-perfect session.
Whenever you have a group of people participating in a meeting, project, or event, it’s helpful to get to know each other so you are more 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
- Diversity Bingo
- Group Map
- Two truths and One Lie
- Unique and Shared
- Passions Tic Tac Toe
- Jenga Questions
- Speed Dating Icebreaker
- Break the ice with the help of your key
- Whose Story is it?
- Trading Card Icebreaker
- Find Your Pair
- Toilet Paper Icebreaker
- Show and Tell
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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 and group members 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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
- Apple, Orange and Banana!
- Conversation Questions
- Diversity Welcome
- Stress Balls
- Object Meditation
- Name Game
- Have you ever? (Stand up if)
- Line Up
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
This is a quick ice breaker 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.). and gently asks people to start working together to get themselves into order.
With a more familiar group, try adding more complication to encourage your team to think more deeply. This icebreaker helps develop team collaboration and non-verbal communication, and it’s great when kicking of a training session with lots of talking later!
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
- One Word Exercise
- The real reason why you are here
- LEGO Metaphors
- Rain Icebreaker
- Celebrate the wins in your team
- Mindfulness Icebreaker
- Purpose mingle
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!
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.
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!
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!
Encouraging everyone to be present and engaged at the start of your meeting doesn’t need to be complicated. By simply getting everyone in the room participating in the same goal, this icebreaker can quickly help everyone “arrive” in the session.
Start by having everyone in the front of the room rub their hands together vigorously. Row by row, get more people to join in until you reach the back of the room. Next, have the first row switch to clicking their fingers and proceed through the room in the same way. Go back and forth between clicking and rubbing in order to replicate the sound of rain and then invite the group to stop and enjoy a break in the shower.
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.
The best ice breaker games often have a very clear goal. You can use this method at the beginning of any meeting to set the stage and get people thinking about what they can contribute. It’s a simple way to get started and always gets results!
At the beginning of your session, 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 and hold themselves accountable. It also makes others aware of everyone’s intent and can help prevent misunderstandings.
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.
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. Remember that successful teams are often those who’ve gotten to know each other better on a personal level too!
Team icebreakers such as those below are great for enhancing team bonding and empowering everyone in the group to move forward together. Let’s take a look!
- Break the Ice with The Four Quadrants Activity
- Team Jigsaw Puzzle Game
- Back to Back Drawing
- Scavenger Hunt
- Electric Fence Icebreaker
- Low Tech Social Networking
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.
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.
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 team building game to develop verbal communication and is a fun alternative to more traditional icebreaker games.
Many people have great memories from a childhood scavenger hunt. Recreating this experience to let our the inner child and work as a team is one of our favourite icebreaker games for adults too! Start by creating a list of items that need to be gathered and then split your group into small teams to try and find them all to kick off your scavenger hunt.
Working with a remote or hybrid team? Try the virtual scavenger hunt below! Be sure to put in items that require a wide range of skills and thinking and diverse personalities to be completed successfully. A scavenger hunt is also a great opportunity to mix people into teams who don’t typically work together and bring them together with ice breaker games.
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.
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.
While many of the icebreaker games above can be adapted for any group size, these activities are especially effective when working with groups of less than 15 people.
These small group icebreakers are great at using the extra space to create opportunities for team bonding and deeper sharing between team members. They’re also designed so you’re not left with awkward silences just because you don’t have a massive team taking part!
One of the major benefits of small group icebreaker games is space for participants to talk and get to know each other a little more than they would in a group of 20+ people. Interview is a playful way to get team members talking at the start of a session while also introducing the topic of the workshop or meeting.
Start by getting people into pairs. One person begins by being a reporter and then other will be the interviewee. For three minutes, the reporter will interview the other person on a chosen subject and attempt to get as much information as they can before switching roles. Encourage the group to really get into their roles and provide some example questions to guide the group toward the topic of the day.
Spending time in a small group is a great opportunity to get to know people a little more deeply. This game encourages players to share more about themselves than an average icebreaker, and it’s a fun way to kickstart creative thinking too!
Start by assembling a box of interesting objects (photos will do in a pinch!). Next, invite participants to choose an object without overthinking it and then explain who they are, why they chose the object and what they think the connection between the object and the workshop is.
Paper telephone is a fun icebreaker that encourages creativity and laughter by combining two classic games: telephone and pictionary. Start by handing out a stack of small papers and pens, and invite each team member to write a sentence on the first piece of paper. Players then pass their stack to the next person who must read the sentence and then create a visual representation of that sentence on the next piece of paper in the stack.
Play proceeds around the circle, with players needing to transform back and forth between words and images. Often, by the time you get your original stack back, the sentence has gone on a weird and wonderful transformation!
While you can play paper telephone with larger groups, the more people you add, the longer it takes. Doing this icebreaker in a small group means you have more time to share what people came up with and the journey you all went on together.
The human knot is a fun, physical icebreaker that is best played in groups of 7-16 people. It’s a great way to break the ice while also creating energy and a sense of fun.
Start by getting the group to stand in a circle and ask them to close their eyes. Next, everyone reaches out and links one hand with someone across the circle. Then they link the other hand with another person in the circle. Then, ask everyone to open their eyes and try to untangle the knot they’ve made without breaking the chain!
Working with small groups creates an opportunity for greater depth. In this icebreaker game, invite team members to draw their life as a map, using common symbols and signs you might find on a map. Stop signs, deer crossings, mountainous areas…the choice of how to illustrate your life story is yours!
Give time after drawing for everyone to share and for others to ask questions. The connections, conversations and shared understandings that come out of this reflective icebreaker can set a wonderful right tone for the work ahead.
Good 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.
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. To complete the marshmallow challenge, the marshmallow needs to be on top and hopefully, not fall off! This icebreaker game 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.
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.
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!
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.
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
- What is my name
- Rock Paper Scissors Tournament
- Crazy Handshake
- The Movie Pitch Icebreaker
- Share a joke
- Sound Ball
- The No Smiling Icebreaker
- Hello Kitty
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 and the result images can be put up in the meeting room afterward! Meeting ice breakers that produce physical results that can be shared can really help ensure the good vibes of the meeting continue afterward!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
Now you’ve discovered the perfect icebreaker, it’s time to create the rest of your meeting!
With SessionLab, you drag, drop and reorder blocks to create your agenda in a snap. Your session timing adjusts automatically as you make changes and when you’re done, you can share a beautiful printout with your colleagues and participants.
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!