Stories behind workshop plans, post-its and markers.

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

Icebreaker activities cover image

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. The correlation between their happiness and relationships to direct bosses was only 0.74. Since you can end up spending more time with coworkers than with your family or partner, it is a topic that deserves much attention.

To everyone, except the most eager & outgoing few, icebreakers are a necessary evil. They are supposed to dissolve awkwardness, but forced icebreaker games often make an event even more tense. It doesn’t have to be this way! Whether you’re looking for icebreakers for meetings, workshops or training sessions, we have you covered with everything from fun ice breaker games to more in-depth ice breaker activities. The activities below are primarily designed for live meetings, but if you look for remote activities, we’ve got you energizers and icebreakers for online meetings, too!

Let’s dig in with ice breaker ideas to help you make any workshop, training session or meeting a success!

Go from icebreaker to workshop in minutes

Purpose of Icebreakers

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

The benefits of icebreakers 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, icebreakers 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 energise the group and have everyone focused and ready to go.

Categories of Icebreaker Activities

Below we’ve collected 45 ice breaker activities that will help you set the right tone for any occasion – from company retreat to conference workshop, from strategy session to new hire onboarding. These icebreakers don’t require people to reveal too much personal information too soon and allow room for introverts too.

The best ice breakers are tailored for a particular situation: ice breakers for meetings or team icebreakers often have a different design than workshop ice breakers and finding the right one for your purpose can help them be successful.

We’ve found these ice breakers incredibly useful & would love to hear about your experiences if you give any of them a try!

In order to help you find what you look for, we grouped them into the following categories:

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 in working together. This does not only mean just memorising names, but also involves getting the facilitator or leader of the session familiar with the group members. Get to know each other games and team ice breakers are a great way to begin, especially with a new group.

Just One Lie

This method is an adaptation of the well-known icebreaker ‘Two Truths And A Lie’ to create an activity that can be run throughout a day of 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. This is an engaging technique from the get to know you games category of icebreaker, and it’s often useful to have an ongoing get-to-know exercise during a longer session.

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 is that 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 is one of the team icebreakers that 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 icebreaker games for work, this is one everyone is sure to know and understand with little preparation time.

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

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. Good ice breaker games are great at bringing people together. 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. Icebreaker games with a degree of competition can be really effective if you want to set that tone for the rest of a workshop or meeting.

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

Draw your 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.

​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 favourite downtime activities to more in depth stuff, like career and self development goals. Getting to know you games with an edge or a unique approach can make for fun icebreakers that set a team off on the right foot.

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.

Quotes

This fast-paced icebreaker activity allows participants to get acquainted with each other in a meaningful way. Prepare about a quarter more quotes than 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 (very short) 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. Ice breaking at speed is not only fun, but effective. Definitely consider this one as for meeting ice breakers.

Quotes #warm up #ice breaker #energiser 

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

​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 #warm up 

Introductory or warm-up phase of a workshop.

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. Get to know you games can sometimes be difficult to manage in large groups. Fun icebreakers like this are great in that each time the buzzer goes off, the pair has to split and find a new partner, again looking for people they know the least. When thinking of ice breakers for meetings, consider the value that the swift, deep conversations this ice breaker activity allows.

Break the ice with the help of your key

The key icebreaker is a team building icebreakers favorite and a great exercise to get to know each other in a group or team. Ask the 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 neighbourhood they live in, the activity it represents (bike or locker key) or the person they received it from.

Usually the facilitator starts the circle so the participants get the feeling how it should be done.

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 colouring! 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 in a playful manner is a great starter if there are multiple new members to the group or if two or more departments come together on a new project. Team meeting ice breakers that focus on breaking apart traditional group silos among varying teams are well worth the time you spend on them.
This meeting starter from Gamestorming works 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. Ice breakers for meetings are great for setting the tone and pre-empting some of the work you will do later on – you could even encourage people to list skills or attributes that will be useful in the workshop or meeting.

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. The best icebreakers are often fun icebreakers that encourage people to think in new ways – find your pair is a
great ice breaker game for smaller groups too!

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

​Toilet Paper Icebreaker

This is one of those ice breaker activities that is most easily prepared – 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 one of those fun icebreakers for meetings or workshops that is best suited for more lighthearted occasions.

​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. Meeting ice breakers like show and tell should be a mandatory occasion, a part of the group routine, with a Q&A section at the end. Everyone has something they dedicate a little bit more time and attention to, but you always hear about this from the more extroverted people. This habit gives less exhibitionist characters a chance to show this side. It is also a great practice to hone presentation skills and handle the attention & tricky questions. Providing a mentor to look through their presentation and help prepare their speech is also beneficial and can ease nerves.

Ice Breaker Games to Kick off Meetings

Using ice breakers for meetings is an effective facilitator’s secret weapon. An ice breaker at the start of a meeting is a great way to break monotony, motivate attendee and generally loosen people up. It energises 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. Here are some meeting ice breakers to help ensure your next team meeting is a success!

​One Word Exercise

Pick a phrase that is central to the topic why 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.

LEGO Metaphors

Each participants 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.

Mindfulness Icebreaker

Meetings can sometimes become useless because attendees come in stressed about the topic and distracted as result. The tension will not allow for solutions to surface & will not contribute to the time being spent productively.

You can reduce this tension by opening with a mindfulness exercise. Good icebreakers help set the mood, and by taking a moment to be mindful, your team can be more productive. Ask people to take a few moments to “check-in” with themselves and write down their worries. The reflection can be led by questions such as what energy level have they arrived with? What have they been doing that day so far / the previous day? What is on their mind that is unrelated to this meeting? Make sure they know that they don’t have to share their answers. After everyone is done, they should rip up their answers and discard them. This helps them arrive & identify their state, let go of their worries and have better focus & more empathy towards the others. Team icebreakers that focus on setting the right tone and ask everyone to arrive in the room are some of the best ice breakers out there.

What are you bringing to the meeting #teampedia #opening #ice breaker #team 

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.

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.

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 look at some of the best team building icebreakers

Break the Ice with The Four Quadrants Activity

The Four Quadrants one of the tried and true team building icebreakers to break the ice with a group or team. 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. Afterwards they can show each other their drawings and discuss the 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). Questions can cover topics like current challenges, stressors, defining moments, moments of pride, fears, desired outcome for the current gathering etc. Team icebreakers that encourage openness are great for team building and ensuring everyone in a group is heard!

Break the Ice with The Four Quadrants Activity #ice breaker #teambuilding #team #remote-friendly 

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 the 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. 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.

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 for meetings, particularly if those involved in the meeting are distributed in interesting ways.

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 ideas and fun icebreaker activities to help improve teamwork and collaboration across the board.

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.

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. Ice breaker ideas that are fun, well designed and have a proven track record are definitely worth 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 shows and 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

This is one of those simple ice breaker games you can use to enhance teamwork and problem solving & requires one long, thin, light rod (e.g. a broom handle). 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. With the right group, Helium Stick is one of the most fun icebreakers out there.

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 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.

Icebreakers 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 choosing ice breakers for meetings, even if those meetings are business-critical does not mean that you should discount fun icebreakers.

Here are some ice breaker ideas

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 colourful, the images can be put up in the meeting room. Meeting ice breakers that produce physical results can really help ensure the work of the meeting continues afterwards!

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 

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! 

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 #ice breaker #idea generation #creativity #context #warm up 

Creating a sentence one word at a time

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. Ice breaker games can be as simple as they need to be to start the process of getting a team working together. Have fun whether your ice breaking activities are designed for meetings or workshops by being open to even the most off the wall ice breaker ideas.

Crazy Handshake

This ice breaker helps people ease in 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. Team icebreakers like this are great if you want to ease people in without referencing the main tasks of the workshop too soon. Remember that ice breakers for meetings can be unrelated to the main discussion depending on your end goal.

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. Fun icebreakers where you can come up with many different strategies on how to surprise people like Bang are great for kicking of meetings. It can also help with name-learning and so also falls into the category of getting to know you games, but if you have more than 30 people, it’s better to play in parallel groups.

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 team mates 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 ice breaking activities needn’t be complicated to be effective and when looking for ice breaker ideas, don’t discount the simple games – they can often be the best.

Sound Ball

This 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. Another classic among ice breakers for meetings, Sound Ball deserves your attention.

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 cope. The anticipation makes everyone giggly, so after a while they cannot suppress their laughter anymore. We love ice breaker ideas that encourage people to try new things and are surprising too. Some of the best ice breaker games are those that encourage laughter, and the no smiling game is great for that!

Now over to you!

We hope you have found some useful tips for practical and fun ice breaker games and ice breaker ideas in the list above.

Remember that some ice breakers for meetings can scale to the size of your group while others work best with lots of people. Find the best team icebreakers for your specific group and purpose and you can help ensure they are successful! Now we’d love to hear from you.

What are your favourite 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.

8 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

  2. 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 😀

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

  3. 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.

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