The ice breakers listed below are a great way to get to know the people in your team. Whether you just met or you’ve been working for a while, these activities will help you learn how to work as a team and grow!
Physical Ice Breakers
Animal Signs- Participants are blindfolded and assigned an animal to act like. They are then asked to get on all fours and crawl and meet up with the people that are making the same animal noise as them.
Assassin-You will have the group shut their eyes and whoever gets tapped on the shoulder twice is the killer. You can use multiple killers at once. Pick the people and then instruct the group that everyone will be going around randomly shaking hands. The killer(s) will do something differently, like scratching the other person’s palm or squeezing their hand twice. This will mean that you are dead. Wait a bit and then die in a dramatic fashion. Once almost everyone is dead, have the group figure out who is guilty.
Big Bootie-Get the group in a circle and have each person count off. In this game, each person will have a number that will be his or hers for the duration of the game. The group will begin with an “Aaaaaaah” and everyone will bring their hands down in the middle. Then, the group will all say “Big Bootie! Big Bootie, Big Bootie, Big Bootie!” Someone will start saying “Big Bootie Number (their number), Big Bootie Number (someone else’s number). Whoever has that number has to continue the pattern. Whoever messes up is out, and the game continues until there is 1 person left.
Catch Me If You Can-Players should be paired up. All players divide into two lines (facing in) shoulder to shoulder, with partners facing each other. Participants should be given approximately 30 seconds to look at their partners, taking in all details about the individual. The leader then instructs the two lines to turn and face away from the center. One or both lines has 15-20 seconds to change something about their appearance (i.e. change a watch to different wrist, unbutton a button, remove a belt, etc.). The change must be discrete, but visible to the partner. The players again turn in to face each other and have 30 seconds to discover the physical changes that have been made.
Categories-Bring the group into a circle. Find a soft item that can be thrown. The person starting with the object will name a category (states, movies, etc.), and then throw it to someone else. They will quickly name something in the category and throw the item to another person. If someone repeats an answer or cannot think of one, they are out. Once someone is out, have them cross their arms.
HAHA Game-Have one person lie down on the floor on their back; the next person will do the same but place their head on the stomach of the first person. Have the rest of the group follow this same pattern until everyone is on the floor with their head on the stomach of the person before them. The first person will start by saying “HA,” the second “HAHA,” the third “HAHAHA,” and so on until the “HA”s get passed all the way to the last person.
[If the group is super comfortable with one another you can add a twist by “HA”-ing so heavily that the person’s head on your stomach bounces!!
Handy Hand Game-Sit in a circle around a table or lay on the floor. Put both hands down flat on the surface, but be sure to have someone else’s hand separating your tow hands. The person to the left of you should place their hand under your left hand. Explain what each hand movement means: 1 slap= continue to move in the same direction, 1 Pound= skip the hand that is next, 2 slaps= reverse the direction of the sounds. Practice a few rounds and then stat eliminating anyone who hesitates too much when it is their turn. Whoever is left wins![/spoiler]
Hog Calliler- The group has to be divided in half and must stand on opposite sides of the room. Distribute a slip of paper to each person with the name of a machine for one half of the group and a name of an animal for the other. The paper will also say a matching sound on it. Participants will have to make the noise of the machine/animal while closing their eyes. Once you give the go ahead, have everyone make their noises, and try to find their counterpart with their eyes closed. Once they have found them, they can open their eyes.
Human Knot-Everyone stands in a circle and puts their right hand into the middle. They will grab someone else’s hand and do the same thing with their left hand. Then try to untangle themselves! Don’t grab two of the same person’s hands, or it won’t work!
Elephant Master/Indian Chief-Have the group sit Indian style in a circle. Each player gets a hand signal. The players begin a beat by patting their legs and then clapping (Boom Boom clap/ “ We will rock you”) Whoever starts the fame off des their signal first, the “calls” another player by doing their signal next. The next player receives the call by doing their signal. They then signal to another player and so forth. If a player misses a call or does not pay attention, they are out. The game should get faster and only two people will be left at the end.
Fruit Bowl-Sit in a circle. Everyone chooses a name of a fruit, which becomes his/her identity. One person is in the middle. Then , people forming the circle call their fruits name and then says they either love or like another fruits name, Then the new person has to do the same before being tagged by the person in the middle. If the person speaking calls the fruit of the person in the middle, the go in the middle, if they mess up, they are in the middle and if they name a fruit that isn’t even in the game they are in the middle.
Fruit Pass-Grab a piece of fruit or a ball. Have the group line up in two lines. The first persons will start to pass a piece of fruit using only their neck the person behind them. They cannot use their hands. The fruit has to be passed down the line. When it gets to the end of the line, turn around and send it back to the front. If it falls or anyone uses their hands, they must start over again, whichever team does it the fastest wins!
Jack & Jill-Sit in a circle. Have the group practice a pattern: lap, clap, snap, clap, lap. They will continue to do this over and over. Then, start to recite Jack and Jill to the beat. Each person will say one word of the poem on the next beat. When saying your word, you want to face the direction of the poem. Keep the beat, and whoever messes up is out. The key is to keep eye contact with the person you want to give the word to.[/spoiler]
Make A Date Game-Give each participant a paper plate. Have them draw the face of a clock on their plate with a line next to each number (no digitals!). Then have participants walk around a find a “date” for each hour, writing their name by the hour. The catch is, no one can make a “date” with more than one person per hour. After everyone has made their dates, speed up time and allow 1-3 minutes for each hour. The facilitator then asks a question for discussion on each date. The pairs will have a chance to get to know one another.
MOO-Get the group into a circle and ask for two volunteers! Have the volunteers wait where they cannot hear what is going on. Tell the group that you are going to do a pattern, and the first volunteer has to figure out who is doing the pattern differently. However, no one will be doing it differently. Explain the pattern (pat thighs twice, clap twice, “moo!”) Have the first volunteer come in, explain the pattern. After 3 times, they will guess- they are automatically correct on their choice! Tell them that they’ll be joining in and to help the other person, moo really loudly on the third one. BUT you have already told the group not to moo on the third set for the second person! Invite the next person in, do the pattern three times and let the first volunteer moo away!
Ninja KUNG FU-Start by getting in a circle. Label one member in the group “sinsei” (pronounced sin-say). The sinsei is the person who starts the game. The Sinsei starts the game by saying “bow to your sinsei” then says “strike a pose” in which everyone in the group strikes a ninja pose. Then the sinsei (in one movement) must attempt to hit its neighbor’s hand (MUST be hand. Wrist and arm do not count). The sinsei can strike to either the left or right but after they attempt to hit their neighbors hand they must freeze in whatever position they moved in. The person they attempted to hit may (in ONE movement) block the hit. The game continues either counter clockwise or clockwise around the circle until everyone is eliminated. The last one standing is the new sinsei and another round begins (Submitted by: Bevier Hall)
Post It Game-First take the number of people participating and take that many post its and write a person, place, or thing on each of the post its. Then place a post it on each of the participators forehead so they cannot read it. Then ask them to mingle with one another, and to only ask three yes or no questions to each of the people they will talk to. The objection of the game is to guess who you are. Another way to play this game, is to sit in a circle and to ask your questions to the group and go down the line.[/spoiler]
Talent Show-Everyone selects one talent or special gift that they possess and can demonstrate for the group. They introduce themselves, explain what their special talent is, and then perform their special talent for the group.
Screaming Toes-Get your group on a circle. Everyone is to look at the group and once one person in the group says heads up, then you look into someone’s eyes. If you make direct eye contact with that person, then you scream and you are out. You keep on going until there is one to two people remaining.
Shoe Factory-Make the group stand in a circle, with their shoulders touching. Have everyone remove both their shoes and put them in the middle of the circle. After the pile is made, have leader have everyone choose two different shoes and put them on. Then stand next to the the person who has the same shoe as you for both your feet. You will be twisted and in a knot with this one!
Sound It Out-Explain to the group that the purpose of this game is to come together with your small group and demonstrate to the team what you given item is. They can’t use props, they can’t talk, and everyone in the group needs to have a role. Split the group up into even teams by having them count off. Assign each group an item (toaster, coffee maker, lawn mower, blender, etc). Give them 5 minutes to break apart and work together to represent their item with movements and sounds. Bring back the teams and have them perform for the group. Have groups guess what each team represents.
Speedy Rabbit-Everyone stands in a circle and leader is in the middle. You first teach the group the various poses of the game: each should use 3 people. The leader points to 1 person in the circle, and then that person, and the persons on either side of them needs to make the pose that you say. If someone messes up, makes the wrong pose, or moves when they weren’t supposed to, they are out. You can make up your poses on your own: 1)- Speedy rabbit- the 2 side people face out to make a shape of the ears, and the middle person puts hit or her hands in front for them to make them look like paws. 2) Screaming Viking- the 2 side people making rowing motions on the outside, and the middle persons bangs their fists on their chest yelling.[/spoiler]
Question Face Off-Choose random topics and write them on little pieces of paper and put them in a hat. Split everyone into two groups and arrange them so that the first person is facing the other first person face to face. Then someone will pick a topic out of the hat. They must go back and forth speaking only in question form. Whoever picks will start the question face-off. It will keep on going back and forth until one of the players stutters, laughs, or is unable to ask a question. The winner stays and picks another topic; the person who loses goes to the back of the line. If you win in the faceoff against the other group, you earn a point. The group with the most points wins!!
A to Z Freeze Game-Ask participants to recite the alphabet in unison. Let them go on for a while until you yodel “Stop!” At that point, identify the letter they stopped on and ask everyone to share something they are looking forward to at school that begins with that letter. For example, if the letter is “R,” they might say “ravioli in the dining hall” or “rooming with someone cool.” Once everyone has shared, have them recite the alphabet again. Stop them on a different letter and ask participants to share a personality trait they possess that begins with begins with that letter. If the letter is “D” they might say things like “diligence” or “doofiness.” Come up with different questions to ask for each letter and repeat the process.
Communality Test-First, split people up into pairs, and have them find one thing that they have in common with each other. (Nothing Obvious like being from Long Island etc). When they have one thing, they stick together and get with another pair. Then those four people have to find something that they have in common. Those four people need to group up with another four people and find something they have in common. You continue this trend until you all have to come together and find what you have in common.[/spoiler]
Confusing Question-Each person will take out a piece of paper and write down a “why” question. Then, fold it in half and pass it to the right. Without opening the paper, have each person write down a “Because” answer to the question. It could be the answer to the question or just a random answer. Then, pass the paper one more time to the right and go around reading the questions and answers.
Fun With Names-Have the group sit in a circle. Tell the group that they will be going around saying their first name and a positive adjective that begins with the first letter of their first name. The twist is to start by repeating every person’s name and adjective who went before you. Then they say their name and adjective.
The ID Game-Have everyone partner up, then share three facts about themselves with their partner. Give everyone about 30 seconds and then have them switch IDs and assume the identity of that ID, then find a new partner! Continue a few rounds, then have everyone (try to) share the facts of the ID they have. Have everyone return the IDs at the end.
Lost on A Deserted Island-Each person says three things and/or people they would like to have with them on a deserted island and why.
Ocean or Mountain-Allow everyone to stand in a straight vertical line in the center of the room. Pick sides for each “or” that is read and go to that side. There is one rule: you MUST pick a side for each o0ne. After you have said each one, talk about why people are on those sides. A the end, ask which was the hardest, the easiest, and if anyone switched spots and why.
Are you: Ocean or mountain; Lover or loved one; Fall or spring; Hammer or nail; Shark or dolphin; Plane or boat; Shampoo or conditioner; Fridge or freezer; Spender or saver; Gold or silver?
The Pocket/Purse Game-Everyone selects one (optionally two) items from their pocket or purse that has some personal significance to them. They introduce themselves and do a show and tell for the selected item and why it is important to them.
Rapid Fire-The group will stand (or sit) in a circle, and someone will start by making a statement such as “favorite color” or “least favorite movie”. Each person will answer rapidly going around the circle (and sometimes people get so caught up in the quickness of the game that their answer is not even close to what they want to say). Once the person who asked the question gets to answer, the person to their right will ask next. The game is done when everyone has asked a question. REMEMBER: This is a quick response game, not a whole drawn out explanation of why someone likes the color blue!
Storytelling-Have each person take out a piece of paper, and have them draw out something. It could be something they like to do or something that has happened to them in the past. Once you have given them a few minutes to draw, have everyone pass the story to the left. Each person will go around and describe what they think is going on in the picture that was handed to them. If you want or have time, have everyone describe what really happened in his or her story. *Keep it lighthearted!*
The Winds are Blowing-Have a group form a circle. If you want, you can use chairs or folders to create markers designating everyone’s spot in the circle. One person stands in the middle so that there are enough spots for all but one person. The person in the middle will share something about him/herself that they think another person in the group will have in common. It can be physical characteristics or something they might like. If someone in the circle shares the characteristic, they must move from their spot to another spot in the circle. They cannot move to a spot directly next to them. Whoever ends up in the middle continues the game by making another statement,
Two Truths & A Lie-People say two truths about themselves and a lie. Then introduce the three “facts” to the rest of the group who tries to guess which one is a lie.
Around the World-Explain to the group that they are taking a trip around the world, and each person will have the opportunity to go somewhere. You will decide based on the patter whether they can go to certain locations. Tell them this is a pattern and the point of the game is to figure it out. If they get it, just play along and don’t shout it out. You want them to spell around the world with the first letter of the places they are going. Have them say how they are getting there also.
EX- I am taking a running train to Aruba!
Black Magic-This activity works best when another person in the group is also familiar with the game. Tell the group that the two of you have this intense connection. One player will leave the room and the other will have the group decide on an object in the room. The goal is to have the person come back into the room and guess what object the group has chosen. Invite the person back into the room and start by listing objects- “Is it Joe’s hat? Is it Mike’s shoes?” The person will continue to say no. To notify the guesser that the next item is it, the other player will pick an item that is black. Be sure to use something that is clearly black!! The other person will then know that the next thing you say will be it. Continue the game until the group catches on, or until they get frustrated.
Celebrity Press Conference-Find a volunteer to leave the room. The rest of the group then selects a famous person that the volunteer will be. The volunteer comes back when the group has come to a decision. The group will then act like reporters, asking the “celebrity” questions. The volunteer must figure out who they are by the questions they are asked.
The Cleaning Game-Have the group get into a circle. Ask each person to think of the reason why he or she does or does not like clean. It should be a short statement, ask them to remember their answers and go around the circle stating them. Once everyone has gone, have them replace the word “clean” with the word “sex”. They must keep their original statement from the beginning.