15 of the best icebreaker activities for groups of any size
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated 30 November 2022
Published 30 November 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Icebreakers are fun games implemented to help a group of strangers get to know each other better. When meeting and working with a new group of people for the first time, employers like to use icebreakers to help everyone feel settled and more relaxed. There are many types of icebreakers for groups, usually as some form of play or team-bonding exercise. This article discusses what an icebreaker is and details 15 of the best icebreakers for groups of any size.
15 icebreakers for groups
Icebreakers are a popular method that leaders use to help people feel more comfortable in a group. They're best implemented when a new group of people who haven't met start working together. They're also helpful at the beginning of meetings to help people feel more relaxed and less stressed. There are several different icebreakers, so you may want to think about which one is the most suitable for your particular group. Listed below are 15 of the best icebreakers for groups:
1. Two truths one lie
In this icebreaker, participants take turns providing three facts about themselves, one of which is a lie. The rest of the group then guesses which of those facts is the lie. Two Truths One Lie is an excellent way for a new group of people to find out more information about each other while simultaneously getting creative.
2. Would you rather?
In this game, participants take turns to ask 'would you rather' questions, where you choose one of two hypothetical scenarios. For example, you could ask, 'would you rather be able to fly or be able to teleport?' Group members can then discuss the different scenarios, offering their reasoning for why they chose a particular option. It provides a great way to debate ideas with people, enabling individuals to relax, show their personalities and get to know each other.
3. I went on a picnic...
In the 'I went on a picnic' icebreaker game, individuals go around the room saying their name and an item they brought to a picnic. Each participant in turn says their word and picnic item along with the previous ones. This particular icebreaker may work better in a larger group, as the idea is that the game can get more and more challenging the longer it goes on, as people try to remember more and more pieces of information.
In this game, group members write down an interesting fact about themselves and then put it in a jar or container without the others seeing it. They then take turns to read out a random fact before guessing who it refers to. The game enables participants to learn something interesting about the other group members. You could also create a variation of this game by splitting the two teams into groups, competing to make the correct predictions.
5. Who am I?
In this game, the leader writes the names of famous people on cards and sticks them to the foreheads of the group members. Everyone then talks to each other, asking each other 'yes' or 'no' questions to try and figure out which famous person they are. The great benefit of this game is it gets group members talking to each other, breaking down any awkward tension between the group. You could even choose to give a small prize to the person who discovers their famous person first.
6. Line ups
In this game, you divide your group into two equal groups and give them a noisemaker, like a whistle. You then ask the groups to arrange themselves according to various categories, such as youngest to oldest. The first team to be in the correct order and make their noise wins the round. Not only do the group learn about each other, but you may also find out some interesting facts and see the group in a competitive light.
7. 10 things in common
This is one of the more straightforward icebreaker activities but can be challenging for the participants. Split the group into pairs and challenge them to find out ten things they have in common. The standard details can vary in nature without being too vague. This icebreaker helps people to get to know each other straightforwardly. You could also offer a small prize for the most exciting or bizarre shared detail.
8. Speed dating
This icebreaker game follows the 'speed-date' format. You split everyone into pairs and set a timer for three minutes for them to chat and get to know each other. When the three minutes are up, ask one person from each team to move along and reset the timer for another 'speed date'. It's unlikely that you can enable every possible couple to talk. It still provides a fun, energetic way for your group members to interact and is helpful for a new group of employees.
9. Word association
The word association game involves each person saying a word that relates to the one previously said. You can start by providing a word or category, such as 'space,' 'computer,' or 'movies.' The group takes turns to say a corresponding word quickly. If they stutter or provide a term that has already been said, then they're out. The game is a fun way to see individuals' creativity and quick-thinking ability and could also be helpful before a meeting.
10. Jenga questions
This icebreaker activity offers a spin on the traditional Jenga game, where individuals take turns removing a block from a tower and replacing it at the top. In this instance, you write questions on the blocks and the individual who removed them answers them. This is a great chance to learn about their hobbies, interests, and background. Jenga is also a fun game, so it can ease any tension and provide members with an opportunity to relax and enjoy getting to know each other.
11. Scavenger hunt
It may prove slightly more time-consuming, but creating a scavenger hunt provides a fun opportunity for people to work together on a task. Splitting the members into groups, you can either ask them to find a series of items, provide clues or set a series of functions where they only receive the next clue after each completed task. While conducting a scavenger hunt in the office is achievable, it may be more beneficial at an external company event like a picnic, where different departments are mingling.
12. The marshmallow challenge
The marshmallow challenge is a fun team-building exercise that enables people to work together on a fun task. Split everyone into groups of three or four and provide them with 20 sticks of spaghetti, some string, some tape, and one marshmallow. The task is to build the tallest structure with the marshmallow standing on top. You may see groups use a variety of tactics and get to see their collaboration skills and their ability to come up with solutions to problems quickly.
Not every icebreaker activity includes a game or fun challenge. Icebreakers are typically about easing the pressure and awkwardness within a group and providing an opportunity to relax and de-stress. Mindfulness is a great meditation technique that offers this possibility, and you can lead a short, informal session of it yourself. Not only is it beneficial for a group of new employees, but it can also be helpful before meetings to help individuals refocus. If successful, you may incorporate weekly mindfulness sessions.
14. 'If you could' questions
Similar to 'would you rather,' another icebreaker game is to ask a series of 'if you could' questions. These questions usually involve a hypothetical scenario and offer a lot of scope for debate and discussion. For example, an individual could ask, 'if you could, would you only eat pizza for the rest of your life?' Go around the room and make sure each individual has a turn in asking one of these hypothetical questions. It offers the chance to learn more about each group member in detail.
This version of bingo can help people in a newly-formed team get to know each other. Have each participant create a nine-square bingo card listing characteristics, for example, 'was born in a foreign country' or 'has ridden a motorbike'. The group members mingle and question each other to try and tick off the items, thus creating a fun, quick-fire way for them to learn and find out interesting facts about other team members. The first person to tick off all their items shouts 'bingo!' and is the winner.
Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.
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