Icebreakers and Teambuilders

Icebreakers and team builders help group members to get to know one another, and can help kick off a meeting, retreat, or other get-together with energy and group interaction. Below are examples of these kinds of activities.

Fact Bingo

Create a grid and write different facts in each box like "has green eyes" or "has been to Chicago." Ask participants to move around the room and find the people who fit that box and have them sign it. This exercise is used to get to know others in the group.

Silent Identification

Each participant is asked to either write words or draw pictures that describe themselves. This is done silently. They pin the picture on their backs, walk around and have everyone look each other over. Pictures are then shuffled and participants are asked to identify the person to which the picture belongs.

Pairs Game

Make up pairs or groups of people that go together (Mickey Mouse/Minnie Mouse, Barbie/Ken). Give each person a card with one member of the pair or group on it. The pairs or groups must find their match. When they find each other, they must discuss something about themselves (such as their hometown, favorite family vacation story, etc.).

Name Game

Sit in a circle. One person starts by using an adjective starting with the same letter as their first name, followed by their first name (i.e. Clever Claire, Kind Karen). The next person and following has to repeat the first person's adjective and name and then add their own. It goes around the circle and the last person has to repeat all other names in order and end with their own.

Human Knot

Have a group of 10-15 people stand very close together. Tell them to reach out their arms so all hand are jumbled and intertwined. Tell them to grab one hand for each of their hands, but not the one of the person's next to them. Now they are a human knot and must use teamwork to untangle themselves into one circle without letting go of their hands.

Web Game

Take a ball of yarn and have the person who starts hold one end and rap it around their wrist. They throw the yarn around the room and say something positive about the person you throw to or something they did to inspire you.

Balloon Game #1

Have everyone put one piece of information about themselves in a balloon, then blow up the balloon and throw the balloon in the middle of the circle of participants. One by one, pop the balloons and guess to whom that piece of information belongs.

Balloon Game #2

Pass one balloon around the circle and have each person write a question on that balloon, and then pass the balloon around the circle and each person has to answer three questions on the balloon.

Hug Tag

This is a cooperative version of "regular" tag. You should designate a few people to be "freezers," then tell everyone else to scatter in all directions. The freezers count to ten, and then take off after the runners. Once they tag a runner, that person becomes one of the freezers. A player is safe from being tagged only when he or she is hugging another player.

Fruit Basket Turn Over

Seat players in a circle. One person stands in the center. Each player is given the name of a fruit. The person in the middle calls out the name of two fruits. The two people must quickly change seats. The person in the middle also tries to reach one of the seats. The one left standing then calls the name of two other fruits. He or she may also call "fruit basket turnover" and everyone must change seats.

Paper Bag Skits

Split your group into teams consisting of three to six members. Give each team a paper bag filled with assorted objects. (These can be almost anything, i.e. a wooden spoon, a screw, a bar of soap, a computer disk, etc.) The object of the game is to present a skit using all of the props provided. The props may be used as they would be in normal life, or they may be imaginatively employed. Give each group a topic to base their skit on. When all the skits have been planned and rehearsed they are performed for the amusement of all.

Animal Match

Upon entering the room, everyone is given a card with an animal on it (make sure there are two of every animal). On the count of three everyone makes their animal noise and tries to find their partner.

Digging Game

The members sit in a circle of chairs and there is one person standing and does not have a chair. The person in the middle asks a question, like "who has brown hair?" and everyone who does has to get up and switch seats. The person in the middle has to go and find a seat, which in turn will leave somebody else in the middle without a chair to ask a question. The catch is that the people changing seats (this applies to each individual round) cannot move to the seat on either side of them, or if they get up and can't find a seat, they cannot return to the seat where they just sat. This is a great way to "dig" up some information on people you don't know.

(Adapted from the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization)