Icebreaker Games for Small Groups

Favorite T-shirt

Ask attendees to bring (not wear) their favorite T-shirt to the meeting. Once all participants have arrived, ask each person to show the shirt to the group and explain how the T-shirt best resembles their personality.

Personal Bingo
The host will need to do a little homework before the meeting to find out a few tidbits about each participant (favorite hobbies, books, vacation spots, number of children, favorite foods, etc). Prepare a bingo card (duplicate the card for all attendees to have the same one) with one tid-bit for each square, and instruct the participants to mingle with the group to identify the person for each square. As the information is uncovered, they ask the participant to sign their corresponding square. Keep moving among the guests until all squares are filled. Rules: only open-ended questions may be used. First person who fills card wins a prize.

Say cheese, please
As each participant arrives, take their picture with a Polaroid type camera and hang their photo on a piece of easel paper in the entrance area of the meeting room in groups of two or three photos (depending on size of meeting - you may have only 2 per group or more if the group is large). Use your creativity and decorate the easel paper to extend a Warm Welcome and set the tone of the meeting. Once all participants have arrived, ask them to find their partner(s) from the photo display on the easel and spend about 5 - 10 minutes getting to know the person(s). Then have them introduce their partner(s) to the rest of the group and share something they discovered they have in common.

Famous people/cities

As each participant arrives, tape a 3 x 5 index card on their back with the name of a famous person or city. They must circulate in the room and ask questions that can ONLY be answered with a YES or NO to identify clues that will help them find out the name of the person or city on their index card. EXAMPLES: Paris, Madonna, Santa Claus, John Wayne, Casablanca

Sensuous Sam & Inquiring Ida
Ask each participant to choose an adjective that begins with the first letter of their first name and one that really matches their personality. Have them introduce themselves just as they wrote it on the card and allow time for others to ask questions.

6. Dream Vacation

Ask participants to introduce themselves and describe details of the ideal, perfect dream vacation.

7. Favorite animal

As the guests arrive, and before you write their names on a name card, ask them to tell you their favorite animal and three adjectives to describe the animal. As they tell you, write the three adjectives on a name tag BEFORE their name (omit the name of the animal). Ask them to mingle with the crowd, sharing why these adjectives best describe their own personality. EXAMPLES: Loyal, cuddly, playful Dan

8. Birthday Partner

Have participants mingle in the group and identify the person whose birthdate (not year - just month and date) is closest to their own. Find out two things they have in common.

9. Long lost relative

As a group, 1) ask each person to turn to the person on their right and greet him/her as if they really didn't want to be there. Yeah, you know what I mean - you can't wait to get out of there! Then everyone (simultaneously to create lots of fun and excitement) turn to the same person and greet him/her as if (s)he is a long lost, deeply loved relative who has just returned home and you're about to see the person for the first time in years! In fact, you thought you may never see this person again until this very moment. Okay, now ask everyone (again simultaneously) to turn to the same person and greet him/her as if this person just told you that you won the state lottery for 50 million dollars and you have the ONLY winning ticket!~~

10. Circle of Friends

This is a great greeting and departure for a large group who will be attending a seminar for more than one day together and the chances of meeting everyone in the room is almost impossible. Form two large circles (or simply form two lines side by side), one inside the other and have the people in the inside circle face the people in the outside circle. Ask the circles to take one step in the opposite directions, allowing them to meet each new person as the circle continues to move very slowly. If lines are formed, they simply keep the line moving very slowly, as they introduce themselves.

The Magic Wand

You have just found a magic wand that allows you to change three work related activities. You can change anything you want. How would you change yourself, your job, your boss, coworkers, an important project, etc.? Have them discuss why it is important to make the change. Another variation is to have them discuss what they would change if they become the boss for a month. This activity helps them to learn about others' desires and frustrations.


You are marooned on a island. What five (you can use a different number, such as seven, depending upon the size of each team) items would you have brought with you if you knew there was a chance that you might be stranded. Note that they are only allowed five items per team, not per person. You can have them write their items on a flip chart and discuss and defend their choices with the whole group. This activity helps them to learn about other's values and problem solving styles and promotes teamwork.
The Interview

Break the group into two-person teams (have them pick a partner that they know the least about). Have them interview each other for about twenty minutes (You can also prepare questions ahead of time or provide general guidelines for the interview). They need to learn about what each other likes about their job, past jobs, family life, hobbies, favorite sport, etc. After the interviews, reassemble the group and have each team introduce their team member to the group. This exercise helps them to learn about each other.

Who Done That?

Prior to the meeting, make a list of about 25 items relating to work and home life. For example, a list for a group of trainers might have some of the following:
Developed a computer training course
Has delivered coaching classes
Is a mother
Knows what ADDIE means and can readily discuss it
Enjoys hiking
Has performed process improvement
Served in the Armed Forces
Is a task analysis expert

Ensure there is plenty of space below each item (3 or 4 lines) and then make enough copies for each person.

Give each person a copy of the list and have them find someone who can sign one of the lines. Also, have them put their job title and phone number next to their names. Allow about 30 minutes for the activity. Give prizes for the first one completed, most names (you can have more that one name next to an item), last one completed, etc. This activity provides participants with a list of special project coaches and helps them to learn about each other.

The ADDIE Game (Analysis, Design, Development, Implement, Evaluate)

Make up a reasonable problem scenario for your organization where people need to get introduced, e.g. "The manufacturing department is bringing in 20 temporaries to help with the peak season. They want us to build a short activity that will allow the permanent employees to meet and introduce themselves to the temporaries." Break the group into small teams. Have them to discuss and create a solution:

Analyze the problem - Is it a training problem? If they decide that it is not a training problem, then remind them that most problems can be solved by following an ADDIE type approach.
Perform a short task analysis - How do people get to know each other?

Design the activity - Develop objectives, sequence.

Develop the activity - Outline how they will perform the activity and trial it.

Implement - Have each small team in turn, introduce themselves in front of the group using the activity they created.

Evaluate - Give prizes to the most original, funniest, etc. by having the group vote.

This activity allows them to learn about each other's problem solving styles and instructional development methods, it also introduces the members to each other. This method can also be used to introduce the ADDIE method to new trainers. Time - about 60 minutes.

Finish the Sentence

Go around the room and have each person complete one of these sentences (or something similar):
The best job I ever had was...
The worst project I ever worked on was...
The riskiest thing I ever did was...
This is a good technique for moving on to a new topic or subject. For example, when starting a class and you want everyone to introduce themselves, you can have them complete "I am in this class because..."
You can also move on to a new subject by asking a leading question. For example if you are instructing time management, "The one time I felt most stressed because I did not have enough time was ..."

Line Up Game

Get in groups of five to ten people each. First group that gets itself into order according to the category you name, wins. For example first letter of middle name, shoe size, height, birth date, etc. Just be sure to pick subjects that people can line up easily.

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