Examples of Icebreakers
Human scavenger hunt
Find someone who:
- is left handed
- loves dogs
- wears contacts
Members tell where they are from and information about their hometown.
Why or how the member got his/her name.
Form a circle by placing hands in the middle of the circle, grab someone else's hands (other than the person's on either side of you), and without letting go, try to untangle the "knot."
Repetitive name game
Everyone sits in a circle. The first person states their name and a word that may describe them that begins with the first letter of their name (you may want to limit the word to a topic: food, vacation spot, etc.) The second person repeats the first, then says their own. The third person repeats the first and second, then their own, and so on.
Prepare pictures of objects on cards. Cut the pictures in half and give each person a card. When told, they are to mingle and find the other half of the picture.
Divide members of the group into pairs. Give each person a pixie stick and piece of tape. Tell them to tape the pixe stick on them. Each partner has to eat the other person’s pixie stick dust without using their hands – first pair to finish wins.
“Boom Chicka Boom”
Person leading: "I Say a BOOM"
cast: "I say a Boom"
leader: "I say a boom - chicka "
cast: "I say a boom-chicka"
Leader: "I say a boom-chicka-boom"
cast: "I say a boom-chicka-boom"
leader: "I say a boom-chicka-rocka-chicka-rocka-chicka-boom"
cast: "I say a boom-chicka-rocka-chicka-rocka-chicka-boom"
leader "Oh yeah"
cast: "Oh yeah"
leader: "One more time"
cast: "One more time"
leader: "In _____ (opera, jive, rap, preacher revival, sign language, whisper, sexy, valley girl, fast, slow, etc.)"
The leader leads this with the cast or class. Each time he changes the style and the class must follow.
What Are You Doing?
This one can end up getting quite silly! It's great for building energy. The students stand in a circle. The first student begins by miming an action or activity, such as playing golf. The student to his right asks, "What are you doing?" and the first student replies with something random, such as "I'm shaving." The second student must then adopt that action (in this case, shaving) while the third student asks, "What are you doing?" and then that student answers with something random, such as, "Dancing the hula." The game continues until you get back around to the first student.
The Mirror Game
This staple of drama classes is often overlooked in favor of newer games, but for your new drama students, this classic acting game can be fresh and fun. Divide your class into pairs. Choose one person in each pair to lead; the other will follow. Students sit facing each other, and the leader begins large, slow movements that the follower will imitate, as if the leader is their own reflection in a mirror. After a minute or two, switch.
Pass around a bag of M&Ms and have each person take as many as they want. For each color of the M&Ms have a question they can answer. For instance, red can be, "Name a campus resource." You can play this with other colored candy also.
Who am I?
For this activity you will need one sticky note per person. On each note write the name of a celebrity, political figure, cartoon character, book character, etc. You can choose one category or mix them up. Use a different person for each note. Place a sticky note on the back or forehead of each participant. The participants are to figure out who they are, but can only do so in the following manner. Find a partner and read each other's stick notes. You may ask the other person three questions to which they are yes or no answers. Once your questions have been asked and answered, make a guess as to your identity. If you are correct, move the sticky note to your chest and you become a "consultant" who gives clues to those still trying to figure out their identities. If you are not correct, find a new partner and repeat the process. SPECIAL NOTE: Be sure to choose characters that are appropriate to the age of the participants to avoid "generalization gap frustration."
Everyone is sent off in pairs to "interview" their partner. They're each given 3 to 5 minutes to ask questions, such as "what resources on campus have you used since school began" or "what was the hardest transition for you coming to HU." Let students share their interviews with the class.
Finish the sentence
Go around the room and 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 have ever done 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."
Place a list of topics on butcher paper in the middle of the room. Participants throw their coins on the butcher paper one at a time and talk about themselves according to the category, such as family, hobbies, childhood, embarrassing stories, dreams, etc. Can also work with a spinner or dice.
In the Bag
This activity is one that isperformed without rehersal or preparation. The studenr relies on personal knowledge and experience to give a quick, impromptu speek to the groupc/class. Decorate a bag with the words "In The Bag" and make it look fun and creative. Copy phrases on strips of paper and place them in the bag. Students draw their topics from the bag and give a quick speech to the class. let each student pick a topic and remind them that they have 30 seconds or less to talk.
Examples of phrases that can be used as topics for a speech:
- Why students should never have homework
- An unusual animal
- The ideal age should be
- How to be happy
- My idea of a perfect day
- The worst type of pollution
- A fun way to travel
- The best bargain
- The best job in the world
- The greatest book ever written
- My favorite Olympic sport
- How to avoid doing the dishes
- How I view the future
- The worst habit to have
- How to clean a bedroom in ten minutes
- How to mess up a bedroom in five minutes
- The best place in the world to live
- A great gift
- The most important invention. Something I couldn't live without
Lucky Penny Game
Each person takes a penny or other coin out of their pocket and looks at the date. When it's their turn, they tell the year that's on their coin and recall something spectacular that happened that year.
Examples of Getting-Acquainted Exercises
Members get into groups of two and find out information about each other. Possible questions to use:
- Who do you think is the most important person who has lived in the past 100 years?
- What is the best movie you have seen recently?
- What is the title of the last book you have read?
- If you could be any animal other than human, what would you be?
- If you could travel to any place in the world, where would you go?
- What is your favorite sport?
- One adjective to describe me is...
- The emotion I find most difficult to control is...
Crest or Coat of Arms
Members create their own "Coat of Arms" on paper by filling in information about themselves using words or drawings.
Information to include:
- Favorite Emotion
- Family Members
- Five-or Ten-Year-Goals
Ask members to stand in the middle of the room and have them move to either side to indicate their choice
- More like a Cadillac or a Volkswagen?
- More of a saver or a spender?
- More like a dog or a cat?
- More yes or no?
- More like a student or a teacher?
- More here or there?
- More religious or non-religious?
- More like the present or the future?
- More like a file cabinet or a liquor chest?
- More intuitive or rational?
- More like a tortoise or a hare?
- More like an electric typewriter or a quill pen?
- More like a roller skate or a pogo stick?
- More like a bubbling brook or a placid lake?
- More like a gourmet restaurant or a McDonald's?
An informal discussion sharing feelings about being at Heidelberg University, and a member of the club. You can use some of the following leading questions:
- Where are you from?
- Why did you choose HU?
- Why did you join the club?
- What is your major/career goal?
- What sort of activities were you involved in high school?
- What sort of activities do you think you will get involved in here?
- What are some of your hobbies?
- What do you do in your spare time?
The Toilet Paper Game
Get a roll of toilet paper (has to be the kind with perforated sheets) and pass it around the circle, telling everyone to take as many sheets as they want (don't tell them why!) Once everyone has done this, tell them that for each sheet they took, they have to share something with the group about themselves. You may want to start out (in case no one else starts). Go around the circle, one sheet at a time, or have each person use all their sheets at once. As someone shares something, they tear off the sheet and throw it in the middle of the circle. This game also works with M & M's.
Have each person bring three things in a brown bag that symbolize them or is important to them. Share the objects with the group. Variation: Put all bags in a pile and draw them out one at a time, guessing which person it belongs to.
Provide each person with a large sheet of paper and a marker or pen. Have them write their name and create their "lifeline" on the sheet - drawing or writing significant events in their life from birth to that day. Then share with the group.
Fears in a Hat
Group members write personal fears anonymously on pieces of paper which are collected. Then each person randomly selects and reads someone else's fear to the group and explains how the person might feel. Fosters interpersonal empathy.
Ask Me About…
Each person gets a regular size post-it note. They should write a keyword response to a prompt such as, “Something that you know a lot about?” “Something about summer break?” “A teaching idea?”After everyone has an idea, the group informally mingles around and asks each other about the topic. This is a great conversation starter. “Ask Me About...” can be part of the name tag.
Have the group form an inner and outer circle causing people to pair up. Ask the group a question and give them 1-3 minutes to introduce themselves and discuss each person’s answer. When the question is complete they cue the participants to thank their partner and have one of the circles move a determined number to the left. Once with a new partner, ask another question.
Creative questions to ask include:
- What kind of music do you like and why?
- Explain how you got your name.
- Tell about your favorite toy as a child.
- Who is the nicest person that you know?
- What was your favorite grade in school and why?
- Tell about an embarrassing moment.
- If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
- What is something that you always wish you were better at and why?
- Describe your most cherished pet.
- If you could donate one million dollars to a charity, who would you give it to?