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Icebreaker games for small groups

By Lyndsay Swinton

Did you know that the right icebreaker games make the vital difference to your meeting, training or team building, and build your reputation as a good facilitator?

Here are 5 trusted icebreaker games that will ease introductions, boost energy levels, spark off creative ideas or be plain fun, designed for small group activities.

Maybe take a few minutes to read the article on how to choose good meeting ice breakers, or just dive straight in and select from the following tried and tested games.

(For a summary, including preparation details, game purpose, timing and materials, see icebreakers overview).

Icebreaker Game 1 – Who Am I?

A silly icebreaker game for a small group.

Have each person secretly write on a post-it note the name of a famous person. Keeping the name hidden, stick the post-it to another’s forehead.

Each person takes turns to ask the group questions to figure out whom the unknown person is. The catch is that only yes or no answers can be asked e.g.

  • Am I alive?

  • Am I female?
If the answer is no your turn is over. If the answer is yes, you can ask another question. Keep going until you get a no or make a guess at whom you are. If you guess right, you win or if you guess wrong your turn is over.

Keep going until everyone has guessed or if time is tight, maybe stop after a few right answers.

Icebreaker Game 2 – Chat Show

Great for groups of strangers, and avoids the dreaded pain of introducing yourself.

Get the group to pair off and take turns in being a chat show host and guest. The chat show host has to find out 3 interesting facts about their guest. Switch the roles and repeat.

Bring everyone back to the big group and ask them to present briefly the 3 facts about their guest to the group. Maybe go round the group randomly so people are less aware of their turn coming up next and panicking about it.

Watch timing on this one as it has a tendency to go on too long if your group likes to chat too much.

Icebreaker Game 3 – My Name Means…

A good game for small groups who need to know a little bit more about each other.

Split the group into pairs. Each pair has to come up with words that describe the person using the letters in their first name. The phrase is then shared with the group.

As an example, Lyndsay could stand for “Loud, Young, Nerdy, Dreamer, Strong, Adventurous, Yearning”.

As a more creative alternative, each pair has to come up with a silly phrase based on the letters in their first name.

Lyndsay could be “Lively Young Nurses Dance Salsa All Year”

Icebreaker Game 4 – Line Up

Ideal for a quick energy boost and finding out a little more about your group. If you’ve got a bigger group, split them up into smaller groups and see who completes each task quickest.

Have your group ready to form a line in order of….

  • Height, from smallest to tallest
  • Birth months, from Jan through to December
  • Distance they travel to work, from close to far
  • Anything else you think up!

To make it more of a challenge, get the group to do this silently, using sign language or other alternative communication.

Icebreaker Game 5 – If I were a…

A fun icebreaker game to encourage creativity, best for smaller groups.

Ask each person to say what they would be and why, if they were a…

• A piece of fruit
• An historical figure
• A household object
• A cartoon character
• Any other off the wall group you can think of!

I would be a pineapple as I am exotic, sweet and zingy.
I would be a whisk as I like to stir things up.
I would be Taz as I rush around like a crazy creature

I hope you find an icebreaker game that you like here. If not, there are another 5 ice breaker games for larger groups...

By Lyndsay
Swinton
Owner, Management for the Rest of Us www.mftrou.com

Citation Information: Swinton, Lyndsay. "Icebreaker games for small groups." Mftrou.com. 15 July 2005. < http://www.mftrou.com/icebreaker-games.html >.

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