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Whether you need some quick icebreakers for a business meeting, or for students or for a training seminar, these games are free and easy to use.

Quick icebreakers for small groups

The ‘Find Two People’ Icebreaker

Time Needed

I suggest to allow 10 to 15 minutes to run this activity.

Number of Participants

This game is quite dynamic and is generally an icebreaker that participants enjoy and is incredibly easy to run.

Participants chat in pairs for about a minute and then they move on and chat with another person until they manage to talk to almost everyone in the training session.

Purpose of this Icebreaker

This is a very good activity for participants to get to know each other and remember each other’s names at the start of a training session. As a result, participants will find it easier to cooperate in subsequent exercises.

Instructions to run this Ice breaker

1. Give each participant a print out like the one available in the table below, with a series of questions. Also, give them also a pen if they already do not have one.

Find Two People…Name 1Name 2
1. Who have the same shoe size as yourself  
2. Who have been to America  
3. Whose favourite food is the same as yours  
4. Who have met someone famous (who?)  
5. Whose surnames contains five letters  
6. Who travelled abroad this summer  
7. Who studied the same subject as you  
8. Who enjoy crime fiction  
9. Who support the same football team as you  
10. Who travelled here today by public transport  
11. Who live within 5 miles of you  
12. Who collect something (what?)  

2. Explain that the aim of the game is to find at least two people who meet each of the requirements listed on the handout and to write their names down.

You can change the requirements as needed, depending on your participants and the topic of the session.

3. Explain that they need to find one person to pair up with and then they will need to move on and talk to another person and talk to as many people as possible, in order to complete the task.

4. After 10 minutes, ask the participants to stop writing.

5. If there is time, you can ask participants to discuss the results of their exercise with the class as a whole.

The Benefits of this Icebreaker:

  • This exercise is perfect to put the participants at ease with each other and create a more relaxed atmosphere.
  • It is great to help participants remember each other’s names.
  • It can be used for introducing people working for the same firm but for different departments, who otherwise would not have a chance to get to know each other.

The ‘Helium Stick’ Icreabreaker and team Building Game

Time needed

Allow 10 minutes for this game but you can easily extend it to 15 minutes if you wish.

Number of Participants

Groups of at least 4 or 5 people. Each group will have an instructor, who will watch and/or direct the rest of the group from the outside.

Purpose of this Icebreaker

This is both a great icebreaker and team-building activity and game for teachers and corporate trainers to use. This game is useful to stress the importance of group work and communication.

You may also be able to see which roles each person tends to assume in a group if anyone acts as a leader and what type of leadership they implement.

The aim of this activity is for the participants to lower the pole to the ground together (as explained in the instructions below) without anyone losing touch with the pole.

Instructions

1. You will need a stick or pole (lightweight and long enough).

2. Ask participants to form groups of at least 4 people each, plus an instructor.

3. Ask the group members to stand up in two lines in pairs, with one person on each side facing each other. It doesn’t make any difference if there is an odd number. Ask each person to be staggered and place a hand in front of them with their index finger pointed out. Lay the pole on top of all of the index fingers so it is resting evenly. All index fingers must touch the pole.

Explain that the aim is to lower the pole all the way to the ground, without anyone in the group losing touch with the pole at any stage. The instructor’s role is to watch them carefully to make sure that they do not lose touch with the pole.

The Benefits of this ice breaker

  • This activity highlights the benefits of good communication and cooperation.
  • During the game, you will have a chance to observe how participants behave in a group.
  • It is a fun activity and will make people laugh. You may notice that everybody is so focused on keeping contact with the pole that, at first, the pole will start rising!
  • You could transform this game into a competition for which group accomplishes the task first if there is more than one group involved.

The ‘Two Truths and a Lie Ice Breaker’

Truth and lie icebreaker for meetings and teachers

Time-frame

An ideal time-frame for this icebreaker is 10 to 15 minutes.

Participants

Separating participants into small groups of 4 to 6 is ideal for this activity.

Icebreaker Purpose

This activity is also useful for groups whose members know each other if you need a warm-up activity that stimulates creativity.

Icebreaker Instructions

1. Split the class into small groups of 4 to 6 people.

2. Ask each person in the group to write three statements about themselves: 2 true and 1 false.

3. Explain that each person, in turn, will need to share their three statements with the rest of the group, who will have to guess which statement is the false one.

4. After the first person has shared their statement and the group have decided which statement is false, the first person will reveal the truth.

5. Move one until each person in the group has shared their statements.

Icebreaker Benefits

  • This is a fun and creative activity.
  • This activity can be useful as an icebreaker or also to resume the training after a lunch break or to lighten the mood.

The ‘Name Volley Icebreaker’

Names icebreaker activity

Time-frame

I suggest allowing 10 minutes for this activity. If you have a larger group though you may wish to give them 15 minutes, to allow extra time for them to get organized.

Participants

Participants play individually in turns with the whole class. This is suitable for relatively small classes.

Purpose of this icebreaker

This is a great activity to share people’s names in a dynamic and active way.

It helps to improve the energy levels in your group of participants.

Instructions to run this ice breaker

1. With everyone standing in a circle, grab a ball.

2. Shout your name and throw the ball to someone else in the group (it helps if you make eye contact with the person you are going to throw the ball at).

3. Then, after catching the ball, that person shouts their name and throws the ball at someone else.

4. Continue until everyone has had a chance to shout their name.

5. Then, instead of shouting their own name, ask participants to shout the name of the person they want to throw the ball at.

6. As participants get comfortable you can introduce more balls.

Benefits of this ice-breaker

  • Remembering each other’s names can be quite hard at first. This activity helps memorize names in a fun way.
  • It is always good to raise energy levels at times, to avoid apathy and distractions.

The ‘One Word at a Time Training Activity’

Suggested time-frame

10 to 20 minutes is the ideal time-frame for this icebreaker.

Participants

This ice-breaker can be done with any number of participants but it works better if there are at least 5.

Icebreaker Purpose

This is a good warm-up activity and it can also be useful to discuss the importance of adapting to changing situations and thinking on one’s feet.

Instructions

1. Ask everyone in the group to stand in a circle and agree on a random topic. It can be anything from food to dogs, to rugby.

2. Hand out a stick to one person in the group.

3. Explain that each person should contribute with one word to the story (and one word only at a time) but only while they are holding the stick and then they should pass it on to the next person (decide whether the stick should move clockwise or anticlockwise).

4. Encourage the participants to say the first word that comes to their mind. It does not matter if it makes sense or not.

5. Try to move around the circle quickly and increase the speed gradually.

The Benefits

  • This exercise is fun and will guarantee a laugh or two.
  • It is a great way to break the ice or lighten the mood during a long session.
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The ‘Randomised Q&A Icebreaker’

Time-frame

Allow either 10 to 15 minutes.

Participants

This activity can be done with any number of participants but it works better if there are at least 5.

Purpose of this icebreaker

This activity is good to help people to get to know each other better, even people who work for the same company but never had a chance to talk to each other.

Instructions

1. Give each participant a notecard and ask them to write down the first non-work-related question they can think of. For example, “What was the last film you watched like?”.

2. Each person should then pass their card to the person on their right and write an answer to this question on the back of their new card.

3. Encourage people to think out of the box and have fun.

4. At this point, each participant should be holding a notecard with a question on the front and a separate answer on the back.

5. Mix the cards in a bag (or shuffle them) and hand one to each participant.

6. Select someone to introduce themselves and to read out the unconnected question and answer, written on the card they are holding.

7. Then ask a different participant to do the same and continue moving on like this, until everyone has both asked and answered a question.

8. Many of the sequences won’t make any sense, but some connections will be hilarious and make people laugh.

The Benefits

  • A fun way to know more about each other.
  • The participants will laugh and relax in preparation for the training session ahead.
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Paul Symonds PhD

Paul is a trained researcher with a PhD in wayfinding. Paul is a co-founder of Symonds training. We focus on providing high-quality training materials packages and programs for trainers, classroom teachers and HR departments.

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