Ice breakers are a particularly good way to start a conference, team building retreat, company get together or any other social or business event. It helps team members to get to know each other better in an efficient and non-threatening way. The following is a short list of some quick and easy ice breaker games that can be done with little preparation and resources.
Paperclip and Straw Sculptures
This is a brilliant activity to start off a team building session and can even be used as a team building exercise on its own. All you need for this ice breaker is a box of straws and a box of paper clips. Participants are divided into groups and given the task to build a structure using only the straws and paperclips provided. The creations that result can be judged on a variety of criteria such as the strongest, tallest, most creative or most functional structure. This activity is not only an effective ice breaker but also encourages teamwork within the group and is particularly useful for identifying leadership skills.
What I did last night
This ice breaker is ideal for a conference or team building weekend. First thing on the second morning of the event the participants are divided into groups and asked to act out something they did the previous night. It could be the meal they ate, a movie they saw, a place they visited or anything else that may have occurred the previous night. The activity is acted out individually or in groups, in front of all the participants who have to guess what the activity was.
This tremendously fun way to play Bingo is a remarkably effective ice breaker where participants get know each other better in an informal manner. Little preparation is required as Bingo cards need to be created before hand with categories consisting of things that people may have done before, such as hot air ballooning, skydiving, hunting and bowling. Each participant gets a copy of the card and is told to circulate it among each other. They are then asked to find someone who has done one of the activities on their card and sign their card accordingly. The first participant to get all his/her blocks signed shouts bingo and collects their prize.
All Tied Up
For this ice breaker, all participants are divided up into groups of 6 to 10 members. Each group is asked to from a tight circle, standing and facing each other. The members of the group are instructed to extend their arms and take hold of the hand of another group member. Each hand should be holding another hand, and one person cannot hold both hands of the same person. The result is a knot which the group is told to try and untie without letting go of each other’s hands. Team work is required to complete this task as people climb over and beneath each other’s arms in order to untangle the knot. This activity is not just an excellent ice breaker but is also an extremely beneficial team building activity in its own right. The activity promotes team work and identifies leadership within the group.
Pass the toilet paper please
All you need for this ice breaker is a roll of toilet paper. Circulate the roll of toilet paper through the group and ask each person to take as much of the toilet paper as they need, no further explanation should be given. After each member has received their portion of toilet paper, they are told that they now have to share an fascinating fact or something about themselves for each block of toilet paper that they have.
This is a quick ice breaker that requires no preparation. Ask all participants to form a line and then tell them to organize themselves according to the their birth dates, starting from the 1st of January and ending with the 31st of December. The catch is that they have to do this without talking to each other or writing anything down.
Circle of Friends
This ice breaker is particularly useful for the start of a conference or team building event where a large group of people is involved. It is an especially valuable tool where two different departments come together for the first time. All the participants are asked to make two large circles, one within the other. The participants in the inner circle are asked to face the participants in the outer circle. The participants, facing each other, introduce themselves to each other and then the circles moves slowly in the opposite direction, allowing two new participants to meet each other until all the people in the inner circle had a chance to meet all the people in the outer circle.
Many people may remember this game from their childhood, but it also makes for a fun ice breaker game. The facilitator starts the story with one sentence. Each member of the group has to add to the sentence after repeating the preceding sentences. This usually has hilarious consequences as members try and remember the previous sentences of the story.
In this ice breaker, each participant is instructed to write down four things about themselves on a piece of paper. Three of these things should be true about themselves, but one should be a lie. As each person reads out the four things about themselves, the rest of the team members write down one statement that they suspect is a lie. After everybody has read out their four things the first person starts again, this time telling everybody which statement was not true. The rest of the people can then see how successful they were in spotting the lies from the truth.