CreditsLast Updated 2014-03
As the name implies, Icebreakers are meant to 'break the ice' and are usually fun 'getting to know you' games and activities. They also help participants get to know their commonalities and differences in a fun way.
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As the name implies, Icebreakers are meant to “break the ice” and are usually fun “getting to know you” games and activities - they also help participants get to know their commonalities and differences in a fun way. Participants who are relaxed with each other and their trainer(s) learn better. When you have participants who are less inhibited and more comfortable in the training space, you can expect to have a training that has maximum participation and interactivity.
Often, the co-trainers and co-facilitators will illustrate the first steps of the game - or, if training solo, you may choose to work with a willing participant to demonstrate for the rest of the group.
The object of this game is for participants to get to know each other by guessing whether or not “facts” about other participants are “truths” or “lies”.
Have participants pair up with someone they don’t know or have everyone face each other in a circle.
Those who are not speaking must guess which are the truths and which one is the lie.
*The group version of this works best with a smaller number of participants (10 participants maximum) - there also may be some language issues. If you have a mixed group of participants who are not versed in one language, you could have them pair up with a fellow participant who speaks the same language - but you don’t want them to pair up with someone they already know. This activity also works for participants who have problems with mobility as this won’t require them to move.
The object of this game is for participants to introduce themselves to the rest of the group by using a personal item they feel is “representative” of who they are as an individual.
Ask everyone to go look in their bag/backpack, and find one thing that they feel “represents” them (leave it at that so they are free to interpret this as they please).
*This is good for participants who have problems with mobility as this won’t require them to move. Also, the assumption here is that everyone has brought a bag or pack of some kind to the training space - check first before choosing this Icebreaker!
The object of this game is to have participants arrange themselves in the provided space according to certain facts about themselves.
Have everyone stand in a line or in a “U”-shape, so they can see each other - it can be against a wall if you choose. (See comment about mobility under “Things to Consider Above.”)
Participants can speak with each other as they go about the exercise. Keep in mind that what you might consider an acceptably public fact is not always necessarily the same for an at-risk participant, particularly if they do not know and trust everyone in the room.
*This may not be appropriate if you have participants who have problems with mobility; also, make sure that you have enough space for this activity.
The object of this game is to have each participant over-react to a situation, and have the rest of the group guess what scenario the participant is reacting to.
You should prepare scenarios on slips of paper ahead of time. Think of situations that would work for your participants. Scenarios can include:
Randomly give a scenario slip to each participant:
Each participant takes their turn over-reacting to their scenario, and everyone tries guessing.
Here you will have to be careful about cultural references - your description of the scenario will have to fit your participants’ realities. If you feel like you don’t yet know enough about your participants to conduct this Icebreaker, *save it for a second day activity.
The object of this game is to get people who have things in common identify each other by moving to each others’ seats.
This needs a big space and chairs in a circle. There should be one chair per participant, but no chair for the starter (most of the time, the starter is you, the trainer!).
By the end of one round, one person will be left standing. That person will be the one to start the next round by saying “The wind blows for people who…”.
*This may not be appropriate if you have participants who have problems with mobility; also, make sure that you have enough space for this activity. Ensure that your training space doesn’t have hard floors that can cause chairs or participants to slip, as this may cause some participants to fall getting to a vacant chair.
The object of this game is for participants to ask each other questions while keeping track of a physical object that, overtime, creates a web of connection between the individuals in the group.
Have everyone standing (or sitting) around in a circle - you will need a ball of yarn for this exercise.
The steps above repeat until either a certain period of time has elapsed, or until everyone has had at least one turn to both answer and ask a question. At the end of this game, you will have a web of questions and answers!
*This would work for participants who have mobility issues. In order to set an example of the questions to ask (particularly to avoid asking questions that would be considered too “prying,”) co-trainers or the trainer and a willing participant can ask the first two questions, to illustrate the type of questions to ask. Keep in mind too that this exercise might require basic literacy in a common language among participants.
The object of this game is to give participants a chance to safely step outside of themselves and become more at ease around others in the group.
Have everyone in a circle (standing or sitting up). Each person takes turns saying their first name, a name of an animal that has the first letter of their name, and a sound associated with that animal. (For example, “I’m Dana, a dog, woof woof!”).
The steps above repeat until the game once again reaches the first person, who now has to do everyone’s names, animals and sounds!
This is particularly good for a group of people who really don’t know each other: it’s a great way to get everyone to remember each other’s names. This game is also useful for *trainers who want to build in an easy way to remember participant names from the beginning. If you have participants who have issues with mobility, this is a good exercise as this will not require much movement.