Small Group Icebreakers

Icebreakers are an excellent way to introduce people to each other and foster a collaborative environment while having some fun.  Even small groups can benefit from icebreakers as they help participants relax and feel comfortable expressing themselves.  To help you have a productive meeting, here are a few of the best small group icebreakers!

The Story Behind The Object… (Introductory icebreaker)

This is a simple game that helps the group learn more about each other.  Because it is a small group, introductory icebreakers only need to be performed for a short period.

The group sits in a circle.  Each person points to an object they are wearing or something that they have with them — like a photo from their purse or wallet).  They then introduce themselves and tell the group a story relating to that object.  Go around the group twice or three times and they will know each other’s names and feel more comfortable talking.

Best And Worst (Getting-to-know-you icebreakers)

Ask each participant what their best and worst moments were for the last week or two.  This can be a funny or serious question — frame the discussion in a way that  achieves the type of responses you want from the group.

Connecting Stories (Getting-to-know-you icebreakers)

This icebreaker helps a group learn more about each other and allows them to share some funny stories.  Start by sitting the group in a circle.  Mention a general topic and ask someone to tell a story involving that topic.  As they talk, write the general subjects they mention on a white board or post-it notes.

Once they finish, ask the next person in the circle to tell a story involving one of those central themes.  For example, the first person might tell a story about how they went to Disneyland as a child and vomited everywhere after riding a roller coaster!  The second person could tell a story about their favorite Mickey Mouse pajamas from childhood and so on.

If I Had To Be a… (Fun icebreaker)

This is a fun little icebreaker that is  guaranteed to produce a few laughs and help people relax.  Sit in a circle and go around the group, asking a series of questions starting with If you had to be a…  For example:

  • If you had to be a dog, what breed would you be?  Why?
  • If you had to be a celebrity, which one would you be?  Why?
  • If you had to be a fruit, which variety would you be?  Why?
  • If you had to be a cartoon character, what one would you be?  Why?

The Celebrity Game (Fun icebreaker)

Participants are handed cards with the name of a celebrity on it.  Participants must discover the name of the celebrity that other people are holding by asking them questions.  Questions can only be answered with yes or no.  They must continue to answer questions while the answer is “yes”.  As soon as they hit a “no” response, the focus of the questions moves on to the next person in the group.

Weird and Wonderful (Getting-to-know-you icebreaker)

This simple icebreaker involves participants sitting in a group and sharing any weird and wonderful facts about themselves.  To get the ball rolling, the group organizer can share a few strange facts about themselves.  That can extract a few laughs from the group and encourage them to share their own strange facts about themselves or unusual stories.

Chart Your Life (Getting-to-know-you icebreaker)

This icebreaker is ideal for groups that are sharing intimate details about their lives.  It helps to enhance the emotional connection between participants.  Draw a horizontal bar on a whiteboard that represents time — starting from 0 years and ending at 120 years.  Have each participant draw a line chart which reflects the level of happiness they have had at each year  throughout their life.  In addition, have them draw a line into the future which includes their hopes, aspirations, and dreams.

Life on a Desert Island (Getting-to-know-you icebreaker)

This icebreaker acts as both a team building and getting-to-know-you exercise.  In this game, participants are presented with a scenario where they are stranded on a desert island.  They can choose three items which they will take with them to the island to enhance their quality of life or to help them escape.  Participants will share their choices and explain why those chose the items.

Who is Your Hero? (Getting-to-know-you icebreaker)

This is another simple exercise that can really help people learn about each other.  Ask each participant to name three people, alive or dead, who are a personal hero to them.  Ask them to explain why each person is a hero.

Photo Scavenger Hunt (Team-building icebreaker)

If you want a small group of people to begin working together constructively, you can challenge them to a photo scavenger hunt.   Provide clues relating to 5 locations or objects nearby.  The group has to work together to solve the clues.  They will photograph the answers.

If You Could… (Getting-to-know-you icebreaker)

This game is similar to “If you had to be…”.   Some of the questions that can be asked of the group include:

  • If you could take a holiday anywhere in the world, where would it be?
  • If you could star in a television series, which one would it be?
  • If you could live at any time in the past, which era would it be?
  • If you could choose any career path, what would it be?
  • If you could eat any kind of food for lunch, what would it be?

Another variation on this is “Would you rather…”.  Some would you rather questions include:

  • Would you rather read a good book or watch an 80s television show?
  • Would you rather be able to read minds or be invisible?
  • Would you rather be the most popular person in the world or the smartest?

You can tailor these kinds of questions to the objectives that the group has.

Trust-walking Exercises (Team-building icebreaker)

This is a team building exercise that can also help break the ice.  The participants split into pairs.  One person in each pair wears a blindfold and the other helps them navigate through an obstacle course of some kind.  The exercise helps to develop leadership and listening skills.