Some people dislike icebreakers so why do we recommend that groups continue to do them? Here are some reasons why and a long list of easy ideas to use.
- It helps people to relax and have fun
- Getting to know peoples names is the foundation of relationship or community building - it is easy to assume people know each others names but often they do not.
- Participation (however simple) leads to feelings of ownership and involvement in the group. No longer on the sidelines.
- If someone speaks near the beginning of the discussion, they are likely to continue to contribute. The longer they sit in silence, the less likely most people are to speak up at all.
- It can introduce the topic of discussion, perhaps obliquely
- Disclosing something about yourself (however trivial) reveals something of your character – you start to know people’s character as well as their name
- Icebreaker answers, remarkably, often help with knowing what to pray for the person later
Listed below are several sets of icebreaker questions and activities. Please add to the list things that have worked in your group using the comment facility at the bottom of the page.
- What was the happiest moment of your life?
- Tell us about your first date?
- The hardest thing I have ever done...
- The greatest compliment I ever received.
- What room in your house do you like best?
- What is the one thing you want to accomplish next week?
- Where did you feel warmest and safest as a child?
- If you had a time machine that would work only once, what point in the future or in history would you visit?
- When was the last time you did something for the first time?
- If you could change two things about the way you were raised, what would they be?
- Who is your favourite relative? Why?
- If you could change places with a Bible character, who would you choose? Why?
- If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
- What is your favourite movie or TV show?
- What is your favorite time of day?
- The gift I will never forget
- Give every one a piece of paper and ask them to draw a picture of their jobs or whatever they do on a daily basis. Explain your sketches.
- Inform everyone that they have just been given £1 000 000. Let each share how they would use their newly gained fortune.
- What book, movie, video have you seen/read and why would you recommend it?
- How do you relax?
- The last time I got really angry was
- One thing which has stressed me out this week.
- One thing which I do not understand about the opposite sex is…
- What was your most embarrassing moment?
- During your childhood, where did you feel the centre of human warmth was?
- One reason I should not be here!
Who am I?
Have each group member complete the following questions on a piece of paper
1. What is your favourite colour?
2. What’s your favourite drink?
3. Who was your childhood hero?
4. Which is your favourite TV programme?
5. What was your most memorable song in secondary school? Why?
Then the leader should collect the papers and proceed to reach the responses, giving group member a change to guess the mystery person.
Ask each person to write four statements about themselves on a piece of paper, three of them true and one false. Each should be plausible. Don’t label them T or F
1. Going round the circle, ask each person to read their statements. The group members then guess which is the false statement and tell why they chose that one. See if your group can reach a consensus. The person should then tell which were true and which were false.
2. Place all the papers in a hat. The reader pulls one out, reads it, and the group attempts to identify the author. Do five or six of these.
1. What was the high point and low point of this week/day for you?
2. What colour best describes your week/day?
3. What one word best describes your week/day?
4. Have group members report their feelings by using weather terminology – partly cloudy, sunny and so on
Your house is on fire. Your family members are all safe. You have one minute to run through the house and collect three articles you want to save. Allow one minute for each member to write down what those things would be. Let each person tell what items are on their list and why.
· Sing your name and have the group sing it back to you.
· Create an imaginary map on the floor and have everyone stand on the town they grew up in
· “Hello Jane, John and Bob, I’m Peter” – the list gets longer as you go round the circle. Harder version: “Hello Jane the jackal, Bob the boa constrictor, I’m David the Dingo”
· Knots – stand. Right hands into the circle and grab another one. Lefts hands in the circle and grab another one. Now untie the knot without letting go.
· Tower: Working in mixed adult-child pairs, with 3 pieces of blank A4, construct the tallest free-standing structure in 5 minutes. No glue, tape, scissors, paperclips etc allowed, just tearing and folding.
· Labels of famous people on your back – try to discover who you are
· Introduce the person next to you
· “I’m Jo and I may be like you because…” – people who match stand up. Someone sitting has the next go.
· Web: You need a large ball of string (try B&Q). Each person completes the sentence “I’m David and this string reminds me of… and I am connected to John because…” Holding on to the string, David then throws the ball to John. A web of string develops.