Tuesdays with Travis: Icebreaker Games

Feb 12, 2013

Regardless of age, whenever most people are put into a new situation or group, they tend to be a little more reserved than normal. One of the best ways to combat that is by “breaking the ice” to get everyone more comfortable. Icebreaker games are one of the easiest and most fun ways to “break the ice.” This particular game has been used in a number of our trainings and events and always results in the same thing…FUN!

Partner Challenge
Group size: 10-50
Length of Activity: 10-20 minutes
Goal: To meet new people and increase social comfort.
Equipment Needed: None

Before you Start:

  • Have all the participants start by standing in a large circle.
  • Establish a “go word”
  • This can be anything. You might want to use something related to a topic or lesson you’re currently working on.

How to Play:

  • Tell the group that when they hear the “go word,” they have to begin mingling around so that everyone is getting mixed up.
  • Feel free to challenge them to walk in a funny way (backwards, skipping, "cool walk," etc.)
  • After they've mingled for a little, tell them to stop and find a partner close to them. This partner is now their "Secret Handshake Partner" and they have to come up with a secret handshake together.
  • Once they've come up with a secret handshake, say the "go word" and have them mingle again.
  • Repeat the previous step of finding a new partner and tell them this is their "Crazy Dance Partner" and they have to come up with a crazy dance together.
  • Repeat the previous steps one more time to establish a third and final partner. This partner will be their double high five partner.
  • Confirm with everyone that they know who their three partners are and tell them that when the leader says the "go word" they begin to mingle again.
  • While they’re mingling, the leader will begin to shout out the different partners and the participants have to run to those partners and do the respective action that goes along with that (handshake, dance, etc.)
  • Shout each partner a few times to mix them up then ask them to stop on one of them. Once they're stopped with that partner, ask them all a question and have the partners discuss it.
  • Favorite movie, number of brothers and sisters, etc.
  • Repeat the process above until the players have landed on each partner and discussed something with them.
  • Variations:
  • You can have the participants share their partner’s answers with the entire group.

How do you break the ice?  Share your favorite icebreaker games in the comments!