22 Fun Icebreaker Games, Activities & Ideas for Small Groups

Home » Resources » Icebreaker GamesUpdated: August 28, 2022

You found our list of fun icebreaker games for small groups.

Icebreaker games are activities and exercises that prompt conversations from participants. Example games include Six Word Memoirs and Desert Island Intelligences. The purpose of these games is for participants to get to know each other in a fun, informal setting, and to promote team building.

These icebreakers are a subset of team building games and indoor team building activities, and are similar to connection games and 5 minute team building activities for small groups.

This list includes:

  • icebreaker games for small groups
  • icebreaker activities
  • ice breaker games for work meetings
  • team building ice breakers
  • icebreaker challenges
  • icebreaker exercises
  • team icebreakers
  • training icebreakers for small groups

So, here is the list!

List of icebreaker games, activities & ideas

When a group does not know each other well, it may be difficult for people to start talking. Here is our list of the most fun icebreaker games that let your team have a great time, while also providing shared experiences to facilitate future interactions.

1. Icebreaker Bingo

Icebreaker Bingo is one of the best games you can play for new introductions. The game is a familiar format, easy to learn and a lot of fun. Plus, the game format lends itself to prizes and other forms of recognition.

Here is a game board you can use:

And here is a free icebreaker Bingo card template you can play with.

2. Wolf/Chicken/Grain Riddle

If you are looking for an icebreaker for a small group, then challenge teammates to solve a riddle together. Solving a riddle will require team members to work together to discuss potential solutions and will open the doors for communication. One classic riddle to share is the Wolf, Chicken, Grain riddle.

Tell the group:

“A farmer is traveling with a wolf, chicken and bag of grain and comes to a river they need to cross. The boat only has room for the farmer and 1 other. The farmer can’t leave the wolf alone with the chicken and he can’t leave the chicken alone with the grain. How can he get them all across the river safely?”

Team members must work together to agree on an answer and explain their reasoning. For larger groups, it may be better to split the group into teams so that all teammates have a chance to participate.

By the way, here is the answer:

  1. The farmer takes the chicken over first.
  2. He brings the wolf second and comes back with the chicken.
  3. He drops off the chicken and takes the grain to the other side with the wolf.
  4. The farmer makes one last trip to retrieve the chicken.

Check out more riddles to do with teams.

3. Icebreaker Questions Activity

A quick and fun icebreaker activity you can do anywhere is asking icebreaker questions. For example, you might ask “your favorite movie growing up” or “the last book you read.” Theses questions help participants bond over shared experiences, and get more comfortable talking with each other.

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Check out this list of icebreaker questions for more inspiration.

4. Desert Island Intelligences

One of the most intriguing theories in psychology is Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences, which proposes that people possess a variety of abilities and talents, known as intelligences. This icebreaker game for college students draws on Gardner’s Theory, and asks your team to vote people off a desert island based on how useful these intelligences would be for survival.

Gardner’s eight intelligences are:

  1. Visual-spatial
  2. Linguistic-verbal
  3. Interpersonal
  4. Intrapersonal
  5. Logical-mathematical
  6. Musical
  7. Body-kinesthetic
  8. Naturalistic

In this game, eight individuals, each representing a different intelligence, are stranded on a desert island. Because the island has a finite amount of resources, your team must decide what order to eliminate the individuals in, in order to ensure survival. The debates stemming from Desert Island Intelligences are wonderful for learning about your coworkers’ priorities and thought processes.

For similar ideas, check out this list of problem solving games.

5. Speed Networking

While Speed Networking may seem better suited for large group icebreakers, this activity can also be reworked as an intimate icebreaker activity. This exercise provides a fast and easy way for teams to get to know each other.

To play Speed Networking, using a random team generator, pair your team into groups of two. Then, give each pair icebreaker questions and five minutes to make their way through as many questions as possible. After five minutes are up, switch up the pairs.

Since you are playing with a smaller group, you can cycle through the pairs more than once, so your colleagues can ask even more questions or simply chat about some information that came up in a previous question.

Need help thinking of ways to break the ice? Check out our list of icebreaker questions for some pointers.

6. Achievements Under 18

If you are looking for a free-and-easy way to know more about your team’s past exploits, then try a few rounds of Achievements Under 18. To participate in this icebreaker game for employees, ask all your coworkers to name an accomplishment achieved by age 18. These accomplishments can range from academic to personal, and you can play as many rounds as you like.

Achievements Under 18 is a terrific icebreaker game because each round paints a picture of the childhood your team had, and undoubtedly leads to questions about everyone’s personal triumphs. This exercise is a fun way to get to know each other, and breaks up the monotony of a slow workday.

7. Myers-Briggs Session

One of the most prominent personality tests is the Myers-Briggs Test, which matches people with a personality type denoted by four letters that reveals what you are like in relationships, the workplace, and as a parent. Myers-Briggs Session uses this test to initiate discussions that reveal more about your coworkers’ characters.

To begin a Myers-Briggs Session, send the Myers-Briggs test to your team to complete. Then, set a time where everyone gets together to discuss results. A Myers-Briggs Session is a fun activity to get people talking about themselves and how they work best with others.

8. Jenga Questions

Jenga Questions is an icebreaker game for students and other groups, where your team plays Jenga, while also answering questions. Depending on whether you have a standard or giant Jenga set, either write numbers that correspond with questions or the actual questions on each brick. As each team member withdraws a brick, answer the question associated with it.

Since an element of unpredictability exists with Jenga Questions, this exercise creates a spontaneous, easygoing way for employees to share information about themselves. This impromptu element elevates your team’s Jenga experience to beyond simply balancing blocks.

Here is a list of fun this or that questions you can use for the game.

9. Time Heist

Have you ever considered what you would do if you could travel back in time? Inspired by the events of Avengers: Endgame, Time Heist is a game where your team proposes outlandish schemes they would pull off if they could time travel.

To play, ask your team to write down time travel plans on scraps of paper, and place the scraps in an opaque container. Then, pass the container around and have each member of the team draw a paper and discuss what is written on it. Time Heist not only reveals your team’s creativity, but also provides an amusing way to learn more about each other.

10. I’m a Brand Manager

I’m a Brand Manager is an icebreaker for work that tests your team’s creativity.

Here’s how to play:

  1. Ask your team members to invest in an imaginary new business.
  2. Each group must decide how to market the new brand.
  3. Encourage your coworkers to come up with logos, slogans, and a basic color palette.
  4. Share and vote on the best marketing strategy!

This icebreaker game is a great choice for creative or design teams, but even if your team is not full of designers, I’m a Brand Manager is a great icebreaker because the competition inadvertently reveals what your team members are passionate about, and may unearth previously unknown design skills.

11. Six Word Memoirs for Small Groups

Six Word Memoirs is a stellar icebreaker game for team building guaranteed to spark discussions. To play this game, each member of your team brainstorms six words that summarize their life, and then shares their Six Word Memoir with the group.

Because the activity limits each participant to six words, your colleagues’ choices in words invariably lead to questions about why these particular words stood out. Your team will come together to play this icebreaker game, while also discovering interesting insights about each other.

12. Personality Shapes

If you are looking for quick icebreaker exercises, then look no further than Personality Shapes! This one-question personality test is a simple way to gain insight into your team’s mindsets. On a white board, draw a square, a triangle, a circle, and a squiggly line. Then ask participants which shape best matches their personality. Each shape corresponds to certain personality traits. Here are a few examples.

Squares:

  • Detail-oriented
  • Hate clutter
  • Hesitant to change
  • Stubborn

Triangles

  • Love to multi-task
  • Self-Motivated
  • Impatient
  • Successful

Circles

  • Work best on teams
  • Want to “fix” everyone else
  • Reluctant to say no
  • Empathetic and compassionate

Squiggles

  • Adapt easily to change
  • Idea generators
  • Easily bored
  • Love to try new things

Understanding how a coworker approaches a problem or new situation can be instrumental when working on a project together. For example, squares and squiggles may struggle to work together because one is hesitant to change, but the other gets bored quickly. Teammates can set expectations and be more prepared for conflict to arise when aware of these attributes.

Visit Connie Podesta’s site to learn more about the personality traits associated with each shape, and check out more personality tests.

13. Tic Tac Toe

The best icebreakers give teammates the chance to interact and learn information about each other. Icebreaker tic tac toe encourages both!

First, pick a theme for your game, such as hobbies. Next, ask each player to fill in the nine squares with specific personal hobbies. Then, set a five to ten-minute time limit. Next, participants walk around the room and share the grids. When two teammates list the same hobby, they initial each other’s grids. The first player to get three boxes in a row wins the exercise. You can have multiple winners by awarding one prize for a diagonal row, one horizontal, one vertical, and one full board.

One of the best parts of this icebreaker is that you can change the theme to cover any topic you would like to learn. For instance, ask employees to fill in the boxes with passions, personality traits, or favorite TV shows. The possibilities are endless!

14. Would You Rather for Small Groups

Would You Rather is one of the best icebreakers for small groups because the game can cover various topics. To play the challenge, come up with a list of questions that begin with “Would you rather…” and end with two options. For instance, “Would you rather have the ability to read minds or move things with your mind?” Then, have participants take turns answering and make sure respondents share the reasons for their choices.

This exercise is a fun game to play in a group as your team will learn more about each other’s preferences. Some players may even decide to change their answers as they hear from the group.

Here are some of my favorite questions:

  • Would you rather be able to fly or breathe underwater?
  • Would you rather be able to see into the future or relive a moment from your past?
  • Would you rather lose all the memories you made this year or all the money you made this year?
  • Would you rather spend a year with the same song stuck in your head or with an itch you can’t scratch?
  • Would you rather live alone in the woods or in a studio apartment with 10 people?

Check out our list of the best Would You Rather questions for work.

15. The Marshmallow Challenge

The Marshmallow Challenge is one of the most fun team building and icebreaker games for work. To start the exercise, split your team into pairs and give each group 20 sticks of dry spaghetti, three feet of tape, three feet of string, and one marshmallow.

The instructions are easy, even if the task is not. Each pair has 20 minutes to build the tallest structure with the marshmallow on top. This activity requires teamwork, communication, and innovation. Once the challenge is complete, have the group discuss what part of the exercise was the most difficult, who failed at first, how they recovered, and what they thought of the other designs.

This Ted Talk shares insights into the lessons.

16. Who Am I?

Who am I is a fun group game that requires some preparation. You can create a list of well-known, real people and fictional characters. Write the individual names on note cards and tape a card to each person’s back. The card on someone’s back is who they become for the game, and their goal is to figure out who they are. They must ask each other questions to find the answers.

Some examples of questions are:

  • Am I male or female?
  • Am I real or fictional?
  • Am I an athlete?
  • Am I alive or dead?

The game ends when all participants guess the name on the card. You can choose a broad range of names or try to incorporate a theme. For example, during Women’s History Month you can choose important women throughout history. Here is a list with more ideas for Women’s History Month.

17. Guess Who

To set up Guess Who, give each team member three slips of paper and ask players to write a piece of personal trivia on each slip. Encourage participants to share unique, interesting, and surprising facts. Fold up the pieces, put them in a bowl, and read them out loud one at a time. Have the other team members guess the fact’s author. After all players make a guess, have the team member who shared that fact identify themselves and share some more information. This exercise can lead to entertaining discussions as employees learn little-known tidbits about each other.

Check out more get to know you games.

18. No Smiling

Being told you cannot do something usually leads to an obsession with that topic. If someone tells me not to think about pink elephants, then I can guarantee that I will picture pink elephants for the rest of the day. No Smiling is an icebreaker that plays on this instinct. The first step is to have your team stand in a circle with one person in the middle. Tell the person in the center they are not allowed to smile or laugh. Then, participants within the circle take turns telling jokes and trying to make the middle person laugh. This activity can lighten the mood and help team members loosen up.

19. Word Association

Word Association is a quick and easy way to learn more about how your teammates’ minds work. You will need a list of ten words, although you can change the number based on your needs. Next, have everyone write one through ten on a piece of paper and then read each word. Instruct employees that players must write down the first thing that comes to mind as soon as you read a word. Once the lists are complete, teammates share the response to each word. Employees can also explain the reasoning behind the associations. It is always interesting to see how folks make connections and understand their logic.

You can create your own list or use a random word generator like the one in this post.

20. Hometown Map

Hometown Map is an icebreaker game for work that is easy to set up. To start, pin a large world map to a bare stretch of wall and place a marker, small Post-It notes, and box of push pins nearby. Then, notify your team to use the push pins and Post-Its to mark birth places or hometowns on the map over the next few days.

Hometown Map is a great icebreaker because after everyone is done, you will have a lovely new piece of wall decor that shows important pieces of your employees’ pasts. When your team members walk past the map, the pins may prompt your colleagues to ask each other about experiences growing up in different places.

21. Common Ground

I love common ground because teammates learn so much about each other and there are so many ways to play! You will have your team play this game in groups. You can choose your groups based on how many people are on your team and how challenging you want the game to be. Once your groups are set, instruct participants to find a set number of things they have in common in a set amount of time.

If you want the game to be laidback, then have teammates work in pairs and find three commonalities in 10 minutes. If you want to make the exercise more challenging, then have the whole group work together and find ten things everyone in the group has in common. At the end of the activity, reunite the groups back together to share what they have learned about each other.

Pro-tip: Encourage participants to find unique areas of commonality. “We all ate the same variety of spaghetti growing up” is more interesting than “we all breathe.”

22. Psychology Masks

Psychology Masks is another icebreaker activity pulled from Psychology 101 that is especially suited for artistically inclined teams. To get started, order blank white masks and paints. Then, ask your team to fill the outside of the masks with images signifying what others think of them, and illustrate the inside with drawings that symbolize their inner selves.

When the masks are complete, display the finished products in the office. Because of the dual nature of the masks, the display is sure to stimulate discussion among your team members and provide a low pressure icebreaker game for employees to share more about themselves.

Final Thoughts

Icebreaker games are a fun way to get to know other people in a group quickly. These games can take just a few minutes at the beginning of a meeting, and provide immense value in improving communication and engagement. You can start with any of the fun icebreaker activities on this list as a way to bring your people together and build community.

Next, check out our list of improv games, and these ones with question games, getting to know you games and small group team building ideas.

We also have a list of icebreaker activities for large groups, ideas for office olympics, conversation starters for work meetings, and Christmas icebreaker games.

FAQ: Icebreaker Games

Here are some examples of commonly asked questions about icebreaker games.

What are icebreaker games?

Icebreaker games are activities you play with your team to help facilitate discussion among colleagues. These games are crucial for new teams that do not know each other very well, especially if team members are unaware of potential shared interests. These games are also known as “icebreaker activities”, “icebreaker challenges”, and “icebreaker exercises.”

What are the benefits of playing icebreaker games?

The benefits of playing icebreaker games include:

  • Letting employees get to know each other
  • Unearthing previously unknown skills
  • Providing low pressure situations for colleagues to hang out
  • Promoting communication among team members
  • Learning about your coworkers’ interests and passions
  • Revealing aspects of your team’s pasts or growing up experiences

By participating in icebreaker games, your team experiences a variety of benefits that create stronger bonds, and thus lets coworkers work better together.

What is an easy icebreaker activity to start with?

An easy icebreaker activity to start with is Hometown Maps because it is a low pressure activity that only requires you to prepare a blank map, Post-Its, and a box of push pins. Choosing Hometown Maps not only gives your office some new wall decor, but it is also an effortless way for coworkers to learn about each others’ pasts.

What makes icebreaker games for small groups work?

Icebreakers for small groups work if you:

  • Set aside adequate time for everyone to participate
  • Confirm participants
  • Prepare materials before the game begins
  • Run rounds more than once

Because you have a smaller number of players, you can take advantage of this fact by granting each participant more time. Giving more time creates a more intimate atmosphere, and lets team members get to know each other even more.

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Author: Jessica Chen

Team building content expert. Jessica has a double major in English and Asian Studies, and experience working with teams across cultures; including 3+ years in Taiwan.

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