My 4 Favourite Icebreakers!

"4 of My All Time Favourite Ice Breakers"

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Ice Breaker Games

Ice Breaker GamesMany years ago when I was starting out in my career I worked for an adventure centre for children and young adults. The first evening was always given over to a session of Ice Breaker Games.

This was the first time I had ever come across such a concept, but since then, I have used ice breaker games to great effect in a myriad of jobs, places, meetings, training sessions, conferences, parties and corporate and social gatherings.

Ice breaker games are brilliant for breaking down barriers quickly and for helping people feel at ease with each other. Used correctly they can rapidly create an atmosphere of fun and expectation.

At the adventure centre, kids would often turn up to programs not knowing many people and some not knowing any at all. They could be anxious and excited; but some were also reluctant and detached. Our job was to ease them into the programme, allowing a sense of fun, trust and anticipation to build. We did this through the use of ice breaker games.

We started the evening seated in a circle and the instructors would always join in as equals. First we would start with a simple name game: “Hello my name is Sharon and I like tennis” and on it would go around the circle with everyone trying their best to remember people’s names. The ice breaker was simple and non-threatening and even the most reluctant could join in.

The next game might involve working in pairs spending a few minutes getting to know each other and then introducing each other to the group.

Gradually the group began to feel more at ease with each other, and began to trust us, the leaders.  From this point on, and sensing the mood in the group, we could start to include more physical and ambitious games.

Ice Breaker Games

The key is to start with simple, non-threatening ice breaker games and gradually build up the complexity or outrageousness as the group allows. Once the ice is broken the group will look forward readily to the main topic of the day.

There are literally thousands of ice breaker games and ideas that can help you get your next event off to a flying start; whether you are looking for a quick ice breaker to inject a bit of fun into a meeting before the more serious business begins or you are looking for a party ice breaker to transform your event into the next sizzling sizzling show stopper!

Check-out the ice breaker ideas web-site for more fun than you can handle!

Easy Ice Breaker

Quick and easy ice breakerIce Breakers are great for getting groups of people who barely know each to open up and share a bit about themselves. Here's a really easy one that's quick to set-up:

You will need 2 ropes or tape or something to make 2 parallel lines on the floor. The gap between the lines should be wide enough to have all the group stand inside the middle section of the 2 lines.

Make a list of pairs for example:

  • beach or mountain
  • active or relaxed
  • wine or beer
  • meat or vegetables
  • rock or pop
  • hot or cold
  • travel or stay at home
  • gold or silver
  • smart or casual
  • coffee or tea
  • quiet or lively
Call out one of the pairs, say silver, and point to the right of the rope and then say gold pointing to the left of the rope. Everyone makes their choice and steps into the silver or the gold area. Everyone takes a look at everyone's choices. You can swiftly move onto the next pair after you have got everyone back into the middle again. Or you can randomly ask someone why they made their choice.
This game is all about the choices we make everyday; consciously and sub-consciously. You can make the pairs of words more meaningful by linking them to the topic of the day. This is a  great lead-in.
For more fantastic quick and easy ice breakers to download now and instantly elevate your training, events and parties, check out the ice breaker ideas website.

Back to School Icebreakers

Ice breaker gamesNew school? New term? New Students? The new school year is nearly upon us. How do you get those kids integrated and off to an enthusiastic flying start? By careful selection and use of back to school ice breaker games. Here's a selection:

Balloon Game

Depending on their age the classic game with the balloons is an absolute favourite with younger kids;  it’s fun, inexpensive and physical and helps reduce anxieties. Have enough balloons on strings for every child to have 2 balloons. Tie each balloon to children's ankles. Make sure the area is safe - lawn or grass is best in case they fall over their strings. Each child has to try and burst another child's ballooon whilst protecting their own. The last child with a balloon remaining is the winner!

Yarn Game

This game is suitable for adults as well as children - just change the questions.

You will need a large ball of yarn and have the class sitting in a circle. Hold onto the end of the yarn and throw the ball to a student. You then ask them a getting to know you question like; where do you live or what is your favourite color, animal, toy, movie etc.  They answer the question and then hold the yarn and then throw the ball to another student and asks them a question. Make sure everyone hold onto the yarn and does not let go. At the end you will have a giant web of yarn that connects the whole class. Explain that whilst we are all individuals we are still connected in some way to each other.

Niceties

This is a great ice breaker for groups who know each other.

Tape a  piece of flip chart paper onto each person’s back. Each person writes something they like about the person who’s paper they are writing on. Even if they don’t know each other very well, they can find something nice to write on the paper…ie, nice hair, great smile, warm and friendly etc. When they read the nice comments they will be ecstatic and it teaches the importance of small niceties and how good it feels to give and receive compliments.

Ice breaker games have been continually used by professional trainers, teachers and group leaders for many years. They are one of the best and most fun ways of "breaking the ice", opening up groups and preparing the group for the main part of any event. Sharon Naylor has been a proponent of ice breaker games for all her career; ever since she took part in an ice breaker! For more fantastic ice breaker ideas to speed up that getting to know you stage for back-to-school classes and any other groups check-out her ice breaker ideas web-site NOW

 

 

Back to School Games

Here's a couple more fantastic Back to School Ice Breaker Games. They are sure to set your new school term alight!

1.Make 2 circles - an inner and an outer circle where they are facing each other. Have students introduce themselves and say one thing they like to do. After these introductions rotate the inner circle by moving one seat to the left. The outer circle stays as it is. Repeat the process but this time have the outer circle move the opposite way .

2.Get each person to write down one thing that is true about themselves and 2 things that are false. Find a partner and swap facts. Each have to guess the true fact. After a few minutes swap partners.

Examples could be:

  • I rode an ostrich
  • I have a pet duck called Binky
  • I have never been on an aeroplane
Which is the true fact?

Make back to school days fun and exciting this year!  Don't be boring this new school year - get your pupils hyped, excited and firing on all cylinders!  More fantastic back to school ice breakers, games and ideas can be found in our Ice Breaker Youth Collection - ready to go NOW!

Team Building Events

I was trolling through some video stuff the other day and came across this team building activity called Wacky Races we did with some clients a few years ago. It made me laugh because the weather was quite appalling. Nevertheless everyone got on with the planning and design and had fantastic fun with the racing. In fact the weather made it really - it was so ludicrous.

This type of team activity makes a good half/full day team building session and will be a trip down memory lane when kids used to make go-karts and buggies out of all sorts of rubbish and pram wheels. Just make sure you find a good flat surface in which to race your buggies, and the decoration of the team karts is as much of the team identity process as is the building and racing.

Take turns to race the kart and don't forget the winner's podium, chequered flag and magnum of champagne for the winners!

For more novel team building activities and ideas visit the ice breaker ideas web-site, and don't forget to sign-up for tons of team games and exercises too!

Team Building with Nicky

Nicky Carter

Nicky Carter

Last week we were in shock. We had a phone call from someone who used our team building services many moons ago, in fact it was 18 years ago, not long after we had started up as a team building events company.

Brightening up a dark corridor

Brightening up a dark corridor

Nicky is now HR Manager at Royal Tunbridge Wells Borough Council. Thinking about team building she sent us an email saying she remembered the events and were we still around? What a surprise! I visited her yesterday in delightful Tunbridge Wells and she is just the same larger than life character. Hopefully we'll get something going with them!

Nicky showed me her "Ideas Factory" wall. It was really impressive. Invited employees work with a local artist to produce a pictorial representation of how they want to improve life and services in the borough. All ideas are discussed and many are put into workable plans. The murals and pictures are a constant reminder of what they signed up to as well as making a fantastically colourful display and brightening up an old building.

Ideas factory mural

Ideas factory mural

Strikes me that this is something that many organisations could do. Input from employees is invaluable and realising their ideas and hard work makes commitment to the causes so much easier. It makes a great team building session too!

Sharon Naylor has worked with teams for more than 21 years. She is passionate about using experiential activities to motivate and inspire employees. Check out her ice breaker ideas web-site for hundreds of  ice breaker games and team building activities to turn your training programs and meetings into extraordinary events that everyone will want to be part of.

Training Ice Breakers

Ice Breaker GamesA great little ice breaker game to start a training session or meeting is "How I See  Myself". This ice breaker is particularly good for getting to know each other's strengths and weaknesses and see how others view them.

Ask participants to bring their chairs into a circle and simply hand out a blank postcard to each person. Ask each person to write down 5 adjectives that describe themselves; 3 should be strengths and 2 should be perceived weaknesses. So i might write: enthusiastic, imaginative, creative, impatient and intolerant. Put all the cards into a hat, basket or recepticle and mix up.

Walk around the circle with the hat and get each person to pick a card (hopefully it won't be their own; if it is, they will have to put back and take another). Go around the circle and in turn read out the card - that person then has to guess who the card belongs to.

When the ice breaker game is finished, find out who was easy to guess and who wasn't and why?

A great variation would be to pull names out of a hat and write 5 adjectives for that person, put them back into the hat and repeat the above process. How accurate would the 5 word descriptions. If it was easy to guess you'll know it's a fairly accurate view of how people see you.

Sharon Naylor is passionate about ice breaker games and uses them extensively to kickstart training sessions, group meetings and team building. For more fantastic training ice breakers and ideas to instantly download and transform your events visit the ice breaker ideas web-site.

Fun Icebreaker

Who Am I?

Here's a great little fun icebreaker you can use for teams that are quite well established. Works well with all kinds of teams including school groups and as a meetings ice breaker.

Divide the group up into teams of at least 5 players. One person is being questioned in each round and will answer a question from every other team member. The only trick is that they answer the questions as if they were another person in the team! Mmmm... tricky. The questioners should think carefully about the questions they ask and really try and get into the mind of the person they are trying to be.

At the end of each round - every person in the team gets to guess the identity of the person they are trying to be.

Possible questions could be:

  • If you were an animal what would you be?
  • if you were a bird what type of bird would you be?
  • What would be your ideal vacation?
  • Which famous person do you most respect?
  • if tomorrow was your last day on earth how would you spend it?
  • What clothes would you love to wear but never dare?
  • What is your wildest dream?
  • Who is a leader you most respect?
  • What is the greates quality you posess?
  • What annoys you most about other people?
  • What do you do if you make a mistake? own up or cover up?
  • Do you prefer to love or be loved?

So what do we learn from this? That people's preconceptions about another person can be totally wrong or right or mostly somewhere inbetween. It's good if everybody in the team has a chance to be the assumed person. Explore what it's like to be mis- represented or even deeper what is that that person does to make someone think that way?

Sharon Naylor is passionate about ice breaker games for work, play, parties, meetings, groups and clubs. In fact anywhere people are connecting to others whether it be for the first time or even when familiar with each other. Icebreaker games inject a sense of fun into proceedings, speed up that getting to know you stage and get people ready to face the rest of the event with energy and enthusiasm. For hundreds of amazing, fun icebreakers that you can use with your own groups and teams visit the ice breaker ideas web-site.

Leadership Icebreakers 2

Famous Quotes

At some point during your leaderhip training programme you will no doubt be discussing famous leaders; their traits and personalities. Why not turn this into an interesting leadership icebreaker game or energizer?

Make a list of famous leaders and their quotes. Print 2 lists; 1 is your master copy and the other is cut up into strips giving each person a quote or the name of a famous leader. Their job is to match the quote to the leader and hopefully have some meaningful discussions about leadership along the way.

Here's a list of quotes you might like to use:

  • Steve Jobs  "Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower."
  • Peter F. Drucker   "Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things."
  • Theodore Roosevelt   "The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it." 
  • Kenneth Blanchard     "The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority."
  • "Eleanor Roosevelt     "A good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader, a great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves"
  • Nelson Mandela      "When you let your own light shine, you unconsciously give others permission to do the same."  
  • Winston Churchill     "Those who can win a war well can rarely make a good peace and those who could make a good peace would never have won the war."
  • Thomas Jefferson   "I'm a great believer in luck, and I find that the harder I work, the more I have of it." 

This could be quite a difficult task unless you choose famous quotes, but can be a great lead-in to a discussion and reflection on famous leadership styles. Once the game is over take time to really try and understand the meaning behind the words.

Leadership icebreakers are a brilliant way to start your leadership programs. They can be used as energizers too to break up the session and engage your participants.

Sharon Naylor is passionate about ice breaker games for training, meetings, away days, team building and conferences.  A quick ice breaker at the start of a meeting or event helps people relax,  injects a sense of fun into gatherings and speeds up that getting to know you stage, and ready to face the rest of the event with high energy and expectation. 

Tons more fantastic leadership icebreakers for warming-up groups  can be found on the ice-breaker-ideas web-site.

 

Connections Ice Breaker Game

Connections Ice Breaker GameHere's a great introductory ice breaker for a team or group meeting for the first time. All you need is a large ball of string or wool.

Introduce the exercise "We're all meeting for the first time. Most of us don't know each other at all. It's easier to get to know each other and make connections with people when you find something in common. This is the main purpose of an ice breaker game. In some cases you might have a lot in common with an individual but often you have to discover what it is first. This game will give you a helping hand"

Ask everyone to sit or stand in a circle. Starting with yourself, say "My name is Sharon" and start to talk about yourself. "I have 3 sisters. I live in Wales. I walk to work. I work at...etc. etc." By this time hopefully you might find someone else in the group with 3 sisters or even a sister and they then shout "CONNECT!" when they have found something to connect with you. Holding onto the tail-end of the ball of string you throw the ball to them. They then introduce themselves and continue saying something about themselves until someone else connects with them. They then hold onto the string and throw the ball to that person. And on it goes.

Ensure everyone has a go at connecting with someone else in the group; you might want to add this as a rule until everyone has had a go. Continue connecting until you have had enough. You will surely now be in a mess with strands of wool or string  going all over the circle.

End the ice breaker game by explaining that we all have things in common with other people, but they are often hidden. Look at all the ways we are interconnected with each other... look at all the strands of string. Building relationships and rapport can be speeded up by finding and sharing similarities

Sharon Naylor is passionate about ice breaker games for work, play, parties, meetings, groups and clubs. In fact anywhere people are connecting to others whether it be for the first time or even when familiar with each other. Ice breaker games inject a sense of fun into proceedings, speed up that getting to know you stage and gets people ready to face the rest of the event with energy and enthusiasm. For more brilliant ice breaker ideas that you can use with your own groups and teams visit the ice breaker ideas web-site.