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Icebreakers & Team-building Exercises

Thank you for visiting SPNN Youth's Page of fun group games and ice breakers. We are a community media center that empowers youth, adults and organizations by giving them tools to tell their story. 

Two Truths and a Lie

Each person tells 2 true facts and 1 lie about themselves. Everyone else has to figure out which one is the lie.


Commonalities and Uniquities

In small groups, everyone has to come up with a list of 5 things each person has in common and 5 things that are unique to each person.

Variation: Venn Diagram, Two partners draw a venn diagram of their differences and similarities



Squatting Name Game


Set Up: Let’s see who can remember everyone’s name from this morning.


Have participants form a circle with one trainer in the middle who will lead the activity. The trainer should point to someone and that person is instructed to squat down. The participants on either side of the squatting person needs to say the name of the person on the opposite side of the squatter before that person says their name. Whoever is slowest or says the wrong name is “out” and must leave the circle. This continues until two people are left.


Ball Toss Name Game

Toss the ball to another person and say their name. You must get their name correct.

Variation: Take an imaginary ball and toss it to someone in the group. That person has to catch the ball and introduce him/herself (name and school/community org). Additionally, the person throwing the ball also throws a question to that person. That question can be anything – favorite cereal, best vacation, earliest memory, etc... The ball catcher should answer that question as well.

1. Provide one question that everyone must answer (Sample Question


2. Speed “Catch a Question” - Toss the ball around like a hot potato, have what would be one item that you would include in a time capsule). Toss the imaginary ball in order to spice up the order of introductions. Participants challenge themselves to answer each question quickly and introduce themselves.



Name Cards

Explain that name cards are not just for remembering names but representing who you are over the next few days as a “tiny art installation”.


Have participants fill out name place cards that creatively represent themselves. Then during this time, the group will go around and introduce themselves and present their name cards.


Speed Date

Clear space for a “dance floor”. Have participants dance around and then stop when the music stops (play/pause music). Encourage them to mingle and chat with each other about the following prompt questions:


• What was your worst haircut?

• What’s your favorite breakfast?

• What was your favorite subject in school?

• Who was your most influential teacher?

• What’s been your most embarrassing technical mistake?

• How do you learn best?


Sorts and Mingle

You throw out two contrasting choices and the group has to move either East or West of the room (e.g. “Do you prefer Target or Walmart?”). Then you throw out two more choices and have them move South and North. Sorts that work well include: movie/book; salty/sweet; dress up/casual; inside/outside; be on the stage performing/in the audience watching, etc.

Once the groups are divided 4 times, you throw out a general category and the group has to mingle around to find others that have the same answer and they clump up. Then have each group call out their answer.  Try to avoid two groups with the same answer.


Adjective Name Game

Everyone stands in a circle. Everyone says an adjective about themselves which starts the letter their name starts with (Silly Sarah). They say this while doing a movement. Everyone says and does the same thing in unison.


Data Processing

Give players “data” (height, birthday, etc). Players must “process” by organizing themselves according to the data. Can be done silently.


People Bingo

Create a BINGO sheet with certain characteristics inside each box. You can mark a box when you find someone who fits the characteristic. Like Bingo, a full row/column wins.



Everyone shares a rose (something good that has happened recently), a thorn (something challenging that has happened), and a bud (something they are looking forward to).





Everyone shares what’s on their mind, what’s on their heart, and how their body feels


Object Share

Each person brings in an passes around an object and shares how the object is like them or their project.


Lifeline Biography

Draw a line representing and plot significant periods/events (with writing or drawings) influencing who you are.  Share with a partner or small group.

Drawing, Get-to-know-you

True and/or False


Explain that school often teaches us that there is only one answer to every question, but that this icebreaker will explore the grey area between True and False.


Ask all to stand somewhere between True and False flipcharts to show where they fall in response to the following:


• I get up most days before 5 AM.

• I’m a night owl.

• I always ask for directions when I’m lost.

• I never read instructions before trying to put something together.

• I prefer to work on my own as opposed to being part of a team.

• Life was simpler before all this darn technology came along.

• I still own vinyl.

• I’ve played my LPs in the last 6 months.

• I think I’m a very creative person.

• I consider myself an artist.


Stranded on an Island

What item would you bring to a stranded island? How can you combine it with others’ items to make the most efficient use of it?

Get-to-know-you, Team-building

One Word Story

The group creates a story together. In a circle, each person contributes one word to the story.

Person A: The, Person B: duck, Person C: walked, Person D: away, Percon E: and, Person A: fell (It goes on)


Rating/The World is a Comma

“On a scale of __ to __,” what would you rate ___?”


20 questions

One person chooses a person/place/thing. Everyone asks 20 yes/no questions to figure out the person/place/thing main person chooses.


Alphabet Storytime

In a circle, the group tells a story with each person using words that start with the next letter in the alphabet.  

Example: Apples Burn Crisply. Ducks Eat Funny...



Choose one category. The group has to come up with seven things in that category


Category Chain

Choose a Category. Someone person offers one word. Each person after that offers a word (the first letter must be the same as last letter of the preceding word).

Example: Category is food -- Tacos. Spinach. Ham. M&Ms


Fictionary Dictionary

With a dictionary, someone chooses a word or makes up a word. They pose, "What does ___ mean?" People guess the definition and whether or not it is a real word.


Category Chain

Choose a Category. Someone person offers one word. Each person after that offers a word (the first letter must be the same as last letter of the preceding word).

Example: Category is food -- Tacos. Spinach. Ham. M&Ms


D.I.Y. Madlibs

Take a text. Cross out random words. Ask for random replacements. Read the text back.


Exquisite Corpse

Fold a paper into several parts. A person draws a head, the folds to hide the head. The next person draws the torso, then folds to hide that. The next person draws the hips & thighs, folds to hide... etc. The group unfolds it to see the result.


Picture-Sentence Game

One person writes a sentence.  The second person draws an image to represent the sentence, then they fold the paper to hide the sentence. The third person writes a sentence to represent the picture, then they fold to hide everything except their sentence. The next person draws a picture to represent the sentence. This continues for a while. Unfold and see the result.

Drawing & Words

Imaginary Friend

Everyone writes characteristics. The group creates a new character with these attributes.

Drawing & Words

Portrait Party

One person leaves the room while the group draws portraits of them. Each person takes a turn leaving the room.



Draw a sports tournament bracket. Everyone lists random things and they are randomly placed. Figure out which thing wins.


The Comic Game

On a sheet of paper with boxes, each person draws a piece of a comic.


The Haha Game

Everyone lays their heads on someone else’s stomach. You say “Ha” and pass it on, but someone who actually laughs loses.


Who Am I?

One person leaves the room. Everyone decides what that person’s character is and treats them that way when he/she re-enters. (without saying their name)

Variation: Each person gets a sticky note on their forehead with the name of a celebrity or character. Everyone treats others according to their character. Each person guesses who they are.



Small sheets of paper listing nouns of all sorts are put in a hat (or box) and mixed up. Whoever's turn it is grabs a sheet of paper and attempts to act out the noun listed on the paper without speaking or pointing to the object. Other group members guess what they are acting out. Once it has been guessed correctly the next person goes.



Simon Says

One person gets to be Simon. Simon gives directions to the group. If Simon uses the phrase "Simon says..." then the group must do it. If he/she does not use the phrase, they must not do it. Who ever does it incorrectly loses.


Stay Between

A player chooses two others and must stay in between them at all times. Everyone moves around.


Criminal Dealings

1 cop, 1 criminal. Criminal recruits others who confess, cop has to figure out who the criminal is.



Everyone stands in a circle to face off and find out who will be the Master Ninja. The goal is to hit someone's hand and avoid getting your own hands hit. If your hand gets hit, you put it behind your back. If both get hit, you are out. Everyone is frozen. Two people can move at a time: the attacking ninja tries to hit another person's hand and the ninja being hit can try to avoid it. Each of these two can only do one big/small movement with their bodies.




The Wind Blows For…

Everyone sits in a circle with someone standing in the middle who says “the wind blows for” followed by a statement that is true about themselves (ex. People wearing sneakers). Everyone in the circle who the statement applies to has to get up and find a new seat.
more detailed description:
The person in the middle needs to say a sentence of something they have never done before. For example, “I’ve never been in an airplane”, “I never been to a buffet”, “I’ve never been the Hawaii”, “I’ve never had a pet”.

  • 2. If the person’s statement applies to someone sitting in the circle, that person has to move from his or her seat and sit in a different chair.

  • 3. The person in the middle will need to try to sit down. One person will remain standing. The standing person starts a new round by saying a different statement.

  • Note: People cannot move to seats on their immediate left or right. For example, they can sit two seats away, but they cannot move to the left or right of their current chairs.

Physical, Get-to-know-you


Pick a word or phrase, have people guess letters to figure it out.

Word, drawing


Everyone sits in a line or a circle. The first person picks a phrase or statement, whispers it to the person next to them, who whispers it to the person next to them, and so on until the message reaches the end of the group. The person at the end announces the message aloud. The goal is to correctly communicate the message through the chain of people. This often fails, yielding humorous results.


Huggy Bear

A group stands in a circle, one person stands in the middle and calls out a number. The larger group then runs about and creates smaller groups of people (of whatever number was called out) and hugs them. Inevitably people get left out of the group hugs and are then “out” of the game. The group hugs end and another number is called out. The process continues until there are only two people left.



A group stands in a circle. One person starts and says “Zip” and points at another member of the group who says “Zap” and points to another member of the group who says “Zoop” and points to another member of the group. This process continues until someone doesn’t notice when they’ve been zipped, zapped, or zooped, or doesn’t respond quick enough in which case they are “out” for the round. Continue until only a few people remain.


Conscious Spits

Group is split into two teams.

One volunteer from each team sits in a chair facing their opponent. They hold cups of water then fill their mouths full of water (without swallowing). The rest of their teammates take turns speaking as their conscious. The goal is to make the volunteer from the other team laugh and spit out water. The team that spits out water loses.



(Human Knot)

Players stand in a tight circle, with their hands in the center. Then have them grab other hands at random. The puzzle is for the whole group to work together to get themselves untangled. There could be two groups and a competition on who gets untangled first or it could just be the whole group..


“Who’s Line Is It Anyway?”

Set-Up: Just like the TV show, the principle of this brainstorming exercise is simple – improvisation. The purpose is to get people thinking about every day items with a new perspective/lens. 

Collect 5 random props from the room - marker, AYV bag, DVD, computer, etc. Leave these props in the middle of the room and encourage people to come up with different uses for the props. Write all ideas down on and have everyone at least offer up one idea. Let the ideas flow for 10 minutes or so, then debrief.

Team building

Team Doodle


Pass out papers and markers. Have participants draw or scribble for 15 seconds then quickly pass the paper to the right. The next person will add creatively to the drawing for the next 15 seconds and so on. Once the creations are complete, put them up on the walls to review & critique.

Team building

Yarn Web

Stand in a circle with a ball of yarn.  Each person throws it to another and says one word that explains what they will bring to the net project, something they appreciate in the person they are throwing it to, what they learned, etc. The yarn forms a web supported by the group. 

Optional: Cut the yarn and attach threads to participants’ arms.

Team building

Websites with more fun group games: