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Icebreakers

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A collection of simple icebreakers. For others, see Category:Icebreakers.

Alphabet SearchEdit

Divide audience into small groups. Search your person for objects that you have on you ranging from A-Z. Place items in buckets. First group or person (if done individually) to get all 26 letters represented wins. Exercise can explore how diverse we are - insight into our individual selves. If done as a small group lends itself well to a small team building exercise as the group works together through the alphabet.

Blob TagEdit

Its helpful to have a pretty large, open space for this energizer. The facilitator is it. When she or he tags someone they lock arms and then jointly attempt to tag someone else. As each person is tagged they lock arms with those who are already it. The game is over when the last person is "captured." Some boundaries must be set up for this activity to keep folks from roaming too far afield. This game typically takes less than 10 minutes to complete.

Complete One Of These SentencesEdit

  • Once upon a time, I...
  • My ideal vacation is...
  • The riskiest thing I ever did was...
  • The wildest thing I ever did (that I'll admit to ) is...

These are easy to make up and can be topical (what I did on my summer vacation, my plans for the weekend are...)

DiversityEdit

Play small snippets from various musical pieces and various types of music (e.g. classical to hard rock). Get the audience's reaction to the different works.

Honey I Love YouEdit

In this game everyone is sitting in a circle. As the facilitator you will normally go first. The object is to identify someone in the circle, go up to them, and say "Honey, I love you, but I just can't make you laugh" with the express purpose of making them laugh. The person you are saying this to has to look at you and work at keeping a straight face. If after three tries at getting them to laugh you haven't succeeded, pick another target. If they laugh or even smile they move into the middle of the circle and select a target. You can do just about anything to get someone to laugh except touch them. Funny faces, strange voices, props, etc. are all fair game. Once a person has been made to laugh, they can no longer be a target. The game goes on until the last person either breaks down and laughs or withstands the final three attempts at getting them to laugh. Note that depending on the size of the group and the ability of folks to keep a poker face, this is often not a quick game. Nevertheless, its always a lot of fun.

Hospital TagEdit

In this activity everyone is "it". The objective is to keep from being "tagged" by another player, but to tag as many other people as possible. The first time you are tagged you have to put a hand on where you were tagged -- for instance, if you are tagged on the top of the head you then have to play with one hand on top of your head. You can then resume attempting to tag others. The next time you are tagged you have to put your other hand where you are tagged that time. The third time you are tagged you're dead (sit down to signify this) and can no longer attempt to tag other people.

It helps to have a fairly large, open space for this activity, but it normally helps to set up some boundaries to keep folks from roaming too far afield. Depending on people's creative "tagging" abilities this can get pretty interesting. It shouldn't take more than ten minutes for this energizer to run its course.

Introduce Your PartnerEdit

1. Pair off the audience. Have the teams interview one another. Then have each take a turn introducing the other to the audience at large. You can prepare questions ahead of time or provide just general guidelines for the interview. Take off from "...and the cheese stands alone"

2. Have everyone stand in a circle. Ask a series of questions. Start out with simple, common questions, e.g. all who like red enter into the middle. Build up to tough questions: All vegetarians in the middle. All white people in the middle. All gay people, etc. The facilitator needs to recognize that these are risky areas but the point is to give people a chance to see what it is like to be alone or to be on the outside

Name & AdjectiveEdit

Ask each participant to take a few moments to think of an adjective that starts with the same first letter as their first name (e.g. "Joyous Joan"). Start by modeling it yourself. Then, move around the group asking each person to state their name/adjective combination. Additionally, participants can be asked to share "where they work," or other pertinent information. At various points during introductions, or at the end, ask for volunteers to remember each of the names, with adjectives, that have been volunteered thus far. Reinforce the efforts and successes of volunteers.

Names & StoriesEdit

Ask participants to introduce themselves, with each person talking briefly about the most ridiculous thing they've done in their life.

Napkin GameEdit

Ask participants to form groups of equal size. Give each group a napkin and explain to them that their task is to fold their napkin as small as possible, but still large enough for each small group member to place a toe on the napkin.

Person-to-PersonEdit

There has to be an odd number of people for this activity to work. The facilitator stands in the midst of the group and asks everyone else to pick a partner. Explain that you'll give them from two to five commands that they must perform as a pair. The last command is always "Person-to-person" and everyone, including the person giving the commands, will have to scramble to find a new partner. The odd person out gets to go into the middle of the group and provide the next set of commands.

The game begins with the person in the center (initially the facilitator) giving instructions such as: "Elbow to elbow" and the pairs must put an elbow to elbow. The facilitator can then say: "Ear to ear" and the pairs then have to put an ear to an ear, as well as keeping the elbow to elbow. Then the facilitator says "Person-to-person," everyone finds a new partner, and you go on to the next person calling out commands. Depending on the group, this can get pretty interesting! Stop the game when you feel like it.

Pre-Post 1964 (birth dates)Edit

Use this for groups whose ages run the gamut and you want some sensitivity to the impact age has on our perspectives of the world. Mostly used for affirmative action training because 1964 is the year that marks significant civil rights legislation. Facilitator poses questions about people's experiences, or level of comfort with various ethnic/racial issues.

Secret AgentEdit

In this game its best to have a pretty good sized, open area. Have folks begin by standing around in a circle. Tell them that there is someone in the group out to get them -- a "secret agent" -- and only you know who they are. Each individual also has a "bodyguard" who only they know about. Then, quietly, without pointing, and without telling anyone, each individual identifies to themselves who their "secret agent" is for this game. After everyone seems to have made a selection, have them then select another individual -- quietly, without pointing, and without telling anyone -- who will serve as their "bodyguard" for the activity. After everyone has made their selections let them know that they are now free to move around, but they must keep their "bodyguard" between themselves and their "secret agent" at all times. This can get pretty funny and interesting as people move about. It often turns into utter chaos because of the odd combinations of "bodyguards" and "secret agents."

The 4 C'sEdit

Insight into various personalities - Name a cartoon character, color, car, and cuisine that best describes your personality and tell us why.

See AlsoEdit

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