Icebreakers & Team-building Exercises

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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. 

Activity Name

What happens?

Type of Activity

2 Truths and a Lie

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




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.



Ball Toss Name Game

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


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?




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.



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.


Never Have I Ever

Version 1: Sitting down, everyone puts up ten fingers. Each person says a true statement finishing this sentence: "Never have I ever..." If others have done it, they must put down one finger. The last person with fingers up is the winner.
Version 2: Standing in a circle, everyone puts an item on the ground in front of them to mark a spot. One person stands in the middle and says a true statement: "Never have I ever..." If others have done it, they must leave their spot and find an empty spot that is at least 2 placements away. The goal is to not be in the middle, so the person in the middle is also always looking for an empty spot. Who ever doesn't have a spot then makes a statement.



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.



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



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


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...


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.


The Opposite of Tulip

“What is the opposite of ___?”


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.


Portrait Party

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


Joe Name-it

A circle of artists takes turn drawing until someone figures out what the abstract photo is of.



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 paper gets passed and others add to it.


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? (1)

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)



Act out words so others can guess



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 2 others and must stay in between them at all times. Everyone moves around.


Human knot

Reach in middle and grab 2 different hands. While keeping the hands connected, the group must then untangle.




Leader says: Body part to body part

[Question to question (and they must answer)]

People to people switches leader


[Could be get-to-know-you]

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.


Venn Diagram

2 partners draw a venn diagram of their differences and similarities


Data Processing

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


Criminal Dealings

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



Use a deck of cards. One card needs to be a jack (the criminal) and one needs to be an ace (the cop). All of the other cards should be below ten in rank. Let each person draw and keep a card, without showing it to anyone. The criminal needs to recruit other criminals by winking at them, but without getting caught by the cop. Any person who sees a wink is to wait a few seconds, so as not to be obvious, and then say, "I committed a crime." That person then turns in his card and is out of the game. Play continues until the criminal recruits all players without being caught by the cop, or the cop identifies the criminal. If the cop misidentifies the criminal, he loses the game.


Who Am I? (2)

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.


Animal Scramble

Everyone gets an animal and makes that animal noise. Must find their own kind and will get attacked if they approach a dangerous animal.




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.

Physical, Getting to know you


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

Word, drawing


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.

Physical, Guessing


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.


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. Some examples of mingles: your favorite dessert; the type of toothpaste you use; if you could be the very best at something, what would it be?


Physical, Getting to know you

Conscious Spits

Group is split into 2 teams.
1 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.




Websites with more fun group games: