Selection of Ice-breaker activities
The following sections include someexemplary ice-breaker activities you could use with your participants. Such activities can help to familiarize participants with each other, develop a deeper understanding of each other, or build a trustful group environment. IF you know other activities you would like to recommend, please leave us a comment!
Aim: Emphasizes what participants have in common / share
Method: Break everyone off into separate groups, making sure to include participants from different departments/universities/countries in each of them. Task the groups with finding 10 (number can be varied) things that all of them share in common (besides the obvious, e.g., that they are human).
Suggested time: ca 15 min?
Aim: Getting to know individuals
Method: Have each person write down something (can also be more than one activity) interesting they've done on a note card (e.g., skydiving). Put the note cards into a hat, give it a nice shake, and have each person draw a note card they will then read aloud. The reader must then try to guess "whodunit" and why they came to that conclusion.
Suggested time: Depends on group size, probably 5 mins for writing down and then 2-3 mins for each card.
Aim: Share attitudes / beliefs / cultural understanding
Method: Break the session participants into small groups of four or five people. Ask them a very simple question—e.g., "What one word would you use to describe our university culture?" - and give each team five or 10 minutes to come up with their answers. Before finalizing their one word, teams will have rigorous discussions among themselves. Then it's time to ask each team to share their answers with the rest of the group—facilitating even more discussion.
Suggested time: depends on the number of groups, probably 5-10 mins for group work and 2-3 minutes for each group to present. Allow more time if discussion should follow.
Aim: Foster collaboration
Method: Break your team into groups of four. Give each group 20 sticks of spaghetti, three feet of tape, three feet of string, and one marshmallow. Ask them to build the tallest freestanding structure they can. Sit back and see what happens. The marshmallow challenge makes the perfect icebreaker and team-building hybrid.
Suggested time: ca 15 min
Aim: Foster team communication and understanding
Method: Charades is all about acting. The goal is to describe an object, movie, book, or a person using just your acting skills. For brevity’s sake, let’s just call it “the word.” There are a few different ways you can play this game, for example:
- Have one person pick a word.
- That person will then pick one individual from the group and whisper the word in their ear (or write it down on a piece of paper or write it in a private chat message).
- That individual will then have to act out/do something that would hint at the word, as others attempt to guess the correct answer.
Suggested time: depend on number of participants and rounds