General tips

  • Make it relevant if you can
  • Think about what zone / frame of mind you want people to be in
  • Gauge the room. Some groups love wacky icebreakers, some are completely turned off by them

Simple icebreakers

  • stand back to back, one describes a picture, the other draws it.
  • Draw a picture of your worst fear.
  • Write down something nobody knows about you, then we have to guess which one is who.
  • Use paper and crayons (and glue and whatever else you want to give them) to introduce yourself.
  • If still stuck for ideas, just google "icebreakers"
  • Use to play a game
  • Aplit into pairs and share something small you find satisfying, eg cycling over crunchy Autumn leaves. Then share your partner's satisfying thing with the rest of the group.

Human rock paper scissors

  1. Whole group agrees on physical poses to represent rock, paper and scissors
  2. Split into two teams
  3. Each team has 30 secs to agree whether they're going for rock paper or scissors
  4. Facilitator shouts "GO"
  5. Play for the best of 3 or 5 to see which team wins
  6. More info here

rock paper scissors championship

  • Works best with large groups
  • Everybody in the room finds a pair and plays three rounds of Rock Paper Scissors
    • Give rules! Otherwise some people do one, two, play and some do one, two, three, play
  • The winner finds another winner to compete against. The loser becomes their cheerleader and has to follow them round chanting their name
  • The number of players becomes smaller and each player gets a larger and larger group of cheerleaders until there are only two players left, and one of them wins!
  • We played this at the thoughtworks Away Day in Birmingham, and at the Agile Leadership meetup at Made Tech in London 13/1/20 - I won!

"1,2 ... 3,1"

  • Everybody stand up.
  • When the leader says "One," everyone else must say "Two."
  • When the leader says "Two," everyone else must say "Three."
  • When the leader says "Three," everyone else must say "One."
  • Start by practising that, then when they've got the hang of it, tell them that every time THEY say "One," they must clap (it's harder than it sounds).
  • That's it!

Spirit Animals

  • Everybody draw an animal or if in Miro, choose an avatar for your animal using Icon Picker (three dots at the bottom of the tool bar on the right). Write / add a post-it next to it something like "Hello, I'm Clare and my spirit animal is a hedgehog". Take it in turns to explain why you picked your animal, then pick the next person to also explain their animal
    • Potential gotchas:
      • It's hard to work out whether everybody has gone yet. One way to fix this is for the facilitator to simply call out people one by one, for instance based on the list of attendees.
      • If these are people who have only just met and you only ask people to describe their spirit animal and why they chose it, you still don't know very much about each individual. You might want to ask people to do a quick self-intro as well, eg what they do for a living.
    • Alternatives:
      • A nice addition is to split people into pairs / small groups after they have created their avatar. They tell each other abnout their avatar and then you come back into the main group and everyone introduces somebody else, rather than introducing themselves.
        • If you do this and these are people who have not met each other before, ask people to also do a brief personal intro - eg describe what they do for a living - so people get a little more context on each other.

Balloons and Names

This could be a warmup exercise... (via Amanda Nicholls on LinkedIn)

"A wise teacher once brought balloons to school, told her pupils to blow them up and write their name on one. After the children tossed their balloons into the hall, the teacher moved through the hall mixing them all up.

The kids were given five minutes to find the balloon with their name on it, but though they searched frantically, no one found their own balloon.

Then the teacher told them to take the balloon closest to them and give it to the person whose name was on it. In less than two minutes, everyone was holding their own balloon.

The teacher said to the children, “These balloons are like happiness. We won't find it when we're only searching for our own. But if we care about someone else's will ultimately help us find our own.”"