Aug 6, 2019

20 Great Icebreakers to Use at Staff and Volunteer Meetings

Icebreakers can be a great way to bring a team closer together.

It can get people talking, sharing and getting to know each other better.

I recommend doing an icebreaker at a lot of your team meetings.

Here are 20 great icebreakers you can use.

Enjoy.

The one word icebreaker.
Have everyone describe their current mood in one word. You can have people explain their one-word mood descriptor if you want to add more depth to your icebreaker activities, but you can also just go with the flow and enjoy how cryptic some of the answers can be.

Knock-knock.
Have everyone tell their favorite knock-knock joke.  Google research is allowed.

Ministry charades ice breaker.
Kick off your meeting by playing a few rounds of charades where the presenters can pick only ministry related things. If you’re rusty on your charades skills, here’s a quick refresher:
  • Pick a “presenter” to start things off.
  • Ask the presenter to think of a ministry item or activity.
  • Then have the presenter explain the item or activity using only gestures. Any spoken words lead to an immediate disqualification.
  • Laugh a lot. All charades manuals agree the game cannot be played without lots of laughter and yelling.
Trading Card icebreaker
  • Hand out index cards and markers.
  • Tell everyone to draw a self-portrait and write their names and a fun fact.
  • Everyone jumps up and trades cards. People can trade as many times as they want, but they have to read each card they get before they trade.
  • After a few minutes, have everyone announce the name on the card they ended up with. 
  • People can even ask questions of the card’s owner if they want.
The Shoe icebreaker
  • This icebreaker requires zero prep and very little time to complete. 
  • Have everyone leave one shoe by the door. Redistribute the shoes so everyone has one shoe that doesn’t belong to them. Set a timer for five minutes, and tell everyone to find the shoe’s owner and have a 2-minute conversation with that person.
Stress relief
  • Start with three minutes of silent contemplation and then have everyone write down on a blank piece of paper what is stressing them out. 
  • When everyone finishes writing, have them pick a partner and share about what they wrote down.  
  • When everyone finishes sharing, tell them to rip up their stress. Put all the scraps together in a bowl on the table.
 The props
  • Give everyone five minutes to think of a recent situation where one of their co-workers excelled with their skills and kindness. (It’s a major plus if the situation involves someone in the meeting).
  • Now have everyone tell the stories to the rest of the group.
Instagram icebreaker 
Have team members scroll through their Instagram photos and pick a snapshot they want to share with the group. They can share the photo and explain why they picked it.

Electric Fence
This icebreaker gets team members up and moving as they build an imaginary electric fence and try to cross it without getting “electrocuted.” Make the fence by tying some string between two chairs. They can cross the fence however they like as long as they don’t go under it.

Things-in-common icebreaker
  • Split people into groups and tell them to find out how many things they have in common. 
  • The group who discovers the most things in common wins, 
  •  Each group will announce what they have in common to the rest of the group. 
  •  Have everyone else raise their hand if they also have the thing in common.
What's Your Favorite Year
  • Get the team focused by asking what their favorite year is and why. Not only is this interesting, but it provides an avenue for people to know each other at a deeper level.
Desert Island 

You’ve heard the old, “If you were stranded on a desert island what one book would you have with you?” Well, find out! It could be books, music, food, etc.

Who Are You?
  • Hand out blank paper and ask each person to write or draw a short description of themselves.
  • Then put all the papers face down in the middle of the table and go through them, trying to figure out who belongs to which description. 

What’s my name?

  • Write down the names of well-known public figures on pieces of paper, then stick them on the backs of each employee. 
  • Everyone will need to mingle and ask each other questions to figure out who they are. This icebreaker encourages light one-on-one interactions.
Salt and pepper
  • Come up with pairs of things like salt and pepper, sun and moon, etc. 
  • Separate the pairs and write only one of them per piece of paper, then tape one on the back of each person. 
  • Everyone must walk around asking yes or no questions to find out what word they have. 
  • The next step is to find their pair, then sit down together to learn three facts about each other.

Pay it forward   

Have each team member look to the person on their right side and write three positive attributes about them.  This activity will bring out the best in each other, highlight strengths, and share appreciation.

Candy Game
  • Pick your favorite kind of multi-colored candy – a bowl of M&Ms, Starbursts, Skittles, etc.. 
  • Pass around the bowl and ask people to take as many candy pieces as they like, but NOT to eat them. Once the bowl of candy has been passed around, each person has to answer a question for each color they take. For example, you can assign questions such as:
  • Red: What’s your favorite book?
  • Orange: What’s the best vacation spot you have ever been to? 
  • Blue: What’s your favorite kind of food? 
  • Green: What TV show are you addicted to? 
  • Brown: If you could have any superhero quality, what would it be? 
  • Yellow: What’s the best part of your work week?
Birthday Boggle
  • The group is instructed to line up according to their birthdays — but in complete silence.  
 100 Seconds of Fun
  • You have 72 seconds to meet as many of your peers as possible. 
  • Make sure you establish guidelines for what they should be learning — name, where they serve, where they are from or anything else you decide.
Pat on the back.
  • Ask the group to draw an outline of their own hand on a piece of paper. 
  • Once they are done, have them tape it to their back. 
  • Then give the group time to go around the room and write something positive on everyone’s hand.
Your turn.  What are some other awesome ice breakers you have used or thought about using?  Share them in the comment section below.

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