Icebreakers, Games, and Fun Group Activities
Hemispheric Dominance Inventory
Reflection Activities for the Classroom
True or False?
Each student should write down three sentences describing himself. For example, "I have attended 11 schools," and "I have an aunt and an uncle both named Laverne," and "I love to vacation in Cancun." The catch is, two of the statements are true and one is false. (Try to guess which one I am lying about!) The students then share their three statements with each other or the entire class (whichever you prefer) and vote on which they think are true and false. The catch here is that the more unusual the information, the harder it will be for the other students to guess. Let them know this, and you are sure to learn some interesting trivia about your new students.
Famous Pairs Game
For this icebreaker, tape the name of a famous person or character to the back of each participant. You will need an even number of participants. Each person is to find his/her match without directly talking to each other. They may give a description of who they are (once they figure it out) or say a common phrase. Use the following list as a guide:
This icebreaker is similar to the Famous Pairs Game, except that the pairs will have the same character on their backs. This time, each participant is an animal. The participants may only make the sound of the animal to find his/her pair. Use the following list as a guide:
For this exercise, the entire group should form a circle and each participant should be given three popsicle sticks. The first person begins by saying "I've Never (insert words), but I'd like to someday." Each person in the group who HAS done that activity should through a stick into the middle. This continues around the circle as many times as necessary. The goal is for each person to run out of sticks. Examples:
This icebreaker helps students to understand that they are not as different as they may think. This is an active learning activity in which the moderator/teacher/leader reads a series of questions and participants respond by selecting a multiple choice answer. Each corner of the room should be a designated letter. Example statements:
This is a good one-on-one icebreaker. Students should get into groups of two and interview each other. They only get two minutes each. Then, the students have one minute to come up with a quick television commercial advertising their partners. This one takes some creativity! You may wish to give students a guide sheet and/or do an example commercial first.
For this activity, put the name of an individual on the back of each participant. The participants must then go around the room trying to guess who they are. They may only ask Yes/No questions. Examples:
This activity can be done several different ways, but my favorite is either with a roll of toilet paper or with a bowl of candy. Pass either one around and have participants take "as much as they need." Then, go around the room and for every piece of candy (or square of tissue), they must share that much information about themselves with the group.
This is a fun activity for learning names. Put group members in a circle. The first group member introduces himself, gives himself a nickname that starts with the same letter, and explains why he chose that name. Then, the group works their way around repeating each nickname along the way. If they mess up, they must start back at the beginning. Example:
Each participant should be given a preprinted bingo card and a pen/pencil. On the card should be several unique (some do not have to be too unique) attributes. Each person must work their way around the room trying to find someone who fits that box. That person must sign the box. NO NAME MAY BE USED MORE THAN ONCE. Once the winner is determined, use the winner's card to introduce the rest of the group members. Examples for card:
This is a fast paced icebreaker that gets student moving and laughing. Arrange a circle of chairs. Ask each student to sit in one of the chairs (have an exact number). Tell students that if they agree with your next statement, they should stand up and move to another chair. Stand in the center of the circle and say: "My name is ___________ and the great wind blows for everybody who...." (choose an ending that would likely apply to nearly everyone in the class, such as "likes chocolate ice cream." At this point, everyone who likes chocolate ice cream gets up and runs to another empty chair. As the students move, make sure you occupy one of the empty seats. If you do, then one students will have no seat to occupy and will replace you in the center. Have the new person in the center finish the same incomplete sentence. Play the gave as often as it seems appropriate.
*This can be adapted by using the phrase "I've got mail for....anyone
who likes chocolate ice cream" instead of "The Great Wind Blows."
Make a list of categories you think might be appropriate for a getting acquainted activity (Examples: month of birthday, people who like/don't like something, favorite something, hand in which you write, color of your shoes, agreement or disagreement with any statement of opinion on a current issue). Clear some floor space so students may move around freely. Call out a category. Direct students to locate as quickly as possible all the people whom they would associate with the given category. For example, right-handers would separate from left-handers. If there are more than two choices (birthday month, for example) you will have more than two groups. When students have formed the clusters, ask them to shake hands with "the company they keep." Invite all to observe approximately how many people there are in different groups. Proceed immediately to the next category, Keep students moving. Reconvene the class and discuss the diversity of students revealed by the exercise.
Have each student introduce himself by first name and tell something they did this summer that starts with the same letter. For example, I could say "Hi, my name is Nicole, and I nudged the President." The next person in the line (or circle) does the same but must also introduce the people before him and their summer activity.
Each student receives a slip of paper with a song title on it, with about four or five people receiving the same song. They don't show their song to anybody. Instead, they hum their song, walking around the room trying to find other people humming the same song.
Students are divided into two teams. Each team sits on the floor facing the other team. A blanket is held by two volunteers (teacher and a student) between the two groups. Each team then quietly chooses one member of their team to sit just behind the blanket and ahead of their own team. At this point the chosen individuals are sitting facing each other, but concealed by the blanket. The blanket is then dropped and the two students quickly identify his opponent. A point is scored for the team who shouts out the opposing person's name first.
Modification: Each team can reveal a verbal clue describing the chosen individual directly behind the blanket, prior to the dropping of the blanket.
For this activity, the students line up in a circle. Someone starts by saying "I'm going on a trip. My name is_____ and I'm taking _______." (My name is Liz and I'm taking luggage) You must use your name and an item you are taking that starts with the same letter. Then, the next person adds on: "I'm going on a trip. My name is Frank and I'm taking a flashlight. This is Liz and she is taking luggage." The game continues around the circle or as long as needed.
Gather together as many different and unique kinds of hats as you can
find and place them in the
center of the room. Ask the group members to sit in a circle around the hats and select one member
of the group to start. Ask this person to choose the one hat that they feel best represents how they
are feeling right now. Allow everyone to take a turn selecting a hat and to explain why they chose the
hat that they did. Each person should return his/her hat to the pile when their turn is done so others
may select the same hat if they choose.
After everyone has chosen a hat, the group may do mare rounds of this
activity with different
instructions. You may ask them to select a hat that represents how they feel when with this group,
when with their family, when alone, when at school, when at work, etc. Compare the different "hats"
people wear when with different groups.
For this team builder, participants get in groups of five, and connect
hands so that they form a tangled knot. Then, each team must try to get
out of the knot without letting go of each other's hand.
*This activity can be adapted by having participants use string to knot up rather than their hands.
For this team builder, participants get in groups of four to six. The rule is that everyone must participate. Each group will be given a card with the name of a machine. They must group like the machine and once the machine is put together, they may make the sound of the machine. The following are ideas for machines:
For this activity, each group needs a list of objects and a disposable camera. Give each group 30 minutes to find the objects on the list. Rather than retrieving the objects (and having to worry about returning them to their owners!), they must take a picture of the object with at least one group member in the picture. This can be done either at school or using the community (if you are in a small town where people know each other well enough). Record the time for each group, have the pictures developed that night, and post poster boards with each group's pictures the next day. Ideas for objects:
For this activity, each group needs a list of poses and a disposable camera. Give each group 30 minutes to get to the appropriate locations and get the pictures. All group members (except the one taking the picture) must be in the picture. When they arrive back at school, record the time for each group, have the pictures developed that night, and post poster boards with each group's pictures the next day. Ideas for poses/locations:
Provide each team with a stack of index cards (different sizes in each stack are best). Challenge each team to be as effective a group as possible by constructing a three-dimensional model of a "getaway retreat" solely from the index cards. Folding and tearing the cards are permitted, but no other supplies can be used for the construction. Encourage teams to plan their retreat before they begin to construct it. Provide marking pens so that the teams can draw on the cards and decorate the getaway as they see fit. Allow at least 15 minutes for the construction. Do not rush or pressure the teams. When the constructions are finished, invite the class to take a tour of the getaway retreats. Visit each construction and request that team members show off their work and explain an intricacies of their house. Applaud each team's accomplishments.
Giving and receiving directions over the phone is much more difficult than giving them in person. When you are talking on the phone, you need clear communication skills for both parties to understand each other. In this game success depends on clear verbal skills and excellent listening skills.
This teambuilder is designed to help participants to learn the importance of giving clear directions and to learn what is required of them when using good listening skills. To build trust among group members. You will need blindfolds and a sketch of the surrounding area with a course drawn on it.
Divide the group into pairs and blindfold one member of each pair. Give
the partner, without the blindfold, a copy of the map. The partner
without the blindfold must guide the blindfolded partner
through the course with only verbal directions. The partners may walk together but they may not touch each other.
Once the course has been completed, switch the blindfold to the other
partner and give the pair a
new map to follow.
HINT: This works best when you use an area that is unfamiliar to the
group so they do not already
know what obstacles they may encounter.
1. Did you like giving or receiving directions the best? Why?
2. What did you do to make sure the directions were clearly understood?
3. What did you do to make sure you were following the directions?
4. Why are good communication skills important?
5. How was trust a factor in this activity?
Being put into an unfair situation isn't fun for anyone; and some people who lack anger control will act out in this type of situation. This game is a good object lesson in how things can (at times) be unfair, unbalanced, or mismatched. This game is also a good discussion starter in what is unfair in people's lives and how it should be handled, especially for those who are easily angered and who become destructive when things don't go their way. For this activity, you will need a basketball, volleyball or beach ball.
Ask the group to line up from shortest to tallest. Divide the line in
half so all the short people are on
one team and all the tall people are on the other. Set up a game for the group to play in which height
is an advantage. Some suggestions are: basketball, volleyball or keep away with a beach ball.
After playing this way for a while, the tall team will most likely be
winning with the short team being
frustrated. At this point change the rules and tell the tall team that they must all put one hand in their
pocket or behind their backs for the rest of the game.
1. How did you feel when the game was in your favor?
2. How did you feel when the game was not in your favor?
3. Do you ever feel like your life is like this game? Are you usually winning or losing?
4. Do you ever get angry when things seem to be unfair?
5. How do you release the anger that you feel when things are unfair?
6. Is there a better way to handle an unfair situation?
Break the large group into smaller groups of about six to twelve people
each. Have each group stand
or sit together in a place that is separate from the other groups but of equal distance from you - the
leader who stands in the middle of the room.
Read one item from the list at a time. The team who sends up a person
or group of people to you
first that fits the description you have just given earns a point. For example, you might say "two
people who have the same middle name" and within each group the members must talk, find out if
any two have the same middle name, and then quickly send those people up to you. The first group
of people with the same middle name to reach you earns a point for their team. You may give a
bonus point for different items if it applies - for instance, if a group has three people with the same
middle name they may earn a point for this round even if they were not the first group to get to you.
The group with the most points at the end of the game wins.
Human Scavenger Hunt List
1. Two people who have the same first and last initial
2. The person in your group who was born the farthest away from here
3. Two people with the same middle name
4. A group of people whose ages add up to 100
5. Two people with the same birthday (or birthday month)
6. A group of people whose shoe sizes add up to 40
7. The person in your group who lives the closest to here
8. A group of people who have attended school for a total of 38 years
9. A group of people who can spell a word by putting together the first letters of their first names
10. A group of three people who all have different colored eyes
~ Ask for items such as "a 1982 coin" or "an expired drivers license" or any other items that group
members may be able to find in their pockets, purses, wallets, or on themselves.
~ Add a stunt to each item on the list - for example, "Two people who have the same first and last
initial must leap frog up to me".