Tag: Ice Breakers

Icebreakers: Data Processing

Data processing | Photo public domain

Data processing | Photo public domain

The best icebreakers get more people into the mix. Take a little computer science, add some common characteristics of people in the group and shake it all up.

The idea is that you are going to turn the group into a big computer and sort everyone by a particular data set. For instance, “everyone get in line chronologically by birthday” or “get in line by height.”

Keep it fast, keep it snappy, keep it fun. For instance, as soon as the group gets sorted, change to a different sorting criteria.

Other ideas:

  • Eye color
  • Hair color
  • Shoe size
  • Alphabetical by first letter of middle name
  • Length of hair


If you have a big group you can divide into two or more teams and compete, with prizes for the first team to sort their data.

With Eyes Closed

Line up by:

  • Height
  • Right or left handedness
  • Boy or girl (caution! Stranger danger!)
  • Month born
  • Grade in school

Without Talking

Have the group pantomime:

  • Favorite food
  • Favorite animal
  • First period class

Become a Computer Programmer for Fun and Profit

Two teams, each team gets in a line. From each team select one “programmer.” The programmer sorts the group according to the criteria you set, by asking a single yes or no question, processing the group again and again until everyone is sorted.

Example: Chronological by birth month.

Programmer asks each person in their entire team “Is your birthday before February?” This puts all the January people in one group and everyone else in a second group. Next question might be “is your birthday before March?” And so forth.

Sources: Kim’s Korner for Teacher Talk, More New Games

Charades…with a Twist

Charade, the movie classic

The game of Charades is huge fun for a group. But some people – particularly high school age people – don’t like being put on the spot. Here are two twists on the classic parlor game that will help you keep things moving, active and tons of fun.

Charades Relay

Divide your group into two teams, and have them line up on opposite sides of a large room. The teams should face away from each other so that neither team can see what the other is doing. There should be enough room so that each team’s Actor can stand in front and perform.

Game play starts with one player from each team racing to the center of the room where you are standing with a list of titles of books, movies or plays. This player must race back to the area in front of their team and quickly act out the title. As soon as a team guesses the title correctly, the next player races to the center of the room and gets a title. The game ends as soon as one team has successfully guessed the titles presented by each of their Actors.

Because the game is fast-paced your Actors will have little time to feel self-concious about standing in front of the group and acting silly.

[Idea courtesy Playworks]

Reverse Charades

This is a simple twist on classic Charades – instead of one person acting out a movie or book title while the rest of the group guesses, you have the entire group doing the acting and one person guessing.

What you need: large, easily readable cards with the title of a book, movie, or play on each one.

To play the game have your Actors form a line or semicircle and your guesser sits or stands in front of the group. You stand behind the guesser and show the group the card, which they then must act out.

To keep your game moving you can combine this with Charades Relay.

[Idea from Youth Leader Stash]

Spot It! Fast, Furious Card Game Makes a Great Icebreaker

Here’s a fun card game that will stretch your brain. Spot It! is a deck of round playing cards covered with colorful pictures. Every card in the deck has at least one matching picture with every other card in the deck. Your challenge is to spot a picture that matches your card before anyone else. Sound easy? After one or two hands your brain is guaranteed to lock up.

The game is fast-paced and instantly gets wild. While you can’t play Spot It! very long before mental exhaustion sets in, it’s a great game to have on hand to get people to loosen up and get a little zany.

Game of the Day: Odds and Evens

Odd or Even? | Image via Slideshare

Odd or Even? | Image Sarah Tanti via Slideshare

This is a quick little mixer for those times when you have a lot of people who don’t know each other.

Form a circle and have the players count off “Odd” or “Even.” Players should learn the names of the people to their right and to their left.

Pass a ball around the circle while playing music. When the music stops the person holding the ball must introduce the people to her right and left. After the introductions are made, have the Odds move clockwise one person and the Evens move counterclockwise one person (practice this a couple times before starting the game.)

Keep the game going a few rounds until you think a sufficient number of people have been introduced.

To make things more lively you can have the players bat a beach ball back and forth. In this case the last person to touch the ball when the music stops is the person to make the introductions.