52 Best Icebreakers For Small Groups – Fun activities for everyone.
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Anyone who has lived through the awkward silence of a handful of people meeting each other either for the first time or in a new situation will know the value of icebreakers for small groups.
Whether the people are strangers or the situation is strange, most of us clam up in such moments. It’s easier to keep to yourself than to be the first to put yourself out there.
That’s why ice breaker games are so valuable. They redirect attention away from the situation and put it on having some fun. Now, these people aren’t strangers, they’re teammates and competitors. That little change makes all the difference.
So, if you’re about to enter into one of those dreaded moments, take advantage of these ice breakers for small groups. You’ll change that awkward silence into raucous laughter and great group bonding.
Got a particularly tough small group getting together soon? Then bring your best ice breakers for small groups. These games work just about every time. No matter how difficult that group is to motivate, these games should do the trick.
Here are the 10 best icebreakers for small groups:
1. Picture Whispers
Pictionary and telephone in one: a word becomes a picture becomes a word becomes a picture until you end up with the craziest things.
2. Candy Introductions
Get a bowl of candy and give a theme to every color. Whatever color the candy, the person has to reveal a fact about themselves.
3. Story Starters
Get the start to a story, then everyone adds on. The group votes on the best story.
4. Two Truths and a Lie
Each person comes up with two truths and one lie. The group has to guess which is which.
5. Truth or Dare
The ultimate classic. Zany behavior and deep truths guaranteed on every turn.
6. Paper Snowball Fight
Rediscover childhood by playing dodge ball and snowball fights all in one!
7. Fake Artist
All but one person knows the object being drawn, but everyone adds to picture until it’s clear who doesn’t know what’s going on.
8. If I Were a . . .
Come up with a category and everybody names what they would be and why.
9. Object Stories
A bag of random objects. People draw the objects and build a story piece by piece through them.
10. Who Has?
Create a list of questions to ask and get the group to find out who has each quality.
Sometimes, it’s easy to overthink your icebreaker prep. You can get focused on coming up with the most elaborate games, when all you really need are the right ice breaker questions.
Simply by making your icebreakers into question games, you get people opening up and getting to know one another. No props, no complicated rules required.
Here are 6 icebreaker question games for small groups:
11. Never Have I Ever Questions
With Never Have I Ever questions, you find out a lot about what people have done…and not done in their lives.
12. Most Likely To Questions
Who’s most likely to love this game? Find out with great Most Likely To questions that make this game real fun.
13. newlywed game questions
Find out how well everyone knows their peers with newlywed game questions redesigned for teams.
14. 21 Questions Game
As the name suggestions, with the 21 questions game, you’ve got 21 questions. Now, they’ll all be great ones.
15. truth or dare questions
With the right truth or dare questions, every turn is fun, no matter their choice.
16. would you rather questions
Whether they’re deep or silly, would you rather questions get everyone to share a little and laugh a lot.
When coming up with ice breakers for small groups, you’re in a lot of trouble if you can’t make those games fun. Fun icebreakers are really a requirement these days. People don’t want to sit through a boring activity, even if it’s good for them.
So, avoid the boredom and get right to the fun bonding, try out these icebreakers.
Here are 8 fun icebreakers for small groups:
Stretch those non-verbal communication skills by getting people to guess things without saying a word.
It’s a tower of blocks. How many can you remove before the whole thing comes down?
19. Trading Card
Baseball, soccer, or comic book: we all loved cards as kids. Reestablish that love now.
20. Scavenger hunt
Hide items around the room. Put people in teams and see who finds it all first.
21. No Smiling
See who can fake laugh longest without cracking a smile.
22. 1000 Blank White Cards
Part of the game is developing the rules as you go!
People take M&M’s and reveal truths about themselves based on the color of the chocolates.
24. Desert Island Picks
You’re on a desert island, what are you taking with you?
Nothing brings a small group together like laughter. If you can get everyone laughing together, you’ve already got them connecting and loosening up. So, whenever possible, you want your icebreakers to also be funny ice breakers.
These icebreakers use a variety of methods to get people chuckling along together, getting them ready for the activities ahead.
Here are 5 funny icebreakers for small groups:
25. Human rock-paper-scissors
Create poses with unique powers, then play with your whole body.
26. Russian Roulette Balloon Pop
Only one balloon has shaving cream in it, but you don’t want to pop that one.
27. Chubby Bunny
Just how many marshmallows can you stuff in your mouth? And how much do you look like a bunny?
28. Flag of Me
Everyone creates a flag that would represent themselves as a country.
29. “What if” questions
Create a bunch of hypotheticals, and then play them out with the group.
30. Blind drawing
All it takes is a blindfold, a suggestion, a white board, and a lot of amusement.
31. Bumper sticker
Design the perfect bumper sticker to go on your vehicle, then share with the group.
If any group especially needs ice breakers, it’s teens. Being a teen is probably the most awkward time in most people’s lives. So, ice breaker games for teens are particularly useful to cut through that awkwardness and get teens genuinely connecting.
Here are 7 icebreakers for small groups of teens:
32. Balloon War
Teams blow up balloons of one color. Then they elect someone to try to storm the other team and pop their balloons.
33. People Bingo
Get the names of everyone in the group, then create bingo sheets.
Just start saying what you bought in the supermarket, but each answer has to start with the next letter of the alphabet.
35. Balloon hugging
Teams of two try to blow up and pop balloons, but they can only pop them by hugging.
36. Pass the orange
Just pass the orange from person to person…except you can only hold it with your chin.
37. Chocolate chomp
Clothes and chocolate in the middle of a circle. If the kids roll a six on the dice, they get to eat chocolate, but only with a fork and knife.
38. Song scramble
Lyrics are written on cards and then scrambled on the floor. Who can get the song title first?
No matter your time of life, opening up in front of a small group of people who aren’t close friends or family is difficult. That’s why these ice breaker games for adults work so well. They’re timeless.
Whether you’re working with young adults in their twenties or older adults in their sixties, these icebreakers work every time.
Here are 7 icebreakers for small groups of adults:
39. Twenty questions
You’ve got twenty questions…better make them good.
40. Crazy Questions and Answers
Questions on card, answers on another: what’s the weirdest pairing you can make?
41. Betty Boop
Divide the group into Popeye’s, Betty Boop’s, and Wolves. Then they sing choruses as you tell a story.
42. Belly Balloon Break
Blow up some balloons, then ask the group to break them, but only with their bellies.
43. Paper Balls
Give everyone paper balls and see how close they can get to getting them into a basket on the other end of the room.
See who is most superlative in the group, like born farthest away, or with the latest birthday date in the year.
45. Hodge Podge Word Game
Everyone in a circle builds on sentences word by word but they have to do it at a steady beat.
For those who have to work with small groups and large groups, it can be a pain looking for icebreakers for both kinds of groups. That’s why these games can be so useful! These ice breakers for small groups actually double as ice breakers for large groups.
Now, you only need one set of icebreakers that can work for any group you’re working with!
Here are 7 icebreakers for small groups that you can use in large groups:
46. Team Balloon Race
Team races to the finish line all together…and with balloons holding them together.
47. Virtual Time Capsule
Each group thinks of twenty things they’d want to put in a time capsule that describe life today.
48. Team Shape Shifting
One team moves things around the room, and the other team guesses what changed.
49. Shark Attack
Everyone is a fish. When the shark comes, they have to be in groups of three. Another left out is shark food!
50. Famous People and Cities
Pick a famous person or city, and people find out what it is with yes or no questions.
51. Paper Snowball Fight
Let everyone get into a snowball fight, even in the middle of summer.
52. Name Aerobics
Put your name and two questions on a paper airplane. Throw in the air, whoever catches it, answers the questions.
Downloadable list of icebreakers for small groups
More Awesome Ice Breakers
Ice breakers come in all shapes and sizes. If you aren’t looking for icebreakers for smaller groups, we’ve got plenty of other great ice breaker options for you. Just take a look at these.
- Make truth or dare hilarious with funny dares that will keep the game going forever.
- Turn the game into something more mature with truth or dare questions for adults that get people really thinking.
- Never run out of truth questions again with this list that can get anyone to open up.
How To Pick The Best icebreakers for small groups
Not every small group is the same. In fact, small groups have a tendency to be wildly different. In big groups, you’ll get a good balance of personalities. Some people will be more extroverted, or funny, or fun-loving, and they can bring everyone else along.
However, small groups can be either really quiet, really loud, really chaotic, or anything in-between. That’s why you need to choose your icebreakers so carefully.
Not to worry though. Just follow these 6 steps, and you’ll be sure to have the right icebreakers for the right group every time.
Here is how to pick the best icebreakers for small groups:
1. Consider the Context
When choosing your icebreakers, think about the situation you’re trying to make easier. Is this a small group of colleagues on a retreat? Is it a group of strangers meeting to plan an event? Is it a group of neighbors who want to get to know one another?
These circumstances should inform whether you go for a more formal or informal game, and what kind of reaction you want from that icebreaker.
2. Consider the People (as much as possible)
One of the benefits of working with small groups is it is easier to get a decent idea of the kind of person each small group member is. So, if you can, get a sense of all the participants.
Some people may shows more or less interest in certain activities than others. If you know that everyone is really open to anything, you can pick crazier and more adventurous ice breakers.
If they’re more reticent and keep to themselves, go with something a little lighter that just gets them to share a little about themselves.
3. Choose Physical or Mental
There are three basic kinds of ice breakers: those that are more physical, those that are more mental, and those that are a mix.
Once you have an idea about what kind of small group you’re dealing with, try to decide what kind of icebreakers they’ll respond to. Make sure to consider which games might make people uncomfortable.
4. Bring Your Backup Plan
You can do all the homework, and simply get it wrong. You thought a group would want to get up and do something more physical, but they all just sit in their chairs. Or vice verse.
Don’t leave yourself panicking. Bring backup ice breakers that are ready to go. You can bring a mix: a couple of the same type, a few of different types. That way, no matter how the group responds, you’ve got something you know will interest them.
5. Know When to Intervene
Another way to ensure a good ice breaker experience is to know when to intervene. If the game is going to slowly, or someone isn’t participating, or people are ganging up on one person or another, you can step in and get the group back on task.
That way, you can ensure everyone is getting equal benefit from your ice breakers.
6. Have Fun
The best thing you can do when introducing icebreakers for groups is to model the fun the others should be having. Whether you’re acting as referee for the group or you’re part of the game, you should lead with the excitement and cheer.
When others see you having fun, they’ll be more willing to lower their guard and join in.
There’s never any need to suffer through that small group awkwardness, not when you have high quality icebreakers for small groups like those we’ve covered above.
These ice breaker games are more than just fun, they’re a great way to lighten the mood, ease tension, and get everyone ready for the activities ahead.