If you're looking for icebreakers for small groups, you're in the right place.
As a published expert in games, I've written all about ice breaker games for all kinds of people. They'll help change the awkward atmosphere around.
10 Best Icebreakers For Small Groups
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. These games should do the trick no matter how difficult that group is to motivate.
Here are the 10 best icebreakers for small groups:
1. Picture Whispers
Pictionary and telephone in one: a word becomes a picture that becomes a word that becomes a picture until you end up with the craziest things. This is an ice breaker game that can last a long time, as you can keep adding and adding until you run out of space to write on.
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. What's sweeter: the candy, or the fun things you can learn about others?
3. Story Starters
Get the start to a story, then everyone adds on. The group votes on the best story. This icebreaker game is a great idea if you're looking to share personal experiences with a group. What sorts of fun stories can you come up with?
4. Two Truths and a Lie
Each person comes up with two truths and one lie. The group has to guess which is which. You can respond to some icebreaker questions with what you say. Can you come up with some hard-to-believe truths, or surprisingly believable white lies?
5. Truth or Dare
The ultimate classic. Zany behavior and deep truths are guaranteed at every turn. Make sure to set some limits on what the dares can be, though. We're here to have fun breaking the ice, not embarrass people in a mean way.
6. Paper Snowball Fight
Rediscover childhood by playing dodge ball and snowball fights all in one! This is a great way to get some team building going on, if you've got a larger group. Team building activities are a fun way to break the ice.
7. Fake Artist
All but one person knows the object being drawn, but everyone adds to the picture until it's clear who doesn't know what's going on. This is one of the funniest icebreaker games for small groups.
8. If I Were a . . .
Come up with a category and everybody names what they would be and why. This is a simple and quick icebreaker that can get you all closer together. If you were X, what would your reasoning be?
9. Object Stories
A bag of random objects. People draw the objects and build a story piece by piece through them. In the mysterious grab bag, what sort of fun and interesting stories can you come up with?
10. Who Has?
Create a list of questions to ask and get the group to find out who has each quality. It's a fun icebreaker that can tell you a lot about your group and what they've got going on.
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6 Icebreaker Question Games For Small Groups
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. Simple icebreaker games like these can still tell you a lot about other people, and get some bonding going.
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 really fun. We're likely to know quite a few fun icebreaker questions!
13. newlywed game questions
Find out how well everyone knows their peers with newlywed game questions redesigned for teams. Test how well you know each other, and see if you can guess your partner's answers!
14. 21 Questions Game
As the name suggests, with the 21 questions game, you've got 21 questions. Now, they'll all be great ones. Prepare to lose a lot of time volleying questions back and forth. Time well spent, if you ask me!
15. truth or dare questions
With the right truth or dare questions, every turn is fun, no matter their choice. You get to learn a hidden truth about them, or get them to do something fun and hilarious. No one loses!
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. Would you rather break the ice yourself, or have fun seeing others break the ice instead?
8 Fun Icebreakers For Small Groups
When coming up with an idea for small group games, 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 small group 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. This great icebreaker can help us get on the same wavelength.
It's a tower of blocks. How many can you remove before the whole thing comes down? It's a fun game to play over and over again, nearing the very edge of collapse closer and closer each time. Great as a team exercise!
19. Trading Card
Baseball, soccer, or comic book: we all loved cards as kids. Reestablish that love now. Whether it's ordinary playing cards, Pokemon cards, Yu-Gi-Oh cards, or Magic: The Gathering cards... even if you're not fans of any of those, it can still be a fun way to share.
20. Scavenger hunt
Hide items around the room. Put people in teams and see who finds it all first. Team bonding and serious sleuthing skills are needed for this game about who's got the best eagle eyes.
21. No Smiling
See who can fake laugh longest without cracking a smile. Even if you're not smiling on the outside, you'll surely be smiling on the inside.
22. 1000 Blank White Cards
Part of the game is developing the rules as you go! See what sort of wacky things you can come up with. You're guaranteed surprises and laughs in this creativity game!
People take M&M's and reveal truths about themselves based on the color of the chocolates. Or take a whole bunch of them and reveal a lot about yourself! You can't resist a sweet treat anyway.
24. Desert Island Picks
You're on a desert island, what are you taking with you? What things can't you live without? You'll learn plenty about the others from their picks on what they absolutely can't go without.
7 Funny Icebreakers For Small Groups
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. It's like Twister, except instead of trying not to lose, you're trying to beat your opponent! Can you guess what your opponent is going to do?
26. Russian Roulette Balloon Pop
Only one balloon has shaving cream in it, but you don't want to pop that one. All it comes down to is luck! Will you be the last participant standing?
27. Chubby Bunny
Just how many marshmallows can you stuff in your mouth? And how much do you look like a bunny? Be careful not to swallow too much, though! It's important to know your limits.
28. Flag of Me
Everyone creates a flag that would represent themselves as a country. What country's values do you represent? Would you like to live there if given the chance? Your answer reveals quite a bit about you.
29. “What if” questions
Create a bunch of hypotheticals, and then play them out with the group. It's a type of ice breaker question that can spawn many many dialogue trees about yourself and everyone else.
30. Blind drawing
All it takes is a blindfold, a suggestion, a whiteboard, and a lot of amusement. Can you draw something without being able to see? There might be a few artists among the pack!
31. Bumper sticker
Design the perfect bumper sticker to go on your vehicle, then share with the group. You might even put it on for real, to show your friends the ideal sticker for you!
7 Icebreakers For Small Groups Of Teens
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. It's a fun little team building activity that never gets old. All you need are balloons!
33. People Bingo
Get the names of everyone in the group, then create bingo sheets. While you can do this with a smaller group, a large group can give you bigger bingo cards to work with!
Just start saying what you bought in the supermarket, but each answer has to start with the next letter of the alphabet. What's your shopping list look like? Some of you have probably bought the same things.
35. Balloon hugging
Teams of two try to blow up and pop balloons, but they can only pop them by hugging. It's time to see who's got the best bear hug among everyone!
36. Pass the orange
Just pass the orange from person to person...except you can only hold it with your chin. You'll need some serious facial muscles to make it through this challenging icebreaker!
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. An icebreaker idea with sweet incentives like this can get people really engaged.
38. Song scramble
Lyrics are written on cards and then scrambled on the floor. Who can get the song title first? If you want to make it even more fun, have everyone try to sing their answer, instead!
7 Icebreakers For Small Groups Of Adults
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 because this is one of the best icebreaker games for small groups. Asking some standard questions in the form of a game can make it less of an interrogation and more fun for everyone involved.
40. Crazy Questions and Answers
Questions on card, answers on another: what's the weirdest pairing you can make? Fill in the blanks however you can, and create some quirky and funny pairings!
41. Betty Boop
Divide the group into Popeye's, Betty Boop's, and Wolves. Then they sing choruses as you tell a story. Everyone pays attention, waiting patiently for their cue to come. A great possible start for an acting group if you ask me!
42. Belly Balloon Break
Blow up some balloons, then ask the group to break them, but only with their bellies. Who's got a bit of Kung Fu Panda in them? May the strongest gut prevail!
43. Paper Balls
Give everyone paper balls and see how close they can get to get them into a basket on the other end of the room. It's a simple game of three point shooting that can tell us who's good to become a basketball player.
See who is most superlative in the group, like who is born farthest away, or who has the latest birthday date in the year. You'll learn lots of interesting trivia about the people involved!
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. Word association games like this can be a fun way to improve your vocabulary, while also being a great way to get closer to people.
6 Quick icebreakers for small groups
There are amazing icebreaker games available for large groups and there are also awesome icebreakers that can be played in small groups too. Just because there isn't a lot of people in the group doesn't mean you can't have a fun time and get to know each other.
Here are 6 quick icebreakers for small groups:
46. Going on a picnic
A fun, quick game that requires good memory skills. Even a small group can have lots of fun with this simple game of repeating what the last person said. For added challenge, try making a tongue twister of your turn that they have to repeat!
47. One word
This is a fast game that can be played in a small group and helps people to think deeply. If you could describe something with one word, what would it be? It's a quick, simple game that nonetheless can help everyone to think deeply about the word you chose.
48. Marshmallow challenge
For this game all you need is a few materials - some marshmallows and a pack of spaghetti will turn into a super fun game. See what sort of crazy structures you can create, with a marshmallow as the top piece!
49. Tall Tales
A quick and simple game that requires nothing but imagination. Exaggerate as much as possible while making the story still somewhat believable, and see what the others' reactions to it are!
50. Strange Disease Diagnosis
With one team member playing the doctor and the others pretending to have an unusual ailment, this game is fast and fun. What sort of silly sicknesses can you make up on the spot?
51. Egg drop
The egg drop game helps groups work together towards a common goal - stopping their egg from breaking when it hits the ground. Just remember to clean up afterwards!
7 Icebreakers For Small Groups That You Can Use In Large Groups
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:
52. Team Balloon Race
Team races to the finish line all together...and with balloons holding them together. Teamwork is essential for making it through this fun, challenging icebreaker.
53. Virtual Time Capsule
Each group thinks of twenty things they'd want to put in a time capsule that describes life today. Would what you put inside be considered antique five, ten years in the future? There's only one way to know for sure.
54. Team Shape Shifting
One team moves things around the room, and the other team guesses what changed. It's a fun way to determine what changed, like a before/after picture comparison!
55. Shark Attack
Everyone is a fish. When the shark comes, they have to be in groups of three. Another left out is shark food! The key is speed - you've got to find a group before everyone else makes theirs. Good for small groups, great for large ones!
56. Famous People and Cities
Pick a famous person or city, and people find out what it is with yes or no questions. There's celebrity and geography trivia aplenty with this ice breaker game!
57. Paper Snowball Fight
Let everyone get into a snowball fight, even in the middle of summer. Everyone can have fun dodging and pelting paper snowballs all year round!
58. Name Aerobics
Put your name and two questions on a paper airplane. Throw in the air, whoever catches it, answers the questions. The fun part is seeing how far it can fly before it's caught!
Downloadable list of icebreakers for small groups
Here is a downloadable and printable list of icebreakers for small groups (right click the image and select Save Image As…):
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 show 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 versa.
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 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 benefits 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 a referee for the group or you're part of the game, you should lead with excitement and cheer.
When others see you having fun, they'll be more willing to lower their guard and join in.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now that you know more about icebreakers and how effective they are at bringing people closer together, you're probably going to try some fun icebreaker games the next time you meet someone. Still, you might be wondering about how to set these games up. Here are some frequently asked questions about that particular topic.
Is there a limit to the number of participants in these games?
It depends on the game! This list prioritizes smaller groups of friends, to form a closer, tighter-knit group that can learn a lot more about each other with less preparation. Still, there are other games that especially large groups can play, perfect for large parties or bashes! But within the boundaries of this list, you'll want to stick with a smaller group so that no one is left out.
How long are these activities going to take?
A round of each of these games is about 15 to 20 minutes long, just enough to sufficiently break the ice. But if everyone wants to play more rounds of these fun icebreaker games, they can easily last hours! If the group is having lots of fun playing these games, you can play them for as long as you want.
How to keep your friends engaged when they are in smaller groups?
Choose a game where everyone can play at the same time, or games where there's plenty of turns being taken by everyone. That way, there's no downtime that can possibly bore your friends when you play. You want to play a game that includes everyone in it, so that no one feels left out!
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.
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.