Sometimes we believe that we do not need an icebreaker if a group is small. However, small group icebreakers help participants relax and get ready to participate in a party, meeting, or other get-together. Small group icebreaker games can introduce group members to each other, help them know each other better, and create a climate of fun and relaxation. We have chosen a collection of icebreakers designed specifically for small groups.
Table of Contents
- 1 Introductory Icebreakers for Small Groups
- 2 Getting-To-Know-You Small Group Icebreakers
- 3 Story Telling Icebreakers for Small Groups
- 4 Fun Icebreakers for Small Groups
Introductory Icebreakers for Small Groups
Just because a group is small does not mean they know each other. Even if they do, our collection of introductory icebreakers has the added bonus of allowing participants to get to know each other better.
My Name Means . . .
A good icebreaker game for small groups for introductions and getting to know a little bit more about each other, My Name Means requires players to come up with words describing themselves. The trick is that they must do so by creating a phrase where each word begins with a letter of their first name used in order. For example, Theresa might say, “My name is Theresa and I am tiny, happy, energetic, red-haired, eager, strong, and amazing.”
The Gift Game
A funny small group icebreaker, this game is super simple, a great deal of fun, and helps the group learn each other’s names. Additionally, you can make it as long or short as you wish by increasing the number of turns each person takes.
- Tell the participants to turn to the right and give their neighbor a noun – a person, place, or thing.
- Then have the participants turn to the left and give that neighbor an adjective – a word that describes a person, place, or thing.
- When everyone has done so, each person finishes the phrase, “My name is _______, I was given a gift, and it was a (n) . . .” For example, “My name is Mary, I was given a gift, and it was a shiny nose.”
Getting-To-Know-You Small Group Icebreakers
Even when group members know each other, there are always new things to disclose and learn. Our Getting-To-Know-You icebreakers for small groups disclose obscure and fun facts about those participating.
I Know Who You Are
A fun small group icebreaker, this game takes very little preparation and time.
- Give each person two pieces of paper, and a pen or pencil.
- Have each participant write their name and three facts about themselves on one paper – the facts must be true, but should be obscure and probably not known by the other group members.
- Direct the participants to number the other paper with one number for each person present.
- The leader collects the papers and reads out the facts on each sheet, keeping track of the names that match the facts read.
- The participants write their guesses next to the numbers on their sheets.
- Once everyone has completed their sheet of numbers and name guesses, read out the answers and see who had the most correct to determine a winner.
This Tells About Me
Start this get-to-know-you small group icebreaker with the group members sitting in a circle.
- Have each person pull out a personal item from his or her purse or pocket, or use an item of clothing or an accessory he or she is wearing.
- Go around the circle, with each person telling something about them as it relates to the item they have chosen. For example, a person may choose a wallet size picture of their husband, tell how they met, or a comb and explain that they are a hair stylist.
If I Were a . . .
A fun get-to-know-you icebreaker game to encourage creativity for small groups, you begin this game by having participants sit in a circle. The leader asks each person to say what he or she would be and why if they were a:
- A piece of fruit
- An historical figure
- A household object
- A cartoon character
- A cat
- A dog
- A flower
- A tree
- Any other group
Examples of possible answers:
- I would be an orange, because I am sweet and love to wear orange.
- I would be George Washington because I like to be first and cross rivers.
- I would be a whisk, as I like to stir things up.
- I would be the Road Runner, because I love to jog.
- I would be a tiger, because I am protective of my children.
Memories in a Hat
A getting-to-know-you icebreaker for those who already have some knowledge of each other, this game takes people deeper into their relationships. Have the group sit in a circle and give each five yellow sticky notes or small pieces of paper, and a pen or pencil. Tell the members of the small group to write down a favorite personal memory on each note without including their name, fold it, and drop it into a hat. Shake them up and draw the notes out randomly. Read each note aloud and have people guess to whom it belongs. Some suggestions you might provide for the group to jog their memories are:
- Work experiences
- Fears overcome
- First loves
- Pets they have had
- Children stories
- Dating stories
Play Dough Personality
This is a quiet and reflective small group introductory icebreaker, very much suited to small groups of people who need to bond for other activities.
- Have everyone sit at a table or provide a surface (such as trays) for this activity.
- Give each person a reasonable amount of play dough and instruct him or her to make something out of it that represents or describes his or her personality.
- After small group members are finished, have them take turns sharing their creation and telling the group about it.
- If you wish, you can have them pair up and make another representation, this time one reflecting their partner’s personality.
Story Telling Icebreakers for Small Groups
Story telling is a perfect way to break the ice in a small group. You can make the stories last as long as you wish and the stories are always funny and surprising. Another benefit is that most of the games in this collection of small group story telling icebreakers need no advance preparation.
Once Upon a Time . . .
- For this small group icebreaker, have participants sit in a circle.
- Give each member of your small group three pieces of paper, and a pen or pencil. Tell them to write down the name of a person, place, or thing on each and fold the paper in half.
- Collect the slips, put them in a bag, basket, or box and shake them around.
- The leader or host begins the story by randomly drawing a piece of paper and using the word in the first sentence of the story.
- Pass the papers around the circle, with each person drawing a paper and adding to the story, with only ten seconds to do so.
- Keep going as long as the papers last. The stories usually turn out very strange and funny.
This small group icebreaker requires some advance planning. Collect enough random objects to have one for each person and place them in a bag. The objects should be everyday items such as a key, pencil, comb, etc., and some more unusual ones such as a wig, a small child’s toy, or a small ruler. Have the participants sit in a circle. The leader chooses an item out of the bag and begins a story mentioning the item that was drawn. After 20 seconds, the next person draws an object from the bag and continues the story. If the group is very small, you can pass the bag of objects around twice.
Themed Story Chains
An icebreaker game with infinite variations, Themed Story Chains, as the name implies, provides a chosen theme around which participants build a story. Have your small group sit in a circle. Start by having a list of themes. The host or leader of the small group begins by starting an original story with a few sentences related to one of the themes. Group members continue the story where it stopped. The story ends whenever the leader decides to do so. The next story begins with the next person in the circle and a new theme – either chosen by the leader or the person beginning the story. The stories continue until each person has started one or until you run out of themes, whichever you prefer. You can use the following themes or choose some of your own:
- A fairy tale featuring a princess and a dragon
- A fable with animals
- A romantic tale of love
- A mystery story
Fun Icebreakers for Small Groups
Some icebreakers are simply designed for groups to have fun. If your party, meeting, or get-together begins to bog down or get boring, try one of the following games to enliven your small group.
Why? Because . . .
Have participants sit in a circle and give each two pieces of paper and a pen or pencil. Each person writes a “Why?” question and a “Because . . .” answer – the two do not need to be related – and folds their two papers. Collect all the papers, put the “Why?” papers in one basket or bag and the “Because . . .” in another. Randomly draw one question and one answer. Read them and laugh!
This familiar children’s game is perfect for a small group icebreaker. You will need an object such as a ball, bean bag, or small stuffed animal to throw around a circle. If someone drops the object or says the wrong thing, the group must start again. Whoever receives the object must do one of the following:
- Say the alphabet in order.
- Count to 100 (or a lower number if you prefer).
- Recite a poem, each person saying one line.
- Sing each word of a popular song.
- Any other fun topics you can think of.
An icebreaker designed to help small groups get comfortable communicating with each other, this game requires everyone to speak with everyone else. Who Has? does require some advance preparation – the creation of a list of questions. Provide each person a sheet of paper and give instructions to find the answer the questions. You can use the following questions or some of your own:
- Who has blue eyes?
- Who was born the farthest away?
- Who has the most unusual job?
- What is the weirdest thing anyone has ever eaten?
- Who has had the most embarrassing experience?
- Who has the most children?
- Who has the newest car?
Divide your small group into pairs, one of whom will be the Director and one the Artist. Each Director is given a simple drawing and told not to reveal it to their Artist partner, who receives a blank piece of paper and a pencil. Directors are to give directions on how to duplicate the drawing using only verbal instructions. The Artists cannot ask any questions – or you can allow them to ask only questions with yes or no answers. When all partners are finished, compare the drawings, and see who has the closest representation.
Find the Leader
A simple small group icebreaker, the leader sends one player out of the room. While the chosen person is gone, the others sit in a circle and choose a leader. The leader starts any of the following simple movements:
- Stomach patting
- Opening and shutting the mouth
- Hand waving
- Foot stomping
As the other players copy the leader’s movement, the player who has been outside comes in, stands in the center of the circle, and watches to find out which person is the leader. The leader changes motions, trying not getting caught. When the leader is guessed, repeat with another person serving as the leader and a new person guessing.
Small group icebreaker games keep participants engaged and interacting. Try one of our small group icebreakers for your next meeting, party, or any gathering with a small number of people. And enjoy!
Susan majored in English with a double minor in Humanities and Business at Arizona State University and earned a Master’s degree in Educational Administration from Liberty University. She taught grades four through twelve in both public and private schools. Subjects included English, U.S. and world history and geography, math, earth and physical science, Bible, information technologies, and creative writing.
Susan has been freelance writing for over ten years, during which time she has written and edited books, newspaper articles, biographies, book reviews, guidelines, neighborhood descriptions for realtors, Power Point presentations, resumes, and numerous other projects.
Thanks that was most useful as I have a new job as a volunteer facilitater taking small groups of people in a study on mindfulness.