Did you read the word icebreaker and cringe a little? I don’t blame you!
These supposedly fun icebreaker questions and games can feel forced, awkward… and even frustrating.
So why do meeting leaders continue to use ice breakers?
Well, truth be told, they are incredibly effective in engaging people. They encourage participation, create a relaxed environment, and facilitate collaboration.
And if designed with care, icebreakers can be ideal.
Whether that’s to welcome new team members, make virtual meetings less awkward, help absolute strangers collaborate during workshops, or even get students to play nice with each other in a classroom.
Table of Contents
Designing the Perfect Icebreaker
Ask any facilitator why they use icebreakers, and they will probably say this,
Using fun icebreaker questions and games allows me to create an environment conducive to exchanging ideas and meeting session goals.
But that’s true only if these questions serve the meeting’s purpose, and you have a clear idea of when to use them.
“Let the ‘three Rs’ guide you in selecting an appropriate exercise that complements your goals (relevance), draws participants in without putting others off (relaxation), and is followed up with a discussion that articulates the benefits derived from the experience (review).”
Susan Doctoroff Landay, President, Trainers Warehouse, Not Another Icebreaker
“Okay, I need to put in thought, but how do I do this?”. Is that on your mind? Answering these simple questions may help.
- What do you want to achieve with the icebreaker activity? Are these to welcome participants? Will these fun icebreaker games help remote teams brainstorm better? Do you want to use fun icebreaker questions with students to get back into the school routine?
- How big is the group? If it’s large, pick simple, easy-to-understand activities, especially in a virtual setup.
- Do the participants know each other well? If not, keep the questions surface level so that people are comfortable answering them.
Break the Ice During Remote Team Building Sessions
Remember office? Colleagues? Lunch breaks? Water cooler conversations?
But all I can say now is RIP coffee breaks!
Because now, we live and work in silos. These breaks that helped build friendships and professional rapport are a thing of the past.
So, how do we now build trust in teams and communicate effectively?
Icebreakers may sound like a terrible idea… but honestly, they are perfect for breaking barriers and opening up communication lines. Especially at the start of a remote team meeting.
Want a quick option? Give them question prompts with a fixed time limit. Looking for something more elaborate? Play fun icebreakers to get the ball rolling.
Fun Icebreaker Questions For Small Groups and Remote Teams
- If you could only eat one type of food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
- If you had a time machine, which historical event would you like to go back and witness?
- What was your favorite song in high school?
- If you could take away a superpower from a superhero, who would it be and what?
- What’s the most embarrassing fashion trend you have ever adopted?
- What’s your guilty pleasure?
- Who would you rather hang out with for a day, The Rock or Oprah Winfrey?
- Would you be doing something different, if all jobs paid the same?
- Which person in this group would be your go-to for help if you lost all your money?
- If you could experience one year from your life again, which year would it be?
Team-Building Fun Icebreaker Games
10 Common Things
Conducting a meeting with a group of people who are already acquainted? This game is perfect for reintroducing teammates in a remote setup.
- Divide the team into small breakout groups.
- Ask them to list ten things they have in common in under 5 minutes.
Get the groups to use a shared doc or a whiteboard to record this list.
Or even better, use Toasty! Our pre-built, customizable icebreaker template makes it easy for the team to record their answers.
2 Truths and a Lie
This game is a meeting leader favorite. The rules are simple.
- Get each team member to write down three things about themselves. The twist? Two things have to be true and one a lie.
- The other team members vote for what they think is the lie before they find out the answer.
I can’t think of a better way to learn something absolutely new about your teammate. Right?
We have a fun breakout room variant of this game on Toasty, What’s True About Me. A participant says one truth about themselves. If it’s true for any other group member, they say, “Me Too”!
What a fun, interactive way to find things you have in common?!
Fun Ice breaker Questions and Games for Virtual Brainstorming
In a virtual brainstorming session, and finding it challenging to get the session going?
Let me spill the tea… Your problem is not the lack of familiarity but the jumpstarting.
So how do you get those creative juices flowing? Pick ice breaker questions and games that are innovative and force participants to think outside the box.
But, don’t just hand them these questions and expect them to collaborate. Play an active role.
Creative Ice breaker Questions for Brainstorming
- If you could make a place disappear, which one would it be?
- Which tech company do you dislike the most? Why?
- If you could instantly become an expert in something, what would you like it to be?
- What would be the first thing you do if you suddenly became Donald Trump?
- The doctor tells you, “you have 24 hours to live” – how will you spend your remaining time?
- We’re all a little bit crazy – in what way are you?
- You can teleport yourself to one place. Where would you go?
- You can create one new law that everyone must follow. What is it?
- Imagine you are a superhero. Your arch-nemesis’ mission is to annoy and torment you. How would they do that?
- If you were a product, what would your advertising slogan be?
Icebreaker Games for Innovative Thinking
A Toasty team favorite, this is our go-to for when stuck in a rut during brainstorming sessions.
The premise? Simple.
- Define the problem you are trying to solve
- Individually, list two assumptions about it.
- Share these with the group.
- Now again, separately, pick one of the premises and define an opposite reality.
- Devise solutions for your problem based on these new/alternate realities.
Sure, this is an actual brainstorming technique. But it could also serve as an icebreaker with hypothetical products/problems.
The idea, after all, is to boost divergent thinking.
Round Table Story
Are ideas getting mundane? Opt for this fun ice breaker game.
- Begin the icebreaker by introducing a short story.
- Stop as the plot gets interesting.
- Ask a participant to add a sentence to the tale.
- Continue until all participants have had a turn.
Thinking about something other than the focus problem helps recharge the session. And you never know… It may spark the next great idea.
A variation we have at Toasty is Six-Word Memoirs, which asks for your life story in just six words.
Ice breakers to Encourage Participation in Online Workshops
Enhancing collaboration at workshops can be tough… considering the participants don’t know each other. In one word… awkward!
And it gets only tougher when the whole thing happens virtually.
Fun icebreaker questions and games can, therefore, be a lifesaver.
The challenge, though? Keeping it timebound and staying focused on the meeting goal.
But what’s most important? Encourage fun and collaboration… Just don’t make anyone uncomfortable or invade their privacy.
The best icebreakers for virtual workshops are creative but don’t force participants to reveal too many details.
Fun Icebreaker Questions for Workshop Participants
- If you could have dinner with any person, alive or dead, who would it be?
- If you were a superhero, who would you be?
- Would you give up Instagram or TV (including Netflix)?
- If you could travel to one place right now, where would you go?
- What’s a current trend you think is stupid?
- If you could eliminate one food so no one could eat it ever again, what would you destroy?
- What crazy activities do you dream of trying someday?
- What’s the best prank you’ve ever played on someone?
- Which fictional character’s life do you wish you could have?
- What famous animal movie character do you like the most?
Games to Play to Break the Ice at Workshops
Where Are Your Joining Us From
You know the most awkward time at a virtual workshop?
Right at the beginning… when people are still joining in. There’s that awkward greeting from the host and a whole lot of silence.
Here’s what you can do instead.
- Start the session with, “Where are you joining us from?”
- Ask participants to pin locations on a map you have shared on the whiteboard.
It’s a great game for larger groups. And what can be more fun than starting with a visual, collaborative activity?
A One-word Icebreaker
Organizing icebreaker games for large groups can be a struggle. Especially something that doesn’t require a lot of preparation.
Which is why this game is perfect.
- Divide the participants into small breakout groups.
- Ask them to brainstorm and define in one word the workshop goal.
- Share these one-word responses on the whiteboard
- Define takeaways
Sounds fun and interactive? It’s all that and more. Because it also gives insight into everyone’s expectations from the workshop.
Icebreakers that are Fun For Online Classrooms
Sure, it started out okay enough, but who knew virtual school would become the new normal?
Not the adults, and definitely not the kids. And it’s been difficult to adapt for everyone.
Are the kids in your classroom nervous and anxious? Do you feel like students are finding it difficult to form connections?
Virtual ice breakers can help students get to know each other, foster friendships, and better participation. The icebreaker questions and games here are best suited to elementary schools students.
Virtual Ice breaker Questions For Students
- If you could be any animal, which one would you be?
- Do you prefer summer or winter?
- Would you rather get a new puppy or a new kitten?
- If you could be any flavor of ice cream, what would it be and why?
- If you had a TV show, what would the name be and who would play you?
- Would you rather ride in a rocket to space or a submarine under the sea?
- If you could get rid of one subject forever, what would it be?
- What’s your favorite book or movie, and why?
- Would you rather tidy up your toys or do your homework?
- Which cartoon character would you like to be?
Fun Getting-to-Know-You Games for Online Classrooms
Same and Different
Trying to get your students to make new friends? This game is perfect!
- Split your participants into breakout groups of 3.
- Give them five minutes to list three things they have in common and three that are unique to each of them
- At the end of five minutes, ask them to share this list via a shared doc or an online whiteboard.
There’s nothing like encouraging team spirit and collaboration at a young age, is there?
I Present to You
This game will need a little prep work. But boy, is it worth it!
- Prepare a list of interview questions that students can ask each other.
- Pair up the class into teams of two
- Give them twenty minutes in breakout rooms to interview each other.
- Bring everyone back to the main room, and ask each pair to introduce each other to the rest of the class.
Not only does this give students insight into classmates, but it can also get rid of assumptions and stereotypes.
What Else Should I Know?
An icebreaker isn’t just a warm-up session… it can be insightful for you and your audience.
So always end with a debrief session. Ask questions like:
- What did you learn from that tiny activity?
- How is it tied to our session?
- Can we use anything from the activity during our session?
Here’s another thing to remember. Always, always timebox your icebreakers. On Toasty, this is made simple with the countdown timer with each activity.
The next time you have to organize a virtual session, don’t roll your eyes at the thought of icebreakers.
Whether it’s to welcome new team members, make virtual meetings less awkward, help absolute strangers collaborate during workshops, or even get students to play nice with each other in a classroom, give them a chance!
You may just be surprised.
🤝At Toasty, we have spent a lot of time creating a collaboration-driven platform. With inbuilt engagement activities, including fun icebreaker questions and games, we make it easy for you to plan an activity-filled agenda and engage your audience. Check out more about Toasty through our website.