I once read an article by Karen Wilk which challenged me think about the term ice-breaker. In the article she encourages people to use the term ‘community makers’ rather than ‘ice-breaker as it more accurately describes the aim of the activity – to develop community and connection in your group. I love that idea so now I advocate for all small groups to schedule a ‘Community Maker’ activity into their meetings.
Below are some you might like to use in 2018.
Write down the most interesting job you have had. Put in bowl. Each person chooses one and tries to guess who had the job
Open up the nearest book or magazine and point to a random word. Usually, the word should be a noun, like “basketball” or “elf” or “mandarin orange.” It can also be a proper noun like “the Leaning Tower of Pisa.” People in the group, share what they associate with that word. What does it mean to them? What does it remind them of? You can go in any direction when reacting to the word, there are no limits. Often, people talk about how they first learned about the thing in question, what meaning it had to them in childhood, or what they like or hate about it today.
The ‘good’ the ‘bad’ and the ugly
People take a minute to share about what’s happened since the group last met in one or all the above categories
What is Important to you?
Ask people to take out of their purse wallet one thing that is important to them. Then each person takes turns sharing what they have chosen and why
What’s is a Name?
Each participant is asked to give his/her middle name and tell how or why that particular name was chosen for them. The facilitator should begin the process and if appropriate, do it with a little bit of humour to encourage others to share.
Ask each member to name three people, past or present, they admire. Why?Or, ask them if they could interview anyone in history, who would that be and why? What one or two questions would you want to ask?
How do you feel?
Ask the group participants to quietly write down words or phrases that describe a feeling they have experienced since the group last met. Group members then share what they have written
Finish the Sentence
Ask each person to complete one of these sentences (or something similar)
The best job I ever had was…
The worst project I ever worked on was…
The riskiest thing I ever did was…
Have each person share their best and worst moments from the previous week. This icebreaker is an easy one to use at first and gives you good feedback concerning their life at the moment.
Use the smallest coin in your currency!) every chair has a coin, each made in different years. Each person shares a memory from the year of their coin.
Personal Scavenger Hunt
Take five minutes and find the following items in your wallet or purse: Something that;
You’ve had a long time – You’re proud of – Reveals a lot about you, -Reminds you of a fun time -Concerns or worries you.
Have each person share the first item. Go around again on the second item, and again until you have gone through each one. Don’t feel like you have to use the whole list because it will take too long.
Chart Your Life
Thinking back as far as you can, draw a line graph to represent your life. Consider the high points, the low points, moments of inspiration, moments of despair, levelling off times, and where you are now. The line will probably be a mixture of straight, means to you with the group.
You Write the Questions
Give each person a 3X5 card. You pick the topic and let them write the questions. For example, you choose “friendship” as a topic, and they each write out a question for anyone in the group to answer about friendship. For example, “What do you value most in a friend?” or, “Who was your best friend growing up and why?” Then pile all the cards face down in the middle of the group and let people choose one to answer.
My Life in Pictures
Give each person a newspaper or magazine, have each person tear out a picture, article or anything they think tells something about themselves. If there’s enough time they can make a collage that tells more about themselves.
This works well as a prayer idea. People choose an article that they have found as prayer focus during prayer time
House on Fire
Your house is on fire, and everyone is safe. You have thirty seconds to run through the house and collect three or four articles you want to save. What would you grab? Why? After everyone has done this, the group can discuss what they learned about the things they value.
You’ve been exiled to a deserted island for a year. You are told you may take three things you want, apart from the essentials. What would you take and why?”
If you could go anywhere in the world now, where would you go and why?
If you could talk to anyone in the world, who would it be? Why?
If you could talk to any person who has died, who would you talk to and why?
If you could wish one thing to come true about your upcoming summer, what would it be?
A set of 52 Beautiful cards with graphics and words. Ask people to choose one that ‘speaks’ to them and then each person shares the cared they chose. You could easily make your own but they can be purchased. https://innovativeresources.org/resources/card-sets/signposts/
The Ungame -Pocket Version
A set of cards, each with different questions. The card deck is passed around and each person chooses the top card, reads out the question, answers it then passes the deck on.
Throw and Tell Ball
A beach ball with lots of different questions on it. Throw around the circle and answers the questions. It is promoted as a youth activity but I have found adults love it too! You could easily make your own. https://www.group.com/product/9781470720353-throw-tell-8482-ice-breakers-ball.do