Human Resource Development

Icebreakers

Who Am I?

Description

Have each person secretly write on a post-it note the name of a famous person. Keeping the name hidden, stick the post-it to another 's forehead. Each person takes turns to ask the group questions to figure out whom the unknown person is. The catch is that only yes or no answers can be asked. If the answer is no, your turn is over. If the answer is yes, you can ask another question. Keep going until you get a no or make a guess at whom you are. If you guess right, you win or if you guess wrong your turn is over. Keep going until everyone has guessed or if time is tight, maybe stop after a few right answers.

Chat Show

Description

Get the group to pair off and take turns in being a chat show host and guest. The chat show host has to find out 3 interesting facts about their guest. Switch the roles and repeat. Bring everyone back to the big group and ask them to present briefly the 3 facts about their guest to the group. Maybe go round the group randomly so people are less aware of their turn coming up next and panicking about it. Watch timing on this one as it has a tendency to go on too long if your group likes to chat too much.



My Name Means...

Description

Split the group into pairs. Each pair has to come up with words that describe the person using the letters in their first name. The phrase is then shared with the group. As an example, Lyndsay could stand for "Loud, Young, Nerdy, Dreamer, Strong, Adventurous, Yearning". As a more creative alternative, each pair has to come up with a silly phrase based on the letters in their first name. Lyndsay could be "Lively Young Nurses Dance Salsa All Year"

Line Up

Description

If you've got a bigger group, split them up into smaller groups and see who completes each task quickest. Have your group form a line in order of height, birth month, distance traveled from work, etc. To make it more of a challenge, get the group to do this silently, using sign language or other alternative communication.



If I were a...

Description

Ask each person to say what they would be and why, if they were a fruit, historical figure, household object, cartoon character, or many other things. Examples include: I would be a pineapple as I am exotic, sweet and zingy; I would be a whisk as I like to stir things up.

The M&M Game

Description

In this exercise, the object is not to let on what it's all about. Let the participants come in and offer them M&Ms. After everyone has some yummy candy, ask participants to tell the group one thing about themselves for each M&M they took (You can add a twist by making categories for each color, i.e. For each red M&M, tell the group about a scar you have, for each green one, name a favorite food, etc.)



The Toilet Paper Game

Description

Same idea as the M&M game, except it's with sheets of toilet paper. Have a roll ready and ask participants to take as much or as little as they need. For each sheet, they tell something about themselves (You'll always have someone who takes 20 sheets)

HA!

Description

This one may sound rough, but it's really easy and a lot of fun. Everyone should lie down on the floor, and each person should put their head on another person's stomach, so they form an 'L' and have a chain of people with their heads on each other's stomachs. The first person in the chain says 'Ha!' The next person says 'Ha!' and then repeats the 'Ha!' from the previous person ('Ha Ha!'). And so on. The goal is to get to the end of the chain without anyone laughing (good luck).



Human Scavenger Hunt

Description

This one's easy. Make up lists of characteristics about people, and then group members need to find other members of the group who meet those criteria (e.g. someone from out of state, someone whose birthday is in March, etc.). You can also make this game into a form of Bingo!

Orange Pass

Description

This is kind of high risk, but still fun. The goal is for each member of the group to get into a line (or make several lines and turn it into a race). The first person passes an orange to the next person from neck to neck (no hands).



Trust Walk

Description

BE CAREFUL PLAYING THIS ONE! - Partner participants. Each pair of people is going to go for a walk. One person will be blindfolded, and the other will lead them, either by touch, verbal instructions, etc. This is great for building trust. Just make sure you don't take people anywhere dangerous and the leader isn't allowed to lie to the blindfolded. After a while, have the people switch roles.

Moving Circles

Description

Divide the group into two circles (each group must have the same number of people). Have one circle inside the other, so each person in the outside circle is standing directly across from someone on the inside circle. Then, ask a question for the group to discuss. The discussion should be between the people facing each other. After a bit, have one of the circles move one person to the left or right, so everyone has a new partner, and ask a new question. This can also be done in two lines facing each other.



The Name Game

Description

Have the group add an adjective to their name that begins with the same letter ('Terrific Tom' 'Cool Chris'). See if people can remember the names and the adjectives.

Stand Up

Description

Sit on the ground, back-to-back, with a partner, knees bent and elbows linked. The object is to stand up together. The game can be expanded to include as many people as possible.



The Human Knot

Description

Have everyone get together in a tight circle. Everyone places their hands in the center, grabbing the hand of someone else. Each person must have a hand in each hand, but must not be holding both hands of the same person. This will create quite a knot. The object is to untangle the knot, without anyone letting go--it involves a lot of under, over, and through, but has been done successfully with a group as large as 18.

Three Questions Game

Description

Everyone in the group writes down 3 provoking questions they would like to ask others in the group. Not the normal "what's you name" type questions but something like, "Where is the most interesting place you have ever traveled" or "Name a topic you feel absolutely passionate about". Give them time to mingle, and to ask three different people in the group one of their three questions. Get back together and have each person stand and give their name. As they say their name, ask the group to tell what they know about this person.



The Pocket/Purse Game

Description

Everyone selects one (optionally two) items from their pocket or purse that has some personal significance to them. They introduce themselves and do a show and tell for the selected item and why it is important to them.

The Talent Show

Description

Everyone selects one talent or special gift that they possess and can demonstrate for the group. They introduce themselves, explain what their special talent is, and then perform their special talent for the group.



Map Game

Description

Hang a large map of the world. Give everyone a pushpin. As they enter, they pin the location of their birth on the map.

Paper Airplane Game

Description

Everyone makes a paper airplane and writes their name, something they like and dislike on it (You may also want to add additional questions). On cue, everyone throws their airplane around the room. If you find an airplane, pick it and keep throwing it for 1-2 minutes. At the end of that time, everyone must have one paper airplane. This is the person they must find and introduce to the group.



The Shoe Game

Description

When entering, everyone must take off one shoe and leave it in a pile at the door. They keep the other shoe on. After everyone is in, the host will distribute the shoes to people not wearing the same shoe. When instructed, everyone must find the mix and find the person who belongs to the shoe and get some info about them. They then introduce their new friend to the group.

The Artist Game

Description

Give everyone a piece of paper and a pencil. In 5 minutes they must draw a picture that conveys who they are without writing any words or numbers. At the end of 5 minutes the host collects the pictures. Show the pictures to the group one at a time and have them try to guess who drew it. After this allow each of the artists to introduce themselves and explain how their work clearly conveys who they are.



Three in Common Game

Description

Break the group into 3's. Their objective is for each group to find 3 things they have in common. But not normal things like age, sex or hair color. It must be three uncommon things. After letting the groups converse for 10 - 15 minutes, they (as a group) must tell the rest of the groups the 3 things they have in common.

Dream Vacation

Description

Ask participants to introduce themselves and describe details of the ideal, perfect dream vacation.



Polaroid Game

Description

As participants arrive, take their picture with a Polaroid type camera. Hand out the pictures to the group with each participant getting a picture of another member of the group. Give them 15 minutes to find and talk to the people matching their picture. When the group reassembles, have each member introduce their new picture pal to the group and talk about what they learned about them.

Favorite T-Shirt Game

Description

Ask attendees to bring (or wear) their favorite T-shirt to the meeting. Once all participants have arrived, ask each person to show the shirt to the group and explain how the T-shirt best resembles their personality.



Favorite Animal Game

Description

As the guests arrive, and before you write their names on a name card, ask them to tell you their favorite animal and three adjectives to describe the animal. As they tell you, write the three adjectives on a name tag BEFORE their name (omit the name of the animal). Ask them to mingle with the crowd, sharing why these adjectives best describe their own personality. EXAMPLES: Loyal, cuddly, playful Dan

Creative Name Tags

Description

Give everyone 15 minutes to make their own name tag-they can list hobbies, draw a picture, give a self-profile, etc.



Marooned Game

Description

You are marooned on an island. What five items would you have brought with you if you knew there was a chance that you might be stranded. Note that they are only allowed five items per team, not per person. You can have them write their items on a flip chart and discuss and defend their choices with the whole group. This activity helps them to learn about other's values and problem solving styles and promotes teamwork.

The Interview Game

Description

Break the group into two person teams (have them pick a partner that they know the least about). Have them interview each other for about five minutes (You can also prepare questions ahead of time or provide general guidelines for the interview). They need to learn about what each other likes about their job, past jobs, family life, hobbies, favorite sport, etc. After the interviews, reassemble the group and have each team introduce their team member to the group.



Story Time Game

Description

The facilitator starts a story by saying a sentence. It then goes in a circle, each person adding a sentence onto the story-after repeating each sentence that's already been added.

Ball Toss Game

Description

Have everyone stand up and form a circle. Toss a nerf ball or bean bag to a person and have them tell everyone something unique about themselves. They then toss the ball to someone to introduce themselves as well. Continue the exercise until everyone has caught the ball at least once and introduced themselves and at least one unique thing.



Positive Reinforcement Cards Game

Description

Whenever a participant arrives to work on time from breaks, lunch, etc. give them one playing card. You can also hand out cards to people who volunteer for activities, are helpful, answers a difficult question, etc. At the end of the day, play one hand of poker. Give a small prize to the best hand (you can also pick the top two or three hands if you want to give away more prizes). Note that the more cards a person has, the better the chance of winning.

Lucky Penny Game

Description

Each person takes a penny or other coin out of their pocket and looks at the date. When it's their turn, they tell the year that's on their coin and recall something spectacular that happened that year.



Straw & Paperclip Game

Description

Give each group a box of straws (not flexible straws) and a box of paperclips. Check that the paperclips can fit snuggly into the end of the straws. Give each group a task and let them go. Sample tasks: Build the structure as a group - tallest, strongest, longest, most creative, most functional, etc. Debriefing includes describing teamwork and situational leadership skills used as well as how different models are needed to accomplish different tasks.

Two Truths and a Lie

Description

Each person tells the group three facts about themselves, one of which is a lie. The rest of the team then tells the group which one they think is a lie. Once everyone has had their vote, the person tells which one is the lie. This continues for each person in the group.



Puzzles Game

Description

Give participants a blank piece of puzzle (cut up a sheet of index card stock). Each person writes on the piece one skill which they contribute to the group. The puzzle is then assembled to show that everyone contributes to the whole.

Find Someone Game

Description

Each person writes on a blank index card one to three statements, such as favorite color, interest, hobby, or vacations. Pass out cards so everyone gets someone else's card. Have that person find the person with their card and introduce themselves.



Get in the News Game

Description

Divide your group into teams of four or five people each, and make sure each team has the necessary supplies--scissors, tape, pins, and plenty of old newspaper. You'll also need a separate room or corner in which each team can work with privacy (and hilarity). Each group selects one person to be the model. After deciding what kind of costume to make, the team goes to work--cutting, crumpling, bunching, rolling, piecing, pinning, and taping. After an appropriate amount of time, call everybody together for a costume show. (And don't forget to recycle your newspaper when you're finished!)

Make a Date Game

Description

Give each participant a paper plate. Have them draw the face of a clock on their plate with a line next to each number (no digitals!). Then have participants walk around a find a "date" for each hour, writing their name by the hour. The catch is, no one can make a "date" with more than one person per hour. After everyone has made their dates, speed up time and allow 1-3 minutes for each hour. The facilitator then asks a question for discussion on each date. The pairs will have a chance to get to know one another.



Quick Change Artist Game

Description

Pair off into partners facing each other. Each player is to observe his or her partner's appearance. Then the players turn around back-to-back and make two or more changes in their dress, hair accessories, etc. When they face each other again, each partner must identify the changes made by his or her partner. This game can be repeated several times by changing partners and increasing the number of changes made.

The Quiet Game

Description

The instructor explains that this exercise will take self-control. Members pair back to back. On the count of three, everyone must face their partner, look each other in the eyes, and then try to remain solemn and serious. No speaking! The first to smile or laugh must sit down. All who remain standing then take a new partner and the activity continues until only one person has not smiled or laughed. (Second round of playing can involve two teams competing to outlast each other.) If you get a pair at the end who both keep a straight face, the rest of the group can act ask hecklers to disrupt them.



Sunshine Cards Game

Description

Everyone writes their name in the center of a piece of paper and draws a sun around their name. Pass your paper around to the person on your right. That person will write something positive about you and they do not have to sign their name. Continue to pass your name around until everyone has written something on all the papers.

Finish the Sentence Game

Description

Write the start of a question on the board (i.e. My Favorite job was, My Hobby is.) and go around the room with each person finishing the sentence. When the group is finished, post another question and start again.