Team building activities – Ice breaking ideas.

The following activities all run with minimal / no advance preparation and equipment. The activities have been split into activities for complete strangers, and ones that might be more appropriate for people that already know each other. However you may find games in both sections that would be suitable for your group.

This blog forms a series of blogs on team building.  For other ideas – see the other blog posts under the “Team Building” category.

 

Introductory questions for complete strangers:

 Requirements: nothing!

As facilitator ask each person in the group to give their name and give a reply to a question. Pick one or two of the following: (and don’t forget, when applicable, to add that all important question – why? At the end!)

 

Likes / dislikes

What their pet hate is.

What their most annoying habit is.

What their favourite (or most hated) meal / comfort food / TV programme / household chore etc is.

What their favourite joke is.

What they are most afraid of.

What is the most embarrassing CD / DVD they own.

 

Memories

 What the last dream they can remember was about.

What was the best present they’ve ever had?

What the naughtiest thing they did in childhood (and are prepared to admit to).

What they did on their last holiday / or what they did last weekend.

What was their favourite children’s TV show / toy etc?

What is their earliest memory / happiest moment in their life?

What did they want to be when they grew up?

 

Personal stuff

What achievement they are most proud of in their life.

What they would most want to do before they die.

What they would most like to change about themselves.

Who has influenced their life the most (past or present)?

Who they would most like to meet. (Can be historical or present day)

Which problem they would most like to solve in the world.

If they could change something about themselves what would it be?

 

Metaphors for themselves

If they had to describe themselves in different terms what would they be?

  • What colour?
  • What tool or appliance?
  • What animal?
  • What car?
  • What vegetable? etc

 

What ifs.

If you were to give them £1000 what would they spend the money on?

If they could be anyone or anything for a day who/what would they be?

If they could be in a film which one would it be?

If they could relive any year of their life which would it be?

If they could look into the future and find out one thing what would it be?

If they were trapped in a lift with three people, which people would they like to be trapped with?

If they were to invent something what would it do?

If they were to write a book what would it be about?

If they could ask God one question, ask them what it would be and why?

 


Introductory activities for complete strangers: (Note: Some of these require advance preparation and props)

 

Introduce your partner.

Get everyone to pair up. Each pair should find out about each other (name, job, anything else significant – you might want to pick something significant to your gathering) and then introduce the person they have just met to the rest of the group.

 

More metaphors

 Have a selection of objects in the room. Ask members of the group to pick one that best describes their life at the moment and explain why.

Tell the group they are going to a fancy dress party. Ask everyone what they would they go as? (Then tell them they have to make their own costume, will anyone change their mind?)

 

Telling statements

 Identify an area of the room that is “Definitely me” and another that is “Definitely not me”. Give a series of statements to which everyone must move to either “definitely me, or “definitely not me.” Here are a few to get you going:

  • I am stubborn.
  • I am warm and cuddly.
  • I am bored.
  • I hate warm up activities.
  • I like meeting new people.
  • I enjoy sport.
  • I am happy with my appearance
  • I am happy with my weight
  • I am comfortable in new situations
  • I am confident
  • I like learning new things

 

Would you rather??

Pick one or more of the questions below and ask each person in turn (there are a few to get you started, but you’ll be able to think of more.) This gets people talking and laughing together. Try and make them say their name first. You might like to think up a different question for each person.

 

Would you rather:

  • Step in a dog poo or have a bird dropping hit you on your head?
  • Go deaf or blind?
  • Loose your sense of smell or taste?
  • Live in the city or the country?
  • Give up your favourite food or favourite TV show?
  • Get the sack from your job or loose your driving license?
  • Be on trial in court or appear on the television in a chat show like Jerry Springer / Oprah Winfrey?
  • Be known for a mistake or a bad habit?

 

Line ups

 Get the people to form a line from tallest to shortest, or order of birthday date (January to December), or age, or place of birth (furthest north to furthest south) etc.

 

Who am I?

 Pick some characters from cartoons or famous people. Write them on stickers. (Do this in advance.) When the group is assembled stick a sticker on each person’s forehead. They must find out who they are, but they can only ask people Yes or No answers and can only ask one (or two depending on group size) question to each person.

 

What am I?

 Same as above but use household objects instead.

 


Introductory activities for groups that know each other: (Note: some of these require advance preparation and equipment e.g. pens and paper.)

 

How well do you know me?

Get everyone to write three really bizarre and random things about themselves on a piece of paper. Collect in the pieces of paper and read what’s on them. Get the rest of the guests to try and guess the person’s identity.

Get everyone to write down three things about themselves, two should be true and one should be false. Each person should read their list and get the other person to guess which is the false statement.

 

What would I do if?

Get everyone to write down ten things they would take with them to a desert island. Discuss the lists among the group.

Get everyone to write down what three things they would save if their house burnt down tonight. Get everyone to discuss the lists among the group.

 

Improving self-esteem.

Give everyone a piece of paper and get them to write their name at the top. Pass the paper to the person on their left. Each person must write something they admire about the person on the top of the page (this could be something they do, their personality or their looks). Keep passing the papers round to the left until the paper ends up back with the person named on the top.

 

Picture this.

Give everyone a piece of paper and pen and get them to draw a self portrait and then discuss the picture with the group.

Give everyone a piece of paper and get them to draw what mood they are in at the moment and discuss it with the group.

 

Concentration.

 Get the group to sit in a circle. Give the group a ball. They must say a person’s name and throw the ball to them, when that person catches it they must say another person’s name and throw it to them.

Sit the group in a circle. Set up a rhythm by slapping your thighs, clapping once and then snapping the fingers of each hand one after the other. (slap, clap, click, click) The idea is to say your name and then the name of another person in the group on the two clicks. (This is harder to do than you think). For example, you say (slap, clap) Leader, John, then on the next two clicks John must say (slap clap) John, Margaret etc.

Sit the group in a circle. Give the group a ball and a topic like vegetables or animals. Whenever someone catches the ball they must say something within that topic without repeating what has already been said and then throw the ball to someone else.

Have some lipstick (or something more washable) to hand. This time the rule is to say the following phrase exactly. Any mistakes and the person is given a spot of lipstick on their face and they must change the number of spots they have in the phrase. The beginning phrase is: “My name is X. I have no red spots. How many red spots do you have Y? (Where X and Y are two people in the group.)

 

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Flexible and fun!

We contacted Red-Herring-Games for a party for a special occasion. Why going to restaurants to eat is the preferred activity to mark milestones is beyond me and my friends.   The choice of mystery was obvious, looking at the options from New Zealand on the web Red Herring stuck out from the international options.  A quick look at the site and games showed subtlety as well a range of choices.  The numbers you could have for each evening was important,  Red Herring had scaling options a good range of scenarios but most importantly were Jo and team being flexible, responsive and helpful.

Rachel McWilliam, Arts Development Officer, Lincs Inspire

Thank you Red Herring Games for the marvellous 'Murder!  Cargo Connections?' event that you organised for us as part of Museums at Night at the Fishing Heritage Centre in Grimsby. The whole evening went so well and was brilliant fun.  I know from all the feedback that our visitors had a fantastic time. It was really good working with you and I have no doubt that we will do again in the not too distant future.  

A. Nonymous (council employee)

I would like to thank you and your colleague for helping contribute towards our successful conference last month.  Everyone really seemed to enjoy the evening and it was rewarding that so many delegates were able to participate in addition to the main "Actors".  Our conference evaluation froms included the following comments:
  • "Enjoyed the evening entertainment!"
  • The evening entertainment was great and the confusion made it great fun!"
With thanks and best wishes.

Sarah Spencer (Cleethorpes Chronicle)

I had no idea what to expect before purchasing a ticket for Old, New, Borrowed, Blue, which was being staged at a nearby hotel, and feared it might involve taking part in some way. However thankfully for me no acting was necessary, just some amateur sleuthing. "Wedding guests" of which I was one, were called upon to move from room to room in the hotel in groups, questioning a number of possible murderers with the aim of solving the mystery of the dead bridegroom. The interviewees were really fun characters and gave us all some good laughs. Of course they all had motives and it was a case of identifying the shiftiest. The wedding theme was particularly good, as it fitted well with the venue, the buffet that was part of the evening (with a wedding cake in the middle) and the fact that everyone had been able to dress up to fit in without going to the trouble of fancy dress. I didn't think I had enough "evidence" to actually accuse anyone but later regretted not even writing down my first guess as it wouldn't have been too far off the mark. The evening was great fun and everyone seemed to enjoy it and take part. I would definitely recommend Old, New, Borrowed, Blue as good for getting even reluctant or first-time mystery party-goers involved.  

Alan Young (Personal Touch Mortgages)

What a cracking nights entertainment! We don't get out much nowadays with 2 kids and this was exactly what we were looking for in a good night out. Lots of fun with tongue firmly in cheek and everyone kept guessing whodunnit right to the very end. Would definitely attend another!!!!!  

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