Icebreakers are used to get individuals or groups unfamiliar with each other to interact. It can help people become more comfortable in a new activity, event or gathering.
This badge program is geared toward more “adult” icebreakers.
Review the provided supplements listed below. Download and review as you work through the steps. As you review them, note that many of the icebreakers may be done by adults or kids.
2. Introduce icebreakers.
You may find resistance from adults to participate. You can help encourage participation by:
- Being enthusiastic
- Choose volunteers who are not embarrassed
- Be prepared to move on if the icebreaker doesn’t have the intended effect
- Finish icebreakers while they’re being enjoyed, not when your adults are tired of it
- Make sure they are age and ability appropriate
Taking these into consideration, select a few icebreakers for an event, meeting or training.
Look through your collected icebreakers. Find themes or common threads that you can incorporate with your meetings, events or trainings. You want your icebreakers to work with your activity, not be a distraction from it. You may need to adjust an icebreaker to fit your needs. For example, if you are doing an outdoor training, you may want to incorporate outdoor elements into your icebreaker.
When you need to choose icebreakers, there are considerations beyond theme and age appropriateness.
You’ll need to determine how much time you have for your icebreakers. Some will take less than five minutes while some may take half an hour. Unless you plan for your entire event to be icebreakers, keep the length in mind.
The size of the group is very important. If you ask for five favorite animals from five people, that will take a lot less time than those same five animals for twenty people. Also, sometimes the Icebreakers require individuals, pairs or even groups of five or more to be effective.
The area you have to work with will have a great deal to do with your choices. If you will be in an unfamiliar location, find out if you can visit it before your event. Ask if there are restrictions. Check to see if you have enough room for more active icebreakers. Also, if you need to put items on the wall, are you allowed to pin or tape them up?
What other restrictions might affect choosing and doing icebreakers?
5. Know your stuff.
A successful icebreaker needs step-by-step instructions and then needs to be demonstrated. They are most effective when they are thought out, practiced and have clear instructions. Take the icebreakers you chose and review them thoroughly. Ask yourself the following questions.
- Do the directions sound clear and thorough?
- Can I explain the directions in my own words?
- Do I have the materials I need?
- Can I acquire any materials I need to create or find beforehand?
- Have I thought of ways to adapt the icebreaker to help it work better with my theme?
- Do I have a person / people to try the icebreaker to verify I have everything and it works?
The provided icebreakers may not give you what you need. Go out on the Web and find more icebreakers you can use with your adults. There are many free ones online. Save the ones you think look interesting.
7. Break the rules.
Sometimes the icebreaker doesn’t work the way it is written. Keep notes on any adjustments you incorporate to make it workable before the event.
If you tried to run it and it didn’t work, reflect on the situation to determine what went wrong and if you could use it again. Make sure you keep track of your thoughts so you don’t repeat a bad experience.
8. Introduce and energize.
Icebreakers can be used to introduce people to each other and help them become comfortable before starting your event.
Sometimes your icebreakers can be used as energizers. Watch your audience for information overload, boredom or distraction. This is your hint to do something different to get everyone back on track. Usually you’ll want to plan two or three icebreakers for a two-hour activity. Review your icebreakers. Which can be used as energizers? How can you adjust your chosen icebreakers to fit with your theme?
Sometimes it’s difficult to find appropriate icebreakers and you will need to make your own. Try developing an icebreaker and share it. Before you do, here are a few things to keep in mind.
- Your program should be 60-70% of your time, with the remainder for icebreakers
- Determine the abilities / dynamics of your group
- What is the goal for your icebreaker? Warm up and introductions? Energizer? Bridging to another topic?
- To illustrate as an example of what you are showing
- Amount of physical and mental exertion of participants
- Individual, pairs or group participants
Adults may have participated in icebreakers previously. They appreciate the opportunity to share their knowledge and experience. At your activity, you can ask for any adjustments that they have made to your chosen icebreakers. You can also ask them to lead. Make sure to give them enough time to prepare.
- Avery 2” round label printable, 12 up
- Badge checklist
SUPP_Play Fun_ABCs of Me_larajla
- Play Fun: ABCs of Me
- Play Fun: Accomplishments
SUPP_Play Fun_Am I Famous_larajla
- Play Fun: Am I Famous?
SUPP_Play Fun_Animal Noises_larajla
- Play Fun: Animal Noises
SUPP_Play Fun_Around World_larajla
- Play Fun: Around the World
- Play Fun: Autographs
SUPP_Play Fun_Balloon Hugging_larajla
- Play Fun: Balloon Hugging
SUPP_Play Fun_Balloon Pop_larajla
- Play Fun: Balloon Pop
SUPP_Play Fun_Beach Ball Toss_larajla
- Play Fun: Beach Ball Toss
SUPP_Play Fun_Bumper Sticker_larajla
- Play Fun: Bumper Sticker
- Play Fun: Commercials
- Play Fun: Conversations
SUPP_Play Fun_Cotton Ball Races_larajla
- Play Fun: Cotton Ball Races
SUPP_Play Fun_Desert Island_larajla
- Play Fun: Desert Island
SUPP_Play Fun_Dream Vacation_larajla
- Play Fun: Dream Vacation
SUPP_Play Fun_Fact or Fiction_larajla
- Play Fun: Fact or Fiction / Two Truths and a Lie
SUPP_Play Fun_Favorite T-Shirt_larajla
- Play Fun: Favorite T-Shirt
- Play Fun: Flags
SUPP_Play Fun_Follow the Leader_larajla
- Play Fun: Follow the Leader
SUPP_Play Fun_Fortune Cookie Writer_larajla
- Play Fun: Fortune Cookie Writer
SUPP_Play Fun_Graffiti Boards_larajla
- Play Fun: Graffiti Boards
SUPP_Play Fun_Heads Up_larajla
- Play Fun: Heads Up
SUPP_Play Fun_Hoop Pass_larajla
- Play Fun: Hoop Pass
SUPP_Play Fun_Human Chair_larajla
- Play Fun: Human Chair
SUPP_Play Fun_I Like to_larajla
- Play Fun: I Like to
SUPP_Play Fun_Ice Cubes_larajla
- Play Fun: Ice Cubes
SUPP_Play Fun_Instant Replay_larajla
- Play Fun: Instant Replay
- Play Fun: Interview
SUPP_Play Fun_Introduce Myself_larajla
- Play Fun: Introduce Myself
SUPP_Play Fun_Ive Done Something_larajla
- Play Fun: I’ve Done Something You Haven’t Done
SUPP_Play Fun_Joys in Life_larajla
- Play Fun: Joys in Life
- Play Fun: Laps
- Play Fun: Lollipop
SUPP_Play Fun_Magic Wand_larajla
- Play Fun: Magic Wand
- Play Fun: Masks
SUPP_Play Fun_Moving Questions_larajla
- Play Fun: Moving Questions
SUPP_Play Fun_My Hometown_larajla
- Play Fun: My Hometown
SUPP_Play Fun_My Name is_larajla
- Play Fun: My Name is . . .
SUPP_Play Fun_Name Chain_larajla
- Play Fun: Name Chain
SUPP_Play Fun_Name Game_larajla
- Play Fun: Name Game
SUPP_Play Fun_Never Have I Ever_larajla
- Play Fun: Never Have I Ever
SUPP_Play Fun_Odd Bean_larajla
- Play Fun: Odd Bean
SUPP_Play Fun_Paper Airplanes_larajla
- Play Fun: Paper Airplanes
SUPP_Play Fun_Pass the Orange_larajla
- Play Fun: Pass the Orange
SUPP_Play Fun_Penny Dates_larajla
- Play Fun: Penny Dates
- Play Fun: Play-Doh-tionary
SUPP_Play Fun_Pocket or Purse_larajla
- Play Fun: Pocket or Purse
SUPP_Play Fun_Positive Impressions_larajla
- Play Fun: Positive Impressions
- Play Fun: Puzzles
- Play Fun: Questions
SUPP_Play Fun_Recent Past_larajla
- Play Fun: Recent Past
SUPP_Play Fun_Rolling Right Along_larajla
- Play Fun: Rolling Right Along
SUPP_Play Fun_Save Three Things_larajla
- Play Fun: Save Three Things
SUPP_Play Fun_Skittles and MMs_larajla
- Play Fun: Skittles and M&Ms
SUPP_Play Fun_Statement Sheet_larajla
- Play Fun: Statement Sheet
SUPP_Play Fun_String Necklaces_larajla
- Play Fun: String Necklace
SUPP_Play Fun_Tale Toss_larajla
- Play Fun: Tale Toss
SUPP_Play Fun_Thats Me_larajla
- Play Fun: That’s Me!
SUPP_Play Fun_Three in Common_larajla
- Play Fun: Three in Common
SUPP_Play Fun_Would You Rather_larajla
- Play Fun: Would You Rather?
Sites to Explore
Get the infographic here > larajla blog post
Get the PDFs of the badge program / supplements here > Full badge PDFs