Icebreakers & games for team and community building

Some free icebreaking, team-building, community-making resources and selections, mainly from nonprofits, schools, and government agencies.

Some notes on when to use icebreakers, and what makes them good – from the Resource Center of the Corporation for National & Community Service (@nationalservice). “Icebreakers are often used to encourage people to open up or feel comfortable, invite participation in a group activity, and stimulate inclusion. However, an ineffective icebreaker can create discomfort or tension, straining rather than energizing a group dynamic.”

From Teambuilding & Icebreakers (pdf): “The primary goal for an icebreaker or a getting acquainted exercise is the development of an environment which is anxiety-reducing and which allows individuals to “break the ice” or get acquainted by having fun.” – from Associated Students, Western Washington University

 

Teambuilding, Icebreakers & Energizers from the Association of Washington School Principals. Includes Teambuilding, icebreakers & energizers, Inclusion, School Observances, General leadership concepts & activities, Inspirational stories.

Teamwork Exercise: Icebreakers, from Collaborative Justice. Icebreakers offer an easy initial opportunity for us to introduce ourselves to the larger team and to share a bit about our lives in an effort to promote openness and sharing among team members, and to set the tone for our future work together.

Icebreakers, Energizers & Team-building Activities (pdf) from the Youth Power Curriculum of Contra Costa Health Services. “The Guide is a resource for teaching youth about activism, leadership and community organizing. Use the easy-to-follow lessons in this practical training manual to partner with high-school aged youth to create real changes in their lives and communities.”

The Programming and Technical Assistance Unit of the Florida DJJ provides several free guides (in pdf form) for both trainers and participants. Icebreaker categories include Breaking into Groups, Change, Communication, Following Instructions, Introductions, Reviewing Difficult Material, Values, and Waking Up / Relieving Tension.

Great Group Games, cited by the American Library Association, includes group game instructions, how-to videos, downloadable worksheets, and editor’s picks. Founded by Stacy Chan (@greatgroupgames) “to share group game ideas between youth leaders, teachers, parents, camp counselors and community leaders”.

Icebreakers from group-games.com. From their About page: “This site is run by two self-proclaimed game-lovers, Joe and John. We pride ourselves in bringing you instructions for the best, most fun group games and activities. This website is completely free.” See also: Index of all group games; Teambuilding.

icebreakers.ws – “This site features instructions to several playtested, high quality free icebreakers, fun games, and team building activities.”

From Icebreakers, Team Building Activities, and Energizers (pdf) by the Lions Club International: “activities to facilitate introductions, to introduce a topic, to review concepts recently learned, to encourage team building, and to energize. There are also some miscellaneous activities at the end that you might find interesting or useful.”

From Games and Icebreakers by the Intervarsity Ministry Exchange: “Creative methods to spur discussion or introduce people or an idea.” MX is a “participatory website, accessible to anyone, for easily sharing ministry resources.”

50+ Icebreakers and Cultural Games from NAFSA: Association of International Educators. What are Icebreakers? What can Icebreakers Do? Considerations in Planning Icebreakers. Things to Be Careful about in Using Icebreakers.

Team Building Activities (pdf) by the National Community Development Institute. A 26-page document with details on icebreakers and community building activities. Developed by NCDI and other organizations (npaction.org, trainingforchange.org). Categories include Constituency Building Icebreakers, Community Building Activities, Learning Styles, Inspirational Stories, Team Building Articles.

 

From the National Park Service Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program: “Ice breakers can effectively break tension and encourage interaction between people, whether they know each other or not. While we often encounter some who are resistant to doing ice breaker activities, more often than not, these activities generate laughs and set a more positive tone for the meeting.” See also their index of tools for various phases of community building.

The wiki Teampedia is a “collaborative encyclopedia of free team building activities, free icebreakers, teamwork resources, and tools for teams that anyone can edit”. Founded by Seth Marbin (@smarbin) before he joined Google as a trainer, then as GoogleServe Global Director. See also the Resources page, with links to sites, blogs, books, and more.

Team-building activities from Training for Change. A small selection of team-building exercises, but provides useful details such as setup, variations, and debrief.

The Useful Games site was developed by David Wilcox (@davidwilcox) and Drew Mackie, who have worked together since the early 1980s on regeneration projects, partnerships and community participation. During that time they developed a range of workshop games, some of which are available here. Content appears as blog items, and are indexed under our games.

From Wilderdom: Icebreakers, Warmups, Energizers, & Deinhibitizers. Wilderdom is a website run by researcher and psychologist James Neill (@jtneill). Related resources in this site: Game Index, Trust Building Activities, Team Building Activities.

From Volunteer Power: Ice-Breakers, Event Openers, and Team Building Activities for Committees, Boards, and Volunteer Staff Meetings.

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