Leading a workshop, and participating in one, can be a rewarding experience for both the facilitator and the participants. It is no secret that knowing who your audience is, and catering your ice-breaker to your audience, can make the workshop/facilitation that much more engaging and meaningful. Icebreakers are a great way to get the energy of the group going or to engage with your group at the beginning of the day or after a break.
These 5 activities will surely help you break the ice in your next workshop, facilitation, or meeting.
Workshop Icebreaker #1. One Word Relay
1. Pick a relevant workshop topic collectively or have one ready to go.
2. Choose an object/ball (relevant to topic and/or funny) and prepare it to pass around.
3. Begin by getting everyone in a circle and explain that you will collectively construct a story. This will be done by each choosing one word. The words will string together to form a story.
4. Ideally, the word should fit into the sentence structure and story topic, but be fairly random. With every pass of the object and new word addition, the story should get more and more interesting.
5. Have someone document the story and send to workshop participants. Everyone can laugh and share!
Workshop Icebreaker #2. Snowball Fight
1. Gather your group in a circle and hand each participant a piece of paper.
2. Ask each participant to write a funny fact about themselves on the piece of paper.
3. After they finish writing, tell participants to crumple up their papers and start throwing their ‘snowballs’.
4. For a whole minute, everyone can continue to throw ‘snowballs’, but when the time is up, everyone should end up with a ‘snowball’.
5. After one minute, everyone gets in a circle, reads the funny facts aloud, and tries to guess who each snowball belongs to.
Workshop Icebreaker #3. Pass the Toilet Paper
1. Start by handing out a roll of toilet paper and tell each participant to rip off as many pieces as they want.
2. After everyone has their toilet paper sheets, ask them to share a fun fact or story about themselves for each sheet of paper they are holding.
Workshop Icebreaker #4. Doodle Portraits
Everyone gets a sheet of paper, sits down and draws someone in the room. The weirder/ funnier/worse the drawing the more exciting the icebreaker.
After everyone is done drawing or time is up, everyone would take turns showing the picture to the group with the group coming to a vote on who this is a drawing of.
If the group gets it right, they get a reward….etc
Workshop Icebreaker #5. M&M Questionnaire
1. Pour M&M’s into a bowl and pass them around, asking participants to take a handful and hold onto them until everyone has their share.
2. For each color, have a question prepared and write them all down on a whiteboard after the M&M’s are handed out.
Here are examples:
Red: Why you love your agency/organization/company
Orange: Best childhood memory
Blue: Favorite vacation spot
Green: Favorite food
Brown: Favorite movie
Yellow: Why they are participating in this workshop/facilitation
3. Based on the colors of the M&Ms that the participants collected have them answer the questions in front of the group.