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16 Easy & Fun Icebreaker Games for Small Groups (2024)

Updated January 3, 2024 · 14 min read

Working with large groups and small ones aren't always the same context. Sometimes, we need to find the best tools or resources for each scenario. Such is the case with using an ice breaker activity or getting-to-know-you icebreaker games. The following small group icebreakers are very simple, but effective, conversation starters for a small group of team members, new hires, or leadership teams.

However, and this is essential to remember, none of these fun icebreaker games will replace considerate and active listening on your part. Whether working in small or big groups. That skill is necessary for a team.

Recent research has found that when a leader is a good listener, teams show more improvement - so make sure you always have your ears open!

At the end of the day, everyone wants to feel like they’re being understood and that what they’re saying is being heard.

For all the best icebreakers listed below, we recommend no more than 10 people, or maybe 15 people maximum. The idea is to keep the group size small, so that trust can flourish.


Actually, we built our own icebreaker game perfect for small groups, and I'd love to share it with you.

Leaders at companies including the NYTimes, Google & Coca-Cola are using QuizBreaker as a fun way, automated way to bring their small groups of teams closer together every week.

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The aim of these quick and fun icebreakers is to have an easy way to start a conversation where you have the opportunity to do just that. In the process, we hope to put in fun activities that will give teams a great opportunity to build familiarity, rapport, and trust within a team.

Fun and Easy Icebreaker Games for Small Groups

So let's dive in and look at quick icebreakers games and team-building activities you can play in small group settings.

1) Trivia Games

trivianerd

Duration: 10 to 20 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Materials: You can use a tool like TriviaNerd.

At the very top of our list are trivia games. They're a great icebreaker because they're fun to play and easy to execute, especially for smaller teams.

If your team or group loves learning new things and a little healthy competition, a trivia game should serve its purpose. As an ice breaker, it's relatively easy to start and gets everyone hyped up and involved from the onset.

Instructions

  1. Choose some trivia questions. Try to select a category so that it's easy to group your questions.

  2. Share the questions with the group and award a point to whoever gives the correct answer the fastest.

  3. Give recognition to the person who gives the most correct answers.

If you're looking for a tool to help you facilitate your trivia games more seamlessly, try out TriviaNerd. It allows you to run multiplayer games online, no matter how many you have in your meeting or get-together. It doesn't matter if you have two or 20 people in the room. However, we want to note that our platform works best for 100 players and below (but since we're talking about small group icebreakers, we're in the clear!)

Overall, trivia is a fun-to-host game, which should make for fun team bonding moments. In the process, you'll learn a thing or two about a famous person or place in the process!

2) Word Chains

Word Chains

Duration: 5 to 10 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Materials: None

This icebreaker is one of our favorites to be used in small groups because it is highly adaptable. We also love this great classic game because it tests everyone's memory.

This makes it a great team building game to use at the start of a meeting or training session as research has actually found that memory games can improve brain function and visual recognition.

Instructions

  1. Get your team to sit in a circle.

  2. Decide on a category. For example, domestic pets, types of cars, fruits, football teams, colours or clothing items.

  3. Go around the circle, starting with yourself. The first player (i.e., you) lists a word that fits into the category (e.g., if the category was domestic pets, they would say “cat”).

  4. The next player then says the first player's word and adds their own word (e.g., cats, dogs).

  5. This continues until every player in the circle has said their own unique word related to the category (e.g., the last team member would say “cat, dog, fish, hamster, horse, gerbil and rabbit”).

3) 1000 Blank White Cards

1000 Blank White Cards

Duration: 30 to 60 minutes

Difficulty: Hard

Materials: 10 blank cards per person and a pen each

We love this icebreaker because it's unique, funny. It's also a good game for exercising your creativity and thinking outside the box.

We recommend using this icebreaker at the beginning of a meeting, or training session, to get everyone pumped up and ready for the session ahead.

Or, because the icebreaker is quite long and perhaps a tad complicated, it is also well suited to just being used as a bit of fun outside of virtual meetings or training sessions.

Instructions

  1. Hand each player 10 blank index cards.

  2. Each player should then write interesting rules on each of the cards so that they can be played in the game.

  3. These rules are things such as: speaking like a pirate for one turn, doing 10 jumping jacks before you take a turn, and pretending you're stuck on a desert island. They can even have things written on them, such as how points are scored or when the game ends.

  4. Shuffle all the cards that were created together, along with 10 additional blank cards, and deal out five cards to each player.

  5. On player one's turn, they draw a card from the deck and then play a card from their hand (place the card in the middle of the table).

  6. They then follow the rule on the card (e.g., speak like a pirate). If a blank card is drawn, it can be written on and played at any time.

  7. It is then player two’s go. They do the exact same thing - then player three goes, and so on and so forth.

  8. Play continues until there are no cards left in the deck, or until a card has determined the end of the game.


Check at our awesome online quiz game perfect for small groups: QuizBreaker.

Thousands of teams around the world play QuizBreaker as a fun way to learn more about each other and bring their teams closer together each week.

Click here to learn more about QuizBreaker and try if for free.


4) Interview Game

Interview Game

Duration: 15 to 25 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Materials: Pen and paper to make notes on

This icebreaker is an excellent way to spark conversations in quieter groups and for longer team meetings.

It's also great to use when there isn’t a lot of space to move around, which is why we like it so much.

Instructions

  1. Get your team split up into pairs.

  2. The pairs then decide between themselves who will be the interviewer and who will be the subject - everyone will eventually play both roles, so it doesn’t really matter who goes first.

  3. Each pair has a time limit of three minutes - the interviewer must find out three fun facts about the subject, including facts like their birth place, favorite TV show, favorite songs, and other favorite things.

  4. After three minutes, bring all the pairs together and get one interviewer at a time to explain what interesting facts they discovered about their subject.

  5. Get everyone to jot the notes down, so that it’ll spark conversation at a later date.

  6. Once everyone has shared their facts, switch the roles around.

5) Four Corners

Four Corners

Duration: 15 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Materials: Pen & paper

This icebreaker, which is also known as four squares, is a great way to break the ice in small groups because it requires people to talk about themselves.

And let's face it, we all like talking about ourselves really.

The icebreaker requires a bit of imagination and creativity, and that's why we love it!

Instructions

  1. Give everyone a piece of paper and a pen.

  2. Everyone divides their sheet into four boxes.

  3. In each square, everyone should describe themself in the form of a drawing.

  4. Choose the four topics in advance, e.g., top left is hobbies, bottom left is vacation etc.

  5. After 5 to ten minutes, get everyone together to explain what they’ve drawn and how it is unique.

6) Fabulous Flags

Fabulous Flags

Duration: 15 to 20 minutes

Difficulty: Medium

Materials: Several sheets of paper, pens (coloured)

We all feel more connected once we know what people value and like.

In short, we love this ice breaker because it gives people a chance to show what represents them and what is important to them.

Instructions

  1. Give each participant a sheet of paper, pens and coloured pencils.

  2. Tell group members to draw out a flag that symbolises them - highlight that they should draw things that they find enjoyable and important (e.g., a guitar if they are musical, the outline of their favourite country).

  3. After 15 minutes, get people up to the front to share what they’ve drawn and what it means to them.

7) Helium Stick

Helium Stick

Duration: 5 to 10 minutes

Difficulty: Hard

Materials: Long and light-weight pole

This is one of our favourite icebreakers for small groups because it’s active and stimulating.

It's guaranteed to get everyone laughing and feeling like they are bonding together - after all, they do say that laughter is the greatest medicine!

Instructions

  1. Get your team members to stand in two equal lines, facing each other.

  2. Each person needs to place a hand in front of them with their index finger pointed out.

  3. Place a pole on top of all the index fingers so that it is resting evenly.

  4. Get everyone to lower the pole to the ground without anyone losing touch with it at any stage (make sure you’re carefully watching to spot any cheats!).

8) Empires

Empires

Duration: 30 to 45 minutes

Difficulty: Hard

Materials: Paper

This icebreaker is a little harder to get your head around, but once you’ve got the hang of it, we know you’ll love it as much as us.

It's our personal favourite because it's complicated and gets everyone using their brain!

Instructions

  1. Pick one person to be a ‘adjudicator’, and they must leave the room.

  2. Chose a topic, for example: food, card, countries.

  3. One by one, each team member tells the adjudicator one word from the category - the adjudicator must write each word down in order.

  4. The adjudicator then comes back into the room and reads the list of words out. They must only read this list out once.

  5. The other team members must try and memorise all the words in the list.

  6. Starting with any player, they call out the name of one person and the word they think they told the adjudicator.

  7. If they get it wrong, the game continues to the next player.

  8. If they get it right, the persons who word they guessed moves next to them and they become the King of the Empire and they can guess again to someone else until they get it wrong and the next player has a god at guessing.

  9. The winner is the person who has the biggest empire

9) Identity

Identity

Duration: 15 to 30 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Materials: Piece of paper per participant and a big piece of paper

This icebreaker is a way to get everyone to know each other, whilst taking the pressure off.

We also love it because it requires splitting your team up into two competitive teams - and hey, a bit of friendly competition is good for us all every now and then!

Instructions

  1. Divide your group into two teams.

  2. Get every team member to write the name of a well-known person they would like to be on a notecard (e.g., Madonna).

  3. Collect the notecards (one team at a team) and write the names on a big piece of paper for everyone to see.

  4. The teams have to decide which person would’ve chosen to be which well-known person.

  5. The winning team is the one who correctly guesses the most - give them a little prize!

10) The Tangled Chain

The Tangled Chain

Duration: 10 minutes

Difficulty: Medium

Materials: None

Last but not least, this icebreaker is one of our favourites for small groups of adults because it involves your team getting up, getting involved and getting active.

Due to the personal contact involved in this icebreaker, we suggest only using it on small teams who are fairly well acquainted.

Instructions

  1. Get everyone to huddle in a group in the middle of the room and hold hands with someone across the circle (make sure everyone washes their hands!).

  2. Everyone much then untangles themselves (to make the game more fun, ensure that there are some complicated handholds going on).


Other Quick Ideas for Icebreaker Games for Small Groups

Here are five additional ideas for quick icebreaker games you can play with small groups:

11) Two Truths and a Lie

Instructions:

Participants come up with two true statements and one false statement about themselves. Taking turns, each individual shares their three statements with the group, which then guesses which is the lie. This activity fosters lighthearted fun and personal connection.

12) Silent Line-Up

Instructions:

Ask participants to line up in a specific order without speaking (e.g., by birthday month and day, by shoe size, or by the number of siblings). They will have to use non-verbal communication, gestures, and other creative ways to determine the correct order. This activity encourages observation, non-verbal communication, and cooperation.

13) Social Bingo

Download a social bingo with fun facts about people and see who can fill them up the fastest

14) Marshmallow Challenge

Give your teams a marshmallow, some tape, and uncooked spaghetti and have them build the highest tower they can. Whoever has the highest tower after a set time limit wins.

15) Scavenger Hunt

Give your team a list of items to collect and see who gets it done in 30 seconds or so. You can add a theme like Christmas and only have Christmas-themed items. For virtual scavenger hunt options, check out this list we made of 15 virtual scavenger hunt ideas.

Need more ideas for your virtual team? Check out these virtual team building activities for small groups and teams of all sizes.

16) Toilet Paper Icebreaker

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I keep my employees engaged when they are in smaller groups?

First, that is the best way to create employee engagement. Smaller and more intimate the group the icebreaker games become more effective. You are able to really get to know each and every one of your employees.

Need advice on how to keep your virtual team engaged? We have added our list of Best Remote Employee Engagement Ideas

Is there a limit to the number of participants?

We recommend at least 3 people per group. As you want the opportunity for everyone to speak and bounce commentary off each other.

How long are these activities going to take?

They all are around 10-45 minutes long. We don't want the activities to take too long or you can lose your team's engagement.

What is the most effective activity on this list?

We think any of these will be great additions for icebreaker games. But our personal favorite is Who am I?.

  • Can I use these with students?

Definitely! These ice breaker questions can be great for uni or high school students. But use your good judgment to simplify or contextualize the questions as needed.


Conclusion

We hope you like these ice breaker ideas for a small group. If you need activities for a more general context then check out this list of our best ice breaker games.

Heather Harper

Article by

Heather Harper

Heather Harper has a Masters in Occupational Psychological from the University of Manchester. She currently works as an editorial writer specialising in organizational psychology - helping teams work better together.

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