Getting to Know You: More Ice Breakers and Team Building Exercises

The following are some of the Ice Breakers we have collected over the years. Many of them have been used at Training and DI Awareness events...they help kids laugh and begin working together-quickly- as a team!

Palm tree, elephants & giraffes
 Time: 5-10 mins
Participants: Small to large group
Method: This is a fast-moving, physical game that is good to use when people need to be re-energized. A group of people stand in a circle, with one person in the middle. The person in the middle randomly points at someone in the outside circle, and says “Palm Tree” – at which point, the person needs to pretend to be a palm tree (by putting their hands in the air). The two people either side of this palm tree need to become ‘coconuts’, by placing their heads near the armpits of the person who is the palm tree. The slowest person of the three to get into place then runs into the middle, and points at another group ‘Palm Tree’ … just as this routine is becoming to be understood by the team, two additional aspects are factored in – the Elephant and the Giraffe. The person in the middle can now choose between Elephant, the Giraffe and the Palm Tree – the Elephant needs to use both fists in front of the nose to make a trunk of the Elephant, and the two people either side need to make the ears of the Elephant with their hands. The Giraffe is made by the person in the middle standing with both hands above their head and the people on either side squatting to act as the legs of the Giraffe. With three aspects to the game, and the quick change over of the person in the middle, this is a good game to get people laughing and working quickly together. It is also works well as it requires speed and memory, rather than language ability.

Time: 5 mins
Number of participants: Small to large group
Method: Participants gather in a circle standing very closely behind each other. Slowly, they try to sit down on the lap of the person behind them, while supporting the person in front of them on their own lap. If participants are standing closely enough together, the circle will support all participants. The next challenge is for the circle to slowly walk around together, by moving one leg at a time, step by step (eg, all participants first move their outside leg together).

Human knot
Time:  10-15 minutes
Number of Participants: Medium to large group
Method: Each participant stands up and takes the right hand of another participant in their left and the left hand of a third participant in their right.  The group will come together making a human knot.  The group must figure how to undo the knot without speaking, forming a linked circle in the end.  Occasionally it happens that it is not possible, but is still useful for group problem solving. 
Circle The Circle
1. During this activity the entire group will work as a team to complete the passing of 2 hula hoops around the circle in the shortest amount of time.
2. To begin, have the entire group make a circle holding hands.
3. Place the hula hoops on opposite sides of the circle in between 2 people. The hula hoops should rest on the clasped hands of the 2 people.
4. Now instruct the group to move the hula hoops around the circle in opposite directions without releasing hands.
5. This is a timed activity to see how quickly the group can move the hula hoops completely around the circle back to the beginning point.
6. This activity should be done at least twice to allow the group to improve its time. 
Tying the Knot
 1. During this activity the entire group will work together to tie a knot in the rope within a taped space on the rope.
2. To prepare for this activity, lay rope out in straight line:
  a. Find the mid-point of the rope.
  b. Measure 2 feet away from the center point in both directions and place a piece of bright tape around the rope at both points.
3. Have entire group line-up along the rope with equal space between them.
4. Each participant will grasp the rope with both hands (and cannot let go until end of the activity).
5. The group’s task is to tie a single knot in the rope between the two taped marks near the center of the rope.
6. The group should be given sufficient time to complete this task and if they happen to finish quickly, their next task is to undo the knot- again without letting their hands leave the rope