10 Simple Team Building Icebreakers to Lighten the Mood

Icebreakers can help boost your team morale, improve your organization’s teamwork skills and allow people to get to know each other.
10 Simple Team Building Icebreakers to Lighten the Mood
We've all had the terrifying experience of hearing your professor say "Let's start with some icebreakers for team building," on the first day of class. Your mind goes blank when asked to relate an interesting fact about yourself, regardless of whether you just went cliff diving or skydiving. It almost feels like you’ve never done one fun thing in your entire life. But we’re here to tell you it’s not you, it’s the played-out team building icebreaker games that don't make sense anymore. Despite their image, team building icebreakers are really very effective. They can be utilized by established teams to foster a sense of community and ultimately boost productivity—even after years of collaboration! Icebreakers not only boost output but also promote team relaxation and creativity in the workplace. You can still foster a close-knit culture among your team even if everyone is now or has always been distant. Realistically, most businesses can’t always give up entire days for retreats or training. However, there are other ways to weave team building exercises into day-to-day happenings in the organizations: icebreakers!

In this article you will find:

  • Purpose of Icebreakers
  • 10 team building icebreaker games for your team
  • Frequently asked questions about the best ice breaker games

Need a quick way to insert some daily ice breakers for team building?

Icebreakers For Team Building

"Icebreakers" often receive a chilly reception in workplaces. Many managers overlook or discount the concept of using short, simple games to prepare our brains for planning and problem-solving. However, there's evidence to suggest that the benefits of icebreakers outweigh the time invested in them.

Here are 10 quick and simple team building icebreakers:

10 Simple Team Building Icebreakers

1. 10 things in common

One of the best ice breaker games in which you split everyone into pairs and hand each pair a piece of paper for the 10 things in common. Each pair is responsible for finding 10 things they have in common with one another. Remember to tell everyone easy cop-outs aren't allowed, like “We both have hands”. Once they find 10 things they have in common, they share their discoveries with the group.

Team members might find similarities in interests and personality traits by playing this ice breaker team building game together. Invite individuals to find a partner so you can play; ideally, they should choose someone they haven't had a chance to get to know yet.

2. Baby Photos

This fun ice breaker activity requires a bit of preparation. Beforehand, send out a request for baby photos from each individual. The choice is up to them. They can bring in a physical photo in or simply snap a picture of their baby photo and email it in. 

Once you've compiled the photos, place them all up on a board, numbering each one. Thereafter, the game is simple. Guess which photo belongs to which employee by writing a name beside the corresponding number. The person who gets the most correct guesses takes home the grand prize. This is one of the best icebreakers for small groups.

Why it works:

  • Cute baby pictures and an entertaining guessing game fantastic mix to engage everyone!
  • Staggering the contest across many days allows for more images to be included and increases interest.
  • It's enjoyable and humanizing to see coworkers from their younger years since it makes us relate to each other as individuals.

3. First/Worst Job

The first/worst job is a remix of the baby photo icebreaker. Beforehand, have everyone write down their first or worst job. The person leading then reads out each job and the group tries to figure out who is who. Alternatively, this can be simplified even further by simply going around in a circle and sharing what your first or worst job experience was. 

4. Turing over a new leaf

This fun ice breaker involves a little teamwork and physicality. You'll need a few blankets or sheets or something similar in size and flexibility. Number people off into groups of four or five. Lay the blankets flat and have each team stand on top of their blanket like it's a tiny island. 

The goal of this exercise is to figure out how to flip the blanket over without letting anyone on the team touch the floor (pretend the floor is lava). If one person falls off the island, the whole team must restart. The first team to flip their blanket over wins. It's a great problem-solving exercise that typically involves a lot of laughter and rolling around on the floor.

While turning the sheet over, some players may not be able to see what is happening, so they must have faith that their colleagues are coordinating everyone's movements. This exercise fosters trust. Additionally, it promotes communication among team members.

The plastic sheet must be the proper size; if it is too little, the activity will be hard to finish, and if it is too big, it will be too simple.

5. This is better than that

This team building icebreaker is a fun spin on the classic deserted island scenario. To prepare, grab about eight random items from around the (home) office. It can be anything from a stapler to a chair. Try your best to pick as many interesting or odd items as you can for more absurd results. 

Lay out the items and number people into groups. The goal for this icebreaker is for groups to select the item they'd bring with them to a deserted island to help them survive. After teams deliberate, regroup and allow each team to present which item they chose and why.

These icebreaker game questions are often meant to assist adults break the ice or to provide a short and enjoyable game for friends. These are often referred to as "a or b questions," "pick one of two choices game," "either or questions," and "make me choose between two things.

6. Super-specific office trivia

Super-specific office trivia is designed to test everyone's awareness of their surroundings. The organizer is tasked with coming up with a game of trivia using super-specific details about the office and the organization. Example questions may look like this: 

  • How many company-branded coffee mugs do we have in the break room? 
  • What color is the sticker on the table in meeting room number 4? 
  • How many gadgets does the boss have on their desk? 
  • What year/month did the organization move into the new office? 
  • How many people work in customer support?

The more specific the questions, the better. The whole idea is for teams to discuss and debate fun or funny facts about the place they work. Who knows, they might even learn a thing or two! 

7. Fun and funny questions

Fun and funny questions are easy to pull off with minimal preparation. With the help of the internet, you'll put together a list of fun and thought-provoking questions for groups to discuss and present. The preselected questions are meant to facilitate discussion and debate. A few example questions for this icebreaker game are:

  • If you were a vegetable, what vegetable would you be? 
  • If you woke up tomorrow as an animal, what animal would you choose to be and - why? 
  • If you could live anywhere on this planet and take everything that you love with you, where would you choose to live?
  • Are you sunrise, daylight, twilight, or night? Please share why you picked your time of day

8. One question

Pretend that you are part of the hiring team at a fictional company in this ice breaker game. You and your team are tasked with finding your next superstar candidate with one caveat: you can only ask the candidate one question to determine whether or not they'd suit the role. You can make this game as absurd or as practical as you wish. 

For example, the role you could hypothetically recruit for could be General of the Star Wars Rebel Army, a kindergarten teacher, or a tour guide for an African safari company. It's up to you to add your own creativity to the game. Once each group has its role, they are sent away to discuss and brought back to present their question and reasoning to everyone.

9. Egg Drop

For this ice breaker game, you’ll need a carton of eggs for this exercise. Teams are tasked with using materials from around the office to protect an egg from breaking when dropped from about ten feet. Each team should have access to the same office materials like paper, paper clips, tape, erasers, and pens. The teams will compete to see who can protect their egg from breaking all while using the least amount of materials possible.

10. The one-word icebreaker

Keep things simple by having everyone describe their current mood in one word in this fun ice breaker activity. You can have people explain their one-word mood descriptor if you want to add more depth to your icebreaker activities, but you can also just go with the flow and enjoy how cryptic some of the answers can be e.g. I feel alpaca.

On That Note!

We understand that organizing fun team-building activities regularly can be as stressful as bringing your kid to a concert to watch her favorite boy band. 13-year-olds are scary. However, we are here to help you put together the best team building icebreaker games!  Have Teamland host a next-level virtual team event. 

Asking each other this or that question is one of the easiest and quick team icebreakers and a simple game to play with friends. Asking adults or kids these "either-or'' questions can help you rapidly find out important details about a coworker or group. Additionally, the best icebreaker games can spark deeper, smarter, and even humorous conversations can be sparked.

People also ask these questions about team building icebreakers

Here are the answers to the most common questions about team building icebreakers:

How can icebreakers boost work productivity?

Team building icebreakers and games make meetings better by loosening everybody up and getting them into "meeting mode". With quick team ice breakers, employees will be energized to tackle the meeting with enthusiasm.

When to use team building icebreakers for meetings?

Bringing a team together that will be working with one another for an extended period, and currently, everyone does not know each other. An icebreaker to kick off the first few meetings will help the new team bond and build crucial trust.

Bringing a team together that needs to work well with one another, very quickly. This team may not be working together for a while, but they have a project that needs to be done in the short term. In this case, a fun ice breaker can help them relax and get to know one another better so they can function more effectively and achieve their goal quickly.

What is the main purpose of team building?

The purpose of team building activities is to motivate your people to work together, to develop their strengths, and to address any weaknesses. So, any team building icebreakers exercise should encourage collaboration rather than competition. Be sure to incorporate team building into your workplace routines and practices.

Which quick team icebreakers can be done the fastest?

​Two Truths and One Lie

An easy and traditional game to break the ice. Every worker presents three self-statements: two honest and one false. Everyone then asks questions in an attempt to determine which is the lie.

What are some good team building icebreakers for meetings?

  • If you had the day to rule everything, how would you handle it?
  • What purchase do you remember making with your very first paycheck?
  • Which acronyms would you want to see disappear from the workplace?
  • Do you have a certain ability that you believe everyone ought to possess?
  • Which abilities, and why, are you wishing for?
  • Which would you choose as a pet: a dinosaur or a dragon?
  • As a youngster, what fictional character did you create?

What are 5 questions that make for great icebreakers for team building?

  • What is the most valuable guidance you have ever received? 
  • What would you teach a lesson on if you had to teach only one thing? 
  • What would be the one item you would cut out of your daily schedule and why?
  •  Which would you prefer—being the brightest or the funniest person in the room?
  • If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would you go and why?

What are the best motivation icebreakers?

“What inspires you with awe or wonder?”


  • It makes individuals feel mindful and open-minded and gives them a great start to the day.
  • It provides some context. Individuals get mired in the daily grind and often become fixated on being correct. 
  • This kind of thinking makes the process of coming up with ideas and being creative—which comes from an open place—a little easier.

Author Details

Written by:
Najeeb Khan
Head of Training & Events
Leadership Development, Team Training, Belonging, Diversity & Inclusion, & Innovation
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