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
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:

Need a quick way to insert some daily team building activities in your team?

Here are 10 quick and simple team building icebreakers:

10 Simple Team Building Icebreakers

1. 10 things in common

Split everyone into pairs and hand each pair a piece of paper. 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.

2. Baby Photos

This 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.

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 one 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.

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.

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 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. 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 one, 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. 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.

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?

Icebreaker games make meetings better by loosening everybody up and getting them into "meeting mode". With a quick 5-minute activity, 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 of time, 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, an icebreaker 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 exercise should encourage collaboration rather than competition. Be sure to incorporate team building into your workplace routines and practices.

What you should do now

Whenever you're ready...here are a few ways we can help you:

1. Book a team social event. If you'd like to work with us to have more engaging team events, book an event.

Don't know what activity to pick? Use the Team Building Idea Generator for options.

2. If you'd like to learn remote work strategies for free, head to our blog where you'll find several guides and posts.

3. If you'd like to create a offering for companies for a skill that you have, then contact us and let us know.

4. If you know someone who’d enjoy reading this page, share it with them via email, Linkedin, Twitter, or Facebook.

More Articles