14 fun icebreakers for training sessions
It’s important to lighten the mood, improve rapport and energise people at the beginning of a training session. But when you have a class full of delegates who don’t know each other (or you!), what are the best quick icebreakers to get the conversation flowing and make your training content engaging?
In this blog, we’ll run down 14 fun training session icebreakers that are suitable for groups of all sizes and demographics.
Whether you are a trainer wondering how to make training fun and interactive, or your training company wants ideas to make your online courses more interesting, these quick icebreakers will set your delegates up for a productive training course.
14 training session icebreakers
1. Find 2 people
This icebreaker game is about getting to know new people. Give your delegates a printout similar to the one below, with a series of questions that are relevant to the type of course you are running or the people in the class.
Explain that the aim is to find at least two people who meet each of the requirements on the printout and to write their names down.
Give them around 10 to 15 minutes to chat with different people and fill in the table as much as they can.
If you have time, you could then discuss the results you found afterwards.
2. Human bingo
This is the same idea as the above, but with a more competitive spin.
The facts are written on a bingo-style sheet, and they are only looking for one person who it applies to rather than two. Participants write the name or obtain the signature of the relevant people on their bingo grid.
Once someone gets a full row, they shout “BINGO” and have won the game.
3. Put a finger down
For this activity, ask everyone to hold up all their fingers. Read out a list of facts or traits and explain that they need to put a finger down if the statement applies to them. For example:
- Put a finger down if you drove to the session today
- Put a finger down if you have an iPhone
- Put a finger down if you check emails on the weekends
Depending on how you approach this, the winner could be the person that has all of their fingers down first, or the last person with fingers remaining.
4. Online collaborative tool
Whether your course is online or in person, online collaborative software (such as Slido, for example) is great for making your training more interactive, as it allows people to join in on an activity from their device, wherever they are.
Using a link or code, they can join your room and access the activity that you set up. You can then share the responses from your screen with the group.
For example, for an online course, you could get everyone to input where in the world they are joining from. Or, you might get everyone to share their expectations for the training course, or share one word to describe themselves to get to know each other. Slido have provided some great ideas in this blog.
This could be used throughout the session to keep the training interesting.
5. Would you rather
A classic icebreaker, this is where you name two scenarios and ask participants to choose one and explain why. You could set this up on Slido as a poll. Here are some examples of 'Would you rather' questions:
- Would you rather have hands for feet or feet for hands?
- Would you rather give up ice cream or cake?
- Would you rather be able to fly or be invisible?
This can kickstart lively discussions between people and help to make the training fun as they debate the pros and cons of each.
6. Quick quiz
Why not kickstart the training session with an interactive quick quiz to get people’s brains in gear?
You might make this relevant to the training course and use this to check people’s knowledge on the topic you are delivering before you begin, or perhaps a recap of what they learnt at the last session if you run multi-sessional courses.
Or, you might choose general knowledge trivia instead for a light-hearted and fun activity.
Again, you can do this online using software like Slido or Kahoot. There are some ideas here.
7. 2 truths 1 lie
This is another classic icebreaker activity for a fun training course. Ask everyone to prepare two true facts about themselves and one lie. Go around the room and get everyone to share their facts. The other members of the team have to then try and work out which is the lie.
This is great for remembering names, getting to know interesting things about each other, as well as team working, as the team has to collaborate on what they think the lie is.
You can begin with your own 2 truths and a lie to get the ball rolling; it’s just as important for your delegates to get to know you during the training course as it is for them to know each other.
8. Name volley
For this in-person game, you will need a ball or some other object that you can throw and catch. The group will stand in a circle and yell their own name before throwing the ball to someone else. They will do the same, until everyone has said their name a couple of times.
Then, make sure everyone has been paying attention by changing the rules so that they have to say the name of the person they want to throw the ball to. Once they start getting confident, you could add another ball to the mix.
This is a simple icebreaker that will help to make your training more engaging, as your delegates will hopefully learn everyone's name and feel more energised.
9. Scavenger hunt
This fun icebreaker activity can be played online and in-person. Have a list of items that people are likely to have to hand (in their home or in your training venue) and ask them to find them.
The person or team who finds the item the fastest wins.
You could do specific objects – like a banana, for example – or add a twist by making it interpretable, like “something yellow”. You can find some ideas here.
Everyone loves free food! An easy way to get people chatting could be to offer some snacks for a relaxed start to the session. This could be a light breakfast, sweet treats or healthy snacks, accompanied by tea and coffee.
Delegates will appreciate this extra effort from your training company. You could even combine this with one of the other ideas on this list to keep energy levels high and your training interesting.
11. 20 questions
Think of a random object or person. The delegates have 20 questions to try and figure out what you are thinking of. This could be something related to your training course (like a defibrillator for a health and safety course, perhaps) or something completely random.
12. What changed
This activity might seem easy but can be tricky. Explain to the class that you are going to leave the room (or turn your camera off), and when you return, something about you will have changed, and they have to try and spot the difference.
You might add or remove an accessory, change an item of clothing or do something different with your hair.
You could then ask someone else to get involved and become the subject who changes something about themselves.
13. Word games
Get your delegates to collaborate and engage their brains with some word puzzles, using words or terms that are relevant to the course. Here are some examples of games you can play:
- Word searches
This classic party game works well as an icebreaker to improve rapport between delegates because it's often very funny! You could split the class into teams or do it as a whole group.
One person draws – either on their screen or a whiteboard – and everyone has to try and guess what they are drawing.
For a different approach, you could do the same thing but with modelling clay or dough.
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