Sample Ice Breaker Activities

Share of a time you were helpless/powerless (immediate and deep intimacy—2 minutes per person)

Develop your own non-profit or service ministry (surface intimacy—20 minutes)

  • Divide into groups of three or four people
  • Have the group complete three tasks
    1. Name three things you have in common
    2. Develop a NPO or ministry based on your commonalities
    3. Develop a web address for you NPO or ministry
      • Don’t be afraid to get silly; encourage creativeness
      • Share in a larger group everyone’s ideas

Egg Drop Game (Option for and with the poor, solidarity, re-allocation of societal resources—20 minutes)

The group is divided into teams. Each team is given a bag of supplies and one uncooked, uncracked egg. The instructions posted, “Package an egg so when it is dropped it doesn’t break. The only supplies to be used are in the bags.” Most bags contain useless items, for example, a straw, a napkin, a paper clip, a paper cup with the bottom cut out. One team gets a bag filled with all the supplies necessary to win the game, for example, bubble wrap, a foam cup with masking tape (the game is rigged for this team to win). The teams are given five minutes and then the eggs will be dropped by the facilitator. Eggs will be dropped one by one. Usually, every egg breaks except the one that is rigged to win. At this point, the teams understand that the game is rigged and complain that it is unfair. That is the point of the game.

Discuss the analogy that some people have all they need to succeed, such as money, education, safe communities, nutritious foods, employment opportunities, intact families, support systems and so on, while others have a great deal less. They are told to make the best of it and then blamed when they don’t succeed. Point out that the teams with inadequate supplies tried their hardest to win, but without the right tools, no matter how smart or talented they may be, they could not be successful in their goal. Note: if one of the eggs not rigged to win does not break when it is dropped, use this to point out that sometimes we hear about exceptions to the rule where people find a way to use inadequate resources to their advantage to succeed. Discuss how each team felt while playing the game. Finally, point out that the instruction only said to package an egg. The teams could have decided to work together as one team. The other instruction was that the teams could only use the supplies in the bags. They could have decided to pool resources so that every team could safely drop an egg. This requires us to play by a new set of rules—cooperation, not competition.

Reflection Questions:

  • What was difficult or challenging about this activity?
  • Can you describe your group dynamics?
  • What did you learn about yourself and others in your group?
  • What impact did this activity have on you?
  • What values, opinions or decisions might be made or changed as a result of this activity?