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Also referred to as opener, icebreaker is a short activity or game designed to help participants, particularly strangers, of a learning or training event to overcome initial anxiety. It is a facilitation exercise intended to help participants to know one another and to begin the process of forming themselves into a team. It can be either a fun activity or one tied to specific topics or training goals. [1]

Toolkit.png How do Icebreakers work


Functions of Icebreakers

Openers/Icebreakers contribute four basic functions to a group:

  • Individual development - by encouraging alternatives, coping mechanisms and thinking.
  • Team building - bonding through the completion of a task.
  • Networking while becoming acquainted.
  • Icebreaking - reducing tension and breaking the link with the workplace by focusing the attention of learners to the classroom.

Basic Types of Icebreakers

  • Openers/Icebreakers that get people talking to each other for better communication.
  • Openers/Icebreakers that generate familiarity and cooperation through problem solving and successful task completion.
  • Openers/Icebreakers that introduce concepts to be covered by the course in greater depth. [2]

Job Aid

Pdf.png Icebreaker

MATERIAL.png Additional Materials
Pdf.png 100 ways to energize groups

Link icon.png Web Resources
Below you have a list of selected websites where you can find some interesting examples of icebreakers:
Link Content
Ball around the world Article that describes a very simple activity to replace the boring round of table of self-introductions at the beginning of an international workshop: Ball around the world.
Icebreakers, Warmups, Energizers, & Deinhibitizers Several examples of icebreakers descriptions and websites.
Games and Exercises UNICEF report on games and exercises. Sectionc I and II have several examples of icebreakers.
Icebreakers A compilation page of icebreakers suggestions in a wiki on the KM4dev site.


  1. E-Learning Solutions on a Shoestring, Jane Bozarth, 2005, (29 July 2008), (29 July 2008), (29 July 2008), 100 ways to energize your groups (20 October 2011), 40 energizers for small groups (20 October 2011)
  2. 50 Creative Training Openers and Energizers, Bob Pike and Lynn Solem, 2000, (27 October 2008);