Introductory exercises and icebreakers

Getting to know the people around you can be intimidating or fun. Icebreakers and introductory exercises can help to ease participants into the session and help them to get to know each other. At the first meeting of any group, it is important to start the programme on a positive note by making all feel comfortable and welcome. To help break the ice with your group, try some of the games below.

You will find some ideas at Adult Literacies Online Scotland in the Big Book of Literacies Training (BLT) section 4 - pages 25 to 34.


Counting game

Have everyone in your group pair up and face each other. Each person holds up zero to ten fingers behind their back. On the count of three, have them pull their hands from behind their backs. The first person in the pair to yell out the correct sum of all the fingers wins. Do best two of three. Then the winners play each other until you have a champion.


Knockout Numbers 

Competitors hold just one hand behind their back, revealing the number of fingers at the signal. Whoever yells out the sum of the fingers wins the first round. For Round 2, multiply the fingers. Round 3 is the difference between the two numbers. Rotate through as many rounds as you want, but at the championship round (between the two survivors) have them square the total of the two sets of fingers. For example, Person A shows three fingers, person B shows four, so the winning answer is 3+4 = 7 (x 7)= 49


Crash (aka: 'Clump')

Everybody mingles, constantly moving until the leader shouts out a number. All players must then try to get into groups of that number, any group/s that don’t succeed are out. 

Variation: Things in common, such as same shoe size.


Permission has been granted to use this material for educational purposes only from The Communities Team Learning Teaching Scotland