Wherever I lay my hat is a simple but effective ice breaker activity that can be used with both small and large groups. It is a great introductory exercise that can be used to open a workshop and is guaranteed to get people talking. Question cards are placed in a hat and group members take it in turn to take a question, read it out and give their answer.
Resources: Hat and question cards
Time: 10-15 minutes (can be run longer if necessary)
Group size: 6-15 people
Where I Lay My Hat Ice Breaker Explained
- Before you begin the activity, gather all required equipment. If you don’t have a hat available you can substitute for a box of some sort (or any other similar item).
- Print your questions, cut them out and place them in the hat. If possible it is a good idea to laminate them, so you can reuse them for another workshop at a later date and add to your facilitation bag.
- Organise the group into an inward facing circle. Pass the hat around and ask each person to take a question card, read it out and provide an answer. Alternatively, you can get everyone to pick a card first, allow a minute for them to review and then go round one at a time.
- Continue this ice breaker for as long as you like, ensuring group members get the most from the time. You may find that the answers improve the longer you keep going as group members become more comfortable with each other.
Tips and guidance
When working with more than 20 participants, double up on resources and run the ice breaker as two separate groups at the same time. Once everyone has picked a question and read out their answer, split each sub-group into half and one half to switch with the other group. Once you’ve mixed the groups, begin again.
Try some of the pre-prepared questions below or tailor the exercise to your objectives. If you have specific questions regarding forthcoming change or particular goals, just write the questions to suit.
You can even get participants to write their own question cards. Just purchase some cheap index cards, read a couple of example questions and give them a couple of minutes to scribe their own perfect question. Once they’re done, place them in the hat and you’re ready to begin the ice breaker.
Here are 20 examples that you can adapt, type, print off, cut out and put in your hat.
- What is one of your goals in life?
- What word would your friends use to describe you best?
- How has your life changed from a 12 months ago?
- What activity makes you feel alive?
- Do you live for today or plan for tomorrow?
- What sound do you love?
- What one item could you not live without?
- If you could do anything you wanted and cost wasn’t an issue, what would you do?
- Describe the best decision you have ever made?
- What is a characteristic in others that you admire the most?
- What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
- What do you do to relax?
- If heaven exists, what would you want your God to say to you when you arrive?
- Who is the most interesting person you have met and why?
- What was the worst job you ever had?
- What is the one thing you always forget to do?
- If you could teach everyone in the world one skill, what would it be?
- If you could invite three people to a dinner party, who would they be and why?
- What would you say is your most likeable quality?
- What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?
Looking for more inspiration? Here are twenty more ice breaker questions, you might want to try.