You found our list of Zoom breakout room ideas.
Zoom breakout room ideas are fun activities for teams to use during virtual meetings. Examples include five-minute master classes, group haiku, and brainstorming sessions. The purpose of these ideas is to shift from a chosen agenda while encouraging remote teams to interact in new and enjoyable ways in small group settings.
This list includes:
- Zoom breakout room games
- Zoom breakout room activities
- Zoom breakout room ideas for students
- Zoom breakout room ideas for adults
- Zoom breakout session ideas
Here we go!
Zoom Breakout Room Games
1. Top Three
Top Three is an easy game to play during a Zoom breakout session. The game lets players get to know one another better by sharing their personal tastes. The only supplies you will need are an imagination and a Word document to write your topics in!
For this game, team members choose their three favorite items as a response to a given prompt. You can create the list of prompts ahead of the meeting using topics you know will interest your crew. Each prompt should be personally revealing in a work-appropriate way, such as the top three desserts you love, top three countries you want to visit, and top three cars you wish you owned. Depending on the size of your team, you may need to create several prompts to make the game last. By giving every team member time to respond to each scenario, the group can compare answers to see how similar their preferences are.
Here are get to know you questions to use for inspiration.
2. Burgers vs. Pizza
Democracy rules in Burgers vs. Pizza, a breakout game that tests the popularity of common foods. All you need to play is a list of 20 foods and a spreadsheet to track the team’s choices.
For this game, begin by announcing the first two foods on the list as burgers vs. pizza. Then, team members vote on which is better with a simple show of hands. You can highlight whichever food wins. For this example, pizza is the winner. To keep track of the winner, highlight the pizza cell in green. For the second round, announce the pizza vs. tacos or whatever food is next on the list. Continue highlighting the winner of each round as you announce the next battle until you have covered the whole list.
This list of This or That questions can help you generate prompts.
3. Packing the Suitcase
Packing the Suitcase games can turn a Zoom breakout meeting into an uproarious test of your team members’ powers of memory. This game takes no preparation, and your team can play as many times as they would like during the session.
For this game, player one begins by announcing, “I packed the suitcase, and in it, I put,” ending the sentence with the first thing they packed. Player two repeats player one’s sentence, adding a new item to the end of the list. Player three follows player two, with each player recalling the items in the suitcase in the order they entered the suitcase. The first player to skip an item or mess up the order ends the game.
4. What’s That You Say?
This guessing game is a prime choice for a Zoom session and is an easy game to plan. Before the meeting, list simple, familiar phrases like “Happy birthday” and “Untie your shoelaces.” Then, send each player a separate phrase via email. To start the round, player one mutes their mic and speaks their phrase. The other competitors try to guess the phrase by reading player one’s lips. The first guesser to call out the correct answer wins the round, and player two takes the next turn with their phrase.
This playful game is a tricky way to teach your team focus exercises. By using the remote environment to isolate the senses they depend on, players can communicate in new ways.
Zoom Breakout Room Activities
5. Breathing Exercises
For a change of pace, turn your Zoom breakout meeting into a relaxation session by practicing some easy breathing exercises with your team. These activities require no preparation, making for a simple last-minute idea.
To start the activity:
- Ask your team to close their eyes and take three deep breaths, filling their bellies fully as they breathe from their diaphragms.
- Begin a four-by-four breathing technique by counting to four on the inhale, holding the breath for a count of four, and counting to four on the exhale. The counting should happen at a relaxed pace.
- For a more advanced technique, try a four-seven-eight pattern by counting to four on the inhale, holding for a count of seven, then counting to eight on the exhale.
Each method will bring your team awareness of their breath, creating a calming effect.
6. Party Planning
If you have a pending celebration needing planning, then a Zoom breakout meeting is an ideal opportunity to get organized. You can invite the team to come up with ideas for the occasion before the meeting. Depending on the event, you can delegate responsibilities during the session and solidify a to-do list.
By allowing your team members to volunteer for their roles, you give them a chance to play to their strengths. For team members reluctant to raise their hands, consider where their abilities will be most beneficial and request that they fill those roles. If there are no pending parties, then a Zoom session to initiate one is perfectly allowable!
7. Desk Yoga
Since Zoom breakout sessions take place in front of a screen, we advise adding a desk yoga class to your meeting schedule. A few simple stretches can relieve built-up tension while providing dedicated time to get your team moving.
For this session:
- Begin with head rolls. You can guide your team to roll their heads forward and backward in a circular motion to release tension.
- Next, have your team members raise their arms over their heads for a big stretch, alternating reaches with their left and right hands to loosen the back and shoulders.
- Close the session with shoulder rolls, guiding your team members as they raise their shoulders toward their ears and roll them backward several times.
Check out more desk exercises.
Zoom Breakout Room Ideas for Students
8. Group Haiku
For students learning about poetry, creating a group haiku can help demonstrate the concept while providing valuable practice time. Students with a talent for poetry can assist those who may need help figuring out how to create their own haikus.
For this activity, the group chooses a topic for the haiku, either by vote or by a random draw. Then, members divide into three smaller groups. Team one writes the five syllables in the first line, team two writes the seven syllables of the second line, and team three writes the five syllables of the last line. The breakout teams reassemble to read their completed haiku aloud.
Depending on the group’s abilities, this activity can be a quick round or a long-lasting session. If teams finish the task quickly, then change up the groups and challenge them to create another haiku.
9. U.S. Geography Bee
Students learning U.S. states by shape and location can turn a Zoom breakout session into a geography bee. This activity takes some prep work, which you can easily accomplish with a few internet searches.
To prepare, collect separate outline images of each state and paste them into a Word document or PowerPoint deck. During the meeting, share your screen and show each state in a random order. Team members raise their hands to chime in with the state’s name. You can offer bonus points to students who can weigh in with the state capital’s name.
You can also adapt this activity for students studying world geography. Simply shift your online search to countries around the world for the group to identify.
10. Story Carousel
Staring a story carousel allows students to bring their creativity to a Zoom breakout meeting. Even team members who consider themselves uncreative can find a way to contribute, exercising their imaginations in the process.
For this session, a chosen narrator begins a story with a familiar opening. Something as basic as “Once upon a time, there was a man standing on a hill” is enough to get the game underway. The chosen narrator then passes the story to the next speaker, who adds the next development to the tale. Then, that narrator chooses the next, with the story growing bit by bit until every team member has added their part. The results can be funny and surprising, considering how different each storyteller’s imagination might be.
Zoom breakout room ideas for adults
11. Good News Review
You can challenge your team to add positivity to one another’s days with a good news review as your Zoom breakout idea. Each team member can prepare their good news item ahead of the meeting. The topic can be any story attendees find positive, from an event in their lives to an uplifting social media post. During the meeting, team members take turns sharing their good news and explaining how it came about. If your group is small, then you can either make your session a quick meeting or request your team members choose more than one item to share.
Check out more gratitude activities.
Debating in a Zoom breakout session can help teams develop persuasion skills. By practicing with real-world situations, team members get to listen to others apply influence in a safe space to learn which techniques work best.
For this game, create a list of simple statements that are debatable both for and against, like “Ice cream is the best dessert.” Begin the game by choosing two team members, one to argue for the statement and one to argue against. Each player gets three minutes to sell their position to the rest of the team. The team then votes to decide who gave the more persuasive argument. The next idea goes to the following two players, with the entire team taking turns until you finish the list.
Though some players come across as more persuasive than others, there are no winners or losers in this game. There are only debaters who get to hone their abilities among their colleagues.
Here are more communication games.
13. Group Discussions
Planning a group discussion as your Zoom breakout room activity allows your team to cover important topics. These topics may pertain to good or bad world issues or local events. The remote nature of offsite work may cause feelings of isolation in your team, especially regarding non-work subjects. Even if the topic relates to work, being able to have team discussions is often a great relief. If your workers can benefit from sharing their feelings, then scheduling a session to explore how the group is processing the event will provide a forum for an important exchange.
Zoom breakout session ideas
When collaboration is necessary, a brainstorming session can make an exciting Zoom breakout activity. By bringing the team together with a common goal, team members can contribute their ideas and learn new perspectives from other members. The purpose is not necessarily to solve a problem or arrive at an answer but instead to utilize the entire group’s thought power while creating a list of possibilities.
Even without a project to work on, a brainstorming session allows team members to sharpen their problem-solving skills. You can start a brainstorm by posing a basic idea like “better mousetrap” to get the activity started. Then, have the team share their thoughts about what a better mousetrap might look like and how it could work. The result is an exercise in collaboration that helps the team build trust and understanding.
Check out more virtual brainstorming ideas.
15. Virtual Tours
To get your remote team in a new environment, schedule a virtual tour to take together. You can find tours covering worldwide locales, all possible without leaving the comfort of your desk chair. Letting your team have a say in choosing the location allows team members to learn about one another’s interests. The crew can learn about art, history, culture, and geography from their desktops during these educational Zoom breakout sessions.
Check out virtual tours to choose a destination.
Improv is a team-based Zoom breakout exercise that works nicely in a virtual environment. By encouraging your crew to go with the flow, you can help them learn important lessons in adapting to the moment.
For this activity, choose a scenario and a few characters. A basic set-up, like three shoppers standing in a slow line at the grocery store, is a good starting point. Then, choose the three actors from your team and prompt them with a simple line or two. In the grocery store example, a good line would be, “So…chicken for dinner?” This line begins an improvised conversation that the players will make up as they go along. The most important rule is that participants must agree to what the other players say to keep the conversation flowing.
Here are more Zoom improv games.
17. Photo Sharing
For team members who may not follow one another on social media, having an opportunity to share photos from their lives can be a fun exchange. During your Zoom breakout session, invite your team to choose the most important image in their photo roll and share it with the team. The picture could be of a family member, a pet, or a meaningful location. Encourage each team member to explain the photo, sharing details about what it contains and describing its significance. If your crew is up for sharing, then ask them to choose two or three and go round-robin.
Getting to know one another personally can be difficult in any work setting, even more so in a virtual work format. Giving teams a chance to share their lives outside of work through words and pictures forges important bonds that can bring a team together no matter the distance between their workstations.
Here are more virtual icebreaker ideas.
Zoom breakout room ideas can help break up the monotony of online meetings for teams that depend on virtual get-togethers as the bulk of their communication. These activities also provide an opportunity for bonding and collaboration among remote teams. Maximizing virtual together time allows your breakout room sessions to become productive moments that enrich your team’s interactions.