Skills Converged Training Resources

Desert Island Questions

Desert Island Questions


This is a simpler version of the classic desert island survival exercise. In the classic exercise, a team needs to decide what to take to an island from a shipwreck to maximise their survival. In the version described here, the focus is not on survival; but to see what people would like to take with them and use this as an excuse to talk about themselves. Hence this is more an icebreaker version of the classic team building exercise.

Note that the exercise is not a realistic scenario. It is designed to simply get people to talk about themselves and what they like and in the process get to know each other better.


Answer a series of questions on what you like to have with you if you are going to be stuck in a desert island.

What You Need

  • A complete set of “Item Cards” shown below for each group of 3.


  • Divide the delegates to groups of three.
  • Give each group a set of “Item Cards”.
  • Explain the back story:
    • “There has been a disaster and you will need to leave the mainland for a desert island to survive. The travel arrangement is strict and you can only take a limited number of items with you. The type of items you can take is allocated randomly. The “Item Card” given to you indicates this. Based on the card you receive, choose what you like to take with you. Note that a variety of other commonly used items will also be transferred to the island so that you can make use of the items you select. For example, there will be a device to watch movies on so you don’t have to worry about taking the TV.”
  • Ask each group to shuffle the cards and place the deck in the middle of the group.
  • Going clockwise, ask each person to pick up a card and answer the question.
  • The question cards should be placed in a discard pile.
  • Once the stack is finished, the discard pile should be reshuffled and used as the new stack.
  • Ask groups to continue to answer the questions using the new stack. This time however there is a chance that they may get a question they have already answered. If this happens, the person who picked the card should choose one of the other two people in the group and give the question to that person to answer. The exercise then proceeds as normal in the same clockwise order.
  • Continue until all questions in the new deck area answered too.
  • Follow with a discussion.


Explaining the Exercise: 5 minutes

Activity: 20 minutes

Group Feedback: 10 minutes


How easy was it to answer the questions? What were the most unexpected answers you got from others? What was the most interesting or effective question?


Item Cards

Write or print each of the following descriptions on a blank card:

  • You can take 3 food items.
  • You can take 3 books.
  • You can take 3 movies.
  • You can take 3 hours of music.
  • You can take 3 personal items.
  • You can take 3 devices.
  • You can take 3 tools.
  • You can take 3 people other than your close friends and family. They can be celebrities.
  • You can take archive of 3 websites cached on a device of your choice.