What are the best ice breaker games for large groups?
To help you plan a good ice breaker game for large groups, we asked CEOs and HR leaders this question for their best recommendations. From playing person to person to trying out the human knot game, there are several suggestions that may help you choose the perfect ice breaker game for your employees.
Here are 11 ice breaker games for large groups:
- Person to Person
- The Bored App for Virtual Ice Breakers
- Ideal Dinner Date
- The Word Guessing Game
- This Or That
- Superman and Kryptonite
- Two Truths and a Lie
- Impromptu Networking
- One Word Story
- The Human Knot Game
Person to Person
One of my favorite large group ice breaker games is called “person to person.” A leader stands in front of a crowd and calls out three commands in succession. For instance “elbow to elbow,” or “knee to knee.” Players must link up with a nearby partner and touch together the listed body parts. The third command is always “person to person,” at which point the partners face each other, and exchange names, job titles, and one random personal fact. The game’s fast pace eliminates pauses, overthinking, or self-consciousness, and the physical contact breaks the ice and helps conversation partners be more comfortable opening up to each other.
Michael Alexis, TeamBuilding
The Bored App for Virtual Ice Breakers
The Bored app fosters micro-connections while onboarding new hires in the hybrid workspace. While Slack is our team’s way of communicating throughout the day, it also works as an excellent onboarding tool and a fun way for new employees to get to know each other better. And with the Bored app, we can help break the ice for our employees by answering quirky questions that give a little insight into our personalities while getting everybody laughing. Some of the more off-the-wall responses end up becoming running gags that pop up here and there in our direct messages, helping lighten the mood in a lengthy communication. The Bored app on Slack boosts morale and helps everyone know that they’re part of the team.
Chris Gadek, AdQuick
Ideal Dinner Date
We all have a celebrity crush or say a historical figure we’d love to spend a day with. Who we choose can speak volumes about who we are, what we value the most, and what inspires us to be more like them. That’s why this game is simple, fun but also oh-so-relatable. Thus as an icebreaker ask everyone to say who they would like to get dinner with and briefly explain why. The game is easy enough where everyone already knows these answers and here they have a low-pressure chance of opening up and sharing with others a bit of their personality. Quick, painless, and engaging. I highly recommend it.
Peter Bryla, ResumeLab
The Word Guessing Game
The word guessing game is an excellent ice breaker game for large groups. Everyone gets a chance to guess the hidden word or phrase, such as the movie title, country, or anything under the sun. The word is written on a cardboard or paper and attached to the forehead or cap using a tape of the player who will guess it, while other team members say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the questions asked by that player. The time limit to guess the word is two minutes.
Tim Hill, Social Status
This Or That
This or That makes a great icebreaker game for large groups. To play the game, simply ask the group to choose between two similar options like “dogs or cats?” or “Coke or Pepsi?” Players can answer by writing out their answers or moving to a certain side of the room. Because there are only two possible answers and no explanation necessary, all players can respond instantly. This game helps members of big groups find similarities and common ground and can generate talking topics.
Carly Hill, Virtual Holiday Party
Superman and Kryptonite
Ask the group to share what they believe to be their personal superpower, as well as their ‘kryptonite’ in smaller groups. This allows individuals to connect with those around them in a quick and fun way without it taking too much time to understand the rules or engage in the exercise.
A personal superpower could be kindness, empathy, doodling notes, car maintenance, finance, demystifying social media, long-distance running, or any ability that someone feels confident about. Examples of one’s own ‘kryptonite’ could be public speaking, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, social engagements, forced dress-up days, avocado toast, Home Depot sales, or anything that might get in the way of operating optimally. Breaking the ice isn’t pointless: the exercise helps people slow down and connect to get out of their own way, so whatever follows can be enjoyed and engaged to the fullest.
Tommy Chang, Homelister
Two Truths and a Lie
Two truths and a lie. It’s a really fun way to discover new things about one another while leaving room for levity and hilarious deceptions. You can use it to introduce a new member of a team or simply at a company gathering. In the end, you will walk away discovering something new about each person and be able to strike up more conversations once the game is over.
Mitzi Runyan, Lashlette
Impromptu Networking is a good icebreaker game for large groups. This is especially geared towards participants–let’s say of a meeting or workshop, who are either familiar or not with one another. Its goal is to quickly gain new perspectives on the people they’ll be working with for an entire session. This exercise is also called the Corporate Speed Dating icebreaker, where participants can meet many people in a short period of time. Each time the buzzer goes off at the end of a two or three-minute conversation, pairs split and find new partners they can connect with. Aside from the usual getting-to-know-you questions, it’s best to ask important queries such as “What big challenge do you bring to this gathering?” or “What are you expecting to get from and give to this group or community?” to create more meaningful exchanges.
Douglas Ferguson, Voltage Control
One Word Story
One Word Story is a funny game that comes from improv comedy troupes. The leader of the event or meeting chooses a topic and clockwise around the table, each team member says one word only on the topic until a sentence is formed. If players are left over, the next person at the table should start with one word and then go around the table again until a second sentence is formed. Play can continue after that with a new topic for as long as the meeting will allow!
For example, the topic might be marketing strategies. The first employee could say, “Marketing,” the next person might say, “strategies,” and then each staff member would attempt to complete the sentence, such as, ”Marketing strategies include the latest in the world of marketing.” Not an eloquent sentence which is the point and usually generates some laughs!
Michael Van, Furnishr
One of the best icebreakers for large groups I have met involves asking people to write down how they like to be called, followed by a word beginning with the same letter. The word must be something related to the person, e.g. Veronica–vegan, Adam–adventurous, Jo–journeys, Nikki–Nordic walking, Minnie–mum. What comes next is presenting [one by one] the name/nickname to the group and a brief explanation of a word choice.
This simple, yet fun activity doesn’t require any effort to prepare. A piece of paper and something to write with will do. Good news for the shy– no great self-confidence or a party animal nature needed. Effective in various situations, age groups, and environments. It works both for professional meetings and on less formal occasions. This ice breaker game is a brilliant way to get to know each other a bit more.
Agata Szczepanek, MyPerfectResume
The Human Knot Game
One good ice breaker game for large groups is the “human knot” game. This game is played by having everyone stand in a circle and then each person takes the hand of someone who is not standing next to them. Once everyone has two different hands, the goal is to untangle the knot without letting go of anyone’s hand.
Adil Advani, MyPrep