16 Clever Icebreaker Games That Are Actually Fun
These are the "cool" icebreaker games.
The purpose of icebreaker games is to get people talking and help a group bond. And in some cases, they do just that. But we’d venture to guess that in more than a few instances, they do the exact opposite—and that instead of helping folks come out of their shells, they make them want to run to the bathroom and hide. That’s why we’ve rounded up the icebreaker games for every type of situation. Whether you’re organizing an event for kids, colleagues, or college students, these clever icebreaker games will help your guests connect and also put them at ease.
Best Icebreaker Game for Office Happy Hour: We! Connect Cards
$25; buy now on amazon.com
A set of We! Connect Cards can make any office happy hour a touch more fun. Rather than playing the typical icebreaker games that only scratch the surface, this game features cards with truly thought-provoking questions on a range of office-friendly topics (for example, “what’s the strangest food you’ve ever eaten?” and “what’s one thing you hope to accomplish in your lifetime?”) Along with the cards, you’ll also receive a detailed manual of all of the activities you can use them for—meaning this “icebreaker game” is actually several icebreaker games.
Best Icebreaker Game for a Dinner Party: The Shoe Game
Though the shoe game is an unusual way to start an adult dinner party, it’s a classic that can instantly set a friendly, fun atmosphere. When your guests arrive, collect one of their shoes and assemble them in a pile. Once everyone’s present, hand each guest a random shoe. On the count of three, everyone goes on a hunt to find the owner of their mystery shoe. The game has the potential to start up friendly conversations that last all night.
Best Icebreaker Game for Workplace Orientation: The Soccer Toss
$29; buy now on amazon.com
Especially on the first day at a new job, meeting new people can be incredibly unnerving. To ease the first-day orientation jitters and still find an effective way to introduce your new employees to one another, invest in this icebreaker games soccer ball. The ball is printed with 32 icebreaker questions that range from the professional to the personal (but still office-friendly!). To play, simply have your new employees throw the ball to each other and answer the question that’s facing them.
Best Icebreaker Game for a Conference: One Word
This simple icebreaker is short, sweet, and to the point—and is the perfect game to play at a large conference event. To play One Word, divide the crowd into groups of four or five and ask all of the groups to come up with a group response to a specific question using only one word. (For example, you could ask all of your colleagues to come up with one word to describe the office culture.) After the groups make their decision, they share their word with the room. The game allows everyone to break out into small groups and avoids putting the pressure on any one single person.
Best Icebreaker Game for Time with the In-Laws: TableTopics Happiness
$25; buy now on amazon.com
TableTopics Happiness comes with a series of 135 icebreaker questions that are guaranteed to spark lively (read: happy and not-awkward) conversation and debate. The uplifting tone makes it perfect to play with your in-laws. Be prepared to voice your opinion on thought-provoking yet totally inconsequential prompts like “Is Disneyland really the happiest place on Earth” and “Why do so many beautiful people seem so miserable?”
Best Icebreaker Game for School Kids: Name Bingo
This game provides a simple way for kids to get to know each other, especially in a classroom setting. To play, create a four by four or five by five grid of personal statements like “has long hair,” “has traveled overseas,” and “has more than four siblings” (make each of the cards different for extra variety!). Then, have the students walk around the classroom and meet others in order to fill out their bingo sheet. The game ends when one student (or another set amount, if you’d like the game to go on for a while) wins!
Best Icebreaker Game for Team Building: We! Engage Cards
$40; buy now on amazon.com
For a team-building exercise that isn’t cheesy, look to a card game like We! Engage Cards to push your employees and coworkers to work better together. The cards in this set feature thought-provoking quotes and idea-generating photos, plus directions for more than 10 activities you can play with them. The playful cards are intended to start stimulating conversations between coworkers. And that, in turn, can create a more inspired workplace.
Best Icebreaker Game for College Students: Guess Who
To ensure your college students meet their fellow classmates in the most interesting way possible, have them play a game of Guess Who. To play, divide your class into groups of five or six students and have each person in the group write down an interesting fact about themselves on a slip of paper. A group leader will read out the responses and everyone in the group will try to guess who wrote each fact. It’s a low-pressure way to share fun facts, without having to recite them to the entire lecture hall.
Best Icebreaker Game for Crushing Boredom: Choices in a Jar
$6; buy now on amazon.com
For less than $10, you can purchase a game that will change the way that you and your crew approach boredom. Similar to the game of Would You Rather, Choices in a Jar will present you with a choice (for example, would you rather walk on stilts for the duration of your life or always have to roller skate to get around?). With 101 difficult dilemmas presented in this simple card game, you’ll know exactly what to do the next time boredom strikes.
Best Icebreaker Game for Small Groups: If
Assemble your small group in a circle and place 20 cards in the center that contain “if” questions like “If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?” and “If you could talk to anyone in the world, who would it be?” You’ll have to make these cards in advance, so be sure to tailor your questions to the needs of the group. The first person chosen will pick up a card from the pile and answer the question. Go around in a circle until there are no more cards left to answer.
Best Icebreaker Game for Families: Totika Therapy Game
$30; buy now on amazon.com
To foster more productive conversations with your family, try a few rounds of the Totika Therapy Game. The game is similar to Jenga, except each colored block correlates to a question in the corresponding set of cards. Each player pulls out a colored block and a card and answers the question that’s the same color as the color of their block. The questions mostly focus on fostering a more healthy sense of self, whether that’s identifying your personal strengths or pondering which award you’d most likely win for your skills.
Best Icebreaker Game for Large Groups: Celebrity Head Mania
You might know this game from an episode of The Office. To play, stick the names of celebrities on the backs of the members of your group. From there, everyone walks around to different members of the group and asks “yes” or “no” questions that try to find out which celebrity is on their back. Only one question can be asked to another player at a time. The first player to guess who they are wins.
Best Icebreaker Game for Stimulating Conversation: TableTopics
$25; buy now on amazon.com
Similar to other games on the list, there are multiple ways to play this card game. TableTopics includes 135 cards covering a myriad of topics from your opinion on the Seven Wonders of the World to which five foods you believe should be banned. You can keep it simple and answer questions in a circle or designate a group leader to go around the table asking a series of speed questions to each player. Either way, each person is bound to learn a few new conversation-starting tidbits about everyone else.
Best Icebreaker Game for a Friends Night In: Sweet Talk
To find out your friends’ deepest secrets, start up a game of Sweet Talk. To play the game, empty a pack of M&Ms or Skittles into a bowl. On a sheet of paper, write down what each color means, like “Yellow Skittle—The last book that you read” and “Red Skittle—The one thing that you like about your partner the most.” As the bowl goes around, each player must share something about themselves based on the color candy that they pick from the bowl.
Best Icebreaker Game for a First Date: The Geography Game
Especially if you’re a seasoned traveler, this game will provide the perfect icebreaker for yourself and your new flame. To play the Geography Game, pick a place that you’ve traveled to. After you say the name of your city, state, country, or continent, your date will come up with the name of a place that they have traveled to that starts with the last letter of the geographical location that you just uttered. This goes on until you run out places.
Best Icebreaker Game for Promoting Teamwork: Scavenger Hunt
Though the idea of scavenger hunt icebreaker games might remind you of your childhood, they’re also great ways to promote teamwork between workers. Divvy your team into small groups of two to five people. For a simple rendition of this game that doesn’t require extensive planning in advance, have the small groups search for items within the building, like a pair of reading glasses, a credit card, and a certain baby picture on a cell phone.
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