Ice breakers are group facilitation techniques and methods which are designed to help people relax, communicate freely and learn more about one another. These games and activities are a great way to create a friendly and comfortable environment and encourage creativity in the workplace. Ice breakers activities can be used in a wide range of environments including team meetings, training classes, classrooms, conferences or parties. They can be very useful for adults, especially if they are meeting for the first time. Ice breakers are fun activities that can reduce tension in a group of people and speed up the process of getting to know someone.
We know that joining a new group can be a little intimidating for many people, so having some ice breaker games that are fun and effective is a really good idea. Icebreakers can make any group event more fun because they can help participants to relax, feel comfortable within the group and learn more about one another.
Team meetings and conferences can also be stressful for many and one way to release stress and tension is to use ice breakers. Using facilitation techniques at the start of a team meeting or class is a wonderful way to energize and motivate the participants and to help lighten the mood. Studies have shown that ice breakers can encourage creativity, boost productivity, and improve the ability of people to learn.
Ice Breaker Activities for Adults
So, if you’re in charge of getting a group of adults to break the ice, this list of amazing ice breaker ideas can help you with the task. Some of the following games require creativity, some of them challenge thinking, and others simply provide laughter and fun. Check out our list of the best icebreakers for adults!
Two Truths and a Lie
This is a simple, fun and very popular ice breaker game among adults – it is easy to play and doesn’t require any equipment. Each participant need to think of tree things about them – two of these things must be true and one must be a lie. As each person shares the three things with the other participants, they must guess which statements are true and which one is false. Two Truths and a Lie is a fun way to get to know one another and can lead to some hilarious responses and a discussion on the importance of truth.
Mix and Meet
For this game, you will need a large bag of M&Ms and get each person to grab a handful of M&Ms. Then assign a different meaning to each color – for example: Blue/ family, Yellow/friends, Green/hobbies, Red/job. Pass them around in a bowl and make sure everyone grabs some candies. The number of M&Ms that each participant has in their hands must equals the number of facts they have to tell based on the color they’ve chosen. For example, if they have three yellow, they would have to say three interesting facts about their friends. This fun ice breaker game can also be played with toilet paper. One person passes a roll of toilet paper around the room and asks each participant to tear off how much they would normally use. Then the participants will have to say a fact about them per sheet of toilet paper they have.
Five Things in Common
This is one of the best team building ice breakers ever – it’s easy, fast and fun. If the team is large enough, divide members into smaller groups of four or five, and have them number off since most people will sit next to people they already know best. Tell the groups that their task is to find five things they have in common with every other person in the group. One person is in charge to take notes and to read their list to the whole group. Then ask each group to share their lists with everyone in the room. The reading of the lists always generates a lot of discussion and laughter, so this ice breaker is great to help groups explore common interests.
People Bingo is known as one of the most popular ice breaker activities for adults – it’s simple to explain, easy to customize for your particular group and very effective. If you already know some things about the participants, create a list of fun facts about them such as “plays guitar” or “has a tattoo”. However, if you don’t know the people very well, you can use more general descriptions that apply to many people such as “has a dog” or “love the color green”.
Then make your own bingo cards where each number square has one of these descriptions written in it. Then give the sheets to the participants who will have to talk to each other trying to find someone who matches the traits on their bingo cards. When they do find someone who “plays guitar”, that person signs their bingo square and the first person to reach five signed squares is the winner of the game.
Would You Rather
This is one of the best ice breakers for both small and larger groups of adults. The goal of this game is to start conversations across the group and for participants to discover things they have in common. This ice breaker is fun and easy and the questions can range from silly, weird, personal to gross. First, make your own list of Would You Rather questions. Then ask each question and ask the participants to move to one side of the room or the other, depending on which option they “would rather”. Have each side explain their reasoning behind their decision. Smaller groups could use this activity in more of a debate style, while larger groups might call out reasons for choosing one or the other. After each group has had their say, move everyone back to the middle for the next question.
The Trust Walk
This is a great ice breaker activity for building trust among your team and learning how to listen to your coworkers. Participants are paired into teams of two and one of the participants is blindfolded. The person who isn’t blindfolded needs to lead the other one around by following their voice and listening for cues. Once the first round is over, ask for another person from each team to go next. The game continues until one team reaches five points and wins the game. Keep in mind that this activity requires a decent amount of space, so it’s best to do this one outside.
The question ball is an effective game that will help you get to know each other better. This game works well for small and medium sized groups of people. Buy a large beach ball and write a few interesting icebreaker questions on its surface. Then throw the ball to a random person in the group and ask them to answer the question that their right index finger falls on. Instead of answering specific questions, you can have participants share stories, memories, or fun facts about them. For example, the person that catches the ball needs to share an interesting fact or story and then throw the ball to someone else.
The interview game is a great ice breaker that will help you find out as much information as you can about another person. Split everyone into pairs and then distribute a list of questions and pens to one person in each pair. The person who has the paper will be given five minutes to ask as many questions as they can about the other person. At the end of the interview, each participant has to come up with three interesting facts about the person they just interviewed.
The Human Knot
For this game, participants need to unknot themselves and work together as a team to form a full circle again. Arrange everyone to be in a close circle and when you say “go” everyone needs to join hands with someone across the circle, creating a huge knot. The goal of the game is to work together as a team to untangle everyone and to become a large circle. Everyone’s hands must be joined with someone else’s hands and this requires people to be close to each other. If the group is unable to unknot themselves after fifteen minutes, one person needs to unlink and rejoin their hands with someone else’s.
Where in the World?
This ice breaker game provides fun and can help people to get to know each other. For this game, each person needs to pick a place (it can be their favorite country or a place they want to visit) and three clues that describe that place the best. Each participant gives their chosen name and the three clues and the rest of the group need to guess which place the person is describing. After everyone from the group has guessed the place, the person needs to reveal their place and explain why they chose this place as their favorite.
The desert island is one of the most popular games in the world and almost everyone has played this game. The original game is usually played by answering the question “If you were left on a desert island, what three items would you bring?” In this version, the same rules apply, but items are replaced with people – it could be fictional characters, famous people (dead or alive), your pets or people you know. By answering this question, people in the group get the opportunity to be creative and get to know each other better.
Bottom line: Good icebreaker games can help people feel relaxed and comfortable around someone they are meeting for the first time or someone they do not know well. These ice breaker games provide fun and laughter and can help people overcome that initial awkwardness when meeting someone new. Choose your favorite entertaining activity from our list to help you break the ice!