50 Get to Know You Games and Icebreakers
Icebreakers are a great way to get a new group of people comfortable with one another quickly. The right games can also help members find similar interests while building memories they can talk and laugh about in the future. Get ready to have some fun with these 50 icebreaker games for your new group!
Seated Young Adult Icebreaker Games
- Getting to Know You - Use dice to encourage conversation. Give everyone their own die and a list of questions associated with a number from one to six. Then, they roll, ask the question that matches the number and share their answers with each other. Choose to play as an entire small group or find a new partner after each question.
- Share the Story - Have all members of the group break into teams of four and start with a piece of lined paper each. Give them a really creative sentence starter (that they write down) and then a few minutes to add to the story. Hit a buzzer, then tell them to all pass their papers to the left or right where the next person will read and add to that story. Continue this until the original writer gets their paper returned. They read where the story has gone and then have a few minutes to craft a proper ending. Afterward, let all members of the group vote on the best story crafted by the group.
- Shout Outs - For groups that have formed some relationships but need to be shaken away from the norm to achieve a deeper sense of community, create a shout out wall that mimics the way social media works. Give everyone an index card or large slip of paper to write down something positive someone else in the group did and pin it on the wall.
- Instagram Icebreaker - Give the group time to go through their Instagram, or chosen social media account, to choose one photo that they feel best represents themselves and share it with the group or a smaller group.
- Online Investigator - Break the group into pairs and tell them to look online for as much information as they can find on the other person. They should write down all of the “facts” they can find. Then, share them with the other person and cross off any that are not accurate. The result will show young people how inaccurate online information can be and that there is still so much value in getting to know someone in person.
- What’s Next? - Have the group sit in a circle. The first person starts with any word they wish, but just one, such as “chocolate.” The next person has to add a word that is associated with that word, such as “chip.” This continues quickly, with each person adding just one word. Everyone will end up in laughter!
- I Feel - In this fun game, each young adult is asked one question, “How do you feel today?” Then, they have to choose just one word that really represents their entire mood and share it with the phrase, “I feel...” They should be encouraged to be metaphorical or creative in their responses. Then, they get to share out and everyone will learn more about each other based on how they feel.
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Young Adult Icebreakers That Require Movement
- Teeth, Teeth - This fun game will make everyone laugh. Have everyone sit in a circle and pick a person to start the chant. Tell them to say their name twice in a chant, “Erica, Erica...” and then the person to their left repeats their name twice and then adds their own name twice, “Erica, Erica, Sarah, Sarah...” This continues this way, with each person repeating the person before them and adding their own to the end. But, there’s a catch: nobody can show their teeth. And, if someone does smile or show their teeth, anyone who sees this happen yells, “Teeth!” That person is then eliminated, and this continues until the last person wins.
- People Bingo - Create a bingo card that has random facts in each box. These can relate to your group activity or not. Ideas would be things like, “has been to Hawaii” or “has blue eyes.” Then, they are to go around and find people who have these attributes or have had those experiences and write their name in the box. They can only write a person’s name one time.
- The Tree - If your group relies on excellent communication, this one will really highlight how important it is to never assume others know what you mean. Have everyone fold a lined sheet of paper in half lengthwise. Then, show them an interesting object and tell them only to describe the object on the left side of their paper, without naming it at all. Afterward, everyone switches papers and now they must draw what is described on the right, assuming they have never seen the object. Tell participants to be as cutthroat and honest as possible. If you have space, split the group into two parts and show each group a different object, so when they switch, they really will not have seen the object at all and won’t have any frame of reference when drawing.
- The Structure - Break large groups into smaller groups of four to five. Give each group the same building materials, such as sticks of spaghetti, a roll of tape and a bag of marshmallows. Each group is told to build the tallest structure possible within a set period of time, such as 15 minutes. They’ll learn that the structure starts breaking long before they can finish it and they will need to work together to have a structure still standing.
- Who Am I? - For this fun game, find pop culture references or very famous people that young people would be familiar with and write them on labels. You can even use the names of characters from popular TV shows they might know. Then, each person gets a name on their back where they can’t see. They ask each other yes or no questions until they find out who they are.
- Ultimate Rock, Paper, Scissors - In this version, people play in pairs and the rest of the group cheers them on like they are watching a professional sports game. Each time there is a winner, a new contender (the winner from another pair) steps up to challenge them. For some groups, you may need to set strict boundaries for how the game will go, so that it does not escalate beyond something silly and fun.
- Silent Ball - In this quiet game, the group stands in a circle far enough away to toss a ball to each other. They cannot communicate to each other with words or sounds, simply trying to make eye contact with the person they are tossing the ball to. Anyone who doesn’t catch the ball sits down. The idea here is to teach them that communication is more than just words.
- First Date - There’s a certain list of questions people typically ask on a first date. Ask everyone to write down the list of questions they are most often asked or ask on a first date. Then, they should go find someone they haven’t spoken to yet and ask them those questions and answer that person’s questions in return. You can give them a few minutes and then ask them to rotate to a new “date” or stop at one.
- Murder Mystery Icebreaker - There are murder mystery games designed for a small classroom-sized group and written specifically for young adults. Murder mystery games are so fun and encourage a lot of interaction and acting that will pull even the shy ones out of their shells. This activity will take longer than most, with complete games taking anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours.
- Would You Rather - Print a list of would you rather questions. With each answer, have the group separate based on their answer. As the questions keep coming, participants will start to see similarities between members of the group. Genius Tip: Get started with this list of 100 would you rather questions.
- Question Carousel - Have everyone stand up. Play music as they walk around. When the music stops, they start talking with the person they are closest to. When the music starts, they start walking again. Continue for several rotations until everyone seems more comfortable.
- M&Ms - Give each person a small handful of M&Ms. Don’t worry about the color. But, assign a topic to each color, such as blue M&Ms are family. Then, they have to share facts about those items with someone else based on their M&Ms. Since each person’s M&M colors will be different, they’ll need to pay attention to know what they need to share.
- Mirror - In this hilarious game, start with two volunteers who sit back to back and link arms. They try to stand up at the same time, without their backs losing contact. Then, add another pair and try it with four. Keep adding two people at a time until it is the entire group trying to stand together.
- Name That Song - Take a popular song and split the chorus up into single lines that you write on index cards. Then, give each person just one of the index cards. Tell them to complete the song by finding the other parts of the verse and then standing in order of how the song goes.
- Snowball Fight - Have each member write their name and a few interesting facts about themselves on a piece of paper before balling it up like a snowball. Then, give them a couple of minutes to have an actual indoor snowball fight. Use a buzzer to have them stop and then grab the nearest paper and unroll it. Go around and let each person share the name and facts that are on their snowball.
- Indoor Beach Ball - Have everyone stand up in an open area and tell them they’re going to work together to keep the beach ball from touching the ground. But, anytime it does, the person who didn’t catch it shares one thing about themselves with the group.
- Hula Hoop Who - Place hula hoops around a large space. Have people walk around while music plays and when it stops, they need to get inside one of the hoops. Then, give them a few minutes to chat with whoever is in the hoop with them before the music starts and they do it again.
- Jenga - Write good questions on Jenga blocks. Start a game of Jenga and whenever someone pulls a block they answer the question. You can use questions that really speak to your specific audience, their interests, experiences, and goals. Genius Tip: If you want to keep the mood light, try a few of these funny get to know you questions.
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Seated Adult Icebreakers
- Just Five Things - This icebreaker is so versatile and can work for any group. Break up into groups of four or five and tell them they’ll be coming up with a list of five things to answer a prompt. Create a question that relates to your group. For example, serious prompts can be “five things that inspire you” or “five habits of successful people.” Fun prompts could include “the five worst movies you’ve ever seen,” “five favorite foods,” etc. This icebreaker can be used over and over with different questions for different results.
- Two Truths and a Lie - Have each person write down two things that are true and one thing that is a lie about them. Ask them to choose items that are interesting, funny, silly or noteworthy in some way. Then, ask people to take turns sharing and have the group try to guess the lie.
- Origin Map - Get or draw a giant map of the world and have each person write where they were born. When you share who was born where, ask them to share one value or tradition from that place that is special to them or has shaped them in some way. This is an excellent icebreaker for an international audience.
- Logo Lovin’ - In this easy game, ask each person to draw a logo that they really love on a sticky label and put it on their shirt. Then, they walk around and share with others why they love it. Consider taking certain logos off the table for selection (such as your own company or organization) to encourage deeper thinking.
- Four Quadrants - Start with a sheet of paper per person that is divided into four quadrants. Then, in each quadrant, people are to draw a picture that answers the question that you ask. When you’re finished, they’ll have four images to represent their thoughts on the questions and can take turns sharing it with people near them.
- My Weirdest Day - Ask each person to write a few sentences about the weirdest day of their life. It should be something they are comfortable sharing or even a story they regularly use when getting to know new people. Place the stories in a jar and then pull them out one at a time and read aloud. The group should try to guess who said it.
- Build It - Give each person a small amount of building supplies, such as Play-doh or LEGOs. Ask them to build a structure or image that relates to their reason for joining the group or club. Then, take time to share what they created and why.
- Empathic Origami - If your club or activity is something that new people approach with hesitation or anxiety, consider this mindful opener. Have each person write down their concerns or worries. Let them know you will not be sharing it with others, so they can be as vulnerable as they like on the paper. Then, guide them through a simple origami exercise to turn the paper with the written worries into a bird or butterfly. Now, they just need to fly their origami into the trashcan as a symbol of letting go of their worries.
- One Word - Break the group into smaller groups of four to five and ask each group to agree on one word that represents your group or your purpose. If you are a company, it can be a word that describes your company culture. Give them enough time to really hash it out and come to a decision amongst themselves. Then, share with the larger group, making a master list of all the words.
- Mad Props - Here is an activity for a more established group that is familiar with one another but either needs to go deeper or has become cliquish. Break the group into smaller groups of four or five and have them share a story with the group of a time when someone else in the group did something worthy of props (or a pat on the back). Then, pick the best story from the small group to share with the larger group when you come back together.
- Pick Your Icebreaker - Ask each attendee to bring their favorite icebreaker. Then, have everyone share them with the group. You can put all these ideas on slips of paper and put them in a jar to use for future use.
- Life Motto - Give each person time to write down the motto that best describes their life up to this point. Then, allow them to share, either with a small breakout group or with the whole group.
- Just One Question - Start with just one question. Either something that will inspire a little conflict, such as choosing between two things (i.e., pizza or hamburgers, beach or city), or a more thought-provoking question related to your group. Give everyone a chance to think and respond. Encourage a little healthy debate.
- Toss the Question - Write a bunch of questions you might ask someone you just met on a big ball. Then, toss it to someone and ask them to pick any question and answer it before tossing it to someone else.
- Comedian - Ask each person to prepare their favorite joke. Then, take turns sharing them with the group. Or, to make people more comfortable, have them share their jokes with a certain number of people while moving around the group. If needed, give suggestions for certain types of subjects that should be off-limits to make sure jokes are appropriate.
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Adult Icebreakers Involving Movement
- Line Up - Make a list of questions that go with the purpose of your group or club and then ask members to line up based on the question. For example, a question might be to line up based on how comfortable you are with rock climbing, from total novice to expert level.
- Quotes - Make enough pairs to match your number of members and give the famous quote to one person and the name of the person responsible for saying it to another person. Then, have members walk around and share what they have as they attempt to match the speaker to the quote.
- Have You Ever - For this game, make a list of personal qualities, accomplishments or facts that could relate to your activity or purpose. Ask each person to circle the things that are true about them, then mix up the papers and pass them back out to everyone, so each person has a paper other than their own. Then, say, “Stand up if you have...” and insert something on the list. You will all learn so much about each other without having to call out individual people, making this a very accessible icebreaker for all personality types.
- Soul Mates - Write down one half of a popular pair on nametags. It can be a couple that is famous or pairings like peanut butter and jelly. Then, participants each get a tag stuck to their back so they cannot see it. Now, they mill around asking closed (yes or no) questions that will help them find their mate. Pairs should then sit down once they find each other.
- Team Jigsaw - In this fun game, split the group into smaller groups and give each group a puzzle or game, such as Jenga, or an actual puzzle. But, beforehand, take a few pieces from each game and mix them into another group’s game. As the game progresses, they’ll learn that they need to communicate with the other teams to get their pieces. You can make it more challenging by allowing groups to barter and negotiate to get the pieces they need.
- Lost in Translation - Similar to the old game telephone, this game also shows how different people can interpret the same message. Have pairs of two sit back to back with simple art supplies, such as paper and pencils. Then, tell each pair a word that conjures an image, with each pair getting a different image. Both draw what they imagine and then they share to compare how they are similar and different in what they created.
- Social Networks - Give each person an index card and have them write facts for a list of predetermined questions, such as where they went to college, where they have worked previously, what their degree is in, hobbies, etc. Then, have each person put their index card on a large piece of chart paper when finished. Now, the whole group works together to draw lines to and from index cards with similarities, creating a visual social network of your group.
- Speed Dating - In this hilarious game, you’ll model a speed dating experience with your group. Either set up two rows of seats facing each other or station sets of two around the room. Ask everyone to randomly pick a seat and then tell them they have 2 minutes to ask each other questions before the bell rings and one side will rotate to a new chair. Then, after the next ring, ask the other side to rotate.
- Cinderella - This memorable icebreaker asks everyone who enters to drop one shoe in a basket. Then, pass them out to different owners and task participants to find their shoe and strike up a conversation with the person who has it.
- Just 10 Things - Task everyone to find ten things in common with the other participants in the group. Simple similarities that every human has are not allowed.
With any of these icebreakers, your group will be well on their way to bonding and forming a tight-knit team. Feel free to come back to this list whenever you need to rebuild camaraderie or encourage mixing in the group. Many of these games are also excellent for times when you need a filler activity or something to help integrate new members. Enjoy getting to know each other and making new memories!
Erica Jabali is a freelance writer and blogs over at ispyfabulous.com.
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