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15 Ice Breakers for Large Groups

Updated on February 25, 2015

Ice breakers are a great way to, well, break the ice! This is especially important when it comes to large groups of people who are gathering for the first time and must become acquainted. We can all be shy from time to time in a new setting, so sometimes playing a little game is all we need to let ourselves out of our shells!

Ice Breakers for Large Groups

Ice breakers for large groups can involve physical activities or simply verbal activities, depending on the age group and the type of group it will be used for. The overall idea is to get people communicating with one another, actively participating, and having a good time together! Here’s some tips for ice breakers for large groups:

  • Vocal: Choose games that encourage conversation or chants or anything involving using their voices for communication in one way or another. One of the best ways to break the ice is to force people to talk!

  • Teamwork: Working together is a terrific way to get people to feel comfortable with one another. Look for games where teams or pairs are chosen at random as you don’t want two people who are already well-acquainted to team up; it will defeat the purpose!

  • Fun: Make sure you don’t pick anything that is going to bore the players into a deep sleep. Think fun and upbeat, high energy kind of games!

  • Age-appropriate: Of course, this is an important one. Adults will have a bit more flexibility, depending on how you look at flexibility, as to what’s considered appropriate. Kids probably should not play a Newlywed-style game while adults may not appreciate doing flips and tumbles.

  • Setting-appropriate: Will you be indoor or outdoor? Inside a classroom or in a field? At a church, restaurant, or any other place that might require a bit of tasteful etiquette? Take into consideration where you are planning on hosting ice breakers for large groups and figure out what would be suitable for the environment!

For Adults

When it comes to ice breakers for adults, we have a whole list! Although I am going to break them down by setting type, I still encourage you to read through all of them and determine which ones would be a good fit for what you’re planning.

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Work-related:

  • The signature game: This is where everyone is given a list of “facts” without a name assigned to them. They must go around the room, introduce themselves, and ask everyone to sign one slot that applies to them. First person to collect all signatured wins! Examples of list items: Served in the military, enjoys fishing, has 3 kids, etc.

  • Fact-o BINGO: Similar to the signature game, but BINGO style. Everyone can write their own BINGO card or one can be given to each person. Each slot will have a fact written in it and must be initialed by someone who it applies to. First person to get five in a row and call BINGO wins!

  • Questions: Icebreaker games can be simply a game of random questions asked of people, such as “what day of the week are you and why?” Make them work-appropriate and silly!

Singles events:

  • The Newlywed Game: We all have seen this show at least once! In the end, one person will get to know three and three people will get to know one, but only one of the three will win the heart over. Run a few games at once to speed up the process, ensuring that everyone is involved in a game.

  • Speed dancing: This is a dance party where there is a mix of fun, upbeat music and slow, romantic music. Set a time limit for any two people to dance and chat, such as a minute or two depending on how many people are there, and after time is up, every couple must switch off to someone new!

  • “Would you rather?”: This is the ultimate game of ‘this-or-that’ questions, but it involves scenarios instead of choosing things. Crazy statements are made up and must be answered, even if you would not ordinarily do any of the things, because in this game, “I’d rather not” is never an option!

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Adult gatherings (parties, baby showers, etc):

  • 30-second portraits: Everyone is given a pen/pencil, some paper, and 30 seconds to sketch up a quick portrait of their paired member, must sign it and give it to them at the end of the 30 seconds. Pairs will constantly change until everyone has been paired up with everyone in the room! These are hilarious.

  • Destination name tag: Instead of people writing names on their nametags, have them write the coolest place they have ever traveled to, whether it’s a famous attraction or a city as a whole. This will help with easier conversation starters rather than the lame “What do you do?”

  • Two truths, one lie: Everyone must write two truths and one lie about themselves and read it aloud to the group. The group must try to guess which one is the lie out of the three!

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For Kids

As much as I wanted to continue shelling out ideas for the adults, kids can be caught in awkward or shy situations, too! So here’s some ice breakers for kids!

School:

  • Snowball fight: Okay, it’s likely not snowing on the first day of school, but you can have some recycle bin fun! Crumple up papers from the recycle bin into a bunch of paper balls and let the kids have at this painless fight! All paper will still get recycled, too!

  • Trace: Lay out easel paper and pair up all the kids at random, making sure they are meeting a new person. Each child can then trace the outlines of each other's bodies on the paper!

  • Candy talk: Pass around a bag of candy, telling the kids that for each piece of candy they take, they must tell their fellow classmates one fact about themselves. This gives them a chance to say as little or as much as they want! Be sure to set a rule so everyone has to talk, such as you must take at least two pieces and give two facts.

Youth group:

  • Trust fall: When it comes to trust, most of this should be given to God, but it’s good to have a trustful relationship with the rest of the youth group! Each person must cross their arms over their chest and fall backwards into the crowd off of an elevated surface, such as a picnic table or church stage.

  • Signat-shirts: Have everyone bring a blank t-shirt of any color and a Sharpie of any color. Set a timer for 3-5 minutes, depending on the size of the group, and see who can collect the most signatures on their t-shirt!

With all of these ice breaker games, everyone will be a bunch of chatty Cathy’s in no time!

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