Have you ever experienced those moments when conversation with friends suddenly turns a bit awkward? One minute everyone is having a great time, the next the group has stopped gelling? That’s where ice breaker activities come in handy.
Why? Because moments such as these can be hard to break out from. What do you do when no one dares to speak or keeps looking to you to save them?
And save them, you must! You can be the friend who saves the day and your friends smiling again. We like to have a few ice breaker activities in our back pocket, just for these occasions. They’re also great fun to play even if everyone’s in a good mood and the vibe is a-okay. Who can say no to a few fun games? Let’s go!
Fun Ice Breaker Activities
Guess Who Did What
Give your friends 5 minutes to jot down 3 personal facts about themselves. They don’t have to write very much – a few short sentences will do. Tear their lists up into strips – with each fact being a strip each – then jumble them in a bag. Make sure everyone gets 3 strips each from the bag.
Players take it in turns to read out their strips, leaving the rest of the group to guess their owners.
Of course, the weirder the stories, the more fun your game will be. Memorable gems I once heard included: I had a tree planted in my name; I know how to drive a combine harvester; I once lived in a former morgue.
Telling stories and ice breaker activities are perfect for each other.
Before playing, take a pack of blank cards, and number each from 1 to 40 on one side only – so the first card is 1, the second is 2, etc.
Under each number, write in the name of an object to go with it. For example, the first card will have 1 on it and an object like “dragon” underneath; card 2 can be “boat”. Make sure you keep a list of all 40 objects to help you keep track of things. Once done, shuffle your deck.
Now, when asking players to choose a card, make sure the cards are face down, so they can see only the blank side.
Choose the first player and ask them to pick a card. This player now talk about their ‘life’ as though they are the object on the card – without saying what it is. It’s up to everyone else to guess.
The first person who does gets a point. The person with the most points wins. Once guessed, the next player takes their go.
Need rousing ice breaker activities? Life Drama has it all, with its focus on acting and every day life. Right before your party starts, write out a list of 15-20 real life scenarios. Tear your list into strips and add to a bowl.
Split everyone into two equal teams. On ‘Go’, the first player of each collects the same scenario from you. The rest of their team must guess.
This is a game of sounds, which means no one is allowed to speak during their acting turn. The first team to complete the list wins. Some example scenarios to get you started:You miss the bus; you have an argument on your cellphone; your shopping bag breaks and all your groceries fall out; you tread on dog poop by mistake.
Never Have I Ever
To play, get everyone seated and holding up 10 fingers.
One person says something that she’s never done in her life, but suspects some players have, by saying “Never have I ever [the something]” – for example, “Never have I ever drunk tequila”. Everyone who has drunk tequila must lower a finger.
The last player with fingers still raised wins. Make sure everyone gets to share their stories afterwards.
Create a pack of bingo cards a few days, with each set of cards made up of 25 squares. Instead of numbering the cards, fill each square with an activity a person might have done, such as:
- Has traveled around the world
- Knows how to bake a cake from scratch
- Is about to change their lifestyle
- Goes clubbing once a week
- Doesn’t like indie music
Everyone gets a card and now works the room, finding people to match the activities. When a person is found, write their name in the relevant square. The first player to fill a row (across or diagonally) or has the most filled squares wins.
For a more intimate version of this game, fill each square instead with facts a person might have in their life. Finding out who has sisters, has lived in more than five houses, knows how to drive automatic and manual, are some example facts you could use.
This is the sweetheart (quite literally!) of all the ice breaker activities here, where your friends are encouraged to share the things they love.
Before playing, empty a packet of M&Ms or Skittles into a bowl. Everyone will need at least five pieces, so make sure you have enough. On a separate sheet of paper, write down what each color means. These could be:
- Yellow – Last movie seen and what you thought
- Red – Most memorable vacation
- Green – One thing you love about your job
- Orange – Favorite food you love to eat
- Blue – One stressful thing in your life you wish you could improve
- Purple – One life goal you’re working on
Pin up the list up for everyone to see, or keep it to yourself and play question master.
The game can also be played in two ways. Either everyone gets a piece of candy each, before they each share a story; or as soon as a color is picked, the story is shared on the spot.
Candy should also only be eaten after the person has shared, not before, so make sure everyone knows that, doing so just helps friends keep their attention on the game. To also keep the game fair, have players pick candy with their eyes closed. If a person picks the same color as in the first round, that’s okay, this means they get to share more about their previous story.
Having a few ice breaker activities in your back pocket will ensure your friends stay happy and upset, when awkward silences or conversation can threaten the mood. You will get bonus points too for being the best friend ever, in the way you can bring everyone together.