7 Fun Ice Breaker Games Your Employees Will Enjoy
Asking “How is everyone?” at the beginning of every meeting isn’t always the best way to encourage connection and team bonding. Sometimes, you need to take it a step further with an ice breaker.
The best ice breakers have the power to strengthen coworker bonds, stimulate better brainstorming sessions, and create an atmosphere of inclusivity. But be careful; the wrong ice breaker questions can lead to awkwardness or even increased tension.
To help you avoid that, we’ve compiled some of the best ice breaker games out there! Next time you get together with your team, use one of these games instead of asking “How is everyone”, and you’re sure to hear some better, more insightful responses than “I’m good.”
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1. One Word Game
The One Word ice breaker allows you to provide initial context into a meeting’s topic,and get everyone in the right mindset for discussion. To play, you’ll want to divide meeting participants into smaller groups. Then, tell them to think for a minute or two, and then share with their group one word that describes X.
For instance, let’s say you’re leading a meeting on culture. Tell the groups to describe work culture, or your office culture in particular, in one word. Once they’ve shared with their groups, you can invite them to share their word with the entire room. This game encourages everyone to think about a certain topic in smaller groups ahead of time, which could increase participation during the meeting.
2. Would You Rather
A classic game played at summer camps everywhere, “Would You Rather” is actually an excellent, quick ice breaker for the workplace. Next time you’re settling into a meeting or team bonding outing, take turns going around the table and asking each person a “Would You Rather” question.
Here are a few “Would You Rather” questions to get you started:
Would you rather only have summer or winter for the rest of your life?
Would you rather go on a hike or see a movie?
Would you rather never use social media sites and apps again, or never watch another movie or TV show?
Would you rather have a horrible short term memory or a horrible long term memory?
3. 18 & Under
18 & Under is an engaging and unique way to encourage team members to share fun or interesting stories with one another. Before a meeting, simply go around the room, and ask each person to share one accomplishment they had before they turned 18.
Undoubtedly you’ll get some of lesser importance, like “I bought a skateboard,” but you never know what hidden skills you might discover in your colleagues.
4. Who is it?
Have everyone write a unique, strange, or unexpected fact about them on a piece of paper. Then, put the pieces of paper into a hat and mix them around. Pull from the hat and read each fact.
Allow the team to try and guess who wrote it. After they guess, ask the employee who wrote the fact to identify themselves and give any further context if necessary. This could be a great way to get to know surprising new things about your teammates.
5. Marshmallow Challenge
Tom Wujec, a business visualization expert, initially presented his Marshmallow Challenge at TED. To play, you simply divide your team into groups of four and give each group 20 sticks of spaghetti, one yard of tape, one yard of string, and a marshmallow. Whichever team can build the tallest structure, wins – the trick is, the marshmallow must be on top.
There are a few reasons this game works as both a great ice breaker and a team-building exercise. First, the most successful teams are the groups of people who don’t spend time competing for power.
The game forces your colleagues to work collaboratively when brainstorming potential solutions. Second, the Marshmallow Challenge encourages people to think quickly and offer alternative solutions when their initial idea fails.
With the Marshmallow Challenge, you can strengthen your team’s brainstorming and problem-solving skills, and your team can also have some fun. A win, win.
6. Scavenger Hunt
Simply split up your team into groups, and give each group a short list of items to find – if you work in a smaller space, maybe you can hide some funny items around the office ahead of time.
This game is also an exceptional opportunity for cross-department interaction. Consider reaching out to managers’ from other departments, and creating groups of employees who don’t often get to work together.
7. This is Better Than That
Ask your team to find four to seven items around the office and bring them to one room. These items could be something they use daily, like a pen or a chair. However, you should encourage them to find items that are more odd or unique. This will make the game more challenging.
Line the items up and split the group into sub-teams. Task each team with picking an item they would use to survive if stranded on a dessert island. Tell team members that they cannot pick more than one and must assume it is the only item they will have on that island. Allow the teams time to deliberate and then ask them to present the item they chose and why.
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