Ice breakers are little party games designed to help people get to know and feel comfortable around one another. Some are silly, others are a little embarrassing, and others are merely informative in a light-hearted way. If chosen correctly, ice breakers can be a very powerful tool that facilitates the success of your group, meeting or party.
In choosing an ice breaker party game you need to think about the personality of your group and its ultimate purpose.
- Are people trying to network for business? Then you want an ice breaker that gives them a chance to showcase their business services.
- Is it a baby shower? In that case you are uniting guests who are strangers to one another, but close to the mother-to-be. You want an ice breaker that makes everyone feel relaxed, but gives the spotlight to the pregnant mother in a kind way.
- If you're hosting a family reunion, distant family members may be meeting for the first time in twenty years, and know little about one another except that they share a common ancestor. So you need to use ice breakers that will quickly build familial intimacy.
- Is it a group of volunteers that need to work cooperatively on a project? You need to find ice breakers that will help people feel united in their common undertaking.
Here a just a few ideas for ice breakers that I've seen work effectively.
- At a business function, ask participants to pair up with someone they don't know and learn as much as they can about the other person in five minutes. Then have them introduce that person to the whole group.
- Break people into small groups at a volunteer organization and give each person a penny. Ask them to introduce themselves to the group and talk about what they were doing during the year on the coin.
- During a cocktail party tape the name of a famous person on everyone's back. As people socialize, they can ask for clues about their famous person. The first person to guess the name on his or her back wins a prize.
- If you have a Trivial Pursuit game, put out the cards where guests will see them. Guests automatically read the questions to one another, thus beginning conversations.
Baby/Bridal Shower Ice Breakers
Baby Shower Games Collection - A collection of my favorite baby shower games.
Ice Breaker and Other Fun Games for Bridal Showers - Find fun ideas for games to play at the next bridal shower you host, including the ever popular toilet paper wedding gown race.
Baby Shower Games - A fun assortment of icebreaking games from Robin Elise Weiss, About Guide to Pregnancy/Birth.
Human Bingo - A potentially hilarious ice breaker submitted by a reader to this site.
Icebreakers - Warming Up the Family - Here's a great list of suggestions from Genealogy.com, for using at large family reunions.
Ice Breakers to Warm Up Your Party - Creative ice breakers for every event from the dynamic twosome at The Party Works.
Miscellaneous Mish-Mosh of Icebreakers - These are party icebreakers from The Real Beer Page that involve beer (big surprise!)
Openers, Games, Get-to-Know-You Stuff - This page of ice-breaker suggestions is from Resident Assistant.com. As you might guess, the activities are geared to a younger, non-professional crowd.
Party Games Collection 2 - 120 adult party games, written up by a Russian party consultant (explaining the sometimes-awkward language). Many of them work well as icebreakers.
If you'd like to find more of Donna Pilato's advice on hosting parties and entertaining friends and family you can visit her at The Delicious Dozen.