Icebreakers for parties make guests feel comfortable and help them become acquainted with each other. Use them at the beginning of your party or anytime the momentum slows down. Some of our party icebreakers are easy and some take some advance preparation, but we chose all to liven up your party.
Make sure to keep in mind the ages and personalities of your group of the guests when you choose your icebreakers. Party icebreaker games can be played at a corporate party, baby shower, Christmas party, New Year’s party, or any get together designed for entertainment.
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Getting-to-Know-You Party Icebreakers
My Other Half
To prepare for this game, make a list of famous couples and write the name of each half of the couple on a separate 3×5 card. Give each guest a card and tell them to keep their identity secret. Instruct them to find the other half of their couple by asking others only yes or no questions. Some good couples to use are:
- Adam and Eve
- Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt
- Bonnie and Clyde
- Cleopatra and Marc Anthony
- George Burns and Gracie Allen
- George and Martha Washington
- Gomez and Morticia Addams
- Herman and Lily Munster
- Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall
- Ingrid Bergman and Robert Rossellini
- Lucy and Ricky Ricardo
- Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio
- Napoleon Bonaparte and Josephine
- Ozzie and Harriet Nelson
- Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara
- Romeo and Juliette
- Roy Rogers and Dale Evans
- Sonny and Cher
Do You Know Your Neighbor?
- Begin this game as soon as all of your guests arrive. Have everyone sit in a circle and take turns in order saying their first and last names, and one fact about themselves (such as “I work with pets,” or “I love very spicy foods,” etc.).
- Choose one person to stand in the middle – this person is “It” – and point to another person. The person pointed to has 10 seconds to give the first and last name as well as “the fact” about the person to either his or her right or left; the person who is “It” gets to choose which.
- If the person cannot give the information, then he or she has to go into the center and is “It”. The person who was “It” previously sits in the now empty seat in the circle.
- The game ends as soon as everyone has turn, or when everyone has been “introduced.” Award small prizes to those who show they know their neighbor.
Get Loose From the Loop
For this party icebreaker, ask everyone to form a circle and hold hands.
- Place a loop or large tied rope – one large enough to slip over the heads and bodies of your guests – between two people. Instruct them to join hands and pass the loop all the way around the group without letting it fall to the floor and without breaking hands or stepping out of the loop.
- Your guests will need to wriggle, twist, and turn as they help each other get the loop around the circle.
- After your guests have done it one time, you can set a timer and see how fast they can do it.
Tell a Story
An excellent game for a large party group, this icebreaker game is fun and active. To prepare for this game, draw a grid four squares by four squares on a large piece of construction paper or poster board. Fill each square with a story topic. You can use one of the following or choose others:
- An embarrassing experience
- A personal triumph
- A vacation gone wrong
Place your grid on the floor with your guests lined up behind it. Have each guest take a turn, tossing a coin at the grid. Wherever their coin lands, they must tell a story about that topic for two minutes. If a coin lands between two squares, the player can choose which story to share. Continue until each guest has shared a story.
Large Group Party Icebreakers
Do You Have . . .?
Split your large group of guests into teams. Give each team a pre-prepared list of things to produce from their purses and pockets. As they find the items, they yell out, show that they have the item, and receive a point. The team with the most points wins.
The following is a sample list of things to ask the teams to produce:
- $100 bill
- Address book
- Baby picture
- Bank deposit receipt
- Breath mints
- Business card
- Cell phone cover
- Coins that total $.96
- Credit card holder with at least 7 credit cards
- Family picture
- Fingernail clippers
- Hand lotion
- Key chain with at least 10 keys
- Nail file
- Pen with a cap that has visible chew marks
- Pocket knife
- Pocket watch
- Store receipt
- Rubber band
- Unpaid bill
Tapping the Table
This fun party icebreaker is an excellent choice at the dinner table while guests are waiting to be served or after the meal is eaten. It can be a bit confusing, but is a great deal of fun when the players get the idea of how it is played. The key to the success of this game is giving excellent directions. It is best to read the following:
- Place both hands on the table. Now slide your hands underneath your neighbors’ hands to your right and left side, keeping your palms on the table, making an X with the hands. The game begins when you tap your right hand and the left hand of the person next to you. That pattern continues clockwise around the table. Immediately after you tap your right hand, tap your left hand and the person’s hand to the left of you (their right hand). That tap continues counterclockwise around the circle. The game continues, with players leaving the game when they mess up or move their hands off the table. The last person remaining wins.
In the Numbers
- Before your party begins, write out a list of items that one can arrange in number order – house numbers, number of years at work, shoe size, age, or height. If you have not prepared lists, have your teams write down applicable numbers, such as all their house numbers.
- Divide your guests into teams and provide each team with the same list of items.
- When you say, “Go!” the teams arrange the items in correct order in ascending or descending order (designated by you), WITHOUT TALKING.
- The team that correctly arranges the list first wins.
Use additional lists as long as your guests are enjoying the game.
New Year’s Eve Party Icebreaker
As the New Eve Party guests arrive, ask them to write down a New Year’s resolution on a piece of paper. Fold each paper and put it in the basket or box. When all the guests have arrived, pass this jar around and have each person pick up a slip. They are then to find who wrote the resolution, an excellent way to have guests mix and mingle. At the end of the party, have each guest read out their own resolution.
You will need a small Christmas stocking for each guest filled with a minimum of ten small objects. Tie the stockings closed with a piece of ribbon. Make sure you put different objects in all the stockings. Choose things like marbles, small metal cars, safety pins, a ring, etc. Have your guests sit down and place a tied stocking on the floor in front of each. When you give a signal – a bell works well – have your guest pick up their stocking and try to guess what is in their stocking by only feeling the items. Provide a piece of paper or note card to write down their guesses. Set a time limit – five minutes is good – and then have each player empty their stocking and then check to see how many of their guesses were correct. The winner is the person with the most items guessed correctly.
Valentine Party Icebreakers
Hearts in a Bottle
Fill a jar with small candy valentine hearts, the kind with sayings on them. Count how many you put in as you fill the jar. As guests arrive, have them guess how many candies are in the jar. Write down everyone’s guess and the guest closest to the correct amount wins. Announce the winner at the end of your party.
Pin the Arrow on the Heart
A party icebreaker game that is a version of pin the tail on the donkey, you prepare for this game by making a large heart out of red poster board. Add a small white heart in the middle to as a bull’s eye. Use more red construction paper to make “arrows.” Give each player an arrow and have them put their name on it. As players take their turns, put a small piece of tape on the back of each arrow. Blindfold players in turn, and have them stick their arrows on the heart. Give a prize to the guest who places their arrow the closest to the middle of the heart.
Fun Party Icebreaker Games
Birdies on the Perches
- Pair up your party guests for this party icebreaker game and have them decide who will play the birdie and who the perch. Those who are birdies stand in a circle and the perches stand in a circle surrounding the birdies.
- Tell the birdies that you will play some music and that when it starts, the birdies walk clockwise around the circle and the perches walk counter-clockwise.
- Whenever the music stops, the birdies must find their perches and sit on them. You can either have the perches kneel on one knee, making a perch out of the other leg or arrange chairs in a circle.
- On each turn, the last couple to pair up is out.
- The winners are the last couple left. It is more fun if you have relatively lively music to make them move quickly in the circle.
The goal in this party icebreaker game is to identify the sniper. You will need a deck of cards. Count out as many cards as you have guests, making certain one is a joker. Have everyone sit in a circle so that they can see everyone else. Shuffle the cards and pass them out to your guests, telling them not to let anyone know what card they have. Give the following directions:
One of you has a joker, and whoever has it is the sniper. The goal of everyone else is to find out who the sniper is. The sniper is going to wink at people without getting caught. Once you are winked at, you are out. At that point, you are to call out, “I’m dead! and move out of the circle. No one winks except the sniper. If one of you thinks you know who the sniper is, you can tell the group. However, if you are wrong, you are dead and out. If you are right, you win the game.
You can play this game as often as you wish or until your guests no longer have an interest.
Late Arrival Game
The facilitator chooses a theme for a ball. Ideas include:
- Florists’ Ball
- Cheese Lovers’ Ball
- Policeman’s Ball
- Animal Ball
- Zookeeper’s Ball
- Baker’s Ball
Each person at the party takes a turn introducing fictitious people arriving at the ball based upon the theme. For example, for a Dog Lover’s Ball, good introductions could include, “Mr. and Mrs. Dale and their daughter Air” (Airedale),” and for a Florist’s Ball, “Mr. and Mrs. Anthemum and their daughter Chris” (Chrysanthemum). Since it can be difficult coming up with ideas for names for introductions, give players some time at the beginning of the game and disclose the theme. This game can also be played as a team game, with players on teams eliminated if they cannot think of a name.
For most of our party icebreaker games, you should wait until all your guests arrive, so that no one is left out. Plan for more party icebreakers than you believe you will need, just in case one doesn’t work out or your need an extra game. Party icebreakers can keep your party going with everyone getting to know each other and having fun!
Susan majored in English with a double minor in Humanities and Business at Arizona State University and earned a Master’s degree in Educational Administration from Liberty University. She taught grades four through twelve in both public and private schools. Subjects included English, U.S. and world history and geography, math, earth and physical science, Bible, information technologies, and creative writing.
Susan has been freelance writing for over ten years, during which time she has written and edited books, newspaper articles, biographies, book reviews, guidelines, neighborhood descriptions for realtors, Power Point presentations, resumes, and numerous other projects.