Ice Breaker Games for Office Parties

By Jill Harness
Ice breaker games can help people get to know one another.

Ice breaker games are an effective way to start an office party because of the many ties they build. In large offices, games help to introduce people from other departments who have not met one another before. In smaller offices, the games can help people get to know one another on a more personal level than their jobs would normally allow.

Paper Airplanes

Each person makes a paper airplane and then writes his name and one of his hobbies on it. When everyone is done, the group throws the airplanes. Then each person picks up an airplane, reads what it says and then identifies the person who launched it. When everyone has met the person who threw the plane he holds, each person will then be asked to introduce that person to the group.

Artistic Introductions

Everyone has five minutes to draw a picture that represents herself. There are no words or numbers allowed. Everyone passes in the pictures to the host of the party, who shows the images to the group, one at a time, and everyone must guess who each picture belongs to. Once someone guesses the right person, that person stands up, introduces herself and then describes how the picture represents her.

Find Your Commonalities

Everyone breaks into small groups of three or four and then they must find things they have in common. These things cannot be superficial, such as hair color or age, but instead must be about hobbies or other things outside the office. After each group has figured out its three things, group members introduce themselves to the crowd, along with the three things they have in common.

Who Am I?

This game is not as much about introductions as it is just getting people to talk to one another and feel comfortable in the group. Each person is given an index card with the name of a famous person. The person cannot see what is on the card, but the card is taped onto their back so others can see it. Everyone then must circulate around the room, asking yes or no questions until they figure out who the person on the card is.

Marooned on an Island

This exercise is about identifying priorities and promoting teamwork more than it is about meeting one another. Break everyone into small groups of three to five people and then ask them to select five items they would want if they were marooned on a desert island. The group must select five items for the whole team to bring and then present the list to the crowd along with the reasons for each item’s inclusion.

Storytelling

This game promotes creative thinking and helps everyone get to know how other people in the group think. Have everyone sit in a circle. One person starts the game by saying a sentence that will begin a story. The next person will add a sentence to the story, then the next, then the next, etc. As the story nears the end of the circle, instruct the storytellers to start working on an ending.

Find Someone Who...

Every person has the same sheet of paper containing a long list of traits or facts, each of which has a blank space next to it. Traits and facts can be things like “someone who is left handed,” “someone who has been to South America,” “someone with three kids,” etc. The participants must then go around trying to get a signature next to each item on the list from someone in the group. The catch is that no one can sign someone’s list more than once. Whoever has the most signatures at the end of five minutes wins.