5 Large Group Icebreakers

As anyone who is tasked to manage a large group knows, keeping that many people entertained can be a real challenge. This is made even more difficult when the group is not familiar with each other. Whether you are planning a party with a bunch of friends, or leading group exercises for a corporate retreat, icebreakers are key to a sucessful evening! Below are 5 of our favorite large group icebreakers to warm up your group.

The Shoe Game

This is a simple icebreaker to get a large group mingling and talking to one another.  Ask the participants to take off their right shoe and toss it into a big pile in the middle of the room.  Participants are then asked to pick up a shoe from the pile and find the owner!  Once they find the owner, they must stand next to them.  The end result is the group collaborating to form a large circle.

In a group setting, most people will gravitate to those they already know. When organizing an event with lots of people, getting to know someone new can be awkward or uncomfortable. The Shoe Game motivates people to get out of their comfort zone and meet someone new! Give a couple of prompting questions for those in the group to ask their shoe partner if conversations seem strained.

Celebrity Heads

This is a fun icebreaker that is very simple to organize.  To begin, write the names of different celebrities on post-it notes.  Place a post-it note on the forehead of each participant without them seeing the name of the celebrity. The participants will them be told to mingle and ask “yes or no” questions of other participants.  They are only allowed to ask a single question of each person they talk to.  The first few participants to correctly guess their celebrity win a prize!

Not only is this game simple, and very easy to set up and explain, but the time you spend on this game is highly adaptable to your needs. If you don’t have a lot of time, you can set a quick timer to signal when to switch to a new person. If you want your group to spend more time with one another, you could skip the timer and add other clever rules.

Organize Without Speaking

This is a simple game that tests the collaborative skills of participants.  Ask them to arrange themselves in a line ordered by their birth year or another time based prompt.  The only catch — they can’t speak, they have to use hand signals!  Participants will have to organize themselves and pay attention to the signs from other people in the group. This is also a fantastic way to observe the group a get a feel for the individual dynamics. Take not of who takes charge. Pay attention to the ones who seem especially skilled or scattered. If you are worried about a long uncomfortable silence, you can always play some jaunty background music!

This ice breaker is a great way to encourage quick thinking and team building. Use this at your next corporate retreat, or your next family reunion! Quickly overcome any icebreaker-awkwardness with this quick thinking game.

True or False Running

This is a great icebreaker for energetic groups of young people.

Have the group stand in the middle of the room.  Place a marker on the right side of the room and on the left side of the room. Nominate the right side as the “true” side and the left side as the “false”.

The facilitator then asks a series of true or false questions of the participants.  They could include questions like “Small dogs live longer than big dogs” or “The capital of Australia is Sydney”.  Participants then have to choose true or false for the answer.  If they get the answer right they are given a token or their score is recorded on a scoreboard.  After twenty icebreaker questions, the person with the most points wins a prize!

This one can also be made with more personal questions to help the group get a better idea of those around them. You could say phrases like, “I am married” “This is my first time at ____” or “I have been out of the country.” This might just prompt some side conversations and give the people in your group a starting off point for a fun meet and greet.

Simon Says

Sometimes the silly games that you played as a child can bring back some great memories!  The facilitator rapidly yells “Simon says” orders to participants to get them moving.  Remember that participants should only do what the facilitator says when he includes “Simon says” in the request!  Shout the commands rapidly to see if the participants are paying attention and thinking quickly.

If you wanted to really spice things up, you could offer a prize to the last person who remains uneliminated! This game might not be what you are looking for as a “get to know you game” but it certainly is an icebreaker!

Collecting Autographs

Here is an icebreaker for an especially large group of people. It’s fast paced, fun, and great at getting a group warmed up. best of all, its easy!

Participants are given a worksheet that includes 20 questions on it.  They must find other participants who answer yes to that question.  Participants will then sign their name next to the question.  Participants can only sign once per sheet, so people must walk around the room to find 20 different people to answer “yes” and sign their worksheet.

Questions can include things like:

  • I have been to France

  • I know how to play guitar

  • I have rode an elephant

  • I am wearing a brown shirt

Featured Image via Unsplash

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