Adult Ice Breaker Games for Classrooms, Meetings, and Conferences

Don't Like Silly Games for Adults? There Are Other Choices.

Adults learn best and are most receptive when they are comfortable with the people around them. Whether in a classroom or at a conference, seminar, or party, there are things that you can do to reduce tension and encourage participation in a group.

Help people adapt to any situation by playing an ice breaker game that is fun without being overly cheesy. Effective icebreakers can function as introductions, warm-ups, or even test prep.

These 10 icebreakers for adults will get your session started on the right foot.

01
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Two Truths and a Lie

Adults laughing in conference room
Thomas Barwick / Getty Images

This hilarious game works well in any group, whether the participants are regular team members or strangers. Have everyone come up with two things about themselves that are true and one that is false but believable. Writing these down removes the pressure of remembering. Participants then try to identify the lie. This activity is great for encouraging creativity that might be useful later and helping everyone in the group get to know each other.

02
of 10

People Bingo

People Bingo is a popular ice breaker because it's easy to customize for your group and situation and even easier to learn. To play, the facilitator provides each participant with a bingo card and writing utensil. Each square on the bingo card features a characteristic such as "has more than two pets" or "only knows how to cook toast" and participants have to find a person a characteristic is true for to get a Bingo. Explain that a point doesn't count unless it has a signature.

You can make your own bingo cards or buy templates online.

03
of 10

Marooned

This icebreaker works well to introduce people that don't know each other or build deeper relationships within groups that are already comfortable being together. To start, pose the question, "What are five things that you would take with you if you were marooned on an island?"—a person's answer reveals a lot about their character! Participants can write down their responses and read each other's or raise their hands to tell the group. Timing is flexible for this game, making it the perfect quick icebreaker if you are on a tight schedule.

04
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2-Minute Mixer

This activity gets a group's energy up and helps participants let loose. Explain to everyone that they will talk to the person nearest to them for two minutes about anything they'd like, then switch to someone new when they hear the timer go off. Encourage participants to talk to people they don't know well and make sure that both people in each pair get a chance to speak.

It is a good idea to offer topic suggestions, especially for groups of strangers. Write these down and display them so no one feels awkward about having nothing to say. Repeat this exercise until you feel like the group is sufficiently warmed up.

05
of 10

If You Had a Magic Wand

If you had a magic wand, what would you choose to change? That's the question to ask your group before passing around a wand or other fun object for this game. Seat participants in a circle and have them pass around the object, using it as a wand to demonstrate what they would change when it is their turn. Encourage everyone to have fun with the role of wizard or magician when answering and act out changing whatever they would change!

06
of 10

Pick a Side

This activity is so simple yet so engaging. Come to the session with at least ten "Would You Rather..." style questions that are tough to answer. Divide the room with a piece of tape and tell participants that they will stand on the side of their answer.

Example: The question is "Would you rather A) Eat at a fancy restaurant every night or B) Never have to do laundry again?" If a participant thinks that they'd rather eat at a fancy restaurant every night, they will stand on side A. This game tends to be polarizing and humorous!

07
of 10

The Power of Story

Adults bring to your class or meeting room an abundance of life experience and wisdom. Tell stories to add significance and meaning to the rest of your time together. To start, think about your group to decide what type of category is most appropriate, then ask everyone to come up with a story to tell that fits that category. Be sure to give everyone a few minutes to think of something before requesting that someone share out and always offer the option of passing for personal games such as this one. Note: Small groups work best here because they make it more likely that everyone gets to share.

08
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Expectations

It is safe to say that your participants are expecting something from your meeting. Understanding your students' expectations of the course or seminar you're teaching is important to your success and also encourages openness amongst everyone present. Learn the expectations of your students with this sweet and simple ice breaker that asks, "What do you expect to get from today?" It is up to you what degree of creativity or seriousness you encourage.

09
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Where in the World?

Take advantage of the experiences had by a well-traveled group with this get-to-know-you activity. This icebreaker can be insightful and fun for any collection of people but is most entertaining when combining people from all walks of life. If you have the privilege of teaching a diverse group of participants, use this icebreaker to learn about everyone early on so that you may draw on their backgrounds later. Ask participants where they are from, where they've been, where they'd like to travel someday, and more.

10
of 10

If You Could Take a Different Path

Almost everyone has wished at some point that they had taken a different path in life and sometimes vocalizing this desire can be calming, inspiring, or otherwise encouraging. Perhaps there are people in the room that want to hear that they are not the only ones feeling a certain way and participants can inspire and lift each other up. Use caution when trying this activity, as the topic of life choices can be too intense for people that are made uncomfortable expressing their deep inner thoughts to near-strangers.

For a more lighthearted approach, tell the group to imagine something that they think they'd like to try once or twice rather than choosing a different life path altogether—maybe someone has always wanted to drive a racecar, train a dolphin, or walk a runway.