How to Play the Ice Breaker Game 'People Bingo'

This popular ice breaker is great for meetings, classes, or networking events

Group social networking
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People bingo is a great ice breaker game for adults because it's fun, easy to organize, and almost everyone knows how to play. In as little as 30 minutes, you can energize a classroom or a meeting and help your students or coworkers get to know each other better with just a handful of bingo cards and some clever questions.

Whether your event has three people or 30, it's easy to play people bingo. Here's how to get started.

Create Your People Bingo Questions

If you know your participants, make a list of 25 interesting traits that describe different aspects of them, things like, “plays the bongos,” “once lived in Sweden,” “has a karate trophy,” “has twins,” or “has a tattoo.”

If you don’t know your participants, make a list of more general traits like “drinks tea instead of coffee,” “loves the color orange,” “has two cats,” “drives a hybrid,” or “went on a cruise in the last year.” You can make these easy or difficult depending on how much time you want the game to take.

Make Your People Bingo Cards

It's very easy to make your own bingo cards using regular printer paper. There also are many places online where you can create customized people bingo cards. Some are free; some are not. One site, Teachnology, has a card maker that allows you to shuffle the phrases on each card. Another site, Print-Bingo.com, allows you to customize with your own words or use their suggestions.

Start Playing People Bingo

You can play this game with up to 30 people. If your group is larger than that, consider dividing participants into smaller teams of equal size.

When you’re ready to play, give each participant a people bingo card and pen. Explain that the group has 30 minutes to mingle, introduce themselves, and find people who match the traits on the card. They must put the person’s name in the corresponding box or have the person sign the appropriate square.

The first person to fill five boxes across or down yells "Bingo!" and the game is over. For extra fun, give the winner a door prize.

Share Your Experiences

Ask participants to introduce themselves and share an interesting trait they learned about someone else or describe how they feel now that they know their peers better. When people take the time to get to know each other, barriers dissolve, they open up, and learning can take place.

If you don't have 30 minutes to spare for games at your meeting or class, you can play other top ice breaker party games for adults that take less time. Whatever game you choose, remember to have fun. The purpose is to keep the activity light and allow participants to become comfortable with each other so that they will be able to learn and absorb the information you have to offer.