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Party Icebreakers

Cheryl Cirelli
group of people

When people first walk through the door to attend a party where they know few people, it can be uncomfortable. Icebreakers are a fun way to get people moving around the room and mingling with others. Icebreakers loosen people up and help them to start to get to know each other. Learning one another's names is a common theme among icebreakers and at times provides further information to stimulate conversation once the party icebreakers are over.

Give Away Icebreakers

Give away icebreakers are one way to get people talking to one another. They require very little work and can get guests socializing with one another in no time flat. Some give away games to include at your party are:

Who Has The Sticker?

When hosting a dinner party, or any sit-down affair, you can give away the centerpiece to one individual at each table. Place a sticker under one of the chairs before the party starts. It will get party-goers on their feet to check underneath their seat for the winning sticker and usually generates conversation between participants.

What's in Your Pocket?

Another fun give away game that gets partiers involved by asking them to produce various items from purses and pockets. The first person or group to produce the item wins the prize. This game is best played by breaking guests into 3 or 4 groups. You can also use a point system. If playing in groups, the first group to produce the item gets the point and at the end of the game, the group with most points wins.

Sample list of things to ask for include:

jean pocket
  • Key chain with 10 keys or more
  • Bookmark
  • Pen with a chewed cap
  • Coin with a specific date
  • Family picture
  • Store receipt
  • Stamp
  • Paperclip

When planning your party, put together your list of items, include a few that will get people interacting and laughing. It not only puts people at ease, but gives them something to talk about even after the game is over.

Getting to Know You Icebreaker

A "Getting to Know You" icebreaker list is given to each guest. Then with a time limit, they are sent to mill and mingle about in search of names to fill in the blanks. For example, if one of the items on the list is "Born in Iowa," when a guest born in Iowa is located their name is filled in next to that list item. A variety of Getting to Know You party games can be found online for just about any group.

Sentence Starters

Sentence starters give everyone at the party a chance to share something about themselves and lets personalities shine through. Sample starters include:

  • I have never…
  • I am…
  • What makes me laugh is…
  • The most important decision of my life was…
  • The superhero I'd like to be is…
  • If I was a piece of furniture I'd be a...

Secret Word

Secret word party icebreakers have to do with a word chosen before the party begins. This one is great for encouraging mingling at cocktail parties. Give each guest a sticker when they arrive, and let them know the secret word. The goal is not to use the word, but notice if another guest does. When a guest uses the secret word, the guest who notices gets his sticker. The person with the most stickers at the end of the game is the winner. This can be fun as a person tries to get others to use the secret word without using it themselves.

Workplace Party Icebreakers

mingling at office party

People often dread office parties because they don't really have relationships with co-workers beyond the office.

Office Questions

To get the party rolling, choose two people who work together in some capacity. Put them back to back and ask work related questions like:

  • Whose desk is messiest?
  • Who is usually late?
  • Who has more food in their desk?

These kinds of questions get laughs and stimulate conversation between coworkers.

String Game

Another icebreaker for the work place is the string game. You'll need a spool of string or yarn for this one. Have each person answer a question while they have the string and then after they answer have them toss the ball or spool to another co-worker to answer the next question. Eventually the string creates a web. In the end, describe how the web parallels the group in that they work well together and play a part in creating the web. If one person was missing, the web would turn out differently and how important every person is in the work place.

Icebreakers for Kids

Whether it is at school, a birthday party or at summer camp, icebreakers are a fun way to get a group of kids to get past their initial shyness and start to having fun. Some great icebreakers for kids include:

The Name Game

Ask the kids to sit in a circle and begin by saying their name and a word that starts with the same letter. For example, one child could say Anthony Apples. The next child says their name and a word along with the kid's name and word before them.

child with balloons

This helps the kids get to know each other's names, along with adding some laughter to the game. It is harder than it sounds.

Keep the Balloon Up

This icebreaker will get kids out of their seats and moving around. Divide kids into small groups and give each group an inflated balloon. Each group must pass the balloon around and keep it moving without touching the floor.

Plan More Games Than You Need

As you plan icebreakers for your party, plan more than you need just in case one of them falls flat with your guests. The idea is to keep it fun and help your guests get to know one another.

Party Icebreakers