Chapter 10

Ice Breaker Games for Large Groups

Check out our handy guide to the 10 best ice breaker games for large groups. These ideas work with groups of anywhere from 10 to 100+ people.

Heather Harper

Written by Heather Harper

Last updated: Mar 30, 2020

In this chapter we'll take you through the best ice breaker games you can run with large groups.

Organisations and businesses tend to work in large teams. However, it's no easy feat getting a large group of people who don't know each other to open up and relax - which is where icebreakers can help out a great deal.

Below is a list of 10 thoughtfully chosen icebreakers that are suitable for breaking the ice in large groups. They have a focus on being light-hearted, fun and simple.


If your team is working remotely at the moment then you should check out our 7000 word guide on remote team building games and activities for virtual teams. In there you'll find 40 ideas with instructions that you can try with your newly remote team.


We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

1) Scavenger Hunt

Objective: To work in teams to collect objects from around the office

Participants: 15 to 40 people

Duration: 10 to 15 minutes

Difficulty: Medium

Materials: A list of objects that can be found in the office

scavenger hunt

If you’re able to set aside at least a few hours for employee orientation, then it’s highly recommended that you try out this fun icebreaker.

We love scavenger hunt because it is a great and engaging way to introduce new staff into the workplace and get a feel for their new job. Not only does it encourage collaboration and interaction, it’s also an activity that all personality types can enjoy.

Instructions

  1. Break everyone into small groups of four or five.

  2. Give each group a short list of things to find within the office (e.g., a hole punch, tea bags, a pink pen…).

  3. Set the clock for 5 minutes and instruct the teams to find as many of the things of the list as possible.

  4. The winning team is the team who has the most stuff from the list collected.

  • Tip: in order to spice things up a little further, you should add a small incentive for the winning team.

2) 10 Things in Common

Objective: To get teammates realising what they have in common with each other

Participants: 10 to 50 people

Duration: 5 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Materials: None

10 things in common

Although research has suggested that characteristic diversity in teams enhances team performance, people feel connected when they realise they have things in common with each other - it promotes trust and gives a base for healthy relationship building.

The goal of this icebreaker is to remind us of exactly that and to help employees feel more connected with their colleagues.

Instructions

  1. Break your team up into small groups.

  2. Get each team to find 10 things that they have in common that have absolutely nothing to do with work.

  3. Suggest the teams write down these 10 things and discussing them.

3) Pass The Buck

Objective: To get team members to find out valuable information about each other

Participants: 20 to 500 people

Duration: 5 to 8 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Materials: None

pass the buck

We love this game because it encourages everyone to share valuable information about themselves.

Instructions

  1. Ask participants to take a $1 bill out of their pocket/purse and hold it in the air (those who don’t have a $1 bill should hold any other denomination in the air).

  2. Ask them to find someone near them who is holding the same amount of money and partner up with that person.

  3. Partner one shares a piece of information that they believe is of value, with partner two.

  4. Partner two decides whether the information is of value. If it is, they give them the money. If they don’t, they can keep the money or ask for more information until they think it is of value.

  5. It then becomes partner one’s turn to decide if partner two’s information is worth value.

4) Repeat Performance

Objective: To get team members involved and engaged in your speech

Participants: 60 to 500 people

Duration: 3 to 5 minutes

Difficulty: Medium

Materials: None

repeat performance

We like this ice breaker activity because essentially it kills two birds with one stone. You get to give a motivating and inspiring speech to your employees, whilst also introducing a fun and exciting ice breaker to the meeting.

Personally, we find the idea of giving a speech whilst breaking the ice novel and exciting because research has found time and time again, that a good speech improves employees empowerment and motivation - which is why this icebreaker is so high up our list.

Instructions

  1. Before starting the game, you should decide on two specific words or phrases that you would like participants to walk away from the speech remembering.

  2. Explain to your employees that you would like them to participate in your speech and that they will do this by shouting out certain words when you point with your right hand and certain words when you point with your left hand (e.g., chose the words “yes” or “no” and ask questions periodically throughout the speech for the audience to respond to).

  3. Before starting, do a practise round in which you point your left or right hand and get them to give answers.

5) Simon Sez

Objective: To get team members finding out their similarities and differences based on their birthing order

Participants: 10 to 200 people

Duration: 5 minutes

Difficulty: Medium to High

Materials: None

simon sez

This is a well known activity that we used to play as kids. We love it because it gets attention, creates energy and gains the participation of everyone.

We recommend using this in a speech at the start of the meeting, or as a break during a lengthy, and sometimes boring, meeting.

Instructions

  1. Get your teams to stand up and get ready to play Simon Sez.

  2. Explain the simple rules: When you say “Simon sez” followed by an order, the group should obey the order; when you give an order saying “Simon sez”, they should not follow the order.

  3. Give the orders. After each order, tell people who were correct in following the orders to remain standing, and people who were wrong to sit down.

  4. When finished, announce that the people still standing are the winners.

This is the Simon Sez order:

  • Simon sez lift your right hand into the air

  • Simon sez lift your left hand into the air

  • Put your right hand down

  • Simon sez put your left hand down

  • Simon sez point upward with your right hand

  • Simon sez point downward with your left hand

  • Simon sez point both hands toward yourself

  • Point both hands towards your neighbors

  • Simon sez stop point and sit down

  • Simon sez stand up

6) Air Balloons

Objective: To work in teams to keep a balloon in the air for as long as possible

Participants: 20 or more

Duration: 5 minutes

Difficulty: Medium

Materials: Balloons & stop watches

air balloons

We like the balloon game because it’s fun, quick and easy.

This icebreaker is guaranteed to get everyone up, involved and having a good time.

Instructions

  1. Seperate your team into different teams. Ideally, each team should have no more than 3-5 people per team but you can have as many teams as you’d like.

  2. Give each team an inflated balloon.

  3. Nominate 1 player from each team to be a timekeeper - their job is to record the time that the team kept the balloon in the air without touching it.

  4. Everyone has 3 minutes to try and keep the balloon in the air for as long as possible - the balloon must be kept in the air for as long as possible, without being touched or without touching the ground. Each time the balloon is touched, or touches the ground, the stop watch must be set back to zero.

  5. The winning team are the one that keep the balloon in the air for as long as they can.

7) Blanket Game

Objective: To get team members familiar with each other in a fun way

Participants: 10 to 50 people

Duration: 5 to 10 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Materials: One very large blanket

blanket game

We love it because it's simple, yet effective. The blanket game is perfect for teams who don’t know each other very well just yet.

This icebreaker places a massive emphasis on helping everyone to get to know each other just that little better…

And, it introduces a bit of friendly competition!

Instructions

  1. Split the group into teams of 5 to 10 people.

  2. Get a volunteer to help you stand at the front and hold a blanket up.

  3. One by one, members of team one sit behind the blanket, so that team two members can’t see then.

  4. On the count of three, drop the blanket.

  5. The first player to correctly identify the name of the player behind the blanket wins the round, earning on point for their team.

  6. Repeat until the time runs out.

8) Frozen T-Shirt Race

Participants: 15 to 50 people

Duration: 10 to 15 minutes

Difficulty: Medium

Materials: Water, freezer, large t-shirts (enough for each player)

frozen tshirt race

This is perhaps the most immature ice breaker game we have… and the most weather dependent (make sure you do it on a hot day, you don’t want your team all getting sick with a cold!)

This icebreaker is a great way to promote team communication and spot the natural born leaders and problem-solvers within any team.

Instructions

  1. Before the icebreaker, freeze the t-shirts overnight:
  • Place each t-shirt in water, and then wring it out.

  • Fold the t-shirt neatly into a square, so that it fits inside a freezer bag.

  • Once the shirt is folded flat, press it to squeeze out the remaining water and then seal the bag and lay it flatly in the freezer.

  1. Seperate the players into teams (no more than 4 or 5 players on one team).

  2. The goal is for each team to use whatever they can to thaw a t-shirt enough to wear it.

  3. Whichever team gets their t-shirt on first wins.

9) Line Up Game

Objective: Getting everyone to work together as a team to arrange themselves in a line based on a quality that is not apparently obvious

Participants: 10 to 20 people

Duration: 5 to 20 minutes

Difficulty: Hard

Materials: None

line up game

We love line up because it places an emphasis on people's qualities and their uniqueness; with research finding that diversity and uniqueness in teams actually increases team performance.

We also love the lineup game because it helps pinpoint natural leaders and team players.

Instructions

  1. Give your team a quality (e.g., birthdays) which they will have to form a line, in order, according to (e.g., January 1st is the furthest to the left, and December 31st is the furthest to the right).

  2. When the group believes that the line up is correct, they will start at one end and call out their birthdays.

  3. If the line up is correct, then the game is won. If the line up is incorrect, then do it again with another characteristic (e.g., shoe size).

10) Marshmellow Toss

Objective: Teammates have to catch as many marshmallows in their mouth as possible

Participants: 10 or more

Duration: 5 to 10 minutes

Difficulty: Medium

Materials: Marshmallows & masking tape

marshmellow toss

We love this game because it creates a friendly and light-hearted atmosphere.

It produces a bit of competition, and encourages everyone to work on their hand eye coordination!

Disclaimer: Safety comes first. Be aware of choking hazards!

Instructions

  1. Seperate the team into pairs.

  2. Use masking tape to set the distance between the two teams.

  3. Line each pair up so that one player is behind one marked line and the other player is directly across from them behind the other marked line.

  4. Teams should toss a marshmallow fairly accurately for one line to the other.

  5. The winning team is the team who catches the most marshmallows in their mouth in the two minute time period. Pairs can either alternate who throws, or one person can be the designated ‘thrower’ and the other the designated ‘catcher’.

Conclusion

We hope you've liked our list of the best ice breaker activities for large groups.

Try these out and let me know how you go.

Is there one that we've missed that should definitely be in our top 10 ice breaker games for large groups list?

Let me know in the comments below.

Heather Harper

About the author

Heather Harper has a Masters in Occupational Psychological from the University of Manchester. She currently works as an editorial writer specialising in organizational psychology - helping teams work better together.

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