In this chapter, we're going to explain the rules to Ice Breaker Bingo that are perfect for startups, small teams, big departments, or any other team of any size. Keep in mind that there are multiple versions out there, but this one is our favorite.
As an added bonus, we'll also include some downloadable cards that you can print off and use with a new group of people or even with existing team members.
A fun alternative to Ice Breaker Bingo is a game we built called QuizBreaker.
Thousands of teams around the world play QuizBreaker as a fun way to learn more about each other and bring their teams closer together.
Different people at organisations such as NY Times, Google & Coca Cola have reported how it's really easy to run a team building activity.
If your team is working remotely at the moment then you should check out our guide on virtual team building activities and games for remote teams. In there you'll find 100 ideas with instructions that you can try with your newly remote team.
Why We Love It
We can all admit, we love a game of bingo - even if it is for old people.
It’s fun, engaging and can get competitive; and that’s exactly why it's one of our favourite ice breaker games.
Furthermore, we adore people bingo (also known as the ‘autograph game’ or ‘did you know?’) because it is fun, easy to organise and even easier to teach.
Simply put, the objective of the game is for employees to wander around the room and get signatures of people who have the facts listed on the bingo sheet - but we’ll explain it in more detail in a second.
It might sound almost too simple, but being simple leaves nothing to be over complicated and allows employees to interact with each other without feeling any pressure. It's a great way to run an easy ice breaker game for the first day of your new team.
How To Set Up Ice Breaker Bingo
We got you covered and written step by step directions for you to follow for your next bingo game!
Step 1: Create bingo questions
If you know your employees reasonably well, make a list of 25 interesting things that you know describe different aspects of them. Turn them into different questions you can turn into bingo entries.
For example “lived in Sweden”, “Can speak two or more languages”, “plays the guitar” or “has a red Porsche” (alright for some, hey!).
If you don’t know your employees at all, make a list of 25 general ice breaker questions. For instance, “has brown hair” or “works for the HR team”.
You can make your questions easy or difficult, depending on how long you want the game to last.
Step 2: Make a people bingo card
It is very easy to make your own people bingo cards.
You can either use a regular printer, or there are many places online where you can create customised people human bingo cards; which you can find further down the post.
How To Play Ice Breaker Bingo
Give each player a bingo card, either homemade or found on the internet, and a pen
Explain that the group has 30 minutes to mingle with each other. During this time, they should be introducing themselves to one other and finding people who match the traits on the bingo card.
Once they have found the person with the correct trait, they must put the person’s name in the corresponding box, or have the person sign the appropriate bingo square
Just like a normal game of bingo, the clock continues to tick until the first person to fill five boxes across or down yells “Bingo”.
If you want the game to go on for a little longer, you could have multiple opportunities to win. For example, the first person to get a full horizontal line of words, the first to get a vertical line and then the first to get a full house.
To involve employees even more in the game, perhaps ask them at the beginning what they think a completed game should be.
To make the game more exciting and motivating, have a prize (or prizes, if playing the longer game) ready to give the winners.
In our opinion, a bottle of nice wine will do but you could always offer gift vouchers.
How To Reflect
One way to reflect at the end is to ask participants to introduce themselves and share an interesting trait they learned about someone else.
You can also get your employees or school students to describe how they feel now that they know their peers a little bit better.
For a sample printable bingo card, you can download and modify this People-Bingo printable template.
Alternatively, you can take QuizBreaker for a spin which is arguably even more fun than ice breaker bingo!
Frequently Asked Questions
- How to host a bingo event?
It is super easy, all you need to do is invite your friends or colleagues to play and be sure to have your bingo board and pen ready.
- What are some fun icebreaker questions?
We got you covered! Check-out our favorite icebreaker questions.
- What is the history of the game Bingo?
Bingo is traced back to 1530 and started off as an Italian lottery called 'Lo Giuoco del Lotto D'Italia' and still played every Saturday in Italy. In the United States Bingo was called "beano".
- Can you play bingo virtually?
Absolutely! You will need to start a video chat using your preferred video conferencing platform. Make sure everyone in your team has a bingo card and a pen. From there it is just like playing a normal bingo game in person.
- Can children play this game?
Of course! Just try to simplify the questions and mechanics so they don't have a hard time. Also, you can give it as group work so children work in teams.
So there you have it!
Ice breaker bingo is a great option for a birthday party game or as part of some bridal shower games. We've even heard from some teachers who use it in special education and English language arts to produce interesting facts during free space in the day.
That's our tutorial on how to play the ice breaker bingo game with your group.
Looking for more activity ideas?