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55 fun ice breaker games and activities for your team in 2022

The best and most productive meetings are ones where we feel warmed up and ready to share. But first, we need to break the ice.
Published 29 Aug 2022
Updated 29 Aug 2022
19 min read
Woman sitting at home desk holding a dog in a red vest

Sometimes, the beginnings of meetings can be a little awkward.

It takes our brains a second to wake up and get in the zone for working and solving problems. We also need to feel comfortable enough in front of our colleagues to share our ideas.

In other words, the best and most productive meetings are ones where we feel warmed up and ready to share. And what’s the best way to get into this flow state? Well, we need to break the ice.

Chrissy Tegan looking awkward
When you feel awkward in a meeting and desperately in need of an ice breaker.

What are ice breaker games?

Ice breaker games are quick games that you can play to bring people together, build connections and increase social energy.

Ice breaker games come in all shapes and sizes. They might be simple questions you ask one person or each other, designed to spark discussion. Or they might be games that are more structured, which require people to work together in teams.

These kinds of games are perfect for meetings and when new team members are coming together for the first time. It’s a great management tool that can help you build a happier workplace, and often a welcomed break from work-centric discussions. When you take the time to play ice breaker games, you acknowledge that work isn’t about productivity 100% of the time, and that by making time for fun as a team, you can grow closer and stronger.

How long should ice breakers last?

Ice breaker games should last between 2-20 minutes, depending on the game you choose to play. These should also take place at the beginning of a meeting or get-together.

Ice breakers should be short and easy, acting as a warm up for your team rather than the main event. Longer games are more suited to team building, which give you a chance to build stronger bonds over longer periods of time.

Would you rather see some team building games? We have 39 great options for you to try.

Why should you encourage team members to get to know each other?

Creating strong bonds in the workplace will see huge benefits for both your employees and your business.

Having a sense of camaraderie and connection is essential for a strong sense of wellbeing at work. Not only does it stop individual team members from feeling lonely and isolated, it creates stronger communication pathways. Disagreements can be resolved more easily, as we know and understand the person on a deeper level.

Having good connections can also improve confidence and help work get completed more efficiently. Building great relationships at work simply makes life so much easier!

When everyone knows each other well, it’s also easier to foster peer-to-peer recognition. It’s hard to thank someone you don’t really know, so having pre-existing relationships makes it more natural to celebrate the wins together and highlight great work.

Two women chatting in an office with icebreaker activities
Building great relationships at work is always worth it.

How to encourage a shy team member to participate

It can be tough to get a shy team member to get involved in team building ice breakers, but for them it may be more important than anyone else!

Your shy team members are less likely to go out and form relationships on their own, whereas an easy meeting ice breaker gives them the opportunity to make these connections.

Watch and see how your quieter team members participate. If they don’t want to take part in one of your ice breaker ideas, try something else that suits them better. The best ice breakers are the ones which everyone can participate in. You’ve got 55 ice breaker ideas below, so there’s no shortage of options!

Concerned that there might be a bigger wellbeing issue at play? Download our free Wellness at Work report to understand employee wellbeing better, or download our Workplace Wellness Bundle for actionable tips.

55 fun ice breaker games for the workplace

1. ‘Would you rather’

‘Would you rather’ is an ice breaker classic, and for good reason. It’s an easy way to get your team chatting and laughing together, providing a silly space to have some conversations that aren’t work related.

‘Would you rather’ can give you insights into someone’s personality, and spark conversation amongst whole teams. It hits all the requirements of a great ice breaker game.

Of course, make sure the ‘would you rather’ questions are appropriate for work! Here are some of our favourites to get you started;

  • Would you rather have free groceries for life or never need to pay for a meal at a restaurant again?
  • Would you rather give up coffee or chocolate?
  • Would you rather have more time or more money?
  • Would you rather travel through time into the future or into the past?
  • Would you rather never listen to music again or never read a book again?
Woman in green shirt holding up hands and looking stressed
Decisions, decisions.

2. Favourites

This one’s simple! Put someone in the hot seat — it could be a new person, or you could highlight a member of your existing team — and ask about their favourites from a selection of different categories.

You could ask about someone’s favourite app, TV show, book, movie, snack, country to travel to, animal, sandwich filling — the list goes on and on. Finding out people’s favourites not only helps you get to know them better, it can also form bonds in the team with others that have the same interests.

3. Cat person or dog person

It’s time to reignite the age-old debate… Which is best — cats or dogs?

With some very strong supporters on each side, this can turn into quite a heated discussion. If you are having a meeting with a larger group of people, we recommend splitting them up into two small groups and having them build an argument. Two representatives of the groups will then come back and present their case.

If you’re working remotely, any visual aids in the form of cats or dogs, may be presented for additional evidence.

Five little white puppies looking cute
Yes, the court will accept this adorable evidence.

4. Best advice

Everyone has a valuable piece of advice that has changed their outlook on things, or helped them through a difficult time.

For me, as a writer, the best advice I’ve ever received is ‘just get started’. Writer’s block be damned, just get something on the page — regardless of whether it’s good or bad — and the words will start to come.

The Employment Hero marketing team recently shared the best advice they had ever received at a get-together, and it set an inspiring tone for the rest of the meeting. We all learned something new, and got to understand each others’ values a little better.

5. Life hacks

Who doesn’t love a life hack? Whether it’s to do with cooking, DIY projects or personal finance — everyone wants to make their life a little easier and everyone has a tip to share.

Go around the circle and get each person to share their best hack. For an extra kick of engagement, take a vote on the most helpful hack at the end of the session and give the recognised hack-champion a small prize.

6. Working hacks

If you want to make your ice breaker activities more work-relevant, try switching life hacks for work hacks.

Maybe someone on your team has mastered the Pomodoro Technique, or someone else is an ergonomic whiz. These hacks could make a big difference to the way your team works together, so give it a try.

Cat sitting on an orange couch typing aggressively on a laptop
Productivity hacks? We’re all ears.

7. Doppelgängers

When you’re learning who’s who in the zoo, a great technique can be to link them up to a celebrity reference.

We recommend sitting around the table and taking turns to guess each other’s famous doppelgänger. Is your guess the same person they get compared to often? If they could be a celebrity for the day, who would they love to be?

8. Inventors

It’s time to get your team’s creative juices flowing with this great ice breaker.

Choose an everyday item; it could be a toothbrush, a pen, a keyring — then ask your team to write down as many inventions inspired by that item as they can.

During one of Employment Hero’s latest meetings we gave this a try, and our item was a rock. There were plenty of great inventions including; a piece of gym equipment, a very subtle time capsule, a friend.

Be silly with it — there are no bad ideas! Get everyone to share their inventions after 15 minutes and vote on a team favourite.

9. Taglines

Another creative team ice breaker, Taglines is all about coming up with an exciting selling point for an ordinarily dull product. Think garbage bags, a paperclip, toilet paper — anything that needs a bit of a rebrand to be considered exciting.

Organise your team into small groups to work together and come up with the best possible tagline. The winning team will have the funniest and most creative line that gives the product a whole new life, and a bit of razzle dazzle.

A group of people dancing with shiny top hats
Give em’ the old razzle dazzle.

10. Hot takes

Do you think chocolate is overrated? Or maybe you think pineapple belongs on pizza? Perhaps, as I do, you think test cricket should be illegal (no one needs to play or watch that much cricket!).

Controversial opinions, or ‘hot takes’, can be a great way to get a hilarious and heated discussion brewing in your team. Employment Hero’s marketing department has had some of our most spirited team ice breakers using this game!

This recommendation should of course come with a warning; everyone needs to be considerate of others — steer clear of topics that could offend, like religion, politics and company gossip.

11. Bucket list

What’s one thing that you really want to do in your lifetime?

Getting each person to share the item at the top of their bucket list is another great way to gain insight into their personality.

12. Mr. Squiggle

Mr Squiggle is a favourite of school classrooms everywhere, but it shouldn’t be discounted as a great ice breaker game.

To play, split a large group into smaller teams. Give each team member a large piece of paper, and draw a random line or shape (a squiggle, if you will) on each one. Working off the same piece of paper, each person in a team then has 15 seconds to add to the squiggle – attempting to create a collaborative work of art.

Whether teams decide to go for something literal or a little more abstract, vote on the best one and pin it up for the remainder of the meeting.

Drawn cartoon cat eating cartoon mice
Make beautiful art together.

13. Binge recommendation

If there’s any topic that has the power to unite, it’s television.

Whether your team is full of Game of Thrones stans, or enthralled with the case of the Tinder Swindler, binge-worthy TV shows can build relationships at work.

If the ice breaker conversation really takes off, get your TV show fans to start their own group on your company messaging platform, so that they can continue to share their thoughts and recommendations in the future.

14. Dream dinner guests

It’s one of the all-time best fun ice breaker questions; dead or alive, which three people would you invite to dinner? Ask each person in your team this question and why.

15. Two truths and a lie

Two truths and a lie is a great way to introduce a new person to your team.

Get your new employee to share three statements about themselves, two of which are true and one of which is a lie. The rest of the team can ask yes or no questions to figure out the two truths, before taking their best guess at the lie.

16. Jam session

This is one for the more creative teams out there, who may not mind getting out of their comfort zone a little.

Bring a bunch of easy-to-play musical instruments to your meeting. We’re talking little drums, a triangle, maracas — maybe even a xylophone. Get one person to set the rhythm and then invite everyone to build sounds around it. Enjoy yourself as you all contribute to one big jam session.

It’s an incredibly unique and fun way to get your team working together on something that’s not related to their professional roles.

Wayne's World gang moshing in car
There’s nothing like a team rock out.

17. Line up

Test your team’s knowledge of each other with this simple ice breaker game. Line up is very simple; one person in the team is the ‘Caller’ who asks the team a question beginning with “line up in the order of…”.

There are all sorts of questions you could ask, but a good place to start could be to get teams to line up in order of height, age or who loves coffee the most. To make it extra tricky, ask your team to figure out the lineup in silence.

18. Adventure survival challenge

Could you survive the remote wilderness? What if you had to do so as a team, with only a limited number of supplies?!

A survival challenge doesn’t only promote team bonding, it’s an effective ice breaker that can get people from all sides of a business working together. Recently, members of the Employment Hero marketing, sales and customer experience teams used the Subarctic Survival Challenge to forge new relationships to great success.

In most of these challenges (there are several free and paid versions to choose from), participants are put in a hypothetical extreme situation, like a plane crash in the wilderness. As a team, you then need to rank a provided list of items that will help you survive.

Nothing says team bonding like the threat of imminent danger, am I right?

Bear Grylls looking confused
WWBGD – What would Bear Grylls do?

19. One word

Looking for ice breaker activities that are short and sharp? How about trying a one word ice breaker.

Keep it simple! Go around your team and ask each person to share the vibe of their day in one word.

20. Desert island discs

Inspired by the BBC podcast, this ice breaker game builds a soundtrack to your colleague’s life.

Choose one person to learn more about. Ask them, “if you were stranded on a desert island, which eight tracks, one book and one luxury would you take?” The results can be illuminating and a great way to connect.

21. If you were an animal

Like music, everyone has thoughts about which animal they feel best represents them.

Put the spotlight on one team member and ask, “if you were an animal, what kind of animal would you be and why?”

This is a great ice breaker question, and can say a lot about the person — making it a great interview question too.

22. Build it!

We’ve covered a few creative thinking ideas, but what about something that uses industrial skills? This could be the perfect ice breaker.

Every office has a wealth of stationary supplies. Raid your cupboard for the day to compete in the ultimate building challenge!

Split into teams, distribute the items, and get to work on building the most epic structure possible.

23. Tea vs. coffee

Tea and coffee lovers can be as divided as cat and dog lovers — making this another great ice breaker question to get your team talking.

What’s so great about tea? Why is coffee the ultimate morning drink? Let the caffeinated discussions begin.

24. Hidden talent

Have you ever asked your colleagues what their hidden talents are? We can all get caught up in our work and role — it’s easy to forget that people have other special skills, and they can be a delightful thing to witness. You’d be surprised how many amazing secret singers, acrobats and chefs there are out there.

Few people would enjoy a random talent show, so ask your team in advance if they would be interested in sharing their hidden talent in any way they want. Then use it as a fun ice breaker and introduction for your next meeting. 

Man walking and juggling using hands and feet
Did you know that Mike from accounting can do this?

25. Last meal

Food has already come up a few times in this list, and for good reason. Everyone has an opinion when it comes to what they eat — especially when they’re faced with the prospect of a last meal.

Go around your circle and ask each person what they would choose for their very last starter, main and dessert.

26. Superpowers

Choosing superpowers is another great conversation starter that everyone can weigh in on.

What’s the best superpower you could possibly have? What’s the most unusual but helpful one you can think of? What would you use your superpower to do?

27. We’re not really strangers

For an ice breaker game that can build connections on a more personal level, check out the We’re Not Really Strangers card game.

A good option for pairs or small groups who already have some familiarity with each other, the game has, “three carefully crafted levels of questions and wildcards that allow you to deepen your existing relationships and create new ones.” 

28. Scavenger hunt

Congregating for your meeting or event in the office? We suggest a good old fashioned workplace scavenger hunt!

Arrive before your meeting begins and hide small gifts or treats around the office. You might use candy or chocolate bars, company merchandise, or even something fancy like a small bottled cocktail.

If you’d like to take your scavenger hunt to the next level, leave little rhyming clues around the office and have people work in teams. The first team to solve the clues and find the bounty wins!

29. Match the baby photo

It’s always nice to remember that your team members are human. Heck, they were even tiny cute baby humans once!

Get all the participants to bring in a baby or toddler photo of themselves, and pin each one up on the wall. One by one, work through the pictures and try to guess as a team who’s who. This makes for a very sweet and memorable experience.

Little girl in car chair looking suspicious
Is this the most relatable toddler of all time?

30. If your life was a movie

Everyone is the main character in their own life. Instead of asking someone to share their work history as an ice breaker, think a little bit more theatrically. If their life was a blockbuster movie, what would they title it?

31. Movie pitch

Another one for the movie and entertainment buffs. Split your group into teams and give them a thought starter sentence. For example; “Jeffery had one big dream in life…”

Give each team ten minutes to create a movie pitch for their thought starter, and have them present it to the other group members. Judge the entries based on originality, creativity and wackiness.

32. Company culture quiz

Sometimes a rapid-fire quiz can be the perfect ice breaker game to get your team energised for a meeting. While you could build your quiz around any theme, incorporating questions around your company culture can be a great way to celebrate your workplace and help new team members quickly get a vibe for the business.

If you do have new employees participating, who may not know as many of the answers, why not assign them as quizmaster so they can still feel involved?

Here are a couple of questions to get you started;

  • When was the business established?
  • Who is the business’ longest-running employee?
  • Where was the business’ first office located?
  • What are our company values?
  • Name a team member’s pet
Dog wearing a shirt, tie and glasses
Who is our CPO (Chief Pup Officer)?

33. Product/services trivia

Already done a company culture quiz? Why not take a different approach and ask questions around your products or services.

You could challenge your team with questions like;

  • Name three ways our product has changed over the last five years.
  • Roughly how many units did we sell last quarter?
  • Who is the person in charge of designing our product?
  • How does [your department] contribute to the development of the product?

34. Speed networking

Forget speed dating, speed networking is the new ice breaker trend sweeping the working world.

Perfect for quick and efficient relationship building, speed networking sees group members talk to each other one-on-one for a strict amount of time. There’s no time for small talk — participants should have enough time to say hello, introduce themselves and share a few fun facts.

35. Strangest story

Storytelling has been bringing humans together since the beginning of time. There’s nothing like hearing a weird or interesting story from someone’s life to help you quickly break the ice as a team.

It could be guided — “what is the most unbelievable thing you’ve ever seen, what’s your wildest travel story, what’s a strange story from your hometown” — or open for the person to be spontaneous with.

Grandpa Simpson saying "Which I did back in 1998."
Channel your inner Grandpa Simpson.

36. Riddles

Need a quick ice breaker to get your team’s brains ticking over? Solving a quick riddle could be the perfect thing.

Here’s an old favourite from a great list of riddles;

Q: I can be hot, I can be cold, I can run, and I can be still, I can be hard, and I can be soft. What am I?

A: Water.

37. Have you been paying attention

Inspired by Australian game show Have You Been Paying Attention and British game show Have I Got News for You, this ice breaker will see you quiz your team on news from the previous week. It’s a great combination of trivia and learning to keep your team up-to-date on current events.

You don’t necessarily need to examine world or political news — feel free to pick a news topic that’s relatable to your team members, like pop culture or sports.

38. Marshmallow challenge

The marshmallow challenge is another classic ice breaker game. The game is designed to get teams thinking about the creative product development process.

Split your team into smaller groups and give them 20 sticks of raw spaghetti, one yard of tape, one yard of string and one marshmallow. They then have 18 minutes to build the tallest possible structure out of these supplies.

Who knew a simple marshmallow could provide such a good brain game and team building opportunity?

39. Celebrity heads

Celebrity Heads is an entertaining party game that can break the ice and help your team communicate better with each other.

To play, all participants need to write a celebrity’s name on a small piece of paper and place it in a hat. Then all team members must pick a name out of the hat, and stick it to their forehead without looking at it.

Going around the circle, every group member is able to ask a yes or no question about who their celebrity is. For example, someone might start by asking, “Am I a historical figure?” or “Am I British?”

The winner is the person who correctly guesses which celebrity they are first.

The Rock wearing a tux and nodding
Am I one of the most beloved celebrities of all time?

40. Best cheese

Here’s an ice breaker game that’s a bit left-field, but has provided many lively conversations for the Employment Hero marketing team.

Which cheese is the best cheese?

Do creamy soft cheeses like camembert or brie reign supreme, or do harder cheeses like aged cheddar or gruyere have your heart? Will you go completely rogue and argue for parmesan?

You’d be surprised at how heated the conversation can get!

41. Match the coffee order

What does your coffee order say about you?

Professionals are very serious about their coffee consumption, and everyone has a go-to order. For a quick get-to-know-you activity – have each team member anonymously write their coffee order on a whiteboard, then as a team match the order to the drinker.

Managers and leaders can earn bonus points here by then surprising the whole team with their coffee order. Nothing gets the ice broken more than a delicious caffeinated beverage.

Jerry Seinfeld enjoying a cup of coffee
We love you, coffee!

42. First job

Whether it was a paper-run (do they even have those these days?), babysitting or working at a local McDonalds, each person in your team has a first job to share.

It’s always funny to see how people have changed as professionals, and to see where they started. We’ve all come a long way!

43. Personalise a game or question to your workplace

Many of these games and questions can be personalised to your workplace!

For example, if you work at a pub you could get the team to match the colleague to their favourite beverage. You could get each person to share their interesting stories of working behind the bar, or you could ask one person “what are five bar ingredients you couldn’t live without?”

Woman sitting at home desk holding a dog in a red vest
Virtual pet show and tell? Don’t mind if we do!

Virtual ice breaker games for remote workers

44. A day in the life

When we’re working in a remote or hybrid environment, it can be difficult to imagine what our colleagues’ days look like. Are they out on the road visiting clients? Are they mostly working in a home office with a pup on their lap? What kind of activities fill up their day?

When you start a team meeting, break the ice by getting one of your team members to share a five minute ‘day in the life’. Your other team members will have a better understanding of who they are and what their role involves.

45. Remote work bingo

You’ve had to say “you’re on mute.”
A cat or dog jumps up on your keyboard.

Your computer freezes mid-meeting.

A joke was told about the morning commute from the bedroom.

Remote work is full of funny little moments. How many of these common occurrences have happened to you? Try a game of Remote Work Bingo to laugh about the little things with your team.

Larry David yelling "Bingo"!
Shout it out, bingo!!!

46. Home office tour

What kind of space does your team work in? Pick one person to give a little home office tour over video chat.

47. Virtual pet show and tell

Everybody knows that one of the best things about working from home is hanging out with your furry friend all day. It’s also an absolute delight to see other people’s pets, something you probably wouldn’t be able to do if you were working in the office.

That’s why we think one of the best virtual ice breakers is showing off all the cats, dogs, bunnies and other animals of the team.

I should know, I was able to introduce my new puppy to the Employment Hero team this week — she’s already brought a lot of smiles!

White puppy sitting on a grey pillow
Employment Hero has a new mascot in Peggy the spoodle.

48. Virtual plant show and tell

Don’t have a pet to share? A fun alternative can be to show off your best house plant!

49. Working from home hacks

Working from home isn’t just a knee-jerk response to the pandemic anymore, many of us are working in a hybrid or remote way for the long-term — and we’re creating great new habits to support that.

Go around the circle (Zoom grid?) and get each person to share their best tip for having a productive day at home.

50. Kahoot trivia

Kahoot Trivia allows you to share a quiz screen remotely and invite participants based anywhere to play along. All your team members need is a PIN number from the organiser and they can join the game on any device.

With a huge number of topics available, it’s a great way to kick off a remote brainstorming session.

51. Weirdest pantry item

Remember those novelty sprinkles you bought years ago with the best intentions of using? How about that can of smoked oysters that has been hanging out in the back of your cupboard since the beginning of time?

Get everyone in your team to go and grab their weirdest pantry item. Then take turns in explaining the thinking behind the purchase, and taking a guess at how long it’s been hanging out in the kitchen cupboard.

52. Out-there outfits

By a similar token, everyone has a forgotten piece of clothing that’s been hanging out in the back of their wardrobe for years (maybe even decades).

Ask that everyone tune into the meeting wearing their strangest piece of forgotten clothing. It’s an incredibly fun way to make your meeting hilarious and colourful!

Model wearing glamorous mouse outfit.
Personally, I’m still all about this aesthetic.

53. Remote wins

There’s a lot to love about working from home, and nothing improves a team mood like sharing a little gratitude.

Go around your team and have each person share their favourite thing about working from home. Is it being able to raid their own fridge for lunch, skipping the commute, being able to visit their favourite local coffee shop anytime? Celebrate the remote wins.

54. Virtual background challenge

Virtual backgrounds always bring a bit of fun to video catch-ups.

For a silly ice breaker activity, get your team to upload a background of somewhere in the world prior to the start of the meeting. Before you get started on your agenda, guess where in the world each person is tuning in from.

Bondi Beach, Australia
Can you guess which beach this is? Photo by Paula-Jorunn Naes on Unsplash

55. Gartic phone

Looking for an activity to play in a remote group setting that uses online tools?

There are lots of great cloud-based games out there, but we would definitely recommend Gartic Phone for your next ice breaker. A wacky writing and drawing game that you can tune into from anywhere — this activity will definitely have your whole team in stitches!

Help employees feel happy and engaged

If you have any kind of get together in a group setting, you simply can’t go wrong with an ice breaker. They are a fun way to build connections, get to know each other, and build stronger and more efficient teams.

Looking beyond fun ice breakers to build your team’s culture? We have plenty of tips to share. Download our free Workplace Culture Bundle now.

And if you’re looking for easy ways to engage your employees? Look no further than our suite of cloud-based employee engagement tools, suitable for teams of all sizes and styles.

Isabelle Comber
People Specialist - Employment Hero
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