Bingo is one of the most popular ice breakers because it’s so easy to customize for your particular group and situation, and almost everyone knows how to play it.
Up to 30. Divide larger groups.
Introductions in the classroom or at a meeting.
30 minutes, depending on the size of the group.
Bingo cards. See instructions below.
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,” “collects children’s art,” “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,” “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.
It's very easy to make your own bingo cards, especially if you're on a tight budget or don't have much time to prepare. Check out these easy step-by step instructions: How to Make a People Bingo Card.Remember to leave room for signatures.
Need ideas for people characteristics? We've got lots of them for you:
- People Bingo Idea List No. 1
- People Bingo Idea List No. 2
- People Bingo Idea List No. 3
- People Bingo Idea List No. 4, perfect for girls' night out
- People Bingo Idea List No. 5, another list perfect for women in the classroom
- People Bingo Christmas Idea List
There are lots of places online where you can type in your traits and print your own customized cards. Some are free; some are not.
- Teachnology has a card maker that allows you to shuffle the phrases on each card.
- Print-Bingo.com allows you to customize with your own words or use their suggestions.
When you’re ready to play, give each participant a bingo card and a pen. Explain that the group has 30 minutes to mingle, introducing themselves, and finding 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.
Ask participants to introduce themselves and share one of the interesting traits they learned about someone else.
Sample Bingo Card
The image shown here may be difficult to read, but it gives you an idea of the layout of the card.
Debrief by asking for volunteers to share how they feel differently about the others in the group now that they know a few things about them. When we take the time to get to know each other, barriers dissolve, people open up, and learning can take place.
People Bingo Characteristic Ideas!
More than 100,000 people have taken advantage of the People Bingo game in the Continuing Ed. forum to find ideas and have some fun. Won't you join us?