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Top Ice Breaker Games for Adults

Don't Like Silly Games for Adults? There Are Other Choices.


Ice breakers are the best way to help your students get to know each other, to break the ice on the awkward first day of school. If your students are adults, it's even more important to choose an ice breaker that won't backfire on you. Most adults don't want to play silly games.

Choose one of the following 10 games and get down to business faster. Remember that ice breakers are also a great way to energize your classroom when the doldrums set in, or to introduce a new topic. Be creative!

5 Reasons to Use Ice Breakers in the Classroom

1. People Bingo

kristian sekulic - E Plus - Getty Images 175405286
People Bingo is one of the most popular ice breakers because it's so easy to customize for your particular group and situation, and everyone knows how to play it. Make your own bingo cards with our lists of characteristics, or use an online card maker.

2. If You Had a Magic Wand

Milan Zeremski - Vetta - Getty Images 108356227
If you had a magic wand, what would you choose to change? Pass a magic wand around your classroom, or any other cool magical item, and generate some energy!

3. Marooned

Marooned by Matthew Winterburn - Flickr
Matthew Winterburn - Flickr
This icebreaker is a great introduction when people don’t know each other, and it fosters team building in groups that already work together. I have always found people's answers to be very revealing about who they are as a person. Who would you want with you on a deserted island?

4. Table Topics

Christy Clarke

I picked up my first box of Table TopicsTM on a whim while shopping in one of those funky little shops you see in the artsy parts of any city. A four-inch clear acrylic cube holds 135 cards, each with a provocative question that is sure to inspire lively conversation.

  • Which piece of land would you wish to have preserved forever?
  • What's your favorite quotation?
  • What song evokes the strongest memories for you?

5. The Power of Story

The Power of Story
Ableimages/Digital Vision/Getty Images
Adults bring to your class or meeting room an abundance of life experience and wisdom. Tapping into their stories can deepen the significance of whatever you've gathered to discuss. Let the power of story enhance your teaching of adults.

6. Expectations

Effective Course Design
Stockbyte / Getty Images
Expectations are powerful, especially when you're teaching adults. Understanding your students' expectations of the course you're teaching is key to your success. Make sure you know what your students expect with this expectations ice breaker.

7. 2-Minute Mixer

People Mixing
Stockbyte / Getty Images
You may have heard of 8-minute dating, where 100 people meet for an evening full of 8-minute dates. They talk to one person for 8 minutes and then move on to the next. Eight minutes is a long time in the classroom, so we'll call this ice breaker a 2-minute mixer. Ready? Go!

8. Photo Scavenger Hunt

Photo Scavenger Hunt
D. Peterson
A picture is worth a thousand words. Almost everyone has a photo or two in their wallet or on their phone, especially when you’ve got a room full of adults, or even better, baby boomers with grandchildren. The photo hunt is on!

9. Where in the World?

Dunn's River Falls by Jim Amorin - Flickr
Jim Amorin - Flickr

Technology and transportation in the modern world have given us the opportunity to learn so much more, often first hand, about the rest of the world. If you haven't had the privilege of global traveling, you may have experienced the thrill of conversing with foreigners online or working side-by-side with them in your industry. The world becomes a smaller place the more we get to know each other.

When you have a gathering of people from various countries, this icebreaker is a breeze, but it's also fun when participants are all from the same place and know each other well. Everyone is capable of dreams that cross borders.

10. If You Could Take a Different Path

John, Tim, and Jimmy Take a Different Path
Deb Peterson
Almost everyone has wished at some point that they had taken a different path in life. We get started in one direction, and before long, there's no turning back. Sometimes this isn't that big of a deal, but what a tragedy it is when a life so full of promise gets off track and derails. It can seem like there's no way to change direction. Wouldn't it be wonderful if simply stating the desire for a new path could inspire it to action? Can't hurt to try. Find out if your students are in your classroom to find a new direction.
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