25 Fun Ice Breaker Games Your Team Will Love in 2023

Meetings don‘t have to be a boring, dreaded time suck. In fact, with a bit of planning and creativity, you can turn them into upbeat experiences that leave your team feeling energized, connected, and excited to collaborate. How? By kicking things off with a quick round of an interactive ice breaker game!

In this guide, we‘ve rounded up 25 of the best ice breaker activities for the workplace in 2023. Whether you‘re looking to onboard new hires, brainstorm with cross-functional partners, or simply infuse some fun into your weekly team standups, these games are guaranteed to break the ice and get everyone‘s creative juices flowing.

Why Ice Breakers Matter More Than Ever

While some may write them off as frivolous or cringey, team building experts agree that ice breaker activities serve a crucial purposeβ€”especially in an increasingly remote and hybrid work world. Consider these stats:

  • πŸ”₯ Only 36% of U.S. employees feel engaged at work. (Gallup)
  • 🌎 22% of Americans will be working remotely by 2025. (Upwork)
  • 😟 Lonely employees are less productive and 2x as likely to quit. (Cigna)

"Coming out of the pandemic, connection is what people crave most," says Becca Banyard, a workplace culture consultant. "Fun, structured activities that prompt laughter and storytelling are one of the easiest ways to make people feel seen, heard and includedβ€”whether they‘re virtual or in-person. That sense of belonging is rocket fuel for engagement and performance."

So how can you harness the power of ice breakers to bring your team together and unlock their best work? Let‘s dive into the top 25 ice breaker games to try this year.

🧩 Top 25 Ice Breaker Games and Activities for 2023

We‘ve organized these ice breakers by type so you can easily scan and find the perfect one for your group. Mix and match from the categories below or try them all.

Getting to Know You Games

  1. πŸ™‹β€β™€οΈ Two Truths and a Lie
    Have each person come up with 3 "facts" about themselves (2 true, 1 false). Going around the group, each person shares their statements while the others guess the lie.

    • πŸ‘₯ Group Size: 4-10
    • ⏰ Time: 10-15 mins
    • 🌟 Great For: New team intros
  2. 🌎 Birth Map
    Before meeting, have everyone drop a pin on their birth place on a collaborative map. Take turns sharing a fun fact about your hometown or country.

    • πŸ‘₯ Group Size: Any
    • ⏰ Time: 5-10 mins
    • 🌟 Great For: Uncovering shared experiences
  3. ⚾ Would You Rather
    Take turns posing silly or thought-provoking "would you rather" questions. Vote on the most amusing or controversial ones.

    • πŸ‘₯ Group Size: 4-15
    • ⏰ Time: 10-20 mins
    • 🌟 Great For: Sparking lively debate
  4. πŸ‘Ÿ The Great Shoe Debate
    Have everyone submit a photo of their shoes. Put into a random slideshow and take turns guessing who each belongs to and why.

    • πŸ‘₯ Group Size: 5-20
    • ⏰ Time: 10-15 mins
    • 🌟 Great For: Sparking convos on personal style

Just for Fun Games

  1. 🏝️ Desert Island
    Ask: "If you were stranded on a desert island, what 3 items would you bring?" Compare survival must-haves.

    • πŸ‘₯ Group Size: 3-10
    • ⏰ Time: 10 mins
    • 🌟 Great For: A quick energy boost
  2. πŸ’¬ Meeting Caption Contest
    Screen share an ambiguous cartoon and have the group submit witty captions via chat. Vote on the best one.

    • πŸ‘₯ Group Size: Any
    • ⏰ Time: 5-10 mins
    • 🌟 Great For: Encouraging creativity
  3. πŸƒ Ice Breaker Bingo
    Distribute bingo cards with interesting achievements or commonalities. Mingle to find colleagues who can sign off on each square.

    • πŸ‘₯ Group Size: 10-30
    • ⏰ Time: 15-20 mins
    • 🌟 Great For: Cross-functional teams
  4. πŸ“Έ Snapshot Tales
    Each person finds and shares a photo from their phone that reveals something about their current life and priorities. Gives a glimpse into people‘s backstories.

    • πŸ‘₯ Group Size: 5-15
    • ⏰ Time: 15-20 mins
    • 🌟 Great For: Humanizing remote colleagues

Mind Benders and Energizers

  1. 🧩 Shrinking Vessel
    The group must find a way to continually occupy a shrinking space (like a rope circle or tarp that keeps folding). Promotes cooperation and quick thinking.

    • πŸ‘₯ Group Size: 8-20
    • ⏰ Time: 10-15 mins
    • 🌟 Great For: Energizing a sluggish group
  2. πŸ—Ώ Statue Garden
    Strike a pose that embodies your team‘s vision or values. One person begins as the "gardener" and taps others to join and build on the sculpture. Boosts creativity and nonverbal communication.

    • πŸ‘₯ Group Size: 6-20
    • ⏰ Time: 10 mins
    • 🌟 Great For: Fresh perspective
  3. 🏰 Marshmallow Challenge
    Small teams compete to build the tallest freestanding structure using just spaghetti, tape, and a marshmallow. Spurs innovation and teamwork.

    • πŸ‘₯ Group Size: 4-30
    • ⏰ Time: 20-45 mins
    • 🌟 Great For: Complex problem-solving
  4. ⛓️ Human Knot
    Stand in a circle and join hands with 2 others across from you. Without letting go, work together to untangle into one big loop. Great test of collaboration and patience.

    • πŸ‘₯ Group Size: 8-20
    • ⏰ Time: 15-20 mins
    • 🌟 Great For: Communication skills

Quick Bonding Activities

  1. πŸ™‚ One Word Check-In
    Go around and describe how you‘re feeling in one word. A quick emotional barometer to promote inclusion and empathy.

    • πŸ‘₯ Group Size: Any
    • ⏰ Time: 5 mins
    • 🌟 Great For: Meetings‘ openings and closings
  2. 🌹 Rose, Bud, Thorn
    Share a recent success (rose), challenge (thorn), and opportunity (bud) in your work life. Builds psychological safety and peer support.

    • πŸ‘₯ Group Size: 3-15
    • ⏰ Time: 10-20 mins
    • 🌟 Great For: Status updates
  3. ⭐ Take a Side
    Designate two sides of room to represent differing choices. People walk to their preferred side for silly or serious issues. Reveals inner motivations.

    • πŸ‘₯ Group Size: 10-50
    • ⏰ Time: 10 mins
    • 🌟 Great For: Uncovering shared values

Bonus: Virtual Meeting Ice Breakers

  1. 🌴 Virtual Background Roulette
    Show up to Zoom with an outrageous destination background. Pair off in breakouts to discuss dream travel plans.
  2. β›Ί Remote Cribs
    Give a quick video tour of your WFH space. Vote on who has the coolest or most unusual "coworker" (pets, kids, etc.)
  3. β˜• Hydration Cheers
    Make a rule that anytime someone sips their drink on screen, everyone has to join them in a virtual "cheers." Keeps engagement high on long calls.

Pro Tips for Leading Engaging Ice Breakers
According to workplace engagement expert Kevin Eikenberry, the difference between a corny time-waster and a meaningful shared experience often comes down to how you set it up. Some of his top dos and don‘ts:

βœ… DO:

  • Choose an activity that aligns with your overall meeting purpose and group dynamics
  • Provide clear, concise instructions and a quick demo if needed
  • Model the way by participating fully yourself
  • Keep an eye on time and energy levels, pivoting or wrapping up early if needed

🚫 DON‘T:

  • Pick an overly complex or high-pressure game that will stress people out
  • Force participation from anyone who seems extremely reluctant
  • Let one or two extroverts dominate the entire activity
  • Neglect to tie the insights gained back to the work at hand

Find the Perfect Ice Breaker for Your Next Meeting
Use this handy chart to identify the most suitable ice breaker games based on your group‘s size, format, purpose, and available time:

Group Size < 5 5-10 11-20 20+
Getting to Know You Two Truths & a Lie Birth Map Shoe Debate Would You Rather
Just for Fun Desert Island Caption Contest Snapshot Tales Ice Breaker Bingo
Mind Benders Marshmallow Challenge Shrinking Vessel Statue Garden Human Knot
Bonding One Word Check-In Rose, Bud, Thorn Take a Side

Bring More Fun to Your Meetings Today

As you can see, there are countless quick and easy ways to integrate more play into your workday. But the impact of these games goes far beyond momentary laughs. When done consistently, ice breakers have the power to:

  • Boost morale and make meetings more enjoyable
  • Promote a culture of inclusion and belonging
  • Increase participation and engagement
  • Unlock creative thinking and collaboration

So what are you waiting for? Pick an ice breaker game from this list to try at your very next team gathering. Commit to kicking off every meeting with a bit of structured fun. We think you‘ll be pleasantly surprised by the positive ripple effects.

Your colleagues will thank you and your company‘s bottom line will reap the benefits of a more bonded, motivated workforce. It‘s the ultimate win-win.