5 icebreaker games for your next party

5 Icebreaker Games for your Next Party

It’s about time I bring back a post topic that’s an oldie, but a goodie. It’s something that people ask me about all the time: icebreaker games.

At 27, I find that I’ve gotten to the age where I know people from many different areas of life. There are co-workers, bloggers, church-goers, choir singers, RAs, engineers, friends of friends, and people I randomly introduce myself to. How they heck do you get them all to talk to each other at a party? An icebreaker game is sure to do the trick. Here are my top 5 tried-and-true icebreaker games to get people to connect at a party.

Give ‘Em Something to Talk About

Whether your party is extravagant or simple, it’s easiest to get people to start talking when there is a theme or activity to talk about. You don’t need to know the person next to you to talk about how cute the cheese tray is or ask “what does that one taste like.” You also don’t need to know the person next to you if you’re all playing a game – you can skip the introductions and head straight to what’s in front of you right now. My favorite of the themed parties have been: a chai tasting, a beer & cheese party, a find the best bottle of wine under $10 party, and a find the best hot fudge party. Each one of these parties in itself provides questions for the guests to talk about right off the bat.

Ask a Question

One of my favorite, and the simplest one of the icebreaker games, is to ask everybody to answer a question at the start of an event. And no matter how formal the event is I like to keep the question relaxed. What is your favorite new restaurant? What cool new thing have you discovered lately? Where did you grow up? What’s your favorite Disney movie? I even once had a party where we started with “what’s your favorite kind of salad dressing”. Unexpected answers keep things interesting and give people something to talk about later. I recommend the party host answer the question first and then everyone else answers in a (counter-)clockwise circle. That way the host can set the tone right off the bat and nobody needs to “volunteer” to go next.

This is also way easier than something like “two truths and a lie” where people have to come up with something about themselves. That always puts people on the spot of needing to come up with a topic cool enough to use.

Pair People Up

If you want to take the “ask a question” to the next level, you can pair people up. The thing about forcing two people to talk to each other is that somehow the pressure is off (probably because you already have a partner). And it’s really easy to start with something like, “wow, this is ridiculous, isn’t it?” I’ve been to many events where you have to introduce the person you get paired up with to the crowd, which also keeps things interesting. Not only that, but it helps people feel accountable for making sure others have a really fun introduction.

Go Move Your Car

This is now and forever will be my favorite one of the ice breaker games. It only happens a few times a year that I get to use it, and in all honesty it’s not really easily replicated, BUT I feel the need to tell you anyway. Every year I host a Christmas party in Connecticut at my parent’s house. We have a very long driveway and there’s not that much parking at the top, so sometimes when it gets too congested I send people down to park. What usually happens is I find 5 people who drove and don’t know each other very well and I say, “you, you, you, you, and you, go down the driveway in 5 cars and come back up in 1.” It’s an interesting way to throw people together. Plus, it’s efficient and effective.

Give ‘Em Something To Do

If you’ve tried a bunch of icebreaker games, you’ve tried the “hey Sara, Louise is planning a trip to San Francisco and I know you just went there, you should totally give her some tips about it,” along with the “hey Tom, Sam plays tennis too,” but there’s still somebody hanging out that seems like they don’t have anyone to talk to, ask them if they will help you with a task. I know that when I feel awkward at parties it always makes me feel better when I have a task. It makes me feel more important, like I’m helping the host, and gives me something to talk about.

Do you have any other tips that you use to make people feel included? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

 

Bridal Shower Games: The Purse Game

Bridal Shower Games - The Purse Game via Chrystina Noel

Two of the most popular posts here on Chrystina Noel are the Bridal Shower Question Game post, by MXK and its follow-up post Ideas for Bridal Shower Question Game.  These posts were written by or inspired by my friend Marie.  Marie has been a bridesmaid SIX times already, that number is ridiculous to me.  But you want to know what that means?  She knows her stuff when it comes to bridal showers, so I asked her to share another one of her favorite games with us here today.

How to put the FUN in BriFUNdal Shower: The Tried-and-True Purse Game

Hello everyone! This is not rewriting the book, just helping explain the book in regards to the Purse Game. I have a bit of street-cred for having taken part in planning/hosting 6 bridal showers so far (as well as gone to countless others). This game was tested and shown TRUE at a shower on Sunday, April 6, 2014 and it was a great success. See details BELOW if you want to put a little POP-POW into your friend’s next shower! Wooo!

(source)

How WE GOT IT DONE.

Start with a list. You can find lists all over the web. We found this one.

Fancy an MC. Have a bridesmaid be the MC for the game. Preferably one who is not adverse to public speaking.

Gird your loins! Tell the guests it is time to bring out purses, wallets, or pocket books they brought with them.

Lay Down the Law. Explain the rules and keep it simple- An item will be read from the list. Each guest then proceeds to look for the item in their purse.

Uh, the Catch? The Catch for the game is that whoever finds the item first gets the point. (Yes! Can you envision it now? Mad scrambling for an item they KNOW they HAVE, but just CANNOT SEEM TO FIND-GOSHBEGOSH. Explicit words may leave mouths, and elbows may be tossed to neighbors in order to get the point first!).

Adding Aptly. As a bridesmaid team you can decide if you want to make each item worth a single point or if you want to have rankings of points depending on the item. Determine a way to keep track of points with either a note pad or if the group is small, remember who has what amount of points.

BAIT aka Cash Money People. We encouraged people to participate because we gave out 3 lovely prizes to the top 3 with the most points! We supplied 3 $10 gift cards to Sephora – but you can pretty much pick anything within your budget that is girly, and fun, and indulging, like Victoria Secret Gift cards or any other makeup/bath shops

Bridal Shower Games - The Purse Game 2

How Came Up with the Game: We are not re-writing the book and we did not invent this game. During the planning process it is one of the games that came up in discussion with the knowledge we have from other showers.

Why we chose it: Tested and true and SO SIMPLE. (I cannot emphasize that last statement enough.) Hostesses, all you need is the list and the prizes – the guests will (or will not) naturally bring their handbags.

Be advised:

  • Avoid telling guests beforehand that this game will be played (because then guests will bring their largest purse filled with all sorts of items and you will be playing for days). Plus the surprise factor also makes it fun.
  • Definitely have a list of tie-breakers (in case there are ties).
  • Bridesmaids can play (but not allowed to win – ahem, they have an unfair advantage since they knew they would be playing the game and could stuff their purses with the items).

The Conclusion: You know it is a success when everyone is laughing, talking to each other, and the bride even makes a point to tell you how much fun she had playing the game.

Thanks again for tuning in.
love and light, Marie

Easter Activity Ideas

Easter Activities and Games

Whether you have children or are a child at heart, there are so many games and activities to play at Easter.  It’s such a fun time – the weather has just gotten a bit warmer outside, everything’s turning green, and people are feeling fun and festive.  Here are some of the ideas that we’ve used with my cousins at our family events in the past:

The Egg Drop

My family has used an egg drop as the Easter activity for at least 5 years at this point. The majority of the people in my family think like engineers, so it was always an interesting competittion. In case you’re unaware – the idea behind an egg drop is that you need to be able to shelter and contain an egg as it is put through a series of tests – you know – dropped from shoulder level, dropped from above your head, rolled down the driveway, dropped from the deck, dropped from your parent’s 3-story bathroom window.

The first year we ever did this everybody built their egg containing contraption at home. The best devices were made using a) diapers, b) foam bath sponges, and c) straws.

After that, we realized that we were going to have to make the challenge harder. Over the course of the next few years we tried limiting the materials chosen, my mother choosing random items from around the house and building our device on the spot right the day of Easter, and working in teams.

The Boat Sink

One year we switched it up from the Egg Drop and made tin foil boats. Every cousin was given a sheet of tin foil of the same size and you needed to build a boat that was able to hold the most pennies. What does it have to do with Easter? I have no idea, but I guess you could use jellybeans instead of pennies and that would make it more festive. Also, clearly, I’m in a family of people who think like engineers if we do things like this for fun, huh?

Hidden Hersey Kisses

I did a post on this once, but this is probably one of my favorite Easter activities. Every year when I wake up my mother has hid 15-20 Hershey kisses around the house. I have one color kisses and my sister has another and we race to see who can find them all first. After many many years of this we know most of the secret hiding places, but every year my mom manages to find a new place. We’ll see what she’s able to come up wtih this year.

I also checked on Facebook to see if anybody else had cool traditions. Lucky for y’all I heard two really great ideas – and I really want to try both of them.

Make a Bonnet

Rachael (@RamblingsByRach) posted saying that her family makes bonnets for Easter. It’s a contest and everybody needs to design a bonnet ahead of time and there are dollarstore prizes for all of the winners. I wonder if I could get my 6 male cousins onboard with this one…

Egg Fights

Alright, admittedly when I read this I thought that Victoria meant that she and her family throw raw eggs at each other, but it turns out I was totally wrong. It’s apparently a Polish tradition for two people to each hold a hardboiled egg and tap the end against the other person’s egg. The one whose egg cracks loses. This sounds like it could definitely be entertaining – and a good way to start the day. I definitely think I could talk my cousins into this one.

Are there any other Easter traditions that you and your family have?  I’m always looking for more ideas to make my holiday more festive. Let me know! And happy hump day!

Making Bridal Shower Question Game Cards

Making Bridal Shower Question Cards via Chrystina Noel

I’m not sure if y’all are aware are not, but by far the most popular blog post on this blog is a post called Ideas for Bridal Shower Question Game.  That post features a list of questions that my friend Marie used during a friend’s bridal shower.  She also wrote a post for me about how she executed the game called Bridal Shower Question Game, by MXK.

Sara’s bridal shower last weekend was the first chance that I got at making the question cards on my own.  I called Marie on a Friday night – or she called me – I can’t remember, and she was telling me her to do list and the question cards were still on the list.  As I was sitting in my room (yes, on a Friday night) catching up on Girls, I realized I could probably be of use and offered to make the question cards.  How hard could it be?

Marie said yes and sent me a copy of the color scheme I was looking to match.

Sara's Bridal Shower Favors Sent By Marie

I got to work the second I hung up the phone, and approximately 15 minutes after I started I realized it wasn’t going to be as easy as I thought it was.  I literally went through over 20 itterations – all on the same few notecards.  There were rounded corners, pointed corners, and fancy corners.  There were stamps, ribbon, additional cardstock colors, watercolors, and markers.  There was white ink, blue ink, and black ink.

Here are some of my works in progress.  Can I call them works in progress if I never finished them?  I guess they’re just works.

Please note the four different corners on this card.  None of them really wowwed me.

Making Bridal Shower Question Cards 03

After Pinterest searching and finding this pin I attempted to make watercolor flowers in the corner of the card, but it didn’t seem like the right feel.

Making Bridal Shower Question Cards 04

I tried to make a really bold question word on the top and decorate it with flowers, but it somehow still felt too plain – even with the rounded corners.

Making Bridal Shower Question Cards 05

I tried to find cardstock with similar colors to the picture Marie sent to me, but it felt tacky once I was done with it – even with the rounded corners.

Making Bridal Shower Question Cards 06

I thought that I could keep it simple using markers, but couldn’t find the right shade of pink to get the job done.

Making Bridal Shower Question Cards 08

My roommate suggested that I pull out stamps.  I tried putting ribbon at the bottom.  And I tried finding a larger width marker to use.

Making Bridal Shower Question Cards 07

Once I started writing questions on my sample cards, I realized that I really liked the white flowers stamped in the background – it added a little bit of texture.  My roommate and I decided that the ribbon at the bottom was too much with all of the details.  The ribbon was actually my second favorite option.

Here’s a look at the final product.

Making Bridal Shower Question Cards 09

Making Bridal Shower Question Cards 10

Making Bridal Shower Question Cards 11

For a full list of questions, check out the Ideas for Bridal Shower Question Game blog post here.

Also, I feel the need to tell you that if I were to do this again, I would try to make the cards into envelopes that could be sealed – similar to the individual cards that I made for everybody at my 25th birthday party.

I actually really enjoyed watching Sara answer these questions, it was fun to see which ones she worded the exact same way as Steve and which ones she had absolutely no idea about.  It was also pretty amusing that every time Sara got a question wrong she had to add a piece of bubble gum to her mouth, so by the end it was pretty hysterical.

Do you have any tips about bridal shower question games or the cards themselves?  I’d love to see what some of you have come up with!