Have the group form a circle, with the facilitator in the middle serving as the first “caller.” Ask the participants to introduce themselves to the people directly on their left and right sides. Explain to the group that the person in the middle will point to someone in the circle and say either “You” “Me” “Left” or “Right” and count …Read More
Name Games to Break the Ice!
25 Name Games to Break the Ice with Kids and Adults
Name Games are designed to help participants learn each other’s names, begin conversations, and set everyone in the group at ease. It is always best to do a couple of these activities first before beginning other team icebreakers or team building activities.
A good name game not only reinforces names with faces, it helps associate participants with their personal interests or talents. Although all activities and ice breakers are fun, many people find new settings to be stressful, and these activities help establish basic introductions in a fun way.
These name games are perfect for camp counselors, resident assistants, teachers, or business meeting facilitators.
25 Name Games for Kids and Adults
Here is a list of 25 of our favorite name games to break the ice with any group! So circle up and learn some names!
- Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?
- Name Bop
- High-Five Name Toss
- My Name is and I like to
- Name Line-Favorite Thing Name Game
- Name in an Box
- Drumroll Please
- You, Me, Left, Right
- Name Toss
- Bippity, Boppity, Boo!
- Four People on a Couch
- Name Relations Game
- Nod or Wink Toss
- Elbow Tag with Names
- Mixed Up Name Toss
- Magic Wall or Peak-a-Who
- Double Whammy Name Toss
- Can you remember?
- Name Roulette
- Throw me a Line or Web of Names
Name Games for Kids
Who Stole the Cookies from the Cookie Jar?
This name game is great for use with younger participants. Start by getting the group into a circle for this icebreaker game. If the participants already know each other’s names and you are using this as a warm up/reminder then you can begin right away. Otherwise, be sure to model asking another participant for their name before including it into the song.
Teach them this song using one of their names as an example.
Group (sings):Who Stole the cookies from the cookie jar?
(insert name of camper) stole the cookies from the cookie jar!
Camper: Who, me!?!?!
Group: Yes, you!
Camper: Couldn’t be!
Group: Then who?
(Camper uses another campers name) stole the cookies from the cookie jar!
Song keeps going until each camper’s name is used. This name game is perfect for bus rides! [Back to Top]
- You need something soft for this name game!
- This name game is a test after a group thinks they know the names of every other member.
- Start by helping the group to sit in a circle. Choose one person to sit in the middle. They will be the Bopper.
- The person in the middle has a soft object (like a long sock with another sock balled up on end). They will use this object to lightly tap another member of the group during the game.
- The leader begins by saying someone’s name. That person must say their own name and the name of another group member from anywhere in the entire circle before the person who began the game in the middle can “bop” them softly on the leg. If a player gets “bopped” before they can say their name AND the name of another person in the circle, then they become the new Bopper. The Bopper remains in the center of the circle until they can “bop” another player.
- Leader Tip: You can change the Bopper at any time depending on the needs of your group. This name game is meant to be fun! [Back to Top]
High Five Name Toss
- Here is the traditional way to lead a Name Toss:
- Arrange the group in a circle.
- One person starts off by saying the name of someone else in the circle and tossing the ball to them.
- That person then in turn says the name of a different person and tosses the ball to someone else who has not yet received the ball.
- That continues until everyone in the circle has received the ball once.
- Generally, the objective is to pass the ball around the circle without dropping it. If the ball is dropped, the group restarts until completed without dropping.
- You can add a “thank-you, (name)” from the receiving person.
- For this name game, instead of tossing a ball, participant #1 will cross the circle to exchange high fives and say the name of another participant in the circle. Participant #1 will then take that person’s spot in the circle. Participant #2 will then cross the circle to high five and call out the name of another group member.
- This is a great way to avoid catching/throwing anxiety, or way to play if you don’t have an object to toss. [Back to Top]
My Name is and I Like to
This classic ice breaker game is a perfect way to learn names and fun facts about each other.
- Everyone in the group stands in a circle.
- The first person says, “My name is and I like to __ (insert hobby and act out a motion from that hobby.)
- The rest of group then says, “(Person’s Name) likes to (hobby) and acts out motion. Example, “My name is Dave and I like Fish (action out casting a reel).
- The next person repeats the process.
- The rest of group then says that person’s name, hobby, and motion and the moves onto the first person’s info.
- This continues until the last person goes, at which the entire group calls out the last person’s info and moves along through the whole group and repeats everyone’s info.
Name Line/Favorite Thing Name Icebreaker Game
- Get everyone to stand in a line or sit in a circle. The first person says their name and a favorite thing.
- The second person then says their name and a favorite thing, as well as the name and thing of the person before them.
- Each person after that adds the names and items of all of the people before them.
- For younger children, you can have them say just the names.
- You can have anyone who makes a mistake be out… [Back to Top]
Name in a Box
- This is a great warm up name game for younger participants. Set up the group in a circle. Choose one participant to go into the middle and squat down with their arms covering their head (as if they are covered in a box). You can use this variation of the Jack in the Box nursery rhyme. You can also change the words as you see fit! For this example, the participant in the middle goes by the name of John.
- Everyone in the circle: “John’s in the box, squat down low! John’s in the box, squat down low! When you are ready, up you go!”
- When the group sings “Up you go” the participant in the middle jumps up from their squat and can show off their favorite pose!
- Play until everyone has a chance to be in the middle!
- [Back to Top]
This simple game can be very energizing! Sit the group in a circle with plenty of space. Start the drumroll against your legs or the ground in front of you. Call out a name of a person across the circle. The drumroll stops and the person who just had their name called can make a funny pose or shout out something like “Rock on!” Then the drumroll starts again and that person calls out the name of another person across the circle. Repeat as many times as you’d like! [Back to Top]
Name Games for Teens
You, Me, Left, Right
Ask the participants to introduce themselves to the people directly on their left and right sides.
Explain to the group that the person in the middle will point to someone in the circle and say either “You” “Me” “Left” or “Right” and count to five at a reasonable pace.
“You” is the person being pointed at.
“Me” is the caller.
“Left” is the person to the left of the one being pointed at.
“Right” is the person to the right of the one being pointed at.
The person being pointed at must correctly name that person before the caller counts to five. If they succeed, the caller moves onto a different person of their choice. If they do not succeed, they become the new caller.
You can add multiple callers as the game moves on.
This is a quick-paced fun activity that helps move people around and memorize names. [Back to Top]
This basic name game is the foundation for lots of fun variations! It's a classic for a reason!
1) Arrange the group in a circle.
2) One person starts off by saying the name of someone else in the circle, and tossing the ball to them.
3) That person then in turn says the name of a different person, and tosses the ball to someone else who has not yet received the ball.
4) That continues until everyone in the circle has received the ball once.
5) Generally, the objective is to pass the ball around the circle without dropping it. If the ball is dropped, the group restarts until completed without dropping.
6) You can add a “thank-you, (name)” from the receiving person if you like…
As always, feel free to change the rules, and make this ice breaker activity work for you! [Back to Top]
Bippity, Boppity, Boo!
In Bippity Boppity Boo, everyone stands or sits in a circle with one “It” person in the middle.
The “It” then walks up to a person and says either “Me, Bippity Boppity Boo,” “You, Bippity Boppity Boo,” “Left, Bippity Boppity Boo,” or “Right, Bippity Boppity Boo.”
If the “it” person says “Left, Bippity Boppity Boo,” then the person must correctly say the name of the person to the left of them before “it” person finishes saying “Bippity Boppity Boo”
It they say the name correctly, the “It” continues going to other people in the entire circle. If they make a mistake or don’t say the name in time, they become the new “It.” [Back to Top]
Four People on a Couch
A large seating area, chairs for every person plus one more, a hat or container to put names into, paper & pen, a couch or a bench.
Have everyone write their name down on a piece of paper. Put the pieces of paper into a hat and mix them up. Go around the circle clockwise making sure everyone receives a slip with a name on it. Everyone gathers in the circle and sits down on their chairs, with an empty chair beside one person. There must be two guys and two girls on the couch at the start of the game. The person to the right of the empty chair calls out a name and whoever has that name on their paper goes and sits in the empty chair. Those two people then exchange names (papers). The next person who is at the right of the chair that is now empty calls a name, but cannot call the name that was just previously called, they must choose another name. Try to get either the two guys or the two girls off the couch, and then get all four spaces on the couch filled with guys or filled with girls. The game ends when there are four guys or four girls on the couch. [Back to Top]
Name Relations Game
Get the group into a circle. Then start out by saying your name and a food that begins with the same letter.
Then the next person does theirs, plus yours. Then the third person does theirs, the second’s and the first’s name and food.
It then moves on down the line, so that the last person has to do everyone with in the group.
Different variations of this can be played but it is great for getting the group to know one another and the names.
Nod or Wink Toss
This is a fun twist on a classic icebreaker game!
- You may want to start this simple icebreaker activity with the traditional name toss. You can however, play this as a stand-alone fun activity.
- Once the group has successfully completed the task, instruct them to be completely silent. Tell them that they must now pass a wink or nod to someone, who in turn, passes the nod/wink to a different participant.
- To pass a wink, a person simply winks at a different person, who first winks back at them to acknowledge that he/she “caught” the wink, and then winks at a different person in the circle. And so on…
1) Instruct the group to begin passing winks as described above. Then tell the group that you will also have nods, nose-thumbing, tongues sticking-out, and others.
2) Participants do not need to stay in any particular passing order – however, if you receive a nod, you must pass a nod, receive a wink, pass a wink, etc. [Back to Top]
Elbow tags with Names
- This high energy name game requires a large space free of hazards! Start by giving everyone a partner. The pairs link arms and stand in the space with at least a few feet between them and any other pair.
- One pair will start the game. They will unlink their arms. Choose one to be the tagger and one to be the runner. The runner begins by running away from the tagger anywhere in the designated space.
- The person being chased can run as long as they desire, but in order to stop they must link arms with any person in the circle and call out their name LOUDLY!
- Once they have linked up and called out the correct name, the person on the far side must detach from their partner and become the person being chased. This way the person being chased is constantly changing.
- If the tagger catches and tags the runner, they switch spots, and the former tagger is now the runner.
- An even number of players works best but be prepared to adjust for an odd number if you must. You can create one group of three linked players! [Back to Top]
Name Games for Adults
These are fun team icebreakers for adults or older campers. Honestly, though, you can modify all of these activities for any age.
Mixed Up Name Toss
Start this ice breaker activity with the traditional name toss.
- Once the group has accomplished the task successfully, tell the group that they have until you count to five to move to a new spot in the circle.
- Once the group has rearranged itself, instruct them that they must pass the ball in the same name pattern as before.
- This is a great variation! This little twist really helps participants learn each other’s names and faces. [Back to Top]
Magic Wall or Peak-a-Who
You will need a blanket or tarp to play this fun game.
Divide campers into two groups. Raise a tarp or blanket of some sort between the two groups (the point is that neither team can see each other). Each team sends one of its members up to the edge of the tarp or blanket. The people holding the tarp or blanket count to three and the tarp or blanket is dropped. This leaves two campers staring at each other. Whichever can yell out the other’s name first ‘wins’. The ‘loser’ then joins the ‘winners’ team and the game begins again until all the campers are on one side.
Note this should be done after campers have had a chance to get to know one an-others names. You'll be surprised at the team communication that develops as participants strategize who goes up next or creative ways to guess the names. Roll with it! [Back to Top]
Double Whammy Name Toss
- Start this ice breaker activity with the traditional name toss.
- Once the group has successfully completed the task, instruct them to pass the ball in the exact REVERSE order.
- Once the group has successfully completed that part, introduce a second ball or object of a different color/style/shape. Instruct the group that they must pass the ball in the original order, and the second ball in the REVERSE order at the same time.
- Eventually, the objects will cross at one person. Good times! [Back to Top]
Can you Remember?
A fire ring with benches works best for this activity.
Everyone gets in a circle. Choose someone to start. They say “My name is (Name here) and I like (object that starts with the same letter as their first name).” Then the next person says the same thing with their name, then repeating the person before. This goes on, with the last person repeating everyone.
Great for a first day. Even the counselors and C.I.T.S can join in. Warning- best with kids 8 and older. From experience, the younger kids can’t remember other names, speak too quietly, or can’t remember what they are supposed to do. [Back to Top]
Name Relations Game
- Get the group into a circle. Then start out by saying your name and a food that begins with the same letter.
- Then the next person does theirs, plus yours. Then the third person does theirs, the second’s and the first’s name and food.
- It then moves on down the line, so that the last person has to do everyone with in the group.
- Different variations of this can be played but it is great for getting the group to know one another and the names. [Back to Top]
To play this game you need to form two equal circles, one inside the other. Set the circles up so one person from each circle is physically standing back to back to one member from the other circle. (I use a spot on the ground to mark the spot for each circle)
These circles both start moving in clockwise motion, ensuring each member of the circle passes through the “spot”. Someone who is not in either one of the circles and not facing them, will call stop. At that point the people on each spot must turn around and face each other. The person who names the other first wins that round and the “loser” joins the other circle. [Back to Top]
Throw me a Line or Web of Names
You will need a ball of twine or string large enough to be passed around your entire group.
- This is a slow paced name game that can be played either indoors or outdoors.
- The group begins by sitting or standing in a circle. One person starts with the ball of twine. They start by saying their name and then calling out the name of another person in the circle.
- Remind players that it is alright to ask someone’s name if they are unsure. After calling out the other person’s name, they hold tightly to the end of the ball of twine and toss the rest to that person.
- The person holding the twine will repeat their name and then call out the name of another person (who hasn’t gotten the twine yet).
- They will hold on to their end of the twine while tossing them the rest. Continue until everyone has a hold of the twine.
- When the web has been created, the game continues but in reverse order. The person holding the ball of twine starts by saying their name and a fact about themselves.
- They then toss the ball to the next person who rolls up the excess and repeats the process until the ball of twine is whole again! <[Back to Top]
Name Games for Online Meetings or Virtual Classroom Time
This is a virtual name game for groups who are meeting online. Choose one participant to act out three things that are true about themselves without using their voice. The rest of the group will guess the actions that are being performed. [Back to Top]
This virtual name game will help participants attach some meaning to the names below the faces on their screen. Ask the people in the meeting to think of three words that make them and their name unique. Call out one participant to share their three words. When they have finished, that participant calls another name from their screen. That person will then share their three words. Keep passing the opportunity to share until everyone in the meeting has had their turn. [Back to Top]
To begin this virtual name game, divide the meeting participants into pairs and assign each pair a breakout room. While in the breakout room, the participants will ask their partner questions to get to know them better. When the breakout room time ends, participants will take turns introducing their partner to the rest of the group and reveal what they learned from the interview questions. You can certainly give the group a list of questions to ask for consistency. [Back to Top]
Bring it Up!
For this virtual name game, ask participants to find an object that is in their space. Ask that they choose an object that cannot be seen. It can be something interesting or personal that can tell more about themselves. Choose one person to go first. They describe the object using three sentences. The rest of the group can makes guesses about the object in the chat. After the first participant uses their three sentences, the group can call out “Bring it up!” The object can then be shared on screen. If time permits, the group may ask more questions about the object until it is time for the next participant! [Back to Top]