One of the best ways to energize your team first thing during the work day is with a morning meeting game. Just what are morning meeting activities?
As the name implies, morning meeting games are exercises for the beginning of the day (or meeting), meant to engage your team, get everyone thinking, and help people to interact. Examples are things like icebreaker roulette, lighting scavenger hunts, or trivia games. They fall under the category of team building activities and are perfect for events like company retreats or larger meetings. Grab your favorite caffeinated beverage and let's dive in!
20 Morning meeting games to try at your next event
There are tons of activities to add to your day to enhance productivity and encourage fun. Ask any employee, and they will tell you that they appreciate getting up, getting moving, and getting to know their colleagues better. It’s worth your time to plan a few morning games and activities to better engage your meeting participants and get their creative juices flowing. Here are some of our favorites:
1. Past, present, future around the horn
This game encourages everyone to reflect on the past and consider the future. You can include everyone in an “around the horn” style by having each participant detail one task or accomplishment they completed the day before, one they hope to do today, and one on their agenda for tomorrow. You might notice that some players share similar goals, and you can encourage them to connect on these items during the work day. It’s a great way to learn more about what your co-workers are doing and what is important to them. You never know how you might be able to help!
2. Mad libs
Remember the Mad Libs notebooks from when you were a kid? This game is still a ton of fun and is sure to start the day with laughter. In this activity, one teammate serves as the reader and prompts the other players to say certain types of words, like a noun, adjective, or verb. The other participants in the room volunteer words without knowing any context of the remainder of the sentence. Fill in all the blanks on the sheet you’re using, and then the reader shares the story with the group. Consider creating a template yourself. Fun themes for work could include “Coffee break mad libs” or “water cooler mad libs”.
3. Where are you?
This activity is perfect for remote or hybrid workforces. All that’s required is that all meeting participants share a work status update, and then give a quick tour of their office or working environment. Players can walk the webcam around the room or give a brief description. This helps employees who don’t normally see each other to feel more connected. Plus, seeing someone’s cat can quickly take a meeting from boring to interesting!
4. Breakfast guessing
This game is super simple and doesn’t require any props. Players simply take turns guessing what other colleagues had for breakfast that morning. To make it more interesting, the team can collectively ask up to three questions to narrow down their options. For example, they might ask if it was a cold item, or whether it was savory or sweet. Sometimes people get really creative, asking questions like “Did it come from a blender?” or “What kind of restaurant would serve this food?” Warning: this game does tend to get people thinking about food, so make sure you have a plan in place for your next snack or meal.
5. Simon says
Another classic from the playground days, Simon says is a fun game that doesn’t require any preparation or props. The meeting host can act as the leader and shout out commands. However, players should only obey commands that begin with the words “Simon says”. For example, the host should offer some commands like “hop on one foot” or “take a drink of coffee”. However, they will say “Simon says” in front of each command. Their goal is to “trick” participants by saying a command without using the phrase “Simon says”. Anyone who obeys that particular rule will be out. You can keep playing until there is only one player left. Tip: you don’t necessarily need a lot of space for this game, but you’ll have more options if there is room for people to move around a bit.
6. Icebreaker roulette
This activity is ideal for Zoom meetings. Before your meeting, you’ll need to send participants a link to some random icebreaker questions. Start the meeting by having each person share the question they received and their answer. You never know what you might learn! Need some ideas? Here’s 200 icebreaker questions for work.
7. Character interviews
For this game, players will pair off and perform mock interviews with each other. The catch is that one of them should be acting as a specific character (not themselves). The interviewer should try to figure out who the character is by the questions that they ask. For example, maybe someone chose John F. Kennedy as their character. The interviewer can start to piece this together by asking “What time period did this person live in?” and “What were they famous for?”
8. Fake-and-fact date game
This is a sort of trivia game that will test your colleagues knowledge of history. To start the game, you should have a specific date in mind, along with a list of 3 historical events. 2 of them should be real (things that really happened on that date), and one is fake. The other players try to guess which one didn’t really happen. For example, you might have 3 events such as this: A. Steve Jobs was born. B. George Bush was sworn into office. C. Coca-cola released their first beverage. 2 of these events should have really happened on your chosen date, but one is made up. Can everyone guess which one is the fake? Try using the On This Day tool to generate accurate content for your game.
9. Lighting scavenger hunts
A game that encourages movement is always helpful before long working sessions. To start this event, the host should have a list of 5 or 10 items that people will gather. They read off the prompts one at a time, and players should race to retrieve the mentioned item. The first player to return to the meeting space with the item in their hand scores a point. If some of the items are bigger or stationary, you can have people take a photo. People get a point for each item. Tally up everyone’s points and the individual with the most, wins. Some items for your list to hunt might include a silver coffee mug, a bagel, a shirt with a logo, a piece of fruit, car keys, or an umbrella. Get creative based on what you know is around your office, but make sure there’s a time limit for each round. For more ideas on energizers and team warm-ups, check out our past post.
10. Team crossword puzzle
This is a great way to get people collaborating and using their brains first thing. Prior to the meeting, choose a crossword puzzle and hand out paper copies to everyone. You can even send a link virtually prior to the meeting if you want. The team should work together to complete the puzzle. Another variation of this is for larger groups to break into smaller teams and compete to finish the puzzle first. Bonus points if you have a prize at stake!
11. “Follow the leader” dancing
If your colleagues are comfortable getting a little silly, you can create a fun game using the “follow the leader” format combined with a dance-off. You’ll have to choose one team member as the leader to direct the dancing. Put on some music, and everyone should dance just as the leader is doing. You can make this more competitive by breaking the game into rounds, where the last player to copy the leader is “out” every time. Spruce things up by having a judge available to watch the dancers and call out the slowest people or those who are missing the mark on the moves. We guarantee you’ll share some laughs.
12. Cooperative yoga or stretching
A collaborative set of movements is always a nice idea for a group. We suggest focusing on yoga moves and having each person picking the next move in your flow. A participant will pick a yoga move that everyone completes, and then the next person selects a different one, and so on. It’s best to complete these exercises quietly and without speaking, focusing instead on breathing and movement.
13. What’s new (in my office)?
If you have a lot of virtual meetings with the same people, it can be a fun idea to throw in some changes now and then. For this game, send out a note prior to the meeting instructing everyone to add one new thing to their normal working space or background. Then, during the meeting, everyone should take turns observing the work space of their colleagues and seeing if they can point out what’s new. The new item can be anything from a plant on the desk to a silly poster on the wall. Obviously, this game only works well for people who are used to being in virtual meetings in the same space with their camera on. For that reason, it’s a nice way to mix up daily status meetings or weekly department meetings.
14. Brain teasers
Start your next morning meeting by getting everyone to use their brains - it works better than caffeine! Search for some simple brain teaser activities and then read them out loud (or share your screen in a virtual meeting). You can choose individual or team-based puzzles, depending on how many people are in your meeting. Give everyone a few minutes to solve the riddle and then share the answer. Getting it right will be the perfect confidence booster to help everyone start their day.
15. Who said it?
For this game, you’ll need to have several quotes from famous individuals prepared. Start by giving everyone a quote and challenging them to guess who said it. Whoever submits the first correct answer wins. It’s easiest to have pieces of paper with the quotes printed on them, that you can just hand out as people enter the room.
16. Employee of the day
Who doesn’t love peer-to-peer recognition? It’s a vital part of building team camaraderie and boosting morale. At the start of the meeting or event, announce a theme such as teamwork or positive attitude. You may want to align the themes to your company values or other important goals. Give employees a few moments to nominate team members that embody this theme. Ask them to include a few sentences on why they chose this person. Then, tally up the votes and announce the winner at the end of the meeting. This doesn’t need to be a long or drawn-out process. If everyone submits 2 or 3 sentences about a particular co-worker, that’s plenty to go on. If you are in a multi-day retreat or company meeting, choose a different theme for each day and give more people recognition.
17. Team charades
This is a fun way for colleagues to compete against each other in a healthy way. Divide the group into teams and have the first team choose a player to act out a word or phrase. The player should act out the item without speaking and the team has 30 seconds to guess the correct word or phrase. If the team is able to guess correctly within the timeframe, they get a point. If not, the other team can guess and then they may earn a point if correct. The next team completes the same steps, and this can go on for as many rounds as you want. The team with the most points wins!
18. Morning meeting bingo
This is a good game for poking a bit of fun at corporate tropes. Create bingo cards with common things that happen in team events or meetings, or phrases that are often heard. For example, a new idea is proposed, someone gets a Slack notification, the term “synergy” is used, etc. Pass out the cards at the beginning of the day and let everyone keep track throughout the meeting. The first person to get a “bingo” wins. You can use a tool like Canva to create bingo cards for free.
19. Team trivia
If you’re looking for a more energetic way to jumpstart your next event, consider putting together a trivia game. You can come up with trivia quizzes about almost anything, from your own company history to facts about the city where your meeting is taking place. You can make them seasonal or as specific as you want them to be. You may want to up the ante by adding a prize for the winner. You do need to prepare for this game in advance and come to the meeting with a list of questions. Use a trivia template to keep track of questions and the score. Divide the group into two teams and have a host read questions. Teams should take a few moments to discuss each question and present their answer, and then the host keeps score using the template. They should also reveal the right answer at that time. This game is fun because it can get really heated! Here is another fun list of 20 question games to play with co-workers.
20. “Would you rather?”
This is another great way to get to know the people around you better. You don’t need to do anything special to prepare for this game, either. Go around the room and have each player ask the person next to them a “would you rather” question. Examples could be “Would you rather speak 20 languages or play 20 instruments?” or “Would you rather drive your favorite car forever or change cars annually but not enjoy them as much?” Have each person answer and then turn to the person next to them and ask their own version.
One final note: make sure you keep your overall schedule in mind. If you are hosting a one-hour meeting, you probably don’t want to choose the more involved games. Most of these morning meeting games are short and simple, making them ideal for diving into what you’re really there for - a productive working session!
Give one or two of these team-building activities a try the next time you’re planning a group retreat, morning meeting, or “getting to know you” event with other departments or companies.
In the process of planning a team-building retreat or other important company event? Let Surf Office help with the organization and logistics so that you can focus on enjoying a great experience. We have over ten years of experience executing smooth-running and innovative events for teams of all sizes.