Toilet Paper Icebreaker

Try this unusual game at your next event

Close-up of three rolls of toilet paper
Ciaran Griffin / Getty Images

Social and business gatherings can be awkward at first, especially if participants don't know each other. Icebreaker games can help a host solve that problem and motivate guests to break through their initial social fears, leading to a productive meeting or event. Try this toilet paper game to grease the social wheels.

Grab a Roll
 

You'll need little preparation. Just grab a full roll of toilet paper from the bathroom, and then:

  • Take the roll of toilet paper, pull off several squares before handing it to another person and asking him to do the same.
  • Continue this until all guests have grabbed a few pieces.
  • Once everyone in the room has taken some toilet paper, each person counts the number of squares that she has grabbed and then tells everyone that number things about herself.
  • For example, if someone has three squares, he would share three things about himself.

Give an Example


If you have a particularly shy group, spark the discussion with an example, suggests , a website focusing on drama and theater. The website gives the following example:

If Isabel took five sheets, then, she might say:

  1. I like to dance.
  2. My favorite color is purple.
  3. I have a dog named Sammy.
  4. This summer I went to Hawaii.
  5. I’m really afraid of snakes.

Beat by Beat says that you will also learn about participants' personalities based on who took a greater number of sheets compared to those who tore off only a few.

Extending the Game

, a website focusing on leadership skills and team building, suggests extending this seemingly simple game to foster team-building, work habits, and social skills. After all of the participants have torn off a few pieces of toilet paper and you have explained the rules of the game, notes the website:

  • You may hear laughter and groaning when some realize they took too many squares.
  • End the session by sharing a humorous moral: “Sometimes excess can be bad for you!”
  • Ask participants: How many of you took more than what you knew you would need just in case? What does that say about your approach to life in general?
  • What are some interesting things you have learned about your fellow participants?

You can dissolve uncomfortable distinctions between those hoarding a large number of pieces and those who only grabbed two or three. "Afterward, have everyone throw their sheets into the center," says Beat by Beat. "This represents all the new information we now know about each other."

It's amazing how much social traction you can gain with a simple bathroom supply. And, regardless of how many sheets participants tore off, you're likely to have plenty of paper left on the roll for your next event.