Staff parties should be a chance for everyone to let their hair down and celebrate a bit. Good food and lots of laughs are absolute must-haves (not to mention some adult beverages, right?). Staff party games are a holiday tradition, but let’s face it: they’re not always all that fun. If you’re looking for ways to mix things up with fresh new games everyone can enjoy, take a look at this list of low-key options.

1. What’s in Your Cellphone?

Staff Party Games: What's In Your Cellphone printable

This clever twist on a scavenger hunt will have teachers hunting through their phones for pics of their pets and showing off their ringtones. You can write up your own list or buy this What’s In Your Cellphone game printable from Media Medusa Shop on Etsy.

2. 80s Movies Emoji Trivia

Staff Party Games: 80s Movie Emoji Trivia printable

Grab this free printable from My Party Games, then pass it out for a quick pen-and-paper game. Offer a prize to the first one to finish or set a timer and award the person who gets the most correct answers. Folks can play alone or in teams. (For a twist, try this game the other way around: ask folks to use their phones to come up with emojis to represent their favorite movies, songs, or books!)

3. Two Truths and a Lie

Two Truths and a Lie is a standard getting-to-know-you game. Each person tells two true things about themselves and one lie. Other players try to guess which one is the lie and get a point for each one they get right. Give this game a party twist by playing “Two Presents and a Lie” instead. Have each person share two of the worst gifts they’ve ever received, and then make one up. (Don’t limit it to holiday gifts; birthdays and other occasions definitely count!)

4. Find Someone Who (People Bingo)

Find Someone Who printable

Help your staff get to know one another a little better with People Bingo. Find someone who meets the criteria for each square, but you can’t use the same person twice! Play like traditional bingo and try to get a row across, down, or diagonally, or give a prize to the first person who fills in their whole sheet. Make your own version, or buy this one from iCelebrateEVERYTHING on Etsy.

5. Teacher Would You Rather

Would you rather question asking whether you'd prefer to chaperone a school dance or sporting event

Would You Rather is one of those hilarious games everyone has played at least once. Use our free Teacher Would You Rather questions at your staff party, or do a search online to find tons of crazy scenarios to discuss.

6. Staff Trivia

You’ll need to do a bit of prep on this one in advance, but it’s so much fun to play. Gather a random fact about every single person on your staff, then write up a trivia game to find out just how well everyone knows each other. Possible facts to use include middle names, place where you were born, how many siblings you have, favorite book or movie, and so on.

7. Ugly Sweater Contest

Teachers participating in an Ugly Sweater Contest

Ugly Sweater Contests have become a staple of holiday staff party games. Hold a vote for the worst sweaters, or create a variety of categories like “Best Homemade Sweater” and “Silliest Science Sweater.”

Photo Credit: @parkviewelementary_kisd

8. Minute to Win It Games

Man with his face covered in sticky notes (Staff Party Games)

Minute to Win It ideas are always popular staff party games! We love this roundup of games from Happiness is Homemade that is full of holiday twists. Stack a Christmas tree of plastic cups, play Reindeer Ring Toss, or try one of nine more options.

9. Draw Up Top

Give each player a paper plate and something to write with. Each player places the plate on top of their head and keeps it there. Then give a series of directions to create a drawing one by one. Players must complete the drawing with the plate still on top of their head without looking. Here’s one example:

  • Draw a line for the ground.
  • Draw a rectangle on the line to make a school building.
  • Now draw a triangle on top of the rectangle to create the roof.
  • Add a door to the building.
  • Add two windows to the building.
  • Draw a tree on either side of the building.
  • Draw a sun in the sky.

Take down the plates and check out the drawings. Offer a prize to the best one. (Inspired by Principal Principles)

10. School Scattergories

School Scattergories printable

In Scattergories, the goal is to come up with an item to match each category on a list, but all words in each round must start with the randomly selected letter picked at the beginning. This school-themed version is perfect for staff party games. Buy it from Greengate Images on Etsy (or make up your own). Then use this Letter Picker Wheel to generate random letters for each round.

11. Charades

Children's Book Charades Cards printable

Charades is one of the most popular party games of all time, and it’s a timeless classic for a reason. You’ll find plenty of free printable charades cards online, like these free Children’s Book Charades cards from Childhood 101. For extra fun, make up your own charades ideas that are specific to teachers, like “Trying to get the projector remote to work” or “Doing lunchroom duty.”

12. Ring a Bell

This one is simple and keeps the fun going throughout the whole party. Every few minutes, ring a bell (or use a bell app on your phone) and announce the next “person you’re looking for.” Each winner gets a prize. Some ideas:

I’m looking for the person…

  • … whose birthday is closest to January 1.
  • … who has visited the most countries in their lifetime.
  • … who has the most pennies in their pocket or purse.

Get more question ideas at Diva Girl Parties and Stuff.

13. Saran Wrap Ball Game

Large ball of red saran wrap with gifts inside (Staff party games)

Try this game instead of a traditional gift exchange. Create a large ball of plastic wrap full of little gifts for people to discover! Start by wrapping one gift in the middle, then wrap and add a new gift every few layers. At the party, folks take turns unwrapping until they find a gift, which is theirs to keep. See how to make your ball, and get lots of gift ideas, at Must Have Mom.

14. Poke-A-Present

Poke A Present board with cups glued on sideways and covered with tissue paper

Here’s another cute way to give out small prizes. Put each item in a plastic cup, then attach a tissue paper lid. Glue the cups to a foam board as shown. At the party, invite each guest to poke a cup to receive their gift! Get more details on how to make Poke A Present at HGTV.

15. Murder Mystery Scavenger Hunt

Murder mystery parties involve a lot of work, but this scavenger hunt version is actually really easy to set up. Everyone can enjoy solving the Clue-inspired mystery by gathering clues from cards hidden around the room. Visit Queen of Theme Party Games to learn more and purchase the game.

What staff party games does everyone enjoy at your school? Come share on the WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook!

Doing things virtually this year? Try these 15 fun Zoom games for school staff.

15 Holiday Staff Party Games That Won't Make You Groan (We Promise!)