Category Archives: Icebreaker

Ideas for Using Icebreakers, Energizers and Games Effectively in Learning


PHOTO - Icebreaker

The following tips might be helpful to you as you use icebreakers, energizers and games in your facilitation.

Connect to Your Content

Whenever possible, connect your icebreakers and games to the content.  Don’t just use them to increase energy; this is not the best use of your time.   You should be able to debrief the activity and make connections to one of your learning objectives.  (P.S. You can apply this principle to devotions, worship and even breaks sometimes.)

Provide Clear Instructions

Give instructions a little at a time and more than one time.  If you give all the instructions at the beginning, participants are likely to get confused or forget them.  Make sure you repeat the instructions, because there are always some who are not paying attention or don’t understand the first time.

Practice Before You Facilitate

Icebreakers and games rarely go as you planned them in your mind, and practice can help you see the flaws.  As you practice, think about how the activity will sound and feel to the participants.  Putting yourself in their place will help you see where you need to make adjustments.

Design Your Debrief

Design really good debrief questions to make sure they get the main ideas.  Icebreakers and games are fun, and participants often forget they are learning while doing them.  This is great, except that if you don’t do the work to connect what just happened back to the content, they may leave without learning what they needed to learn.

Set Clear Boundaries for Competition

When people compete in games, they get pretty upset if you change the rules in the middle or at the end.  They will be very creative in coming up with new ways to reach the goal, so you have to decide whether or not you want to allow creative solutions that may feel like “cheating” to other groups or individuals.  Make sure your rules are clear and comprehensive, and then stick with them.

Schedule for Downtimes

Icebreakers, energizers and games can be a very effective way of increasing engagement levels, especially when everyone is feeling tired or distracted.  The best times to schedule them are: at the beginning of the day, after breaks and after lunch.  It’s also a good idea to have a few extra energizers ready in case you can tell you are loosing your participants’ attention.  Try to keep icebreakers and energizers under five minutes so that they don’t eat up your facilitation time.

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Filed under Energizer, Facilitation, Games that Teach, Icebreaker, Teaching, Uncategorized

Team Member Highs and Lows (ACTIVITY)


Thumbs Up and DownTime

30-90 minutes (depending on team size and sharing times)
Description

This activity is a great way for teams to connect when they haven’t met for some time.  Each member shares their “high” (best experience) and “low” (worst experience) since the last time the team was together.  After each person shares, you might want to have another team member pray for that individual.

 

NOTE:  This activity can get very emotional.  Have a box of tissues available.  Also, if you don’t set clear guidelines at the beginning regarding how long people should share, it will be difficult to do it later if you notice you are going over time.

 

Audience

Children, youth, adults

 

Materials

  • None

 

Preparation

  • None

 

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “Since we haven’t been together for some time, I would like for us to spend some time sharing about our personal highlights and struggles.”
  • “We are going to go around the room, and each person with share their ‘high’ (best experience) and ‘low’ (worst experience) since the last time the team was together.”
  • “While they are sharing, I ask that everyone just listen carefully.”
    “Once they are done, I would like to ask for someone from the group to pray for that person.”
  • “We have _______ minutes for this activity, so I would like to ask each person to try to keep your sharing to ________ minutes or less.”
  • “I’ll go first so that you can hear what I mean by highs and lows.”  (Be the first person to share.  It’s important that you model the type of sharing you want from the group.  If you share something superficial, most of the others will probably do the same.  But if you disclose something meaningful, many others will feel comfortable doing the same.)

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Clockwise-Counterclockwise (DEMO)


Time

5 minutes
Description

This demonstration helps participants see that a different perspective can change the way that they see things.

 

Materials

  • None

 

Preparation

  • None

 

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “Everyone stand up.”
  • “Take your right hand, and point your index finger at the ceiling.”  (Hold up your right hand and point at the ceiling to demonstrate.)
  • “Now, turn your finger in the same direction that the hands on a clock move.”  (Demonstrate what you’ve asked them to do.  Your finger should turn in a circular motion to the right, i.e. clockwise.)
  • “Good, now keep your finger turning, and slowly lower your hand until your finger is below the level of your nose.” (Demonstrate the action.)
  • “What happened?”  (When their hands are below the level of their noses, their fingers should now appear to be moving in a counter-clockwise motion.)
  • “Now, raise your hand up above your head again while you continue to move your finger in the same direction.” (Demonstrate.)
  • “What happened?” (Their fingers should now appear to be turning clockwise again.)
  • “Can anyone explain what is happening?”  (Allow them to try to explain what happened if they can.  If not, point out that their finger is always turning in the same direction.  However, their perspective has changed.  When they are below their fingers and looking up, their fingers look one way, and when they are looking down on their fingers, they look another way.)
  • “So what can we learn from this activity?”  (Responses should include that what people can see the same thing from two different perspectives and have very different experiences of the same event.  They might also note that it’s a good idea to look at things from multiple perspectives before making decisions or judgments.)

 

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Filed under Belief, Demonstration, Energizer, Icebreaker, Perspective

Samlo! Tuk Tuk! Songthaew! (ICEBREAKER)


Time

10 minutes
Description

This fun icebreaker is based on three types of public transportation in Thailand:

  • Samlo (“three wheels”) is a rickshaw. Pronounced: “sawm-low” (long “o”)
  • Tuk Tuk (the sound the vehicle makes) is a three-wheeled motorcycle taxi.  Pronounced: “took took”
  • Songthaew (“two rows”) is a pickup truck with two rows of covered benches in the back.  Pronounced: “song-tow” (“tow” as in the first part of “towel”)

This icebreaker energizes and adds some silliness to a workshop.  Because the words are unfamiliar and a little challenging to remember, it requires focus and concentration.

Materials

·      Print out the pictures of the vehicles in the file called, “Samlo, Tuk Tuk, Songthaew – Photos.pptx”  You can download it on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at http://www.teachingthem.com.

Preparation

·      None

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “Let’s do an icebreaker!”
  • “I need everyone to come stand in a circle.”
  • “Now, place your hands together like this (demonstrate) as if you were about to say a prayer.”
  • “This is your ‘Zinger!’”
  • “You use it to point to someone and say a word.”
  • “There are three words that you must say in the right order, and they describe three types of public transportation in Thailand.”
  • “The three types of transportation are ‘Samlo,’ which is a rickshaw; ‘Tuk Tuk,’ which is a three-wheeled motorcycle taxi; and ‘Songthaew,’ which is a pickup truck with two rows of covered benches in the back.”
  • “So, the three transportations again are: ‘Samlo,’ ‘Tuk Tuk,’ and ‘Songthaew.’”
  • “Everyone say them with me….‘Samlo!’….‘Tuk Tuk!’….‘Songthaew!’” (You may want to practice this several times so that they are familiar with the words.)
  • “Excellent!”
  • “Here’s how this icebreaker is done…I’ll start and point to someone with my Zinger.”
  • “I’ll say, ‘Samlo!’”
  • “Then that person has to quickly point to someone and say, ‘Tuk Tuk!’”
  • “Then that third person has to quickly point to someone and say, ‘Songthaew!’”
  • “The fourth person now starts over, quickly points to someone and says, ‘Samlo!’”
  • “It’s okay to point right back at the person who pointed to you if you want to try to catch them by surprise.”
  • “This keeps going until one of two things happens:
    • Someone gets confused and says the wrong word (or a correct word in the wrong order).
    • Someone takes too long to respond.”
    • “If either of these two things happens, that person is out, and whoever used their Zinger on them starts off the new round.”
    • “What questions do you have?”  (Answer questions.  Then, begin a round, or have someone else begin it.  Play continues until you are down to two or three people.  Announce them as the winners!)

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Filed under Energizer, Game, Icebreaker

I’ve Done Something (ICEBREAKER)


 

Time

10-15 minutes (depending upon group size)


Description

This icebreaker can be used as a meeting opener.  It works particularly well for groups that already know each other fairly well and will help them to understand something new about each person.

 

Materials

None

 

Preparation

None

Procedure

·       Explain to group that everyone is going to participate in an icebreaker.

·       Introduce yourself first using the criteria described below so that they can see how it’s done.

·       Have each person introduce himself/herself (basic info – name, time with company, time in leadership, functional area….) and then state something they have done that they think no one else in the class has done.

·       If someone else has also done it, the same participant must state something else until he/she finds something that no one else has done.

·       Proceed to the next person until everyone has had a chance to introduce himself/herself.

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Filed under Icebreaker, Pride, Relationships, Training

Random Responses (ICEBREAKER)


Time

10-15 minutes
Description

This icebreaker uses a single die as a randomizer to get people talking about different topics.  If they role a one, they respond to one question.  If they roll a two, they respond to another one, and so on for each number on the die.  You can use it for a variety of topics.  It’s fun, and it gets people talking.

 

Materials

o  Dice (one per group of people)

o  Flipchart and marker (one each)

 

Preparation

o  Pick a topic that you would like the participants to talk about.

o  Create a flipchart that lists a different aspect of that topic for each number on the die.

o  Here are some examples:

 

For “Culture”

“Describe the following about another culture:

1.     Something you like

2.     Something you don’t understand

3.     A funny thing that they do

4.     Something their culture taught you

5.     A mistake you made related to their culture

6.     Your choice”

 

For “Confession”

“Describe the following about yourself:

1.     A time you broke the law

2.     A personally embarrassing moment

3.     A bad decision you made

4.     A cultural mistake you made

5.     A story your family members still tell about you

6.     Your choice”

 

For “Introductions”

“Describe the following about yourself:

1.     Something you are known for

2.     What you enjoy doing most

3.     Where you go to relax

4.     Who you admire most

5.     Different jobs you have had

6.     Your choice”


Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “Let’s do an icebreaker to get to know each other better.”
  • “It’s called ‘Random Responses,’ and it gets you to share about yourself by having you tell about a particular topic.”
  • “To determine which topic you will talk about, you will take turns rolling a die at your table.”  (Show the flipchart you prepared.)
  • “If you roll a one, you should talk about the topic listed next to the one on this chart.”
  • “If you roll a two, you should talk about the topic listed next to the two.”  (Continue sharing each topic to make sure they understand the process.)
  • “If you roll a six, you get to choose which of the other five topics you will talk about.”
  • “What questions do you have about how this will work?”  (Answer any questions.  Then, let them begin.  Anyone at the table can start, and they can go in any order as long as everyone has a chance to share. Debrief by asking a few volunteers to share anything interesting that they heard or learned.)

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Walks of Life (ICEBREAKER)


Time

10-15 minutes
Description

This icebreaker uses flip-flops, slippers or shoes to pair people up and have them describe a place they have been, want to go or where something significant happened.

 

Materials

o  Pairs of flip-flops, slippers or shoes (enough for each person in the group to get one shoe)  NOTE: You want shoes on which you can write or stick tape on the soles.  I’ve used the free slippers they give you in hotels and on airplanes, and they work well.

o  Permanent marker

o  Masking tape (optional – you only need it if you don’t want to or can’t write on the soles)

 

Preparation

o  Write a different location on the bottom of each pair of shoes.  (You will write each location twice, once on the left shoe sole and once on the right shoe sole.  This allows participants to find their match after selecting a shoe.)  Here are some examples:

o   Where your family lives

o   Where you spend most of your time

o   Your favorite place to eat

o   A place you miss

o   A place where you were truly blessed

o   Where you had your first kiss

o   Countries you’ve visited

o   Where you go to get away from it all

o   Where you have the most joy

o   Where you might retire

o   Where you were born

o   Cities in which you have lived

o   Where you were last Saturday

o   Where you fell in love

o   A place you prefer not to return to

o   A special spiritual place

o   Where you went to college

o   Where you hope to go

o   Where you grew up

o   Best vacation spot

o   Where you go to have fun

o   Where you’ve worked

o   Where you got your first job

Either mix the shoes up in a big pile somewhere in the room, or scatter them around making sure to keep the pairs separated.

 

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “Let’s do an icebreaker to get to know each other better.”
  • “It’s called ‘Walks of Life,’ and it’s about the many places you’ve been or want to go.”
  • “I’ve created a pile of shoes (or scattered them around the room).”
  • “On the bottom of each shoe is the description of a particular place.”
  • “When I say, ‘Go!’ I want each person to pick up one shoe and read what it says on the sole.”
  • “Then, find your mate – the person who has the matching shoe for yours.  They will both say the same thing on the sole.”
  • “When you pair up, tell a little about yourself and then describe the place from your life that matches what is written on the bottom of the shoe.”
  • “After you have both finished sharing, you can return the shoes to this place and return to your seats.” (You should designate a place.  You may also want to let them do more than one round of this so that they can meet different people.  If you do, have them pick up a different shoe from the one they originally chose.)

 

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Filed under Energizer, Icebreaker, Relationships, Teaching, teambuilding