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Why use Energizers and Icebreakers?
Energizers and icebreakers are great for team building, getting to know each other, getting people to think about a specific topic, or simply just to wake up a sleepy and tired group. Some things to consider when using energizers:
- Try to use energizers frequently during a workshop or meeting. Whenever people look sleep or tired or to create a natural break between activities.
Interactive ways for participants to introduce themselves and to learn about the other workshop/training participants. Icebreakers help set a “safe space” for participants to learn and share. You will likely want to do more than one of these, at least one name game and one activity that involves personal sharing.
Activities to boost energy levels among participants. Useful to break-up info-heavy sessions or to get everyone back into the groove after lunch.
Are we together?! - Every time you say "are we together" everyone responds with "yes we are together!" and puts their hands in the air. Do it a few times until they are loud, people love this and it has the added benefit of making them put their phones down.
Good news! : Trainer ask the participants to share something good that has happened lately to them. Group clapping in between participant answers is a good way to keep the momentum going and also acknowledge the person's good news.
- Thunderstorm : Trainer starts by saying "rain" while simultaneously drumming on a table or chair imitating the sound of rain. Instructs participants to do the same, slowing increasing the speed of the drumming/raining. Suddenly, when it's pouring rain, training slaps their hands together and shouts "lightning!" multiple times for each hand clap. Participants are to do the same. Good, easy way to get everyone doing the same activity with some motion and sound stimulation. (you can translate 'rain' and 'lightning' into other languages that the participants speak)
- Coconut : Have all participants stand up, arms length away from walls, tables or other people. Write COCONUT on flipchart so all participants can see (good for when English is not their first language, explain in their language what coconut translates to). Trainer spells out each letter of the word with their body, instructs participants to follow. Body spell out coconut several times at varying speeds. Once participants get the idea and are getting into it, you can add some melody to the spelling of Coconut and when you complete the spelling do a shimmy in a circle repeating "coconut, coconut, coconut". Example: C-O-C-O-N-U-T, C-O-C-O-N-U-T, (shimmy) Coconut, coconut, coconut. It's kind of silly, but is always a hit.
- The shakeout : in a circle, everyone shakes out their left arm, right arm, left leg then right leg, starting with 16 times for each limb, then repeats all four limbs with 8, 4, 2, and then 1. Count out loud for full effect – counting in other languages encouraged!
- Mirrors : in pairs people mirror each other, then switch leaders.
- Yes Let's! : walking around, trainers take turns calling out what they want people to do “Lets climb a tree” then everyone says “Yes let's!” and everyone pretends to climb a tree.
- Line-up! : Ask the group to line themselves up in the order of their birthday (or height, for example) without speaking.
Splitting into groups
- Dancing - Turn on some music, and dance with each person and drop them in a "random" seat. The great thing about this is that you can make it not random, and dance people to partners that pair stronger users with weaker users etc.
- Animals - Write down pairs of animals and have everyone choose from a hat/bowl. No one is aloud to talk, and they must find the person who has the same animal as they by acting like their animal and making animal noises
Recap/Wind down activities!
The participants discuss their answers in small groups while the facilitator wanders around to collect the sheets (which are anonymous) to review