Part 4

Ice breakers & Team Building Activities

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Ice breakers in Nürnberg, Germany

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After the Comenius groups from Portugal, Estonia and Belgium had arrived, we played some ice breaker games to get to know each other better. See the games we played here.

ICE BREAKERS FROM POLAND

Balloon hugging

We need about five couples to this game, the boy can’t be from the same country as the girl. Each couple will get five balloons. Every person has to hold balloons under his ampits and one in front of his face. Then you have to listen carefully the presenter who says commends like:

If any of the participants drops his balloon, the couple is out of the game. The pair who stays the longest – wins.

Passing carrots

People have to make two circles. We look for tall people in these two circles. We give them carrots and they have to say their name and pass carrots to the knees of the person to the left without using their hands. While passing carrots they have to say Hello and say their name to person on the left side.

One minute please

Each person will get a small card. People who have a card with a different color than white have to talk for one minute on a given subject. All subjects will be written on small cards. You have to choose one card, read the subject out and talk about it. We’re putting a stopwatch on each person to see how long you last before drying up! The subjects:

Flags

Each of you will get a sheet of a paper, crayons, markers and pens. You have to draw a flag which contains some symbols or pictures describing who you are, what’s important to you or what do you enjoy. You can draw your favourite food, a hobby, a skill, where you were born, your family, your faith or even a pet.

Source of icebreakers: http://insight.typepad.co.uk


Ice breakers in Estonia

1.   „Find your home!“

In the first game you have to find your home on the map, which is represented on the floor.

Comenius pupils finding the suitable place for them during the „Find your home!“ game in Kehra.
Photo: Eve Rohtla.

2.   „Where do you stand?“

In the second game you have to pick what you like most. There is a line. All the way on the left side is one extreme and all the way on the right side is the other extreme. Everyone will then respond by standing somewhere along the line according to how strong of an opinion they have on that item. For example, if you ask people Hawaii? or New York City? people will stand far along the left hand side if they strongly prefer Hawaii and they will stand on the far end of the right hand side if they strongly prefer New York City. If they are neutral, they will stand in the middle. [1]


[1]http://www.icebreakers.ws/medium-group/extremes-game-where-do-you-stand.html

Comenius pupils standing as a line during the „Where do you stand?“ game in Kehra. Photo: Eve Rohtla.

3.   „Get to know your new friends“

In that game you will find out, who is the fastest communicator. You have a sheet of paper. There are some statements, for example „He can play football“. You have to find somebody, who can do it and write his name. The trick is that you can’t write the same persons’ name twice.

Comenius pupils finding friends for answers during the „Get to know your new friends“ game in Kehra.
Photo: Eve Rohtla.


How Belgians break the ice

General Tips

Do not start with a long explanation of a whole activity and start with it afterwards; instead, explain a teambuilding activity step by step and give the participants the chance to carry out the orders you give them at the same time.

After an explanation, ask the participants: “Did I make myself clear?” and not “Did you understand?”, thus insinuating a bad explanation to be the cause of a misunderstanding and not the incapability of the participants.

Start with some easy/playful/foolish games and use the more advanced games later on.


Introduction Ice Breaker

Required space

- A fairly big room

Group Size

- any size

Duration

- 5 minutes

Characteristics

- Ice breaker

- Low-language

- Enthusiastic

A speaker asks the participants to present themselves to persons they don’t know yet (just shaking hands, saying your name, small talk etc.) and then form a circle.

Speaker: “Now that we have presented ourselves, it’s time to play a game and when I say that we are going to play a game, I’d like you to pretend that you’ve been waiting for this your whole life. Jumping with your hands in the air is thus minimum. Let’s give it a try; prepare yourselves and call your neighbours to do so too, as well as the people at the other side of the circle. We’re going to play a game! Ready, set, go! (puts on a short fragment of enthusiastic music)

Speaker: (asks participants to form a circle again) “Let’s do the exact same thing, but when you jump now, you mingle as a group and you give a high five to every single person that you bump into. All right? Let’s play a game! (Music again)

Speaker: (asks participants to form a circle again) “We are going to play this game one more time. This time, run to a random person, hook your arms together and twist around like a rag doll. Prepare yourselves, ‘cause we’re going to play game! (Music)

The speaker thanks the participants for their enthusiasm; end of the game.


The Ultimate Paper, Scissors, Rock Game

Required space

- A fairly big room

Necessary Materials

- none

Group Size

- 5-unlimited

Duration

- 5 minutes

Characteristics

- Low-language

- Enthusiastic

- Energiser

- One-on-one

The group froms a circle, in which everyone plays the game scissors paper rock with his/her neighbour. The person that loses the game, cheers the person that won. The person that won has to look for another winner to play with. If the person you had to favour loses a game, you have to favour the person from whom he lost, until there is one winner.

The aim of the game is to end up with a highly enthusiastic group (can thus be used as an energiser as well), with the extra advantage that this game requires one-on-one contact.

The Train of Love

Required space

- A fairly big room

Necessary Materials

- None

Group Size

- 5-unlimited

Characteristics

- Physical

- Low-language

- Trust

The participant form a circle, turn to their left and put their arms on the shoulders of the person standing in front of him/her. Everybody starts moving forwards in the circle, while singing the following song:

 

We’re all in the train of love, oh

We’re all in the train of love, oh

We’re all in the train of fantasy

We’re all in the train of love, oh

And I say chika, and I say chaka, and I say chika chika chika chika chaka

And I say chaka, and I say chika, and I say chaka chaka chaka chaka chika

 

While saying ‘oh’, the right arm is to be lowered and pointed towards the centre of the circle, making a graceful movement. Whenever the word ‘chika’ comes up, everyone has to jump a little step forwards, same goes for ‘chaka’ but then backwards.

This sort of ritual dance can be repeated several times, making the circle smaller and smaller. It can (and most probably will) result in joky situations, with people bumping into eachother.

One against all

This road-tested activity ALWAYS works. We applied it again successfully on the Belgian beach during the GYG delegations’ visit to Belgium in October 2014.

The idea is that the group of pupils/participants (=’ALL’) has to successfully meet a number of challenges that the teacher (=’ONE’) sets to them.

If the group succeeds in doing all these activities within 2 hours, they can invent 3 challenges for the teacher(s), of which they must choose 1.

If the group fails, the teacher just thumbs his nose at them :-)

Several challenges may be carried out by more than one person at a time.  Just prepare enough ‘judges’ among the teachers.

One against all - the challenges


1.          Make a Comenius song with at least 2 strophes and a refrain. Teach it to the entire group and sing it together.

2.          Sketch a caricature drawing of the teachers present.

3.          give someone a massage for 15 minutes

4.          Sing a song for 15 minutes

5.          Stand upside down for 10 minutes

6.          Make a clothes chain of 30 metres long. You can use only the clothes you have on at this moment.

7.          Gather 5 living animals

8.          Make a human pyramid of at least 10 people. It has to stand upright for at least 10 seconds.

9.          Take a gulp of water and gargle the Czech and Belgium national anthems.

10.        Build layout of both your schools using branches, leaves, stones and any other natural elements.

11.        Make the best potato salad ever

12.        Shave 2 boys' legs

13.        Create a really special haircut on 2 girls

14.        Write a romantic love poem about Comenius

15.        100 sit-ups and 100 push-ups

16.        Give 40 hugs, but never to the same person

17.        Brew the perfect (non-alcoholic) Comenius cocktail. The teachers will judge if the quality is sufficient

18.        Create a work of art in which all people present are included

19.        Keep a ball in the air for 1 minute using only your feet

20.        Tell a teacher of your own nationality a sentence. Then try to have a group of the other nationality guess and write down that phrase, using your bodies to act out letters

 

GROUP CHALLENGES: the following activities should involve ALL pupils

 

21.        2 minutes of complete silence after 30 seconds of yelling

22.        3 original group pictures

23.        Stand apart at least 3 meters and throw 3 eggs down the entire line without breaking them

24.        Sing the Comenius song together

25.        Every single member of the group has to cross the rope tied between trees. If anyone touches the rope, the entire group starts over from scratch

 

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