The facilitator asks if anyone needs a standing ovation. Participants who feel they could benefit from a standing ovation can stand and say, “I’d like a standing ovation.” Everyone then stands and gives them a round of applause. Throughout the program, the facilitator can make this opportunity available when appropriate.
The facilitator tells everyone that a balloon will be sent into the audience and they are to try to keep it up as long as possible. The trick is that they cannot use their hands. They are to use their lungs! One after another balloon is released until there are several wafting around. When a balloon drops to the ground it is to be picked up and held by whoever is nearest. When it is time to end the ice breaker, ask everyone to stop blowing and to hold the ball nearest to him/her. Those with balloons can be “volunteers” for a subsequent activity. Alternative: Have enough balloons for everyone. Make certain you have the same number of balloons for each color you choose. After batting and blowing balloons about, individuals are told to hold one balloon. They then can be grouped by the color of balloons being held.
You can use almost any stick as a magic wand…even a toilet plunger! You can imbue the wand with any sort of power in which you might have an interest. For example, the wand can change any aspect of your work. The wand is passed around the room, and the participants explain what three things they would use the wand to change about their work, or whatever the facilitator wishes to stress. The wand can also be used to influence the behavior of other people. A participant can point the wand at a person and the person has to follow the movement suggested by the wand.
Have participants introduce the person to his/her right. Encourage them to fill the introduction with hyperbole and exaggeration. The only thing that needs to be factual is the person’s name. “To my right is the inventor of the paper clip, in addition, he cornered the high tech market in 1996 and is the fourth wealthiest man in the world. He is the man who taught Tiger how to golf and is Shag’s personal trainer. Ladies and gentlemen it is my pleasure to introduce you to….”
If you’re at a restaurant or another locale where props aren’t appropriate, consider the Game of Favorites. Ask everyone to go around and list the best rock concerts they attended; their favorite movies; their favorite records; their favorite pieces of clothing. It’s amazing how quickly people get into this game and how it gets conversations and laughter started, especially when people’s “favorites” are drawn from nostalgia — such as a concert they attended as a young teen.
This game is another great one recommended by ResidentAssistant.com. You pick a date, such as April of 2004, or June of 1996, and ask guests to share their names and what they were doing that particular month or day. You can do this with a few different dates, and you’ll have broken the ice in no time. You can use pennies also where everyone picks a penny and tells what they remember most about that year in their lives.
Select a number of multiple-frame strip cartoons from the Sunday funnies. Cut them into individual frames. Place the frames in a container. Each participant picks one comic frame from the container. After everyone has a frame, the participants begin to search for others with the same comic strip sequence. After the participants have found everyone in their group, they must arrange themselves so that the sequence of frames is in correct order. Upon completion of sequence, the newly formed group sits down together. Great game to break large group into smaller groups.
Have participants introduce themselves positively with two adjectives beginning with the same letter as the initial of their first name. For example, Rational, Realtor Randy.
State that you want everyone to get warmed up by doing some simple physical exercises. Stretch one arm forward. Relax. Stretch the other arm forward. Relax. Now, bring both arms forward and parallel; now bring hands together quickly. Again, again, faster. Naturally, the sound of applause is created, and you say, “Thank you, but the applause isn’t necessary, I haven’t given my speech yet.” Then resume the stretching. “Let’s try reaching upward with one arm. Relax. Now the other. Relax. Now both. Reach to the sky. Now, bring your arms down, bend at the waste, arms out. Again, again, again….. When they start to laugh say, “Thank you, but the applause was enough.
In a small group ask everyone to identify two questions they hope to have answered during the presentation or session; in a large group select “volunteers” to ask the questions or identify objectives.
Write the words “agree,” “disagree,” “strongly agree” and “strongly disagree” on large pieces of paper. Place each poster in an obvious spot somewhere in the room, preferably on a wall. Then make a statement such as “we all like spinach” and have everybody move to the part of the room that matches their opinion. You can create “opinions” that relate to the theme of the meeting. For example, “our membership is the most dedicated membership in the world.”
Have participants say three things about themselves – two true and one false. Other participants guess what the lie is. The correct guesser goes next.