- 1 Individual Tasks 👤
- 2 Partner Work👤👤
- 3 Group 👤👤👤+
- 3.1 3!
- 3.2 Key words
- 3.3 Different Emotions
- 3.4 Anchor game
- 3.5 Giving a hug
- 3.6 Bastion
- 3.7 Welcoming
- 3.8 Rush-hour traffic
- 3.9 Blind change
- 3.10 Blind Hen
- 3.11 Blind Circle
- 3.12 Dragonworm
- 3.13 Eggs, Butter, Cheese, Milk!
- 3.14 Catch
- 3.15 Flamingo and Penguin
- 3.16 Storks and Penguins
- 3.17 Frog
- 3.18 Gordian Knot
- 3.19 Group Puzzling
- 3.20 House, Squirrel, Earthquake
- 3.21 The Stolen Hat
- 3.22 Imaginary Ball
- 3.23 Carnival
- 3.24 Catching in a Chain
- 3.25 Post
- 3.26 The King is Dead!
- 3.27 Home Alone
- 3.28 Kneeboxing
- 3.29 Machine
- 3.30 Monster
- 3.31 Honey, I love you, but I cannot smile
- 3.32 Walk in the Morning
- 3.33 Netball
- 3.34 Horse-racing
- 3.35 Rhythm
- 3.36 Rambler
- 3.37 Toaster
- 3.38 Catch a cloth
- 3.39 Tuttifrutti
- 3.40 Water and Fire
- 3.41 Virus
- 3.42 Jump in – Jump out
- 3.43 Do what u need-gymnastics
- 3.44 Prince, Dragon and Princess
- 3.45 WC-Wizard
- 3.46 Robots
- 4 Inspiring Handbooks and Sources from the Community
Individual Tasks 👤
Tasks involving only one person, although they might be done in a group setting.
The participants move, they take a lot of space, they move to the ceiling, they are like a feather - the wind is blowing on them, then there is a storm coming.
- The participants form a circle, have a stretch in the air, then let their body hang down in the direction of the floor then straighten up again and turn their head into different directions.
- The participants go outside in the sun. They stretch every part of their body, try to be aware of all their muscles and then return into the house.
- The body hangs in direction to the floor, the fingers wake up, start to walk up their legs and switch on the head. One part after the other the body awakes and starts to move. Then one after another the different parts of the body fall asleep again.
- "Swinging": The body starts to move with the knees, the hips, the arms, then slowly all parts of the body start to swing stronger and stronger, even the head and the facial expressions. Then the swinging becomes slower and slower again until it stops.
- The head is pulled up by an invisible string, it moves to one direction and then to the other one, then it starts to move in circles. Now the shoulders move to the ears, then one of them falls down then the other one follows this movement.
Everybody finds himself in a preserving jar and has to make a movement to free him- or herself. The movement can be in all directions, boundaries can be touched. With a clap the glass explodes.
Collaboration between two persons.
Everybody has to find a partner in order to get rid of the feeling of being tired with his or her help.
The participants form couples. The partners try to pour water out of a bucket on the other person but all of this as a pantomime.
Clown and Crocodile
The participants form couples that stand in front of each other. One partner puts the palm of his hands in direction to the ceiling, the other partner puts them in direction to the floor above the hands of the other person. The one with the hands under those of his partner has to try to touch the back of the hand of the other person. If he or she is successful, the partners change their roles.
- The partners put their hands together, but do not touch each other. One person starts to move his body and the other person imitates him or her as the reflection in the mirror. It does not have to be fixed who is the guide and who the mirror.
- The couples are somewhere in the seminar room. One person shows some movements or does a pantomime e.g. of the moment when you get up in the morning. The other person is the mirror.
Two participants (who have approximately the same size) lean their backs at each other, link their arms with each other and slowly bend their knees. It is then their task to push other quadrupeds, so that they fall down.
Massage the back of the person in a "wheater style". The moderator calls which weather massages the group is doing.
Three or more persons involved, mostly in interactive games.
Participants count in order from 1 to 30 in a circle. But the numbers that are divide into three or contain three are replaced by clap and are not pronounced. If someone makes a mistake, the count starts from the beginning with this participant./
Several key phrases on the topic of training (two times less than the number of participants) write down on cards, then cut them in half. Each participant receives one half. The task is to collect the whole phrase and discuss it in a pair./
Participants stand in a circle and say the same phrase in turn, for example “Spring has come”, with different emotions (you can give out on the cards or speak out loud to each participant.)/
A person is drowning. He or she is very much alive and tries to escape its rescuers. The rest of the group is forming a rope. The first person is the hook the last person the anchor (on the land) and the rest of the group forms the rope - Aim: Rescue the person without being pulled into the water!
Giving a hug
Participants are separated in two groups: rows of equal number of people. Each participant should give a fast hug to the person behind and run on the back of the row. The group that finishes first hugging each other is winner.
A group has to defend a corner in the room, whereas the others have to develop a strategy to attack them and then implement it.
Music - the participants are dancing in the room and greet each other by using their hands, backs, foreheads, noses, hips, bottoms, little fingers, all parts of their body etc.
The group has to stand like they would in a very full bus. One person has the task to find a way from the back to the front of the group by pushing the others.
The participants form a small circle with their chairs. One after another they get a number (starting with one). One person has to stand in the middle with blindfolded eyes. Everybody in the circle has to change his seat silently. When the person in the middle announces two numbers, the participants with the corresponding numbers have to change their seats. Now, the person in the middle has the task to interrupt them. If one of the two persons is touched by the one in the middle, he or she will be the next person in the middle with blindfolded eyes.
The participants walk around with closed eyes and try to take somebody else by the hips so that they create a chain.
The participants form a big circle. One person has to stand in the middle with blindfolded eyes while the others call his or her name. The person standing in the middle has to go into the direction where he or she locates the sound. The other participants can switch the turn to call him, they can change position, stay in the circle, confuse the blindfolded person, whisper - but they never loose the responsibility for him or her or even leave him or her alone. After a while they can ask the blindfolded person: "Where are you? In or outside the circle? Next to the door? ...?"
The participants form a snake and put their hands on the hips of the person in front of him or her. They are not allowed to let the person go. Three different ways are possible or can be played one after another:
- The head catches the tail.
- The snake is separated into two snakes. The head of one snake has the task to catch the tail of the other one. (Just one head then they can change.)
- Both heads of the snake have to catch the tail of the other snake.
Eggs, Butter, Cheese, Milk!
One person stands backwards to the group and says "Eggs, Butter, Cheese, Milk". For the length of this saying, the group has the chance to move into the direction of the person speaking. After that the person can turn around and nobody is allowed to move anymore. If anyone is still moving, he or she has to go all the way back.
The participants form a circle, there are couples, one partner is standing in front of the other one. Two participants are left, one is the mouse the other one the cat. The mouse can hide by rescuing him or herself into the hole in front of a couple. The partner standing in the back then turns into a cat and the person who was the cat before turns into the new mouse. While playing the circle becomes smaller and smaller.
Flamingo and Penguin
A flamingo with slow and swinging movements has the task to catch penguins. Everybody, except for the one flamingo, is a penguin at the beginning and therefore has to make small but quick movements. When caught by the flamingo, they turn into flamingos as well and help to catch the penguins. When there is only one penguin left, it has to catch the flamingos, so that they can turn back into penguins.
Storks and Penguins
Variation of Flamingo and Penguins There is one stork (it could be 2 if the group is big) and the rest are penguins. The facilitator shows a specific the movements of how the stork and penguins move. Penguins run (by slowly shuffling their feet and slightly tilting from one side to another while running) from the storks. When the storks catches (touches) a penguin, the penguin automatically becomes a stork ans stats hunting other penguins. The game is over when all the players have became storks.
One person leaves the room. The rest remain in the circle and choose who will be the frog. The task of the frog imperceptibly "kill" all the others. This is done as follows - the frog catches eye contact with someone from the circle and shows language. If a person met frog's gaze and saw the tongue - sits down. The task of the person who left the room is to stand in the middle of the circle and guess who is the frog, faster than it will “kill” everyone in the circle.
The participants form a circle. They close the eyes and go into the middle until every hand holds another one. When reopening the eyes it is their task to disentangle the knot while still holding hands. This is a nice Wup for the beginning and the end of a seminar.
A group game: The wolf eats the grandmother, the grandmother beats the hunter, the hunter shoots the wolf. The group is divided into two, who separately agree upon a figure (the wolf puts his hands up and shouts, the grandmother can only walk with the help of a stick, the hunter has his shotgun). The two groups then stand on an imaginary or fixed line on the floor with their backs to each other. They count until three, then turn around and make their figure. The winners now have the task to catch as many people as they can from the other group. In return, the other group can hide themselves behind a defined line. Those who are caught have to change the team. The game starts again.
House, Squirrel, Earthquake
Two people have to create a house with their arms, while a third person, a squirrel, is sitting inside the house. One person is left. He or she has to give orders, so that he or she can find his own place. When saying "move" all the squirrels have to find a new house. Shouting "construction" means that all the houses have to construct a new houses for a different squirrel. By saying "earthquake" all the houses have to construct themselves newly and all the squirrels have to find a new house. The person that is left has to shout the next word.
The Stolen Hat
The participants create little hats out of a newspaper and put them on. As a couple they try to get the hat of the other person. In the end, two groups fight against each other, those who loose their hats are eliminated.
In a big circle the participants throw and catch an imaginary ball at each other. From person to person the ball changes its size, its form, its weight or its consistency.
Little pieces of paper are distributed with a different instruction on each of them, e.g. "Give everybody a kiss on the forehead", "Hug everybody" etc. About five to ten minutes everybody follows his or her instruction.
Catching in a Chain
One participant is the catcher. Those who are caught have to build a chain with the catcher (e.g. by putting their hands on his shoulders). When there are three or more participants in the chain the group is divided into two. Another option is to build one long chain.
The participants form a circle and one person starts to send a movement, a gesture or a facial expression to his or her neighbour who gives it quickly to the next person. The most important thing is that everything happens very quickly. It is also possible to change direction with a different movement. It is recommended to start with very easy movements like clapping and then to go to more difficult movements.
The King is Dead!
The first player turns to their neighbour and says, “The king is dead!” The neighbour asks, “How did he die?”, and the first player responds, “He died doing this” while performing a simple gesture or movement. All participants repeat this gesture continuously: The second player repeats the statement and the third player asks, “How did he die?” Second player adds another gesture or movement. The process continues around the circle.
The participants form a circle and close their eyes. In their thoughts they have to chose a partner and then go with the torso in direction to the floor until the hands touch the toes. One person then counts until three and everybody has to come up again and look into the eyes of the chosen partner. If two people look at each other at the same time they have to put up their arms and shout - like Kevin in the film when he sees something horrible. The two people (now a couple) have to leave the circle and are eliminated. The game is finished when everybody is eliminated and has found a partner.
The participants have the task to touch the knees of the others. For each knee they get a point.
In a small group the participants have to invent a machine and present it to the other groups that have to guess its functions.
Monsters meet each other: The participants walk around while making strange and uncontrolled movements. First of all, they move their thumbs, then their arms, their torso and finally all of their body. They start to change their facial expressions and make noise. In the end, they get in contact with each other.
Honey, I love you, but I cannot smile
Participants stand in the circle. Two volunteers go into the circle and try to make people smile. They are not allowed to touch them but find out other ways. If they are not smiling, say "Honey, I love you, but I just can't smile". If a person does, they have to replace the one in the circle.
Walk in the Morning
The participants walk around in a big circle in a distance that allows them to touch the back of the person in front of them. The walk starts and a chosen guide speaks about the weather during the walk, so that the participants can give a weathermassage to the person in front of them. They simulate wind, rain, storm, ... on the back of their partners.
The participants are standing in a circle and throw and catch a small ball until everybody has had the ball once. Using this pattern, new balls are used so that a couple of balls are in the game. Everybody has to throw the balls always to the same person.
The participants are sitting in a circle on their knees and simulate a horse-racing. One person gives instructions, that everybody has to follow. The participants have to knock on their chest, on their knees, lean themselves to the right side, then to the left side. It is possible to give the instructions only in one language, so that those who do not understand just join in.
One participant starts to clap, then the next person and the next person, and so on. It is important that everybody has a different rhythm. The clapping ends the other way round.
One participant has to catch the other ones. Everybody is only allowed to walk and not to run around.
The participants are standing in a circle. one person is in the middle and has to chose somebody else by pointing with the finger on him or her. He or she then has to show a specific picture together with his left and right neighbor. Pictures can be the following:
- Toaster: The person in the middle has to jump up and down, his or her neighbors have to hold their hands around him or her.
Elephant: The person in the middle holds with one hand his nose and the other hand becomes the elephant's trunk. His or her neighbors form with their hands the elephant's ears.
- Mixer: The person in the middle holds the arms up and puts them over the neighbor's heads, who turn themselves round and round.
If anyone makes a mistake he or she has to go into the middle of the circle.
Catch a cloth
Two catchers have to catch a cloth, that the other participants have to give each other. If one of the catchers gets the cloth the person who lost it is the new catcher.
The participants are sitting in a circle. Everybody is one out of three different types of fruit. One participant is in the middle of the circle and has to say a type of fruit, the corresponding participants then quickly have to change their seats. While changing the person in the middle has to find a seat for him or herself. The person that does not find a seat stays in the middle. Shouting "Tutti Frutti" means that everybody has to change the seat.
Water and Fire
Each of participants choose in their mind two persons to play; one should be water, the second person should be a fire. When the game starts each of participants should keep himself/herself near the person, who is water for him/her, and run away always from the person, who is a fire. There must be one person between player and fire.
A virus catches blood corpuscle: Those who are caught freeze and can only be freed by two others who build a circle with their arms around him or her.
Jump in – Jump out
The group stands in a compact circle, very close to one another. One person is leading the group. S/he gives ‘orders’ to the group. There are four orders: “Jump in!”, “Jump out!”, “Jump left!”, “Jump right!.” First round: the leading person is giving orders, with every new round a little faster, group jumps in the given direction. Second round: Wrong direction. Whenever the leading person gives an 'order' the group does the opposite, i.e. when the leading person says “Jump in” one should jump out, whenever it’s “Jump out!” one should jump in and so on.
Variation There is a small deviation from this version which makes the energizer a little bit more complicated: people can repeat loudly the order the leader said, but do the opposite action, and vice versa, can do the action the leader said but say the opposite.
Do what u need-gymnastics
After heated discussions and long periods of sitting down, the participants stand up and do some gymnastics. They are told to do what they feel they need in that moment. One person starts and the rest are repeating her/his movement, for example jumping. After around one min of repeating, another person is starting to show a movement, that s/he thinks s/he needs at that moment.
Prince, Dragon and Princess
The facilitator separates the group into 2 smaller groups. Afterwards, s/he explains the following rules: There are 3 roles : Princess, Dragon and Prince. Princess seduces the Prince, Prince kills the Dragon, and Dragon eats the Princess alive. Each of these 2 groups has 2 min to decide who they want to be. Afterwards, we draw 4 imaginary lines, 2 for each group. One line is a line where participant can run to their house (where they are in safety), the other line is where participant stand and show the role they took. When the game starts, who took a priority role, for example prince and dragon, those who are prince need to catch the dragon. If participant who runs didn't get to the house and was touched by other group, s/he automatically becomes the part of that team. Repeat the game several times for example 4 – 5 times.
Tell the story of the crazy wizard who turns everything he touches into the toilet. Select one volunteer to be the wizard. The other participants have to run away. Whoever is touched by wizard turns to the toilet (stays like seating on the chair with his knees crouched. To save the participant from being a toilet the other participant shall sit on her/him and flush the water (make a gesture with his hand and sound “Fshhhhh”. After this the toilet is again a human and can run away. Wizard wins when the whole group is turned into toilets.
Variation If the group is too big and is running too fast there should be 2 or 3 wizards .
Create groups of 3 people. Two people will be the robots and the one will be a guide or an engineer. The task of engineer is to make his 2 robots to hug each other. By touching the robot gently on the head the engineer can make it start moving or if it is moving the touch will stop it. By touching the shoulders of the robot the engineer can rotate the robot. After one round we can change the roles and one of the people who were a robot can now be an engineer.
Inspiring Handbooks and Sources from the Community
EYP Academy's booklet for energizers.
Guide to Cooperative Games for Social Change
Adam Fletcher, Kari Kunst, CORE
The book offers a collection of trust-bulding and ice-breaking activities together with other types of activities relevant for activist, facilitators and teachers.
Move and Learn
Training manual for non-formal Education through Sport and physical activities with young people
Football 3 Handbook
streetfootballworld's handbook on how to use football for social change
Give Learners Responsibility
Hand the responsibility for the energizer over to the participants. If they do not have any ideas for energizers, the facilitators can hand them a list (like the one below) in order to inspire them.
Respect Personal Limits
Due to the fact that energizer use the participants' bodies as a resource, the choice of the energizer should always depend on the specific needs of a group regarding body use or body contact - physical proximity, cultural aspects...