Breakers: 11 Great Ideas
by Jennifer Valtos, Assistant Director of Residence Life & Ed Wahesh,
Area Coordinator, University of Scranton
An activity designed to help groups and individuals get to know each other
and interact. The purpose of the activities is to engage the group, challenge
them to work together, and open their minds to new and creative manners
of thinking and engaging with each other. These activities should be challenging,
creative, and, often times, rather humorous.
Have one person be the artist and the other be the blob of clay. Give
the group some time to create a masterpiece from their blob of clay. The
artist can shape their blob in any sort of way. After several minutes
the artists stop and tour the “art gallery”. Swap roles and
do it all over again.
Demonstrate the Bunny “mantra” and see how many individuals
are paying attention to detail. The Bunny mantra is the following:
in front of the group with your left hand up in front of you with the
palm facing you.
your right index finger, begin touching the fingers on your left hand
starting with your pinky. Each time you touch a finger, you say “Bunny”.
you get to the “J” between your index finger and thumb you
do a slide (just like a ski jumper) and say, “whoops” then
touch the thumb and say “Bunny”.
- Do the
same thing in reverse. (Basically it sounds like the following –
Bunny, bunny, bunny, bunny, whoops, bunny, whoops, bunny, bunny, bunny,
you are done stand with your hands on your hips.
the group repeat the exercise to see who was paying attention to detail.
they have it, have them sit down and be done or have them stand up and
demonstrate to the rest of the group.
Just have the group mingle about to find another partner or small group.
This works well if you wish to split up a group that knows each other
well or if you have a large group. Have the group mingle about and form
various groups according to your needs. For example, if you wish to have
the group split into smaller groups of 5, tell them to mingle until the
music stops and then find a group of five people. While they are mingling
they must be doing the “mingle dance” which can really be
anything they wish as long as they end with a flourish. You can change
this up by making each pair/group end by touching different body parts
instead of a flourish. When the music ends, have them touch a knee to
an elbow or finger to toe, etc. Obviously, you would want to set ground
rules about the body parts in advance… J
Standing in a circle, have everyone look down. On a certain cue have everyone
look up at a specific person not directly to his or her left or right.
If you make eye contact with someone you must take a step back from the
circle. If you do not make eye contact with the person you are still in
the game. When you get down to the last three or four people you can look
at whoever you want to. You are no longer limited by the previous rule
about the person standing right next to you.
This is one big game of rock, paper, scissors. Everyone starts as an egg,
transforms to a chicken second, a dinosaur third, fourth is Elvis, and
finally they become Enlightened. If the person loses a game they must
revert to the previous symbol. For example, if they are a dinosaur and
they lose the game of rock, paper, scissor, they must revert to a chicken.
You only play the game with someone who is the same “evolved”
level as you are and you only play with one person at a time. While you
are at each level, there are accompanying sounds and/or motions. The egg
is crouched close to the ground in a ball. The chicken walks around clucking
its arms and making a chicken sound - “baaalk” usually works.
The dinosaur has outstretched arms with hands formed into claws with a
fierce growl. Elvis, of course, walks around strumming a guitar saying,
“thank you very much”. Those who become enlightened get to
stand on the edges watching the festivities with their hands stretched
out to the side, palms up chanting “ooohhhmmm”
Have the group sit in rows with their hands out to either side with their
palms up. Have the group place their right index finger in the palm of
the person next to them. When the leader says so, have the group try to
catch the finger of the person sitting next to them. Do this several times
and then switch sides.
Have someone stand in front of the group. The group leader will hold one
hand steady and use the other to cross back and forth in front of the
steady arm. When the arms cross, the group should clap.
With a partner, come up with as many creative ways to give them a high
5 as they can in 60 seconds (or however long you choose). Under the leg,
behind the back, etc. Volunteers can then demonstrate them.
Sitting in a group, with eyes closed, try to count to 10. Only one person
in the group can speak at a time, if more than one speaks, the group must
start over again.
This works well for a large group. Have the group pair off. If there is
an uneven number, the person without a partner becomes a referee. Have
the participants form two circles, one inside the other, facing their
partners. When the music begins the groups will begin marching (the inner
group marches counter-clockwise and the outer group marches clockwise
– or whichever direction you wish, as long as they are marching
in different directions!). When the music stops, they must find their
partner(s), touch shoulders and squat down. The last partner(s) to find
each other become referees. The game continues until there is only one
pair/trio left. The referees observe the game and help determine who the
last pair/trio is to gather and squat. With a large group, you may want
to take out more than one group at a time and you may want more referees.
(You can do this with three circles as well, as long as the circles are
going in different directions).
Start with your group standing in a circle. Using the hand gestures for
Ah (hand under the chin palm facing the floor), So (hand above the head
with the palm facing the top of the head), and Ko (arm and hand out in
front of you pointing at another player) play the game getting progressively
faster. [One of the participants in the session suggested that you could
vary the game by choosing to play using the Ah or So as the designation
for who plays next. Using these, the next person in the game would be
the person to whom the hand is pointing.]