For a workshop leader to break up their workshop with fun interactive activities, they should use something called energisers. These are short, fun activities that get participants moving and interacting. Energisers are good to use when the workshop leader feels the energy level in the workshop going down (e.g., glazed eyes. yawning participants, random nodding, etc.) which usually happens after lunch, after long periods of sitting etc. But at the same time there is nothing stopping the workshop leader from using this at the beginning of their workshop as icebreakers

As a general rule, the things to consider when using there energisers are;

  1. The Mobility Of Your Participants. Choose energisers that will not leave participants with mobility barriers out.
  2. Language barriers. Be aware of what everyone’s first language is or avoid using big technical words.
  3. Physical Touching. Try avoiding activities that require participants to touch each other (as much as possible).
  4. Simplicity. The less instructions, the better.

1. This Or That?

  1. Get participants to stand up towards the back of a room or in a clear space.
  2. Ask the group to move themselves to either left if they are ‘this’ (e.g. fan of rock music) or right of the room if they are more or ‘that’ (e.g. pop music)?
  3. They can stay in the middle of the room if they’re neither or can’t decide!
  4. Other examples of this or that we have used include:
    1. Ferrari or Rolls Royce
    2. Crisps or chocolates
    3. Sea side or park
    4. Or anything else you would like to use (maybe some content from your workshop material)

As well as re-energising the group and getting people moving, this also gets people to consider similarities and differences within the group.

2. To Me – To You

  1. Ask participants to stand in a big circle (you included) and throw a ball to the person in front of you,
  2. Then that person does the same to somebody else.
  3. Keep it going making sure each person passes the ball to someone new. Once everyone has caught and thrown the ball, the cycle is complete.
  4. Then ask everyone to remember who they got the ball from and who they passed the ball to and ask them to do it again – this time quicker.
  5. Once momentum is going, feed another ball (maybe two) in for fun, and see how many people can keep going.

As a workshop leader you will notice this gets everyone giggling and interacting, but above all doing something physical and helps participants to make eye contact with each other and just ‘wake up’.

3. Line-Up…

  1. Get participants to stand up towards the back of a room or in a clear space.
  2. Ask participants to arrange themselves according to a number of facts about themselves.
  3. This can include
    1. Name in alphabetical order (first name and/or surname could be used)
    2. Shoe size
    3. How many pets they have,
    4. Participant height.
  4. Or anything else (making sure you stay away from private, personal and facts participants would not be comfortable revealing)

Give participants enough time to speak with each other, this way they are not only knowing facts about each other but at the same time getting to know each other a little more.

4. Over-Reactions!

  1. Prepare scenarios on sheets of paper ahead of time. Thinking of situations that would work for your participants and workshops. Scenarios we have used in the past included:
    1. You are angry at your workshop leader!
    2. You have just won the lottery!
    3. Your hair is on fire!
    4. Your just arrived at surprise birthday party!
  2. Put the folded sheets of paper in a box and ask everyone to select one and pass the box on.
  3. Each participant has to then act (or over-react) this situation to the rest of the group whilst they try to guess what the scenario is. Make sure you give participants enough time to plan their over-reactions.
  4. Determine if the participants will be allowed to speak or if they will just have to mime their reactions.
  5. Then each one takes their turn in over-reacting to their scenarios, and everyone tries guessing.

5. The Wind Blows

  1. Ask participants to create a circle, preferably with chairs and everybody sitting down, but no chair for you, the workshop leader whilst making sure that everyone has enough space for this activity to move about.
  2. You will stand in the middle of the circle and say: “The wind blows for people …”, then think about something that you like or something that is true for you.
  3. Everyone with this similarity will have to stand and transfer seats, this is where you should find a seat
  4. The one person that is left standing will follow this up with another statement, in the past I have used
    1. Someone who owns a cat
    2. Someone who watched last nights football match, Xfactor, Eastenders
    3. Someone that ate a fruit today
    4. Someone who had a hair cut this week

6. Beat Jam

  1. Have your participants standing up in a circle.
  2. Start with one beat done twice. This could be tapping legs or feet, clapping or snapping fingers, or drumming on a table top.
  3. After you finish the beat two times, the person on your right will do your beat twice and then add another beat.
  4. Afer the second person finishes doing this twice, the third person does the first and second participants’ beats and adds their own.
  5. And so and so forth until everyone has taken a turn and everyone has ‘added’ a beat to the jam.

7. Human bingo

  1. Prepare a sheet of about 5-10 statements that range from a series and facts. In the passed I have used
    1. Went to holiday in the last month
    2. Came to this workshop in a bus
    3. Took a selfie today
    4. Can speak more than one language
  2. Give participants one sheet telling them to interview each and every group member for about a minute
  3. Allow participants to go round asking each other asking other about these statements and ticking off boxs on their sheets that applies to the person they are interviewing.

8. Clusters

  1. Ask all the participants to move about the room in any direction.
  2. Call out a number, making sure it’s a well divided number between the total number of participants
  3. The participants must then make clusters of people to match that number.
  4. Whichever participant doesn’t get into a cluster is out

Final Thoughts

Although there are hundreds of energisers out there in the workshop world, however these are my 8 favourite ones and I always refer to them when my workshop needs surviving from a lack of energy. So next time you feel your workshop energy levels dropping, use any one, two or three of these energisers and let us know how it went by leaving us a comment.

 

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