Mike Spiller L.T.D.F (License to Deliver Fun)

Energizers and Ice Breakers


4  Jacks / Small Group - Card Game / Energizer

This card game is a huge success with all age groups. Deal out the deck of cards to each of the players in your group.  Keep the cards face down.  Each player will turn over one card at a time and place them in a pile in front of them.  The player turning over the First Jack gives a number from 3 to 5.  The Second Jack will give a location in the area (under the table, in the corner, in the shower, etc.)  The Third Jack gives the direction of what is to be done (jumping jacks, stand on a chair and cluck like a chicken, shout-out “The British are coming, the British are coming!”  The player turning over the Forth Jack has to go do all the above.  It might be 10 push-ups while singing the Barney song under the conference table.  This can be very silly, but so much


10 Boom / Getting to Know You Activity / Posted 1-7-2010

Make a circle of players and select a player to start the activity.  During this activity a player may say 1 or 2 numbers when it is their turn.  The selected leader might say “1, 2.”  The next player can say 3 or 3, 4.  This process continues around the circle until it gets to the 10 player.  After a player says, “9,” everyone says “Boom!”  This let the next player know they where # 10.  When a player is number 10, they need to share something about themselves with the group.  After sharing, this player begins the count at 1 again.  Change the “go to” number from time to time.  The leader might say, “We are counting to 21 this time.”  Another way to do this activity is to have the 10 Boom player pay a forfeit of some kind.  They might have to sing a song, or say a poem or a joke or maybe even have to do 10 jumping jacks.  Let the group decide how they want to play this easy game.

An Item I’m Like Posted 2-3-2010

 Have the group scatter around the area and ask them to find an item they are like.  After a moment or so, bring them back and ask them to mingle around and tell others why they are like the item they selected.  Encourage the participants to think positive during this disclosing activity.  I might look around and find a pencil.  I pick it up and mingle around telling others why I’m like this pencil.  After telling the other player about the item you have, listen to them and let them explain why they are like the item they found.  After a few minutes of exchanging info, ask the group to stop and replace the items where they found them and return to the leader for more fun and games or more instructions.

A to Z Intro / Posted 5-2-10

This is a tremendous mixer that is non-threatening and fun!  The object of this introductory game is to see how many letters of the alphabet you can find using the letters of other player’s names. Each player will start looking for an “A.”  Players mill around asking other players if they have an “A” in their first, middle, or last names.  If a player says, “Yes I do – my name is Michael so you can use the “A” in Michael.”  The player is now looking for a “B.”  All participants mill around the room looking for these letters by asking others if they have the letter they are looking for.  If they do have that letter, then they move to a new person trying to find the next letter in the alphabet.  This continues until someone reaches the letter “z,” or time is called.  Allow all the players to skip 2 letters of the alphabet if needed.  If a player gets stuck and can’t find a certain letter, they can pass it up and move on to the next letter.  More letters can be found if you allow the players to use their parent’s names, sibling’s names, grandparent’s names or even pet names. 

Band of Birds / Posted 11-12-10

Divide into groups of three, each picking a different bird sound such as "coo-coo," "tweet-tweet," or "chirp-chirp."  One person conducts the band to the tune of a common song such as "Mary had a little lamb."  As the conductor points to a group, they chirp or tweet to the tune in progress.  It sounds crazy and young kids love it.  Singing and conducting are equally fun.

Chinese Alphabet / Group / Follow the Leader / Energizer / Spiller Original

When I was a young boy, my best friend’s mother taught me this and told me it was the Chinese alphabet.  Of course, I believed her and for years I thought I was so smart.  As I grew older and had the opportunity to study the Chinese language, I soon realized that my early lesson in Chinese was just a “just for fun” kind of thing.  Anyway, I found a way to use it during my many workshops around the world.  I ask the group to say it with me several times.  I then ask them to say it and do as I do.  This is where the facilitator can get very creative with his/her actions.  I usually use motions like bowing, playing ping pong, taking tiny steps, Karate type movements, etc.  This will make the group laugh, giggle and using the actions will help them retain this neat little activity. 

“H - I, Chicker - I, Chicker - Ricka - Roni, Ping - Pong - Pie - No, Ala - Vala - Vaxy - Voo”


Celebration Circle / Ice Breaker / Introductory Posted 3-2-2010
Equipment:  None
Make a big circle and make sure all the players meet their neighbors.  The leader of the session will call the months of the year either individually or in groups.  If your birth month is called, start walking, skipping, jammin’ around the inside of the circle showing and telling everyone how special your birth month is.  The leader could call, “July, April and March, Go!”  Everyone with birthdays in that month should come into the circle and proclaim their special month.  Make sure all the months are called.

Do and Don’t Dots / Posted 5-2-10

Have your students get in a small group of 5 to 8 and give each group 1 die.  Each player will roll the die in turn.  If a player rolls an even number they will tell the group about themselves starting each sentence with, “I do ____________.”  If a 4 was rolled, they need to tell the group 4 things.  Example: I do like to travel, I do want to go to the movies this week end, I do homework every night, and I do have a dog named Jake.   If a player rolls an odd number they must start each statement with, “I don’t ____________.”  Let’s say they roll a 1.  This player might say, “I don’t like cold weather” and pass the die to the next player.  Play as long as there is interest and then move on.

Eek! / Posted 11-12-10

Send one unsuspecting individual out of the room.  The rest of the group picks out one object in the room.  Tell them that when "it" touches that object, they are to make the loudest, most horrible sound they can make.  Kids love to make their worst screeches and to see the look of astonishment on the hunter's face!

Goddag (Good Day!) / Energizer / Ice Breaker / Sweden

I was taught this unique game from Sweden way back in the late 70s from a group of touring PE teachers.  It is an outstanding way for group members to introduce themselves in a non-threatening and creative way.  Begin by having participants spread out in an open area.  Next, select a way to break this larger group into 2 smaller equal groups.  Instruct one of these groups to extend their right hand out in front of their bodies in a normal handshake position and put their left hand behind their backs. Ask the other group's members to do the reverse: to extend their left hands extend their left hands out in front of their bodies in a handshake position and place their right hands behind their backs.  Explain to the two groups that on the signal "Go," everyone is to mill around the room looking for another person that has the correct hand extended to complete a complimentary handshake (right hand to right hand/left hand to left hand).  Upon meeting, they shake hands with the other person and say, "Goddag!" (Swedish for "Good day") and give their names.  After shaking hands and exchanging their "Goddag" greetings, they switch hands so that the hand that was extended now goes behind their backs and the hand that was behind their back is now extended out in a handshake position.  Each participant searches for another person who has the same hand extended and repeats the greeting.  This continues for a short time or until everyone has had ample time to greet all the others in the room.

Good News Greeting / Energizer / Posted 4-24-2010

 Have your group mingle with each other as they share some good news.  Have them shake hands and then each person share a bit of good news with the other player.  I’d like to share that I am a Great Grandpa as of 12-19-08.  His name is Shaun Thomas.  What’s your good news?

High Roller - High Writer or "6" / Dice Game / Spiller Original

This is an exciting little game that will turn a quite classroom into a hall of noise and laughter.  Divide your group in smaller groups of 4 to 6 players each.  Give each group one die, one pencil, and an index card for each player.  Place the pencil in the center of the group and give the die to a selected player to start the game.  Rolling of the die should be in order around the circle.  Nothing happens in this game until a six is rolled.  The player that rolls a six must yell "SIX," pick up the pencil and start to write numbers from 1 to as high as he can get before another player rolls a six, yells "SIX," and takes the pencil away from the player writing and starts to write his own numbers.  The first player to write to 50 is the winner.  All rolls should be quick to stop the person from getting to 50.  A question asked frequently at workshops is: Do we have to start over, from 0, the next time we roll a six?  The answer is NO.  Continue to write your numbers from where you were when the pencil was taken from you.  This games gets loud and the players get very excited, but remind them that the pencil has a point and to be careful when taking it from another player.

High-Shake-Down / Posted 4-1-10

This is an interesting low risk group-mingler that helps participants connect with one another while having fun!  Begin by sharing that all participants will be welcoming each other using a repeating series of three different physical and verbal greetings.  The first physical greeting of the cycle used is the classic “High 5,” the second, a regular handshake, and the third a “Low 5” (hand below waist with palm forward).  Explain that all physical greeting will be accompanied by a verbal greeting.  When “High 5-ing,” participants will greet the person with a “Hi!”  When shaking hands, participants say: “What’s Shakin,” and when “Low 5ing,” participants say: “wazzz goin’ dooooown!”    Start by having all participants in the “High 5” position and then remind them that the greetings are done in a cycle (High 5, hand shake, Low 5, High 5, Hand shake, Low 5, etc.) and that the greeting position must be held until finding another participant with the same physical greeting before cycling to the next greeting.  Look for smiles and laughter to accompany this creative way to have participants introduce themselves to others!


Initial Contact / Spiller Original

Twenty years ago, I was tired of all the same old Ice breakers so I came up with this one.  It works well and is an opens the door to quick conversations.  In this pair and share introductory activity, participants will be disclosing 2 things about themselves that they would be comfortable sharing with others. The stipulation is that the 2 things they are going to share must start with the first letter of both their first and last name - example used in training: “Hi, I’m Mike Spiller and I like Mountain Hiking and Swimming!"  After explaining the above, pair up all participants (one group of 3 is fine to start with if your group has an odd number) and ask them to share their information with each other. Upon completion, instruct pairs to separate, raise their hand in a high 5 position and find another participant with their hand raised. Slap hands with the new partner and say “Hi” and once again share information with them. Participants will continue this mingling and sharing for a set amount of time or until all have had a chance to pair and share.

Labado / Spiller Original

About 20 years ago I discovered this Action - Song and Movement activity and have used it many times with great success.
This is a wonderful way to have your group come together with a simple song and a variety of tactile actions. Begin by selecting a leader that will stand in the center of the circle and give the group commands. The remaining participants form a large circle by standing hip to hip with their arms around each others' shoulders. Once this has been completed, teach the group the "Labado Song." The tune is sung to "Mary had a little lamb."
We can do the Labado, Labado, Labado,
We can do the Labado, Labado is Great,
As the song is being sung, have all the participants shuffle to either the right or left (whichever way the leader in the center of the circle directs). When they reach the part of the song where they are to shout, have participants drop their arms from the other persons' shoulders, take a step forward with a raised hand and shout out, "Hey, We Don't Do Drugs!" This dance should be done again and again, each time changing direction, singing the song in a different cadence, and placing participants' hands on different parts of their
neighbors' bodies (keep it "G" rated, please). For example: sing in slow motion, moving to the right, with the right hand on the neighbors foot and left hand on the top of the other neighbors' head. Have the group watch each other during the dance for a good laugh!
The three-syllable word "Labado" can be changed to any word or phrase that fits or is
associated with your organization or activity.

M&M Ice Breaker / Getting to Know You Activity / Posted 6-20-2011

 Cut open the corner of a bag of M&Ms and pour-out 3 to 5 M&Ms to each player.  The players will then tell the others about themselves according to the colors they have been given.  If you have a Red M&M = tell about your family.  If you have a Green M&M = tell about your school.  If you have a Blue M&M = tell something personal about yourself.  Use the other colors and select other things to talk about.  Have a snack and learn about each other at the same time.

My Biggest Fan

Building a fan base is easy in this high energy competitive game! This game puts a creative twist on the classic “rock, paper, scissors” game we all know and love. To begin have all participants partner up and explain the rules of “rock, paper, and scissors.” To ensure

understanding, have partners compete against each other a few times prior to beginning the contest. Once everyone demonstrates an understanding of the rules and who wins, it’s now time to crown the “rock, paper, scissor” champion. Explain that the winner of each challenge moves on and partners with another winner; however, (and now for the twist . . .) instead of the loser sitting down, s/he becomes the winners biggest fan and cheers them on in their next “rock, paper, scissor” challenge. This continues with the winner of the challenge gaining all people (including the loser) who now become the winner’s biggest fans and cheer them on in the next challenge. This culminates with 2 people challenging each other for the crown and all other participants cheering for their representative in the final round. This is a quick, loud energizer that is one of my favorites and is sure to rock with all your participants!!!


Sponge Bob Square Pants / Large Group Ice Breaker, Energizer / Posted 5-13-2010

This is one of those games that will test the self-control of individual campers or students.  Divide your group in half.  One group will scatter out around the gym and stand in place with a straight face.  His/her objective is to NOT laugh or smile when being tested.  The other half of the group will scatter and select a standing player to challenge.  This player will ask the standing player a silly question – trying to get that player to smile or laugh.  The standing player must answer with a straight face, “Sponge Bob Square Pants” without the slightest curl of the lip or laugh.  This is a no-contact activity so remind the players of this.  If a player laughs or smiles, he/she will now become one to question others as well.  Several players can and will be around one of the standing players trying to make them laugh.  Play until you have just a few self-controlled people standing.  Ask them to share what their secret was during this event.  Switch rolls and let the other ½ stand in place while being questioned. 

Variation: Allow players to do whatever they will to make a player laugh or smile.  They can make faces or do silly stuff, but remind them – No Touching allowed.

The Tibetan Memory Trick / Posted 1-21-2010

Your goal is to remember and repeat aloud as much of the tricky sentence as possible.  Keep a copy of this to go by and for all to use.  This activity usually last about 5 minutes at most.  How to play: One person is chosen to be the reader and another player volunteers to go first.  The reader recites sentence one and the player repeats it.  Easy enough.  Then the reader reads sentence two, which adds something to sentence one.  Still easy.  Most players, however, find that it gets difficult by about sentence five or six.  The slightest slip-up or pause and the player is replaced by another, who begins with sentence one.  Play as many rounds as you like, keeping track of how far each player gets each time around the room.  The player who gets the farthest wins.  It takes years of play before most people tire of this game.  Here are the sentences:

1       One hen.

2       One hen, two ducks.

3       One hen, two ducks, three squawking geese.

4       One hen, two ducks, three squawking geese, four Limerick oysters.

5       … five corpulent porpoises

6       … six pairs of Revlon tweezers

7       … 7,000 Macedonians in full battle array.

8       … eight brass monkeys from the ancient sacred crypts of Egypt.

9       … nine apathetic sympathetic diabetic old men on roller skates with a marked propensity toward procrastination and sloth.

10     …10 lyrical spherical diabolical denizens of the deep who stalk about the corners of the cove all at the same time.

When you master these sentences, or tire of trying, make up your own.


We Want to Welcome You! / Large Group Ice Breaker, Energizer / Posted 5-13-2010

Have your group make a big circle and have them introduce themselves to their neighbors.  The leader stands in the middle with a list to read from.  Each statement starts with an IF…  For example – if you are in the 5th grade, if you have a brother, if you love baseball, if you have ever been off the high board, if you have been to the top of the Empire State building, etc.  The players in the circle listen and if the statement pertains to them, they take a couple of steps into the circle, turn around and wave to the others in the circle.  The players in the circle will applaud the ones in the circle.  The leader will continue the activity for about a minute and then asks something that will bring them all into the circle.  He/she might ask, if you love being out of school!  This usually will bring all the campers into the middle of the circle where they applaud each other while they scream and shout!

What Time Is It? / Mental Magic Posted 1-23-2010

Gather some friend around for this great little mind trick.  The Psychic / Magician will have one of the players in the group as a confederate (helper) and this player will direct the magical moment for the group.  Send the psychic from the room while the rest of the group decides on an hour of the day.  When the psychic comes back into the room, he listens to his partner / confederate’s remark and is able to guess the correct hour that the group chose.

If four o’clock were the chosen hour, the helper might say to his psychic confederate, “Don’t worry, you’ll get it.”  The guesser would know from the first letter in the first word that he should guess four o’clock, because this is the 4th letter in the alphabet.