FOCUS Team Resource Pack

FOCUS Team Resource Pack
Team Resource
Mega Edition
This Team Resource Pack is filled with background information,
theories, ideas and exercises. It should help enable teams and
individuals to gain the most they can from FOCUS projects, particularly
in terms of their learning and personal development.
The pack is currently continuing to be revised and updated.
If you have any comments or ideas on how to improve this Pack
for future projects, please let your project manager know. Thanks 
FOCUS, 73 Churchgate, Leicester, LE1 3AN Tel: (0116) 251 0369
Section A: What are we aiming to achieve?
What are we aiming to achieve?
Taking a holistic approach to personal learning & personal development
What learning opportunities can a FOCUS project offer?
The learning framework
Exploring the learning framework
Page 03
Page 04
Page 05
Page 06
Page 07
Section B: How can we facilitate the learning process?
Experiential learning
Recognition for being and doing
Creating a safe learning environment
Levels of communication
Making interventions
Ways of supporting others
A sequence for a typical FOCUS project
Finding opportunities for reflection and sharing
Planning opportunities for reviewing and learning
Page 08
Page 09
Page 10
Page 11
Page 12
Page 13
Page 14
Page 15
Page 16
Section C: Resources
Initial team building
Name games
Ice breakers / Team development
Get to know you games
Trust Exercises
Page 17
Page 17
Page 19
Page 24
Page 29
Goal Setting / Identifying Objectives
Identifying objectives for the project
Identifying daily goals or challenges
Page 32
Page 32
Page 32
Guidelines for managing review sessions
Review techniques
Page 34
Page 35
Page 36
Guidelines for managing feedback sessions
Feedback techniques
Page 48
Page 48
Page 49
Other games and exercises
Communication Exercises
Concentration Exercises
Page 57
Page 57
Page 67
Page 69
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What are we aiming to achieve?
Our main aims are to enable and support the personal learning and development of
all individuals involved in our programmes, and encourage, the practice and
development of personal skills.
To provide opportunities for growth, learning and development that are fun and
To support the development of self-awareness, self-confidence, self-belief and selfesteem for all of our programme participants, volunteers and staff
To enable individuals to develop skills that are relevant to them such as
communication, negotiation, task-management, problem-solving and team-working
To facilitate improved relationships between individuals and groups
To foster a positive appreciation of the uniqueness of individuals, their beliefs,
backgrounds, abilities and experiences
To develop an improved understanding of communities, their value and individuals’
importance to them
In the broader context of many of the issues currently facing society, FOCUS
programmes often have a significant contribution to make in the following areas:
Tackling social exclusion and disaffection
Raising the educational achievements of those taking part
Improving employability and life long learning
Developing citizenship and community involvement
Working in teams:
All FOCUS projects involve working in teams. Taking part in activities as a team
generally provides more learning opportunities than individuals working alone.
Working in teams enables us to:
• Have more fun than working by ourselves 
• Learn from other people
• Practise ways of working with other people
• Provide mutual support and encouragement
• Use reflection and feedback to reinforce learning
• Practise new skills and try more challenging activities
• Practise taking on different roles within an activity
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Taking a holistic approach to personal learning and personal development
Every person’s identity, their concept of themselves, has evolved as a result of the
experiences they’ve had in their lives. These develop in them a sense of their own
capabilities (the things they can do) and a number of beliefs and values that they hold.
However, many people may, as a result of their life experiences, hold beliefs that act as
blocks, preventing them seeing other possibilities or recognising the things that they’re
good at. This may result in a lack of confidence in certain situations and may
prevent them from achieving their full potential.
By exploring and gaining an understanding of the beliefs or self-concepts that people have
and offering through new challenging experiences, opportunities for them to make a
choice to develop or change these, we can help people to develop or to benefit in a
more lasting way from attending a FOCUS project.
Under normal circumstances, it is only how people behave that we can see, although the
way people behave relates very much to their underlying capabilities, beliefs and values.
They may show us one or several ways of behaving, but they are less likely to
demonstrate their capabilities or explain their beliefs and values. Yet it is at these levels
that we can make a difference in terms of developing people.
It is important that we look at all these levels and take a holistic approach, as each level
affects the others. If we only tried to work with people’s behaviours, for instance, the
impact might only be temporary. Our aims are not to simply try and modify people’s
behaviour, but to use the environment we create and the opportunities it offers, to
help people develop new capabilities and, more importantly, to recognise that they
have these abilities. Part of this process involves using experiences to reinforce
peoples’ strengths or to develop people’s belief systems.
We aim to make learning on a FOCUS programme practical and relevant by drawing
on people’s own experiences as material, so that, for example, they learn about
relationships and attitudes by exploring their own.
The Iceberg Model
“It is through my whole
experience of my feelings,
thinking and actions that I
know I exist. When I shut
down my feelings, or resist
thinking, or lose my
awareness of my actions –
then I partially cease to exist.
And when I don’t fully exist,
then I am likely to be
disaffected, disturbed,
dysfunctional… switched off
and disconnected was the
way I learnt to protect my
sense of self – but it’s no use
to me now I’m grown up.”
For all those that take part in FOCUS programmes, learning about yourself is a key part
of the personal development process. Exploring your own beliefs and values and
sense of identity is important in helping people to feel and think for themselves, and to
understand the links between thoughts and feelings and actions. Being able to tell your
own life story is important too. Sebastian Kramer, a psychiatrist who works with young
people, suggests that this is the beginnings of developing self-esteem.
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What learning opportunities can a FOCUS project offer?
Both the learning opportunities which people experience and the skills they develop will
vary tremendously between individuals. People learn differently and will want to take
different things from their involvement with our programmes. Areas for exploration and
development could include:
Learning to work in
and contribute to a
Recognising and
managing feelings
Learning to
Giving other
people space
and greater
own strengths,
capabilities and
Learning to relate
well to other people
Achieving tasks and
personal goals
Developing insight
and awareness
Being assertive
Talking in
the group
Getting from
solution to
more effective
Of course, this isn’t a definitive list of the areas in which people can develop, and the
emphasis will vary from project to project, and from programme to programme. So for
example, the Challenge Programme would also include building a sense of community
belonging, and increasing positive attitudes towards volunteering.
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The Learning Framework
The learning framework below, shows the main learning outcomes (top half) and areas for
exploration (bottom half) that we aim to promote through our work. The framework can act
as a useful tool to consider the different skill areas in our lives and to think through which
ones we would like to develop and strengthen.
(Adapted from the NYA/NIACE Young Adult Learners Partnership ‘Getting Connected’
Curriculum and John Huskins’ work)
The innermost circle of the Learning Framework focuses on the inner
world of the individual.
Me and You:
The intermediate circle focuses on relationships with others.
Me and
the Wider
The outer circle gives people the chance to explore and assess some
of the situations they face in everyday life so that they can be more in
control of events.
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Exploring the Learning Framework
Me: Here we aim to enable the person to tell their story in their words, to try and explain how and
why they are the person they are. Within the inner circle, they are also able to explore their beliefs
and attitudes, how they have been formed, and how they can change and develop. We encourage
people to reflect and articulate and see the connections between feeling, thinking and action.
Coping with
Knowing Myself
Holding Beliefs
Understanding feelings in different situations and how they can
influence thinking and behaviour
Understanding how to express feelings appropriately in different
situations and how feelings link to actions
Recognising feelings generated by prejudice and discrimination
Understanding and responding to the feelings of others
Reviewing your life so far
Being aware of your own qualities and capabilities and changes you
might want to make
Making and carrying out plans for the future
Considering what people believe to be true
Knowing what beliefs are and how they affect attitudes and behaviour
Putting forward your own opinion, appreciating others and recognising
their influence.
Me and You: This area encourages people to find out how they can give and find support, how to
work with others, how to ask the questions to which they need answers, and to be clear and
assertive in expressing their needs. It helps them understand the importance of respect for others
and respect for themselves, and it proves a safe context in which to learn about the nature of risktaking and the possibilities and dangers which it offers.
Finding &
Giving Support
Building &
Exploring Risks
Identifying how to gain and accept support for yourself & give it to others
Finding out about local support available for different needs that you
might have
Recognising and practising skills needed to make and keep different
types of relationships, for example, in the family, at work, or socially
Understanding and testing out different approaches to managing difficult
Recognising the proper and improper uses of power, authority & control
Investigating different situations that may pose risks to you and others
Recognising your own response to risk-taking
Me and the Wider World: This area enables people to investigate the different varieties of
information available to them to inform their decision making and gives them the confidence to use
them. It also introduces them to their rights and responsibilities as members of their community
and of society as a whole.
Finding & Using
Rights and
Choosing resources needed to achieve personal goals
Planning and reviewing how you manage your time, budget, diet and
exercise needs for healthy living
Finding out the best ways to get information
Finding out about the best ways to give information
Understanding the difference between rights and responsibilities
Understanding how your attitudes towards rights and responsibilities
affect you and others
Appreciating and acting on rights and responsibilities
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How can we facilitate the learning process?
Experiential Learning
People can learn simply by doing or experiencing things, but they don’t necessarily
do so. A FOCUS project in itself provides an incredibly stimulating experience where
people naturally learn more about themselves and others. However, the effectiveness of
an experience as a learning opportunity can be maximised by recognising the value of the
classic cycle for experiential learning devised by Kolb.
By incorporating planning and reviewing and the chance to practise and apply new
skills, as well as actually doing activities, opportunities for people to learn can be
further drawn out, created and consolidated.
Kolb’s Learning Process
Through reviewing we are able to personally reflect on our responses to the experience
(or doing). How did I feel during and after the experience? What was I thinking about at
each of those times? And what was I doing? By reflecting on our experiences, we are
assessing their significance in personal terms.
Applying involves considering our reflections and analysis in order to decide what to do
differently next time we are in a similar situation – and how to transfer this know-how to
other experiences! This aspect emphasises our personal capacity to change – and thus
involves a fundamental commitment to oneself. (If we do not at heart, value ourselves
very highly, often we need to increase our self-esteem before we can commit ourselves to
Learning Styles
Peter Honey and Alan Mumford identified four main learning styles that complement Kolb’s
Experiential Learning Cycle. These styles are Activists, Reflectors, Theorists and
Activists (linked to Kolb’s Doing Stage):
Activists like to be involved in new experiences. They are open minded and
enthusiastic about new ideas but get bored with implementation. They enjoy doing
things and tend to act first and consider the implications afterwards. They like working
with others but tend to hog the limelight.
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Reflectors (linked to Kolb’s Reviewing Stage):
Reflectors like to stand back and look at a situation from different perspectives. They
like to collect data and think about it carefully before coming to any conclusions. They
enjoy observing others and will listen to their views before offering their own.
Theorists (linked to Kolb’s Applying Stage):
Theorists adapt and integrate observations into complex and logically sound theories.
They think problems through in a step-by-step way. They tend to be perfectionists who
like to fit things into a rational scheme. They tend to be detached and analytical rather
than subjective or emotive in their thinking.
Pragmatists (linked to Kolb’s Planning Stage):
Pragmatists are keen to try things out. They want concepts that can be applied to their
job. They tend to be impatient with lengthy discussions and are practical and down to
Recognition – for being and doing
Recognition is a basic human need and one that relates closely to people’s self-confidence
and ability to recognise their own potential. People need recognition both of what they
do and achieve and also for their existence or being. There can be both positive and
negative versions of both, for example:
Positive being – I’m glad I know you
Positive doing – I like the way you stopped to think about what you were up to
Negative being – You’re a waste of space
Negative doing – Why didn’t you put that down over here
Both verbal and non-verbal messages can be a source of recognition.
In some families, almost the only recognition available is negative and this may have been
reinforced by school experiences where the only attention given by the teachers was
critical. A young person with this type of history may only know how to get negative
recognition. Psychological studies show that any recognition is better than no recognition
at all – therefore such a young person may actively seek negative recognition both for their
existence and what they do. Such a young person may then be labelled disaffected.
Others may be used to a mixture of recognition. Some people will have learnt to mistrust
positive recognition for fear of it being insincere.
Most of us experience a different intensity of recognition (positive or negative) depending
on who gives it and how we perceive that person.
Use of sincere positive recognition encourages a virtuous circle:
Recognition  Confidence  Motivation  Achievement  Recognition  etc
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Creating a safe learning environment
What we are aiming to create is an environment where people can learn about themselves
and other people. To achieve this, a safe and supportive atmosphere is needed that
enables people to try new challenges and take some risks. As the model below
shows, it is by taking risks, rather than remaining in our usual comfort zones, that we can
maximise the opportunities to learn something new.
Amount of Learning
When does learning take place?
A FOCUS project tries to
create an environment of
challenge and appropriate
stretch, where individuals
can learn the most.
We do this by bringing
different people together
to take part in unusual and
challenging activities.
(New experiences,
(same as always)
(Fight or Flight)
teams where trust and
support is developed, we
are able to carefully
manage the situations that
arise in order to avoid
taking too great a risk and
perhaps falling into the
panic zone.
Level of Challenge / Risk
Remember that every individual will find different experiences stretching or
challenging. For some these might be practical or physical activities. For others,
these might be aspects of working and dealing with other people. Consider the
following example from someone who became one of our supported volunteers:
“I was shadowing an experienced volunteer on my first project as a volunteer. I had to talk to
people – I couldn’t just hide away in the background any more. I found it very hard and emotional
doing things that I was scared of doing. The hardest of these was to lead an activity. I had the
support of the whole team but I couldn’t go through with it, my hands were sweating and I felt
extremely sick at the thought of it. After several days of encouragement from the rest of the
volunteers I did finally lead a five-minute activity – it was the worst five minutes of my life.
Everyone was looking at me, my heart was pounding and I could hardly speak, but I did it! I did it!
I felt so good, I couldn’t believe I had done it. I left the residential feeling so great, I had never felt
so confident.”
People have very different boundaries as to what constitutes their comfort, stretch and
panic zones, but as you can see above, being able to stretch ourselves can be very
liberating! Consider yourself for a moment as being surrounded by a ‘force-field’, which
represents your comfort zone. Every time you achieve a new goal, overcome a limiting
belief, or acquire a new skill outside of this comfort zone, the ‘force-field’ of who you are
extends. If you like, this could be a way of considering what we mean by ‘personal
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Levels of Communication
For many people there are levels of risk involved with communicating with others.
To discuss feelings and emotions, for example, may feel much riskier than simply
discussing facts. The diagram below shows what is often a natural progression for people
when they come together. Normally communication will begin at levels one and two, the
‘safe’ levels, until a relationship is well enough developed to allow people to move to
higher levels.
In a FOCUS team we are aiming to create an environment which accelerates the
process of people moving through these levels of communication. This is so that we
can explore with people their beliefs or values, rather than simply their behaviours. Again,
for this, a climate bound by trust, confidence, and a sense of support when taking risks is
Levels of Communication
On a FOCUS project, we utilise particular activities, exercises and techniques that will aim
to encourage, within each team, a rapid progression through these levels of
One technique to be aware of when talking with people is ‘laddering’. This is the idea that
conversations, either through natural flow, or careful direction, can move through the
different levels. Often we do this naturally, as sticking to just ‘ritual cliché’ becomes boring
after a while! However, sometimes it takes more skill to move conversations into deeper
levels, perhaps by asking more pertinent questions, or opening up certain topics
ourselves. However, the other person may not respond as expected. When this happens,
go back up a level, and perhaps ask a question that takes a side-step, rather than going
down. If the conversation then flows more freely again, it can be worth taking chances to
deepen the level when it feels more appropriate.
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Making Interventions
Making interventions is what you are doing every moment you are with someone: you are
responding verbally with words and tone of voice or non-verbally through your body
language and actions.
Sometimes your responses will be proactive and you will be leading the other person –
other times you will be reactive and led by the other person.
Many of your interventions within your FOCUS team will be planned and involve you
making thoughtful judgements, whilst some will be spontaneous and intuitive.
Here are some different examples of interventions:
You will need to judge when to intervene and when not to – and this will involve you
considering WHO the intervention is for. For example:
Is it to satisfy your own need to say something to fill a silence?
Or do you need to talk about your experiences?
Or your need to have agreement and avoid conflict (which can be creative!)?
Or to put across the values you believe in?
The TIMING of your interventions can be crucial too. Too soon and you may
disempower by preventing the other person reaching their own conclusions; too late and
you may have missed the moment to highlight, deconfuse or demonstrate.
When you don’t know what to do next, then say ‘hang on a moment’ and count to
ten –and give yourself time to think…
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Ways of Supporting Others
Kindness and support from an adult MAY be a rare experience for SOME of the young
people involved in FOCUS projects. It is important to be kind but also to be tough and to
keep boundaries. Beware of over-helping or of over-indulging. Both are things we
sometimes do in order to feel better about ourselves and because we may worry that in
order to be firm about our boundaries, we will come across as critical and judgmental, (see
the top left hand corner of the diagram below). Yet it is not helpful to be over-indulgent or
over sympathetic as illustrated in the top right section.
not trying, fear, aggression, resentment, sabotage, unwillingness to accept rules,
bullying, teasing others, giving up, violence, truanting, school refusal, anxiety,
lack of respect for authority, passivity, apathy
Self-confidence, energy, creativity, motivation, initiative, affection,
co-operation, consideration for others, willingness to keep rules and laws,
self-direction, positive relationships, caring sharing
Susannah Temple (1989), adapted from ideas of Jean Illsley-Clarke (1978/98)
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A Sequence for a typical FOCUS Project
Our projects usually follow a pattern to help create a progressive, safe environment
Warm Welcome
– Basic Needs Met
Warm welcome; venue set up; relaxed and friendly
environment; ensuring that basic needs are met (ie
sleeping, eating, special caring etc); explain purpose of
project; recognising it will be different for different people;
safety rules; answer questions.
Develop Trust
And Support
Icebreakers and name games; trust exercises (eg blindfold
leads, coasting); finding common ground; building
relationships; introduction to comfort / stretch / panic; use of
physical support exercises (eg knots).
Team Identity
Encouraging full involvement and participation of everyone;
clarifying expectations of each other; taking responsibility for
each other; building strong team spirit; varying roles in the
How Do They See
What do people think about themselves? What do they
think their strengths and weaknesses are? What are their
beliefs and values?
Goal / Objective
Encourage people to think and say what they want to get
out of the project. What help might they need from others
towards this? Can use word bank to suggest ideas.
Creating Development
Setting up activities and individuals in particular roles; giving
responsibility and front loading activities for things they want
to learn more about eg communication, self-confidence,
planning etc; developing reviews around these things.
Using feedback activities to reinforce positive messages
and things people do well; could use feedback cards, stand
behind, graffiti sheets etc; could develop into constructive
feedback of things could do more of or change. (Needs to
be carefully managed – see feedback guidelines)
Larger projects and activities where individuals can use their
skills and put them into practice; try and work towards more
individual responsibility at this stage.
Party Time!
Celebration of successes; certificates of
achievement; presentations etc; evaluation of achievements
Looking Ahead
Time for people to take stock; setting people up for moving
back into their usual environments; relating what they have
learned to their future and their world outside FOCUS;
discussing future plans and further involvement with
FOCUS projects.
Remember that these are not necessarily consecutive stages. Many will be ongoing
throughout much of the project and some might need revisiting.
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Finding Opportunities for reflection and sharing
As was shown in Kolb’s learning cycle, it is not simply the ‘doing’ of an activity that
provides the learning from a particular activity or experience. Through planning,
reviewing and applying, the learning can be even more effectively drawn out of an
experience and therefore it’s important that we make time on a FOCUS project for this to
Just as it is important to structure the activities during the project, it is equally important to
plan carefully and structure the times for objective setting, planning, reviewing and giving
feedback, although this can also be done spontaneously and ‘on the hop’, mid activity for
example. Remember if these ‘sessions’ are run well, they can be just as fun, if not
more enjoyable and appealing for people, than the activities themselves.
On some FOCUS projects, a particular session might be scheduled each day for
reviewing, for example. On other projects it will be up to you and your team to build in time
for goal setting, reviewing, feedback etc as appropriate for your team.
Some opportunities for reflection on a residential project:
First thing in the morning – Before the start of morning activities provides a good
opportunity to make a fresh start for the day. Make sure everyone is out of bed in time,
and start with some lively games to wake people up a bit! You can also use this time to
look at the day ahead and set people up for the activities or encourage people to set
some team or personal goals.
During / After activities – Don’t leave it too long after a particular activity to review
how it went and how people found it. You can also hold quick review sessions midactivity. Remember also to give people encouragement/praise during an activity. Ie at
the time when they are doing things right. This is more powerful then.
Team Teas – During tea break, where teams stay in their team rooms or find some
space outside and away from other teams. Team teas can also be fun in terms of
giving the teams the chance to decide what they want to eat (fruit, biscuits, ice-creams
smoothies, etc), possibly forming a kitty.
Cocoa-time – This is quite a mellow time for people and a good chance to reflect on
the day. The team would really need to go to its team room or somewhere quiet for
this to be successful. You also need to round up team members who may have drifted
away from the evening activities. Maybe you could create the right atmosphere by
having candles in the room to make it cosier and more mellow.
Camp Fires – These can provide a tremendous atmosphere in the summer, and
enable people to talk much more openly about themselves and their feelings. Usually
there is at least one camp fire scheduled during the week, usually beginning with a
sing-song, but then story-telling and reflection can follow.
Simple Chats – Some of the simplest and most effective feedback and reflection can
be on a one-to-one basis, over lunch, during free-time, in the evenings and so on.
There will be many other opportunities for reflecting, recognising achievements, for
feedback and for goal setting. Don’t feel constrained by the daily timetable or
activity schedule. If your team would benefit more by finishing an activity early or
even not doing it at all and hold a review or planning session instead, that is OK!
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Planning Opportunities for reviewing and learning
Find the right time and place; create the right atmosphere:
It is important that you create the right atmosphere for a successful session so that
people are willing and feel secure enough to share their thoughts and feelings.
Think about where to do it…. in a comfy room…. outside on the grass? You could
provide refreshments (sweets, drinks, strawberries, ice-creams etc) or play
appropriate background music to help create the atmosphere you are looking for.
Plan the session well.
What you are trying to achieve with the session? What type of activity will you do?
Run each game or exercise for a purpose.
Get to Know You
Goal / Objective
You’ll need to think about questions such as:
Team Development
Where is your team ‘at’ and what would be an appropriate activity or exercise?
Where is your team in relation to the project sequence on page?
What levels of communication are operating in the team?
How comfortable and secure are people feeling?
Is there trust and support that will help people to take risks and stretch themselves?
What type of information would they be ready to share?
How risky is a particular exercise for the team members?
How much control should you keep during the exercise?
What are the energy levels like in the team?
Choose exercises or techniques for your session that suit the stage your team is
at and the way individuals are feeling.
Make sure you know exactly how to run the exercise. How will you introduce it? What
props or equipment do you need? How long might it last?
• Vary the format and size of your group.
The choice of technique may be an intuitive one. It may feel right to follow a chaotic
activity with a structured review, for example, or a challenging activity with a relaxed
and easy going review. On the other hand, it may feel right to stay with the mood of the
moment, and to carry through the same level of energy. However, do vary the type of
exercise, the length and purpose of your review sessions, and don’t be afraid to split
you group into smaller groups or even pairs, to ensure that everyone is involved.
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: Initial Team Building
Your aims in building your team, are to create a safe and supportive atmosphere where
people have fun and feel comfortable together, as soon as you can. You can help to
achieve this by using activities and exercises designed to:
Help people learn each other’s names
Act as fun ice breakers
Get to know each other in more depth
Encourage people to open up a little, sharing their thoughts and feelings, rather than
just facts or clichés with each other
 Develop trust and a sense of support amongst the team
Some of these exercises are described below. Instructions for others are available in
the Team Resource Box. If you or anyone in your team knows of others, be sure to let us
know! 
Name Games
Ball Name Game
“Hello” Game
Notable Names
NB. At the end of playing Name Games, it can be a good idea to get everybody to make
their own name badge. Some people’s memories aren’t as good as others, and it may
take them a day or two to remember who is who, even after playing the name games. It
also helps other people, outside of your own team, learn some new names on the first day
Ball Name Game
• One Ball for every group of about 15-16
• Introduction; memorising names
• The new group of people stands in a circle of not more than sixteen. One person is
given a ball. The ball is passed around the circle and each person who receives the
ball says their name very clearly (usually just their first name).
• When everyone has been named and the ball is back to the beginning, the person
holding the ball throws it to any person. The person throwing the ball must say the
name of the person they are throwing it to in advance.
• Now tell the team that they need to remember who they receive the ball from, and who
they throw it to.
• The catcher must then say the name of the next person they wish to throw it to, before
throwing the ball to the next person. (This person must be someone who hasn’t had the
ball before). This process is repeated until everyone has received the ball and it is
returned to the beginning person.
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The same pattern of throwing must now be repeated (which is why people need to
remember whom they got the ball from, and whom they then threw it to). As before,
people need to call out the name of the person they are throwing the ball to. Once the
pattern has been firmly established, the process can be quickened up.
The game can then become really fun, by the lead person introducing more than one
ball at different intervals, but still following the same pattern. This can be a great way
of raising the energy levels! 
“Hello” Game
• You need a set of prepared action cards which name people in the group. A card
might say ‘Blow a kiss to Mary’ or ‘Wave your arms at Bill”, for example. There must
be a card for everyone in the group.
• Everyone sits in a circle while the leader explains that the aim of the game is to help
people get to know each other’s names.
• The cards are placed in the middle and the first person (a volunteer) picks one, reads it
out and tries to find out who ‘Mary’ is, for example, asking other people or by
addressing all the women until he finds Mary. They then perform the action and the
round continues with the next person picking a card. Play 2 or 3 rounds giving each
person several opportunities to pick a card. About 30-35 cards would be needed for a
group of 15.
• An alternative would be to have one set of cards with people’s names on them, and
another set of cards with the actions on. Thus there could be lots of different
combinations of people doing things (especially if the cards are returned and mixed up
each time).
Notable Names
• Sit in a circle
• One person begins by introducing themselves, prefixing their name with a descriptive
word that starts with the same letter of the alphabet – for example “Super Sarah”
• The person next to them continues: “That’s Super Sarah and I’m Mischievous Mike”
• The third player continues “That’s Super Sarah, Mischievous Mike and I’m Radiant
Rhian”. Carry on until everybody has had a turn.
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Ice Breakers / Team Development
Famous People
Human Bingo
Human noughts and crosses
Line Up
Roles in the Team
Seat Swaps
Secret Lives / Stereotypes
Skin the snake
Tag backs
Team Agreements / Our Team
Toilet Paper Game
What are you doing?
Famous People
Famous names on strips of card or paper with safety pins (or labels). These names could
be real people (Henry VIII) or fictional (Superman), etc.
Mixing, starting conversation, ice-breaking, problem-solving
As people enter, the Team Advisor pins (or sticks if a label), a name on each person’s
back. Each one must walk around and try to find out who he is by asking “yes”-or-“no”
questions of everyone else. When they know who they are, they pin the paper on their
front and continue to help others.
Human Bingo!
• Pre-made bingo cards with a list of questions
• Pens
Aims / tips
This is similar to Human Treasure Hunt
‘Bingo’ cards are written out with a number of questions on, equal to the number of
players. Players must mill around the room and answer the questions with a name of a
player in their team, including their own. Each name can only be used once. The questions
can be a mix of random and specific.
For example the first question could be someone who likes baked beans. The second
question could be someone who has been to America. If there is only one person who has
been to America in the team, then people should not use that name as the answer to
question one.
The first person to get a complete set of answers and to shout “Bingo!” wins.
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Line Up
The group is told that they must get in order of age or height without speaking. They may
be told which end should be youngest or shortest to make it slightly easier. Any topic can
be used, shoe size, letter of first name etc.
Roles in the Team
 Another tack of strengthening the team is by making people feel wanted and needed in
the team. A simple way of doing this is for each member of the team to take on a
role (both volunteers and participants).
 Roles can be a whole variety of things – including spokesperson, meals person,
timetable holder, photographer, joker, energiser, daily star-sign reader, scribe,
Activities-Team liaison person etc.
 You might need to be creative in helping people to consider potential roles and would
also need to avoid the team stereotyping people for the week. When this exercise
works at the best level though, it recognises in a simple way, that everyone is wanted
in the team and has a role to play.
Secret Lives / Stereotypes
Paper, biros, hat (or envelope)
The team will discover new things about each other and challenge some preconceptions.
Each person secretly writes on a piece of paper something they do / have that the rest of
the team will not know about.
Each piece of paper is read out and the team have to vote on which team member it is
most likely to apply to. The person who wrote it is allowed to bluff for someone else, but if
they are guessed correctly, then they must ask the team why they made that choice.
• If you have a smaller group, or more time, then perhaps try ‘Truth & Lies’ instead (see
Get to Know You Games), which is very similar in idea.
• A longer version of this game, (and therefore probably more suited for volunteer
teams), is to ask everyone to write down answers to five or so questions on the same
sheet. Each sheet is then collected in and put in a hat. Players then take turns taking
a sheet out of the hat and reading the answers aloud. Everyone has to write down who
they think it is. Once all the guesses have been made, the correct people are revealed.
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Seat Swaps
A good energiser type game and can be used to mix up the group ready for another
game. This game is very similar to ‘The Sun Always Shines on…’ and ‘Heavy River’.
The group should be in a circle, sitting down, with one person stood up in the middle.
There are several ways of playing this, but there is always one too few chairs so that the
person in the middle has to race to get a chair and most times a different person will end
up in the middle. The person in the middle makes a statement, which applies to some or
all of the group. Everyone that it applies to, then has to move.
Ensure that the chairs do not have arms and that there is enough space to minimise
a) similar to 'Heavy River' - the middle person suggests reasons for people to swap seats
e.g. 'all those with jeans on / blonde hair / over 16 etc.
b) everyone is given a number and the middle person calls out two random numbers to
swap seats. S/he then tries to beat one of the two to the other chair
c) people try to make eye contact across the circle. Whenever two people do catch each
other's eyes they have to swap seats.
Skin the Snake
The players stand in single file. Everyone is told to place their right hand between their
legs. Next they are told to grab the hand of the person in front, with their left hand. This
should result in the group bent over and connected to one another. The person at the back
of the line must now crawl through the legs of the person in front, without letting go. They
then continue to crawl through the next persons legs taking the person who legs they just
crawled through with them.
It is recommended that you practise this first so you know what is supposed to happen.
When everyone has been ‘dragged’ through the legs of the people in front of them, the
group should be able to stand up still holding hands.
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Tag Backs
A very simple game to inject a little energy. The aim of the game is to tag as many
people’s backs, as many times as you can, without having your own back tagged! And
that’s it!
Team Agreements / Our Team
Large Sheet of Paper, Post-it Notes, Biros/Pens
Aims / tips
• This brings people together; helps to find out what
people consider being important; and it gives the team a
sense of identity.
• Many teams when they first meet find it helpful to decide “What sort of team do we
want to be?”
• You can discuss this and agree on a set of team rules
• Eg1: Listen to each other
• Eg2: Give each other space outside team activities etc
• Draw or say your ideas onto little post-it notes and put all the things you want to
happen () inside a circle on your Group Agreements Poster. All the things you
don’t want to happen (), can be put outside the circle.
• Come together as a big group and look at what the results are. Do you agree or
disagree with what other people say. You can come back to your agreements during
the project if you would like to add more.
• You may want to display your team rules in your team room.
Toilet Paper Game
A toilet roll!
This game is fairly light-hearted and helps to find out a few snippets of
information about each team member, without expecting people to say
too much.
• Sit everybody in a circle, and then pass round a toilet roll. As each person takes the
toilet roll, tell them to take as many sheets as they think they might need! (At this
stage, don’t tell them why!)
• Once everybody has taken their sheets, tell them that for every sheet they have taken,
they must reveal one fact about themselves. Thus the more sheets they took, the more
things they must say!
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To get the process going, be the first person to reveal things about yourself. First of all
say your name. Then pull each sheet off in turn, reveal a fact, and then throw that
sheet into the middle until you have none left. Facts might be where you live, what you
do, your star-sign, your favourite food etc!
o “Hi, I’m Michael”
o “I‘m from the city centre in Leicester”
o “I like football, and support Manchester United”
o “My favourite colour is blue”
What are you doing?
• None
• People with learning disabilities may need some help in understanding this game.
• All sit in a circle.
• One player goes into the centre and begins to mime something (for example, playing a
• Another player goes into the centre and says “Hello, what are you doing?”
• The mimer responds by saying “I’m playing a flute, but I’d rather be…..” and then
suggests something completely different. (The actions can be surreal, such as washing
an elephant perhaps!)
• The first player then sits down, and the second player then has to mime the new action
suggested by the first player. When the second player has had a moment or two to
wash their elephant (or whatever), another player joins them and asks “What are you
• Continue until every player has had a turn.
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Get to know you games
10 / 20 /30 second life story
Gripes auction
Have you ever…? / Heavy River
Hopes and Fears (in a Hat)
Human Treasure Hunt
Shields (Coat of Arms)
The Pride Line
Truths & Lies
Two-minute Autobiographies /
10 / 20 /30 Second Life History
None (although possibly a chair)
Aims / tips
This exercise can be quite intimidating, even when only run for 10 seconds each person.
Place a chair in the centre of a circle of people, each person must run up to the chair,
stand on it, and talk for 10 seconds, (or 20 or 30), about themselves. Information usually
ranges from the factual, through to the sublime and ridiculous.
Someone should be timing the exercise, and shout “Next!” when each person’s time is up.
Pens and paper
Aims / tips
Probably more suited for volunteers than a whole team
Everyone has to write their own advertisement for a ‘Lonely Hearts’ or ‘Pen-Pal’
newspaper page. These are then put up on the wall, for everyone to read.
You might want to put a word limit on, or state a few of the ‘topics’ that should be covered.
A range of magazines, scissors, paper, glue
Each member of the team can create a collage (cutting out magazine pictures), or draw a
picture representing themselves. Try to represent the things that are important to you in
life, that you enjoy doing, or are good at. You should end up with a picture showing some
of your interests, values, abilities, needs and skills. Talk about your picture to the team,
and maybe display them around the wall in your team room.
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Gripes Auction
A card or piece of paper for each person and pencils
Self-validation, social development, values clarification
The ‘leader’ holds a series of cards, each containing a gripe (suggestions below). All the
gripes are read out first and then each gripe is put up for auction. Each person has 100
points to spend and cannot bid over this. When the auction is over, the people who have
cards explain why their particular gripe is important and how it affects their lives.
A sheet of paper should be reserved to note the number of points each gripe is sold for.
This is to check on the points each person spends.
List of gripes
Little children
Baby sitting
Films on TV
Youth Club
The Weather
Pocket Money
School Meals
Facilities for young people
Drama lessons
School Dances
Town Council
Brainstorm the list of gripes first.
Heavy River (or Have you ever...?)
This can be used as a get to know you / disclosure exercise or as a review tool. The
team sits in a circle with one person in the middle. The central person asks 'Have you
ever ..... e.g. felt scared, taken a bath, told a lie, worn odd socks, knowingly broken the
law, felt bored' etc. The statement must apply to the person in the middle and can be as
safe or as risky as is appropriate for where the team is at. Everyone to whom the
statement applies must swap seats or move round and sit on the knee of the person next
to them (so after a few rounds you may end up with several people on one knee). If
swapping seats new people will end up in the middle as the middle person gets to a chair
first. If sitting on knees, the facilitator stays in the middle.
For use as a review tool, the statement should apply to what people did or felt during the
activity under review.
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Hopes and Fears (in a hat)
Biros, Paper (or Post-It notes), a ‘hat’ (or tin etc)
Played in a circle. Ask everyone, to anonymously write down
answers to questions posed by group members, and to place them
in the ‘hat’. This should be done one question at a time. For
example, the Team Advisor might pose the question “In this team,
I’m afraid that…” Once everyone has placed their answers in the
‘hat’, they are then picked out again, one at a time, and read out by
team members in turn.
During the reading out, the Team Advisor should make sure that everyone just listens, and
does not comment. No arguing or comment is allowed. Then discuss what was noticed or
discovered. Once a question has been completed, another one can be posed.
This exercise can be done without needing to pose questions. Instead, everyone just
writes down their fears, and when they are read out, they can then be grouped if there are
any common ones.
If you have more than one ‘hat’, you could also do • Hopes, • Expectations, • Likes, •
Wishes, etc.
Human Treasure Hunt
Treasure Hunt list or chart, biros
Aims / tips
This game is similar to ‘Human Bingo’ (see Ice Breakers),
but isn’t as restricted.
Everyone should be given a ‘Human Treasure Hunt List’.
They must then try to answer every question by
approaching mostly people they did not know before,
briefly recording their responses.
Example questions on a list could include:
Find someone who has recently been on a long trip. Ask them to tell you about it.
Find someone who has socks like yours and discuss where they came from.
Find a person with whom you think you might have a lot in common and talk to them to
see if that is true.
Find someone with a nose like yours and have a dialogue about noses.
Find someone who has your birth sign and talk about astrological personality
Interview someone who wears glasses. Find out how it affects their life.
Find someone you wouldn’t mind being stuck in a lift with. Discuss claustrophobia!
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Move around the room saying a line from your favourite poem, song or film, until you
find someone who knows the next line. Discuss the poem, song or film with them.
Find someone in the room whom you think has a secret. Try to convince them to tell
you what it is.
Decide who is your favourite politician. Try to find someone in the room who shares
that view. If you can’t, try to convince someone that he/she ought to share it.
Instead of having a chart or list, the facilitator just calls out one instruction at a time.
Shields / Coat of Arms
Shield Sheets, pencils, coloured pens, (possibly scissors)
Hand out a Shield Sheet to each team member (alternatively,
people can draw their own). Each shield will have four or five
sections. At the top of each section, there should be a question or
statement, such as:
Something they enjoy or favourite hobby
An ambition or dream
Favourite animal or an animal like them
What are they looking forward to this week
Their motto towards life
In each section, they should then write or draw their answer (or both). Hopefully the
shields should end up quite colourful. This can be done in pairs and the partner can
describe the person’s shields to the rest of the team.
The shields can either be put up in the team room to help decorate it, or can be attached
to the front of people’s success stores.
The Pride Line
In rounds, the group members finish off the sentence “I’m proud that…”
Some suggested items are:
• Things you’ve done for your parents
• Things you’ve done for a friend
• Things you’ve done for yourself
• Things you’ve made
• How you spend your free time
• Habits you have
Some things you tried hard for
How you’ve earned some money
Something you believe in
A new skill you have acquired
The nicest thing you did for someone
last week
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Truths and Lies
Aims / tips
Similar to Secret Lives/Stereotypes, but can be used more easily with a smaller group
Everyone sits in a circle. The first person then tells the group three things about
themselves, two of which are true and one of which is a lie. The others must then guess
which one is a lie.
Two-Minute Autobiographies / Introductions
Mixing, self-awareness, self-disclosure, trust building
Find a partner, preferably one you don’t know at all. You have two minutes to tell them
what you would especially like them to know about you and your life: past, present, hopes,
plans, facts etc. After each partner has had a turn, join another pair, and introduce your
partner to them, telling them what you remember about their autobiography. When each
of the four has had a turn, join the whole group and introduce your partner to them. Do a
round of ‘I learned’.
• Stop with either the pairs or the foursomes, and ask each other questions, letting the
autobiographies grow deeper.
• It can be a good idea to give three particular questions to start the ball rolling, such as
‘Favourite Colour?’; ‘Where they were born?’, and ‘What would they like to achieve this
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Trust Exercises
Belly laughs
Blades of Grass / Standing Trust
Chair of 100 uses
Cruising / blind leads
Human Chains / Blind Caterpillar
Knots / Tangle
Partner Conversations
Personal Space
Rapturous Applause
Belly Laughs
Aims / tips
Whether this is a trust exercise, or just a fun energiser, depends on how well your team
has bonded when you use it.
Everyone lies down in a circle, and places their head on the belly of the person next to
them. Someone then starts laughing, or tells a joke or funny story – as people laugh, their
bellies will undulate. This is a funny sensation for the person who has their head on the
person’s belly, and may in turn cause them to laugh. As a result, there can be an upward
and virtuous spiral of laughing as it passes round the circle!
Blades of Grass / Trust Roll
The team form a circle with one member in the middle (who has their eyes closed). The
circle moves in so that they are close to the member in the middle, and everyone
outstretches their arms. The volunteer is supported as he or she leans backwards and is
then passed around the circle, keeping her feet planted in the centre of the circle and legs
straight and together (ie. They should be pivoting on their feet not just from their hips).
The volunteer should relax totally. The supporters should place one foot in front of the
other to ensure stronger support positions. Make sure there are enough strong and
able people to act as supporters and that they are spread around the circle.
Chair of 100 uses
A chair (although it could be any item)
Everyone forms a circle around the chair. People then take it in turn (or randomly), rush
into the middle (whenever inspiration has hit them), grab the chair, and demonstrate a new
use for the chair. This game can get quite surreal!
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Cruising / Blind Leads
Blindfolds (optional)
This is a fun and relaxing trust exercise that can work
very well, although be aware that some people can find
being ‘blind’ a stretch or panic. To start with people pair
up and one of each two closes their eyes.
They are then led gently around the room with the leader ensuring that they do not bump
into anyone else or any objects / the wall. Encourage people to do this quietly.
Stop and ask people to share how they felt - leading and being led and then swap the
pairs over so everyone has a turn at being led.
After a while, when people have learned to trust their partner to look after them,
encourage the leaders to loosen their grip so that eventually they are leading the others
just by a finger tip. After this, they can let go completely, only catching their partner to
turn them and to avoid them hitting something.
The final stage involves the leaders swapping partners by each picking up another's
partner as you pass each other by. Make sure you have enough room for this exercise - it
can be done outside of course.
Human Chains / Blind Caterpillar
None (unless you wanted to use blindfolds)
Form a line of people, with each person facing the back of the person in front and with
their hands on the shoulders of the person in front (a bit like a conga line). Everyone’s
eyes stay closed except the person at the back of the chain. The line needs to move
forward, avoiding obstacles, but the back person has to direct the line to the left or to the
right by tapping on the left or right shoulder of the person in front, who passes the
command on by tapping the person in front of them. This is then passed down the chain in
a similar manner.
• The conga line can walk around randomly, or be given a specific destination (or even a
corestaff member to hunt out).
• The back person can shout out directions, rather than shoulder tapping.
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Knots / Tangle
Everyone stands in a circle with their arms stretched out in front of them. Everyone closes
eyes and moves together to take hold of another persons hands in each of his/her hands.
(You should not take the hands of people on either side of you.) Everyone then opens
their eyes and must try and untangle themselves without dropping hands. The group must
work together to get out of the knots. The group may end up in one big circle or two or
more circles either intertwined or separate.
Partner Conversations
Aims / tips
The aims of this exercise are trust building, imagination and fun.
Get a partner, hold hands or put arms around each other. Find another pair and hold a
conversation with them, each partner alternating in speaking one word, until a sentence is
formed. (It becomes an exercise in mind-reading). You can use teams of 3 or 4 instead
of pairs.
Personal Space
Ask people to pair up with someone they get on with and to line up facing them a short
distance apart. Then ask the pairs to move as close together as they feel comfortable
with. Then move people along the line and see how this varies with other people. This
can then lead into a discussion.
Rapturous Applause
The group stands in a circle and people move into the middle and do anything they like
(e.g. cartwheel, pull a face, dance around etc etc.) Whatever they do, they are given
rapturous applause by the others. Encourage people to follow on quickly one after the
other in stepping into the middle.
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Goal Setting / Identifying Objectives
Goal setting is an important process that can encourage people on a FOCUS project to
gain the most they can from their experiences. It encourages people to challenge and
stretch themselves to try new activities or roles in the team, which can develop their skills
and self-confidence.
Once you feel that your team is ready for it, (having successfully completed the first stage
of team building and getting to know people), then the focus of some of your team-time
sessions can shift to goal-setting.
Identifying objectives for the project
Early on in your project, encourage people to think what they would like to get out of
the project and to share these with each other. Most people will be able to identify
some way in which they’re hoping to benefit. Often this will be to have lots of fun, a break
from home, or to make new friends, for example.
People could be encouraged to draw a picture of what they hope the project will be
like and how they see themselves taking part. This can be a good way of generating
some discussion about goals.
Many participants may have difficulty articulating or recognising some of the ways in which
they could benefit from their FOCUS experience beyond the ‘fun’ and ‘new friends’ ideas.
It may be that these are their only aims. This is fine – it is important that people set goals
that are meaningful for themselves.
However, use of a word bank (a list of lots of different ways people can benefit from a
FOCUS project) might help some people to identify some other ways in which they would
like to benefit.
With an idea of people’s personal goals for the week, activities or team-time sessions can
be tailored to try and ensure that people get the opportunities to work towards achieving
their goals.
Ensure that volunteers share their goals and objectives with the team as well.
Identifying daily goals or challenges:
As the project proceeds, you can make goal setting a fun and simple ‘way of life’ by
regularly reviewing how people are doing in relation to their goals. These can be furthered
by encouraging people to set new objectives for themselves as other opportunities
become available or as they begin to understand some different opportunities that the
project presents.
An easy way of doing this is to use ‘Challenge Cards’ (such as the one shown), which
you can either ask to be supplied with or which you could make yourself on the project.
Goal setting needs to start simple before gradually thinking bigger. You may want to start
by setting simple daily challenges. Participants could select one of several pre-prepared
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Challenge Cards, (initially saving them from having to think of their own challenges), for
Be nice to a particular person all day
Find the corestaff at lunch & give them feedback on what you think of the project so far
Get to know someone that you don’t really know at all
Help to involve a certain participant in your team in the activities
Organise a game of rounders during free-time
Get involved in a corestaff sketch
Help make tea/coffee for everyone at the next break
Take a leading role in an activity
Be responsible for keeping the team activity timetable all day
Learn the alphabet in sign language
Keep the team laughing all day with your jokes
Make a photo record of the team’s activities for the day
Learn how to push a wheelchair
Prepare a three minute talk to the team about yourself and your interests
Spend half an hour watching your own or another team doing an activity, and talk to the
team advisor (or tutor) about how you feel they are working as a team
Spend 2 hours working with one of the corestaff, and then tell the team what you did
Do a survey of what people think of the activities so far
Notice that some of these challenges will be
achieved during team activities and others
relate more to the rest of time on the project.
You should be aware of the full range of
opportunities for setting goals in the project
(outside the confines of your team). Hopefully
the Team Advisors and corestaff can advise on
these as they are experienced in how projects run.
For: Mickey B
Is to: Lead an energiser!
Good Luck – may the force be with you!
You can set goals with individuals either with the whole team present, or in pairs or small
groups. If you sit as a team to set goals, then you can incorporate an element of
feedback. For example “I think your challenge should be to get involved more in each
activity, because I thought yesterday you were out of the team quite a bit” etc.
Do encourage volunteers (and delegates if present) in your team to have daily
challenges as well as participants. You can use their challenges to demonstrate some
of the more meaningful challenges that can be set. Bear in mind though that volunteers
will need to work with participants to ensure that they get the support they need to achieve
their challenge.
Ensure that a time frame is given with the challenge, so that you know when to review
whether they have happened. In reviewing challenges, ask questions such as “Did it
happen?”, “How did you feel doing it?”, “What did you learn from that?”, “Did you surprise
yourself?” Give each other plenty of praise if you did succeed!
Later on in the project, challenges should be more demanding. Participants should
set them in relation to what they would like to improve at / what they would be proud of
achieving. You will need to do this on an individual / small group basis, and it’s often a
good idea for volunteers to work with the same participants for the sake of continuity. You
should also encourage participants to think more outside the project at what goals they
would like to achieve in the rest of their lives…
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By reviewing, we mean an activity that is used to encourage people to reflect,
describe and communicate what they’ve recently experienced. Reviewing can be
done verbally or by more active or creative methods, depending on the mood and
needs of the group at the time. Reviews involve people saying for themselves what
happened and what people did.
The purpose of reviewing is to maximise the learning that can be drawn from a particular
activity or experience and to recognise achievements and success. It enables people to
do things differently if they wish in the future by applying what they have recognised they
have learned. It can also identify issues amongst the group that can be worked upon and
help people to recognise that the capabilities or qualities they have shown can also be
transferred to other situations.
A simple structure for reviewing is:
Stage 1
Stage 2
Stage 3
Stage 4
1. Experience
The emphasis here is on what happened? Encourage people to tell the story. This
stage can be useful to remind people of significant incidents that may have been
forgotten. If the activity was a success this stage might take the form of a celebration.
People are often surprised to learn that other team members have different
perspectives of the ‘same’ event.
2. Express
This stage focuses on the quality of the experience. “What was it like?”, “How did it
feel?” This is an important stage but people may have difficulty expressing themselves
and may need creative ways of doing this. Eg through drama or art.
3. Examine
This is a more analytical stage for stepping outside the experience & looking back on it.
4. Explore
So what could we do next time (to improve things)? This stage might involve planning
for the next activity or it could equally involve making a commitment to dive in and find
the confidence and courage to take bigger risks.
Another simple way to consider the cycle is:
“What Happened”  “So What?”  “Now What?”
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Guidelines for managing review sessions:
Find a place free from distractions, not necessarily inside
Give everyone time to think
Encourage people to express their views using “I” not “We”.
Encourage contributions from everyone
Encourage people to speak by nodding and smiling
Acknowledge and thank people for their contributions
Ask ‘open’ and not ‘closed’ questions
Summarise the learning points or ask the group to
Acknowledge and accept feelings
Vary the times of review sessions and the length – they can become more difficult if
they are held very regularly to a set time frame
Look for set answers
Finish off sentences for individuals
Make value judgements on individual contributions
Be afraid of silences
Be afraid to stop a session if it’s not working
Expect too much (but don’t expect too little either – people can surprise you)
Some useful phrases to encourage people:
Acknowledge and
• “You think that might be difficult”
• “You feel chuffed when…”
• “Sorry, I’m not sure exactly what you’re saying, but is it …”
• “Sorry, say it again, I didn’t quite catch that”
Drawing out
• “I’d like to hear more about…”
• “Tell me more”
• “That’s interesting, go on…”
Signs of listening
• “Mmm…”
• “Uh-huh…”
• Non verbal (eye contact; appropriate smiling; slight nodding)
• “Let me see if this is right…”
• “So I think you’re saying…”
• “Just to check I haven’t misunderstood…”
FOCUS Team Resource Pack – Updated Version 2006- Page 35
Review Techniques:
Blob Man Trees
Chuff Charts
Creative Arts
Giant Jenga Review
God for the Day
Goldfish Bowl
Heavy River (Adapted for Review)
How Do You Feel? (Faces) Sheets
Human Sculptures
Inner Voices
Jelly Baby Team Review
Line Outs / Scatter Gun
Mega Review Dice
Metaphors (eg car, swimming pool)
Newspaper Headlines
Personal Learning Summary
Post it Notes
Quote / Unquote
Review Cards
Stand Behind
Sun Always Shines On…
Talking Rock / Rounds
Team Presentation
Telling the Story
Thoughts in a Hat
Traffic Lights
Ups and Downs
What, So What, Now What
Where Do You Stand?
Blob Man Trees (Review Sheets)
Blob Man Tree Review Sheets (there are two versions)
Aims / Tips
These are a relatively easy way to review feelings which does not
disadvantage those that can't read or articulate their feelings well (but
see note below).
These are sheets that have lots of ‘blob men’ on, with different expressions and in
different positions around a tree. Give these out to the team and ask them to colour in the
blob men (can be several), which best represent how they were involved in the activity
(and/or how they’re feeling).
Try to discourage people from choosing blob men that just represent what they were
physically doing. Some participants may struggle a bit, as it requires them to identify how
the blob men are feeling and then decide whether they felt that way too.
Invite people to explain why they've put themselves where they have. Each Blob Man
could mean something different to each person. This exercise can then lead on to a fuller
There is a second more complex ‘Blob Man Tree’ Review Sheet. This has more men on,
in a wider variety of positions. These sheets should only be used with volunteers.
FOCUS Team Resource Pack - Page 36
Chuff Charts
Pens and large sheets of paper
Aims / tips
The feelings being recorded could be represented on the
axis with pictures e.g. happy to sad faces or individuals
could mark their own feelings on the chart with a
sad/happy face.
A graph is used for people to indicate how they felt at particular times during an activity,
during the day or the whole project. Ranges could be from 'brill' to 'pissed off' or 'very
involved' to 'not involved' etc.
The x-axis is marked with the key moments or activities. This is a good exercise to do at
the end of a project, and it is useful if before you start the charts, you recap what has
happened during your time together. (This could be done as a ‘vision’ or ‘brainstorming’
session). Try and get everyone to agree on what the key moments or activities are, as this
way it’s easier to compare people’s charts.
When people draw their charts, they may want to add little pictures or notes to highlight
their lows and highs. Afterwards, everyone should share what they have put on their
chart. (This may be just the lowest and highest point if short of time). Once everyone has
been, see what the team needs to do more or less of to improve things.
• Rather than drawing the line on, strawberry laces can be used, which can then be
eaten afterwards. (This method can be more fun, but obviously doesn’t keep a record
of the review as evidence towards Youth Achievement Awards etc).
• If you have a smaller team, (and lots of room), you could use large sheets of sugar
paper and draw the lines on by pouring on sherbert. (Sherbert fountains are very good
for this). Once the review has been finished, you can have a competition to see who
can lick up their lines of sherbert first! (With or without allowing hands to touch the
sheets). This is usually very frivolous and great fun!
Creative Arts
Art / craft supplies, as determined by activity
Aims / tips
The process of making or creating can help people to sort out their thoughts and feelings
after which they may be able to express themselves more clearly in words. The art object
can serve as a confidence booster in helping people to then talk about their experience.
Ask teams or individuals / pairs to represent their experiences creatively through some sort
of art form e.g. collection of objects or souvenirs, finger painting, a collage, mural, cartoon,
poster, newspaper story, photographs, video, song, play, model or junk sculpture.
FOCUS Team Resource Pack – Updated Version 2006- Page 37
Giant Jenga Review
• The Giant Jenga Set
• List of numbered Review & Feedback questions
Set up the Giant Jenga Set as normal. Each person takes it
in turn to pull out a wooden block. However, on the bottom of
each block, you’ll note there is a number. When a person
pulls out a block, they have to read out a number. This
should correspond to a numbered list you have, with a range
of review and feedback questions. (Perhaps look at the
Review and Feedback cards for suggestions).
Odd numbers could be review questions and even numbers could be feedback questions.
The person then has to answer their numbered question, before replacing their block.
Anyone who cause the Jenga to tumble, has to do a forfeit!
You could have all the numbers as review questions. The forfeit for causing the Jenga to
tumble might then be that the person has to offer a piece of positive feedback to every
member of the team.
God for the Day
‘God for the Day’ cards – available from your Project
This review is essentially an ‘interview’ technique that
Simon Mayo used to use on his radio show, (I’m giving
away my age here!), but adapted for review purposes.
Each person is given the following four cards, and they have to think which person or
situation most applies:
Share a cloud – somebody you’d like to spend some more time with
and get to know better.
Make a saint – someone you’d like to recognise for their outstanding
contribution, perhaps in a particular situation
Miracle – one thing that you would like to happen that would really
make your wee
Thunderbolt – someone that you’d like to give extra energy or
confidence to.
FOCUS Team Resource Pack - Page 38
How are you feeling today? (Review Sheets)
‘How are you feeling today?’ Review Sheets (there are three versions)
Aims / Tips
These are a relatively easy way to review feelings which does not
disadvantage those that can't read or articulate their feelings well.
Some people might require a little bit of volunteer support, especially if
their reading isn’t very good. (In which case, be careful not to
embarrass them).
These are sheets that have lots of ‘faces’ on, with different expressions. Give these out to
the team and ask them to colour in the faces, which best represent how they’re feeling.
(You might want to begin by introducing the idea of slightly opening up about how you are
feeling, so that everyone can take that into account during the review)
This is a useful exercise to do near the beginning of a project, say on the second day.
You could get people to colour in how they felt when they first arrived in one colour, and
how they feel now in another colour. It is possible that a particular emotion that someone
is feeling isn’t represented on the sheet. If so, they can use the blank face at the bottom
of the page, (on sheets B and C), to draw their own face that represents how they feel.
Invite people to explain why they've been feeling the emotions they have. (You may want
to start the ball rolling by describing your own emotions first). This exercise can then lead
on to a fuller discussion, including why people’s feelings have changed over time.
There are three different review sheets, varying in complexity:
• Sheet (A) – 70 faces - For volunteers only
• Sheet (B) – 40 faces – Suitable for nearly everyone
• Sheet (C) – 28 faces – Possibly more appropriate for people with learning disabilities,
but give them the choice between Sheet B and Sheet C, so that they can be the judge
of that themselves.
Inner Voices
This can be used for feedback and to explore particular issues / situations. Either during
an actual activity or during a replay / role play of a situation, people are asked to step up to
other people, touch them on the shoulder and say how they think they are feeling. This
might often be in response to someone else's actions. This can be a good way of
encouraging people to see things from a different person's perspective and can generate
some good discussion of different approaches people can take.
FOCUS Team Resource Pack – Updated Version 2006- Page 39
Jelly Baby Team Review
A4 paper, pens, jelly baby sweets
Aims / tips
This is a volunteer only review, and can be very
successful, but care needs to be taken in explaining it.
Everyone should draw a table with enough columns for each member of your team. (If
being done during a Team Advisor meeting, they may wish to include all their volunteers
and participants. If being done during a Volunteer Team meeting, they should probably
include only the participants, unless you want this review to include feedback to each
other as well). The table should be two rows deep, and the columns wide enough to fit a
jelly baby sweet.
Write the name of each team member in the top row, and place a jelly baby sweet
underneath in each column.
The idea is to now ‘chew at’ the jelly baby, according to how you relate to that person.
Therefore, this is very much about the volunteer and the different relationships they form
with people, and shouldn’t just be a ‘judgement’ on the person they are reviewing. (This is
the bit that can take some explaining, but needs to be got right!)
Some possible chew variations might be:
• Leaving the Jelly Baby untouched, as you haven’t related to that person at all, or there
is nothing you’d change in the way you are relating to them.
• Bite off their ears, because they don’t listen to you, or maybe it’s the opposite, and
they’re really attentive.
• Lick them all over (so that they’re shiny), because they brighten up your day, or they
make you feel slimy.
• Bite their heart out, because you find them very logical and they haven’t opened up to
you yet, or because you find they are very loving.
• Bite off their feet, because they keep putting their foot in it with you, or because they
wander off!
• Join two members at the hip, because you can never separate them, or they are both
supportive of each other and you.
• Roll a Jelly Baby into a ball (or eat it whole), because you get very frustrated with them,
but you’re not quite sure why!
• And so on – the variations and reasons are endless.
If in a Volunteer Team meeting, people should then take it in turn to share their
relationships about each individual. This will help highlight that people relate to people in
different ways, and that people can have very different perspectives. A volunteer might
then want to reflect on why they find somebody noisy and overbearing, whilst somebody
else thinks they’re really bouncy and adding lots of energy! After each volunteer has had
chance to discuss that individual, everyone can eat their Jelly Baby before moving on to
the next one.
If in a Team Advisor meeting, the Team Advisor will probably just need to share their
relationships with everyone in their team in one go. The facilitator should then help them
to think about what they can do to improve their poorer relationships, and build on their
stronger ones.
FOCUS Team Resource Pack - Page 40
Line Outs / Scatter-gun
Aims / tips
Line-outs are a good way of warming people up for the
'expressive' stage of a review.
The team are told that one end of the room means that they
agree with the statement completely and the other end of the
room means they completely disagree with the statement. The
distance in between is used if they slightly agree or agree
mostly, (ie a spectrum of opinion).
You may begin by asking, who enjoyed the last activity, people then find a position in the
room which shows how much they enjoyed the lasted activity. You may wish to question
someone about the position they have adopted. Why did they like or dislike it? What they
would of preferred?
You then ask another question such as how much have people learnt this week. It is useful
to explain what the walls mean in each case.
• You can use anything as the two scales, how close you are to a tree, how high you can
stretch. How close you can get to the team advisor.
• The scale spectrum can also represent feelings. One end can represent feeling
'confident', 'supported', 'influential' etc. The other end represents an opposite feeling.
(Alternatively, as with 'Scatter-gun' the middle of the room or review space can
represent the more 'positive' end of the spectrum.)
• Another useful one is having everyone closing their eyes and raising or lowering their
hand by varying amounts to show how much they agree. You may or may not want to
get them to open their eyes after every question. It is a useful way of getting feedback
from the team without the effects of peer pressure.
Mega Review Dice
A mega review dice, with review square sheets pre-inserted
Mega Review Dice are big soft dice, with a plastic pocket on each
side. In each pocket a review question can be placed.
Each person takes it in turn to roll the dice, and to answer the review question that comes
up. There are three dice in total, so you can add new dice, with new questions, at certain
points if you wish to keep things fresh.
You could also include feedback questions if you wanted.
FOCUS Team Resource Pack – Updated Version 2006- Page 41
Metaphors (e.g. car, swimming pool, car, weather)
Aims / tips
Metaphors can be used for a more three dimensional representation of an activity.
Pick a metaphor e.g. a swimming pool. Show the team where the edges, shallow end and
deep end are and ask people to get in the right place for particular stages of the
experience under review and to show what they were doing there. Encourage them to use
the metaphor creatively e.g. someone might feel they were 'dive-bombing' others all the
time; someone else might have felt like a 'lifeguard' etc.
If using a car as a metaphor, ask people to position themselves in relation to the part of the
car that best represents the contribution they feel they made during the activity. eg. Driver
(might represent the leader), luggage (providing resources), engine (motivator), spark
plugs (coming up with ideas), brakes (getting people to stop and think), steering wheel
(helped set direction) etc.!
• Star Wars characters, animals, on a beach, at the circus, etc
Newspaper Headlines
Pens and paper
Aims /tips
This is a variation of ‘Predictions’.
The group write themselves some newspaper headlines
of how they think their activity or day will go. Afterwards,
they have to see how accurate they were. They could
also write some mini-stories under each headline to
explain what happened, why, and what will happen next.
Pack of cards
A pack of playing cards
Aims / tips
This can be used for a mixture of reviewing (talking about yourself) and giving feedback
(making observations about others).
FOCUS Team Resource Pack - Page 42
The team sits round in a circle with a pack of playing cards spread upside down on the
floor in the middle. People take a card in turn and follow pre-set rules about what sort of
thing you have to say when a particular card is turned up. For example, aces to number 7
could indicate that you have to answer the question in relation to yourself; and number 8 to
king, in relation to someone else. Red cards could mean that you have to tell of a time
when you felt proud of yourself; black cards of something you would like to improve upon
Pen and paper
Aims / tips
This is a similar review to ‘Newspaper Headlines’, working on the same idea.
After giving the group their task, ask the team:
• What they think will happen?
• Will they enjoy it?
• Will they complete the task?
• Will they listen to each other?
• What would you like to happen?
The Team Advisor should note their answers down, perhaps on a flip chart. Come back to
these predictions at the end of the activity and compare them with what actually
Quote / Unquote
Pen and paper
During the activity, the Team Advisor writes down any
comments that people say, both positive and negative,
particularly if they affect the group dynamics or the
direction of the activity. Afterwards, the Team Advisor
reads them out anonymously, and the team has to guess
who said what. (This is a good way or recapping on what
happened). The team can then consider how these
comments influenced them.
FOCUS Team Resource Pack – Updated Version 2006- Page 43
Review Cards
Small business size cards with statements written on (they are blue
for reviewing)
Aims / tips
This exercise can take up to five minutes per person. There is also
an orange set of cards that can be used for feedback as well.
Place a selection of cards face down in the middle of the group. Everyone takes a card
and one at a time, answers the question as honestly as they can in relation to the activity
under review. After each person has spoken as prompted by their card, the others can
ask questions to clarify points that are not clear. Examples of cards are:
• the thing that made me most angry
was ...
• the funniest thing was ...
• the thing I regret most ...
• I was upset when ...
• the most interesting thing was ...
• my best memory was ...
• I learnt that I'm good at ...
• the thing that frustrated me was ...
• the thing I would like to do more of
Snap Shots
Ask half the group to create a snap shot of when the team were
working well together. Ask the other half to create a snap shot of
when it was not working well.
Give a few minutes to prepare (give time checks “one minute left”, “thirty seconds to go”)
Ask one group first “5,4,3, 2, 1- freeze” the group should freeze, then ask the other group
to say what they can see…
Check if this was what was being represented. Swap over, then make a list of things to do
more or less of. To extend this review, put your hand on some-ones shoulder and ask
“what is this person thinking or feeling”
Sun always shines on …
Team sitting in a circle with one fewer chair than the number of people
Aims / tips
This can also be used as a get to know you / disclosure exercise
FOCUS Team Resource Pack - Page 44
One person starts in the middle and says 'the sun always shines on people who ... felt
frustrated today / enjoyed the activity / didn't try very hard etc. The statement must be true
for the person in the middle, but then everyone who felt the same way has to swap seats
with the person in the middle also trying to find a free seat. Different people will then end
up in the middle and can make their own 'sun always shines ' statement.
Talking rock / rounds
A rock or similar
Here an object 'the talking rock' is passed around the circle to everyone in turn. Only the
person who has the rock may speak. This is good for checking in with people how they
are feeling. You can leave it open as to what people say or ask more specific questions
which people can answer in turn (rounds).
Telling the Story
Aims / tips
This is a good exercise for the start of a review and allows different people to tell their own
story of what happened and recognise how others' might have a different perspective.
One person is asked to begin telling the story of what happened during a particular activity
or stage of an activity and other people are asked to take over and continue at various
points. It helps if the story-teller talks in the present tense as if the activity was still
Thoughts in a Hat
Pieces of paper & pens
Aims / tips
This is a good way of bringing out the real issues in the group
because people don't have to own their comments.
Ask everyone to write down their thoughts about how the activity
went or how they felt at particular stages. Put these all in a hat and
draw them out to discuss.
FOCUS Team Resource Pack – Updated Version 2006- Page 45
Traffic Lights (Review Sheets)
Traffic Lights Review Sheets should be available from your Project Manager
Aims / tips
This is a good review to do near the end of a project
Hand everyone a traffic light review sheet. They then have to write in the
boxes next to the traffic light as follows:
• Red – Something they want to stop doing
• Amber – Something they want to continue doing
• Green – Something they want to start doing
This can be done with lollypops, paints, post-it notes, etc. It can also be used to consider
what the whole team should be doing, rather than just at an individual level.
Ups and Downs
Aims / tips
This is one of the most direct ways of reviewing people's 'ups and downs'. A valuable
outcome is when people express surprise at another's position. The exercise can increase
people's awareness of the feelings of others.
Ask people to move their heads or their hands up and down as someone else talks
through the experience being reviewed. Discussion can be prompted (if necessary) by
encouraging people to ask questions if anyone else's position interests or surprises them.
Where do you stand?
This review activity needs lots of space and is good to do outside. It is a similar concept
to 'line outs' except that it requires people to make assessments and judgements (rather
than simply asking people to recall facts and feelings).
Everyone stands in a line and closes their eyes. The facilitator then asks questions about
group behaviour during the activity and asks people to take up to x paces forward for
positive answers and up to x paces backwards for negative responses. After the last
question, group members open their eyes, see where other people are and talk!
Examples of questions:
• 'How much encouragement did you receive from others?'
• ' How good was the group at making decisions?'
• 'How determined was the group to succeed?' etc.
FOCUS Team Resource Pack - Page 46
The exercise can be repeated with similar questions about individual achievement e.g.
'How much do you feel you achieved / encouraged others?' etc.
There are many variations of this: combinations of eyes shut and open or starting off in a
large circle facing inwards or outwards, using questions from the group etc.
FOCUS Team Resource Pack – Updated Version 2006- Page 47
By feedback, we mean the process of informing people of the things that others see
in them as a result of observing their actions in particular situations. It is more
personal than reviewing, which is more about what happened in relation to the team
or task and involves people describing this for themselves.
As a project develops, participants and volunteers should be encouraged to begin the
process of giving and receiving feedback from each other. This may be in addition to
general review time or held as specific feedback sessions. Well-managed feedback can
provide individuals with some of the most powerful learning opportunities on a
The purpose of feedback is to allow the recipient to choose to learn, benefit, and develop
from the observations we have to make of their actions. Constructive feedback can help
people to become more self-aware and boost their self-confidence.
Feedback will only be accepted if we give it in a manner that is likely to be received
usefully. The guidelines below should be carefully followed and used with the team
in setting them up for giving and receiving feedback. Like reviewing, feedback can
often happen on the hoof or mid-activity and this can be encouraged, but well structured,
specific sessions will give greater value and should be planned for.
Guidelines for managing feedback:
Be aware of where the group are ‘at’ and what kind of feedback would be appropriate.
You do not wish to reverse the development and cohesiveness of the group.
Make sure people are receiving positives – things that people feel they are good at now,
before introducting things that people could work to change or develop. (Don’t call this
feedback ‘negative’. Within FOCUS, we use the term ‘constructive’ because such
feedback should be given in a way that is useful).
It’s important that the feedback is two-way and is given equally to volunteers and
participants, and not just participants.
You may need to give people a word bank to help them find the right words.
Make sure feedback sessions are carefully planned and that the environment, time and
mood in the team is right.
For the person giving feedback:
Look at the person and give eye contact
Be honest but constructive
Use “I” and not “We” in introducing your comments
Speak to the person directly and not in the third person. For example, “I think you
can be…” rather than “I think Jane can be…”
FOCUS Team Resource Pack - Page 48
Be positive in the words you use – feedback is not a character assassination
Be specific, for example “at this time, I felt this when you did that”, rather than
generalisations like “you’re useless at…”
Put yourself in the receiver’s shoes. Think about how you would like to be given the
message you are about to deliver.
Think about the way you say things and the effect on the receiver – try to suggest
improvements for the person. For example “you are too loud and bossy” could be
more usefully stated like “It would be great if you could listen more and help / allow
others to take more control.”
Make sure it’s accurate
Give only what could be useful
Feedback should be non-judgemental. Ie not saying whether behaviour was right
or wrong. It should be about a behaviour in a particular situation rather than about
how the person ‘is’.
Remember feedback says as much about you as it does the receiver – it’s how you
perceive the person.
For the person receiving feedback:
Listen carefully.
There is no point defending, arguing or giving excuses.
Ask for the sort of feedback you want. It you are clear what someone is trying to
say, ask for clarification.
Accept that feedback is ‘true for the giver’.
Explain that feedback is only someone else’s ideas and they have no more
value than your own. If you hear something about yourself, you can choose
to do different things:
accept what has been said and decide to change or act on it.
accept what has been said, but decide not to change, be but more aware of the
effect you have on others.
reject in your own mind what has been said.
Feedback Techniques:
Balls to… (Bean bags to…)
Chair feedback
Feedback Cards
Graffiti Sheets
Hands On
Hot Seat
Incredible Me sheets
Inner Voice (see Review section)*
Parade Ground
Pass the Parcel / Chocolate
Playing Cards (see Review section)*
Stand Behind
Warm Seat
FOCUS Team Resource Pack – Updated Version 2006- Page 49
Balls To... (Bean Bags to…)
Soft ball (s) or bean bags
Aims / tips
This exercise is similar to ‘Hands On’, but can be used when people are less touchy-feely.
The facilitator gives the ball to the first person and asks them to throw it to the person
who, for example, 'was the most energetic person ' or 'suggested lots of ideas' etc. They
are then asked to throw it to the next person who ...
Some suggestions for categories:
• Person who participated most
• Most enthusiastic person
• Person with the most ideas
• The funniest person
• The person I’d most like to get to
know better tomorrow
• The person I feel I know best
The person I feel most supported by
The person who smiled the most
The friendliest person was
The most helpful person was
The most optimistic person was
The most creative person was
Bean Bags: The team stands or sits in a circle and are given one bean bag each. For
very small teams two can be used. The team advisor then makes a statement such as:
“Someone who made an effort today.”
The team members then throw the beanbag to the feet of the person they think it most
applies to. The beanbags are then redistributed out again and the team advisor makes
other statement. Other people can make statements if they like.
If the team advisor can’t think of appropriate statements, it is worth looking at the review
and feedback cards beforehand to get some ideas.
Chair Feedback
Place a number of chairs in pairs in the room.
Aims / tips
This can be a good exercise towards the end of a project. It allows people to only talk with
the people that they know and want to talk to.
Team members sit in pairs in the chairs, just long enough to say what they want to say to
the other person - their thanks, memories, good wishes for the future, positive feedback to
the person etc. When a pair have finished, they leave their chairs and each person goes to
sit with another person who they want to talk to and who is sitting alone at another pair of
FOCUS, 73 Churchgate, Leicester, LE1 3AN Tel: (0116) 251 0369
This is similar to graffiti sheets, but keeps the feedback more confidential. Each person
puts their name at the top of a large piece of paper and then people sit in a circle. The
facilitator asks a question and then each person answers it for the person on their right,
making a comment on the other person's sheet. They then fold the top of the paper over
and pass it round to the next person who provides feedback in response to a different
question. This continues all the way around the group so at the end everybody has some
feedback from everybody else.
Envelopes, sheets of paper, pens
Aims / tips
This is a similar idea to graffiti sheets, but not as open and allows a
greater degree of confidentiality. There are similar risks in terms of
the appropriateness of comments that might be made.
Each person has their own envelope for feedback to be put into. Feedback statements are
written on small pieces of paper, signed and then put in the relevant envelope. Either
standard questions can be set or individuals can ask their own specific questions that they
want feedback on.
Feedback Cards
Small business size cards with statements written on
Aims / tips
These are an excellent way to introduce feedback to a
group, starting by using very positive statements i.e.. 'A
person who helped a lot today', 'Someone who had clear
and useful ideas during the last activity'. etc. A stage on
from this would be to introduce developmental cards i.e..
'someone who could listen more during group discussion'
or 'someone I would like to see more effort from' etc.
Feedback Cards are good at encouraging people to be
specific, although they don't allow some observations to be
aired. Review Cards can be used for reviewing.
Place a selection of cards face down in the middle of the group. Everyone takes a card
and one at a time, gives each card to the person in the group whom they feel it most suits.
They should then explain why.
FOCUS Team Resource Pack – Updated Version 2006- Page 51
Art and craft supplies
Aims / tips
This can be done in small groups, asking each group to make gifts for the individuals in
the other group. Ensure that the 'appreciates' gifts outweigh the 'we wish you had more
of…' gifts.
Team members are asked to find, mime or make gifts for each other. These should
represent something that the 'donor' appreciates about the person, or they could be in the
form of 'I wish you could have more of this...'
Graffiti Sheets
Big sheets of paper, felt tip pens
Aims / tips
Difficulties with this exercise can arise due to the
fact that there is relatively low group leader
control and people might make stupid
comments. Therefore, make sure you know
the group will respond well before using this.
(Often it is used at the end of projects). Also be
aware of those that can't write well (they may
need some volunteer help). When this works
successfully, it can really boost people’s
confidence, and people often treasure their
sheets for years! (Well, I do anyway).
For each person, give them a large sheet of paper. They can then colour their name on it,
and perhaps cut it to a desired shape (possibly representing one of their hobbies, such as
a guitar, a paint palette, a horse’s head etc). People then go around writing their positive
thoughts on each others' sheets, signing next to their comment. Volunteers shoud try and
set an example of writing something specific about a good thing that person has done.
Individuals can then look at their own sheets, with an opportunity to ask for clarification on
Variation: Graffiti sheets can also be used to collect both positive and constructive
feedback. If using this method, write down two questions, such as ... 'something you
appreciated about me this week' (top half of paper) and 'something you think / feel it
would be good for me to do more of' (lower half of paper).
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Hands on
Aims / tips
This can be done mid-activity as well as afterwards, and is similar
to ‘Balls to…’. It is controlled by the facilitator, but can then
develop with people deciding their own reasons for putting 'hands
on'. This can also be used for reviewing.
Ask the first person to put their hands on someone who you feel ... 'helped you', 'surprised
you', 'made a lot of effort', 'you'd like to thank', 'stretched themselves' etc. The person they
choose is then asked to touch someone who they feel ....
People can refer to their ‘Amazing Bob’ pictures if they would like suggestions for positive
qualities. It is best to allow the use of both hands, creating a web of people.
Hot Seat
Team sitting in a circle with a chair or 'hot seat' in the middle
Aims / tips
This exercise takes a long time to do well and needs a very wellestablished team that is used to giving and receiving feedback.
Individuals leave the room one at a time; those remaining discuss the
feedback they want to give that person. The individual returns and is given
feedback by a spokesperson. Repeat for everyone.
Incredible Me Sheets
Sheets of thick paper, pens, sellotape
Aims / tips
This exercise is similar to graffiti sheets. However, it is usually quicker, and can be done
with people at an earlier stage of team development, perhaps just commenting on their
positive attributes after a couple of days, or a particular activity. On a practical note,
please make sure you use pens that won’t go through people’s paper and mark their
Tape a sheet of paper onto each person’s back and title it ‘Incredible John’ or whatever
their name is. People then go around and write nice messages about that person on their
sheet on their back. For example, “Thank you for being my friend”, “Your energy is really
appreciated in the team”, “Your smile helped make my day”, “You are really good at
working with other people” etc.
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Then people take off their sheets from their backs, and read all their positive comments.
Some people can really value this and keep their sheets. Obviously, this depends on
trusting your team to not write down slagging-off comments on the sheets!
Parade Ground
The team lines up in a row and one person marches by them and shouts positive feedback
at each individual as they walk past!
Pass the Parcel / Pass the Chocolate
• A chocolate bar (or sweets),
• Feedback or Review Cards,
• Paper for wrapping
• Music player
Aims / tips
This game may seem a little childish but I have never seen it fail, especially if used when
the team has bonded.
Wrap a chocolate bar up in paper. Then on the next layer place a Feedback Card and a
small sweet (opal fruit or similar) and again wrap up.
This is repeated until you run out of patience or wrapping paper / sweets.
The game is played like normal pass the parcel with the Team Advisor controlling the
music and everyone else sat in a circle. When the music stops, the person unwraps a
layer, eats the sweet and then reads out the card and passes it to the person it most
applies to. Try and ensure that every one gets a couple of goes. Once the chocolate bar
has been unwrapped, the whole team can share it.
• If you are short of time, the game can be run without the need for wrapping, Feedback
Cards, or using music. (This method also ensures that everybody receives some
positive feedback). Somebody starts the game with the bar of chocolate, and passes it
to the person on their left, saying (for example):
“Julie, please take a chunk of this chocolate. I think you should have this because you
always make the team smile, and cheered me up yesterday when I was down”
Julie can then have a chunk of chocolate, before passing it to the person on her left,
and offering positive feedback. This continues until the whole circle has been done.
Alternatively, just put lots of sweets in a hat and people then offer these to those they
want to praise.
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Ask one person to place the others in positions related to how they performed during an
activity etc. This could be done simply by having a centre point that represents, for
example, 'contributed a lot' or 'shared their ideas well' etc. with distance from the centre
indicating lesser degrees of involvement.
Stand Behind
Aims / tips
This exercise has high leader control, allowing you to steer the kind of feedback required.
It can also be opened up to allow individuals to stand behind who they want and say why
they have stood there.
The group stands in circle; leader asks one person to go and stand behind the person who
they feel .... e.g. 'organised things well' or 'showed lots of enthusiasm'. The leader then
asks the person who they chose, to go and stand behind someone who they feel .....e.g.
'supported others well', 'brought the most humour to the group' and so on. The same
question can be repeated to different people as they may well have a different opinion
than someone else.
Stop / Start / Continue (Traffic Light Feedback)
Paper, pens
Aims / tips
This is essentially the traffic light review, but turned into a feedback
Feedback is given to each person on what they should stop, start and
continue. This can be done between pairs or as a group (if managed very
carefully). Feedback can be given in a number of ways, including: verbally,
on a large sheet, using coloured post-it notes, or using the traffic light sheets
(where the different symbols can be used to represent the 'stop', 'continue'
and 'start' elements).
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Warm Seat
Team sitting in a circle with a chair or 'warm seat' in the middle
Aims / tips
This exercise takes a long time to do well and needs a well-established
One person at a time takes the warm seat; they then ask questions of the
others to find out things they want to know about themselves. Limit the
number of questions that are asked of each person. Move around
allowing the opportunity for everyone to sit in the warm seat.
As before, one person at a time takes the warm seat. However, rather than having to ask
a question, people instead just offer that person positive feedback (whether it be a
comment, a thank-you or a good memory). It helps if somebody acts as a ‘scribe’ to write
these down as they are said, so that the receiver can keep a record for their success
stores. This can give people a tremendous lift, especially if they haven’t had much praise
in the past.
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Other Games and Exercises
Cereal Packet Game
Chair Football
Duck, duck, goose
Hand Slaps
Honey, I love you, but I just can’t
Horse and Jockey
Horse Race
In between / as far away / equal
Kings, Cards & Corks
Loop the Hoop / Inner Tube Game
Look Down, Look Up
Pass the Orange / Balloon / Polo
Pass the squeeze
People Twister
Ring of Chairs
Ring Tug of War
Silent Eyes
Snowball Fight
Wizards, Giants and Dwarfs
The team form a circle with the Team Advisor either on the outside of the circle, or part of
it. In this example Jack, Katy and John are standing in order in that circle. The Team
Advisor then shouts a name; in this example “Katy” who is the middle of the three. Katy
then ducks as quickly as possible, while Jack and John quickly turn to Katy and pretend to
shoot her, shouting ‘Bang!”
If Katy is still standing when one of the players has shouted ‘bang’, then she is out.
However, if Katy ducked in time, then the faster of the two players has now shot over Katy
and killed the other player. So if Katy ducked and John shouted ‘bang’ first, then Jack is
Play continues until there are only 2 players left. Then it becomes a fast-draw contest to
see who wins! Both players stand back-to-back, take three paces and must turn and shoot
the other when the team advisor shouts “go”. (Alternatively, the Team Advisor can start
counting up to ten, and when he skips a number, that is when they must turn).
• The player who was out last, gets to shout the next name for who should be shot.
• If players aren’t physically mobile, then rather than ducking they could raise their hands
as shields or other similar actions.
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Cereal Packet Game
Cereal packet & Scissors
A cereal packet is placed on the floor in the centre of the team. The first person must bend
over and pick up the box in their teeth. They may not touch any person or furniture and
only their feet may be in contact with the ground. Everyone has a go.
Then a section of the top of the cereal packet is cut off. All the players which managed to
pick up the cereal packet in the previous round, now attempt this lower level. Repeat until
there is a winner.
Chair Football
Soft football, School-style chairs.
Aims / tips
This is a very fast energetic game.
The team sit on school style chairs in a large widely spaced circle. Players legs must be
outside those of the chair making a goal between the front two legs of the chair.
Using a soft football, players must try and throw the ball into the goal of the other players.
The ‘goalies’ can only defend by using their hands. If a goal is scored, then that player is
out and takes no further part in the game.
If players discover that they can stop the ball by holding their hands directly over their goal,
make them place their hands on their knees when the ball is held by another player and
only allow them to move once it has been thrown.
Duck, Duck, Goose
Aims / tips
With a large circle this is a good game for tiring people out. Make sure that the touches on
the head remain gentle though.
The group sits on the floor in a large circle, with one person standing outside the circle.
This person then walks round the outside of the circle in a clockwise direction. As they
walk round, they touch each person on the head and say “Duck”. They continue to move
round doing this to each of the players.
Then as they touch one person they shout “Goose!”. As they do so they begin to run
round the circle in a clockwise direction. The player who was touched on the head and
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called goose, must stand up and quickly as possible run anticlockwise round the circle
(passing the first player on the way). They race round until one of them reaches the empty
space in the circle. They then sit down in this space.
The player left standing. Then walks clockwise round the circle touching everyone on the
head as before.
Aims / tips
In this game there are 5 species:
• Wussles
• Chickens
• Dinosaurs
• Monkeys
• Nirvana
Each of these needs its own action and cry to be made up by the Team Advisor or the
team. Everyone starts off as a wussle. They then wander round, (making the appropriate
noises and actions), until they come across another wussle, at which point they have a
game of scissors, paper, stone. The winner evolves to become a chicken.
They then wander round until they come across another chicken, again playing scissors,
paper, stone. The winner evolves into a dinosaur, the loser goes back one step to a
wussle. The game continues like this until a player reaches nirvana.
The team all stand in a circle. The Team Advisor then chooses the first person, Tom for
example, and tells him to watch Jack (who is somewhere on the other side of the circle).
Jack then watches Tim, Tim watches Lisa and so on, until the last person watches Tom.
Each person must watch the person they were assigned and slightly exaggerate any
movement they see. Soon the team will be flailing arms and legs.
The team should then be told to mimic their assigned person but slightly reduce each
movement until they are completely still again.
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Hand Slaps
The team either sit at a table in a circle or on the floor. Everyone places their hands palm
downward on the floor / table. The first player slaps his / her right hand on the table / floor
and their left. The person to their left then repeats this. The slap then travels all the way
round the circle.
Once the group has got the hang of this, introduce the following rules, one at a time,
depending on group ability:
2 slaps reverses the direction that the slap is travelling
3 slaps jumps the next hand
clapping shoot the slap across the circle to the person you point at
4 slaps reverse the direction and jumps one hand
5 slaps jumps two hands
• Players place their hands such that they are intertwined with the players next to them.
Only for advanced groups.
Horses and Jockeys
This is a fun, outdoors game. People pair up and then form two circles, one inside the
other. Those in the inner ring are horses, those in the outer ring are jockeys. The horses
stand still but the jockeys move as you call instructions e.g. ' walk to left' 'walk to right' etc.
Then they have to 'find their horses', but they can't do this by cutting through the middle,
they have to go around the edge of the circle. Then swap the horses and jockeys over.
Horse Race
The team stands round in a circle and slap their thighs in response to the facilitator who
acts as the commentator of the horse race! To start with the horses are milling around at
the start so the horses are not in time. They go to the starting gate and they're off!
Everyone then 'gallops' (clapping their thighs in a galloping rhythm!). The facilitator leads
the horses over the jumps by holding his/her hands in the air. The horses will also go
round bends (everyone leans one way or the other) and over several jumps before
finishing the race. This is lots of fun and a good way of warming people up if they're cold.
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Honey, I love you, but I just can’t smile!
Aims / tips
Rule: No touching whatsoever of the ‘victims’ is allowed!
The group begins by sitting in a circle with one person sitting in the middle of the circle.
The person in the middle is trying to get someone else to take their place in the middle, by
making them laugh or smile.
The person in the middle selects a ‘victim’ and goes and sits directly in front of them. They
then look into the person’s eyes and say: “Honey, smile and tell me that you love me.”
To which the other person must reply three times: “Honey I love but I just can’t smile.”
If they can manage to do this without smiling, then the person has failed and must find
another ‘victim’. If they smiled or laughed, they are now in the middle and must repeat the
process to someone else.
In between / as far away / equidistant
Everyone mills around the room, changing direction frequently without touching anyone
else. Speed the group up if necessary. Each person then has to silently pick one other
person as (A) and a second person as (B). They must then keep walking and try and
keep as far away from both of them as possible or equidistant from both etc. You can do
this several times and ask people to pick others for particular reasons rather than
randomly e.g. two people you'd like to get to know better / who inspire you etc.
Finish with asking people to get as close as possible to or hold onto their chosen two
people. You'll end up with everyone in a big huddle in the middle of the room!
Kings, Cards and Corks
• Pack of cards, (2 packs if more than 13 members in a team).
• A cork for each team member.
The players sit round in a circle with the corks standing upright in the centre, one less cork
then there are players.
The cards should be sorted such that for each player then is a set of 4 cards, for example
if there were 5 players, you would need all the aces, kings, queens, jacks and tens. The
rest of the cards are then placed to one side.
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The players are dealt 4 cards each. On the count of three they pass one unwanted card to
their left and pick-up the card on their right. If they have a complete set of 4 cards (for
example, 4 queens), they grab a cork from the centre. If they see anyone else grabbing a
cork, they must also do so.
The player left without a cork is out, and one set of cards is removed (ie the 4 queens). If
no player managed to get a set of 4 cards, then again on the count of three, the players
pass an unwanted card to their left and pick up the card on their right.
Play continues until there is a single player left, who is now King!
Look Down, Look Up
Aims / tips
Just a bit of harmless fun.
The team sits round in a circle. When the Team Advisor tells everyone to look down, they
should do so. Then when the Team Advisor tells them to look up, they look directly at
someone. If they are staring at someone and that person is coincidentally staring right
back at them, both of them scream!
The Team Advisor tells everyone to look down again and the game begins again.
Loop The Hoop / Inner Tube Game
Large (26”) inner tube - if an inner tube is not available bin liners, rope or even a jumper
tied at the sleeves can be used.
The team forms a circle and hold hands with the people next to them. One of these links is
broken and an inner tube rested around someone’s elbow. The link is remade. The team
must now pass the inner tube around the team without breaking hands. They do this by
climbing through the inner tube.
• Time the team and get them to go faster and faster
• Use a second inner tube travelling the other way
• Blindfold the team.
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Pass the Orange / Balloon / Polo Mint
Just an Orange (or balloon; or polo mint and cocktail sticks, as appropriate to variations)
The team stand in a circle, and an orange is placed under one person’s chin. The orange
then has to be passed round the group, from one person to the next, without using hands.
• A balloon can be placed between a person’s knees, and then passed around.
• Volunteer version only: Everyone has a cocktail stick placed between their teeth. The
starting person then has a polo mint placed on their cocktail stick. This then has to be
passed from one person’s cocktail stick to the next.
Pass the Squeeze
Here a hand squeeze is passed around the circle. See how fast you can do it. A double
squeeze changes direction. Try two directions at the same time!
People Twister
The team are told that they will be told a body part and that they must touch that body part
on somebody else
For example
• “Shoulder” so Tom puts his right hand on Mary’s shoulder
• “Head” so Tom puts his left hand on Tom’s head
• “knee” So Tom touches his knee against franks knee.
This then continues, and either some instructions can be made more specific, (like
shoulder to shoulder or right hand to back), or more stringent rules can be added, (such as
‘you must connect with a different person each time).
Aims / tips
This exercise is meant to mimic a storm passing over. It can be used to relax and calm
people down if the second stage is more drawn out, and can be used with a whole project.
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The team stands in a circle and is told that they should follow the actions of the person to
their left.
The facilitator then performs the following actions, only starting the next action a few
moments after the entire group is doing the previous action.
• Rub hands together
• Taps 2 fingers against palm of other hands
• Clap hands gently
• Clap hands loudly
• Clap hands and stamp one foot (gently)
• Clap hands and stamp both feet (gently)
When the team has built the rainstorm up to it’s climax, go backwards through the actions,
so stop stamping one foot etc, until the storm has passed over.
Ring of Chairs
School-style chairs
Aims / tips
This game needs a very mobile team.
The team makes a circle of chairs all touching facing outward, one chair per player. One
player is nominated and stands up. They then have to try and sit back in one of the seats.
The other players must stop them by shuffling to the empty chair when ever the standing
player comes near, aiming to keep the empty chair as far away from the standing player as
possible. When the player eventually succeeds another player is nominated.
Ring Tug of War
Large bin
Aims / tips
This game is rather physical but can be good fun for an energetic group.
The group form a circle with everyone holding hands with the people next to them. A large
bin or other suitable object is then placed in the middle of the circle. There are two simple
(1) If any body lets go or breaks the circle, then the two people that split are out.
(2) If any one touches the bin, they are out.
The group should begin pulling each other towards the bin. As soon as somebody
touches the bin they are out. They are removed from the circle and the game restarts.
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Aims / tips
This game is either extremely funny or falls flat. You have been warned.
The group sits in a circle with one person sitting in the middle of the circle. They are told
that no matter what question they are asked they must answer “Sausages”.
The team must then ask the person in the middle random questions. If the person in the
middle smiles or laughs then they are out! The person who asked the question which
made them laugh, now sits in the middle of the circle.
The word can be changed to anything which is deemed suitable.
Silent Eyes
Sturdy Chairs, or low blocks
Aims / tips
This is a variation of ‘Line Up’ (see Ice Breakers) but is slightly more energetic and should
probably be only used with the volunteer team.
Make the group stand on chairs or low blocks. (You can make it more difficult by having
less chairs then there are people). Tell them to get in order of eye colour from dark to light.
To make it harder still, don’t tell them which end is light and which is dark. The team are
not allowed to speak whilst doing this exercise.
Warning: The group has to clamber around on the chairs (or blocks), which may tip when
there are several people on them. This is why it is recommended for volunteers only, but
with suitably low blocks, any team can undertake this activity.
Snowball Fight
• 50 – 100 paper snow balls. ie screwed up paper balls.
• String or masking tape to divide the room
The team is divided into two equal groups, and given an equal number of ‘snowballs’. They
then stand either side of a line dividing the room. When the game begins, the team must
try and throw all their snowballs on the opponent’s side without themselves crossing the
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After 1 minute the game ends and the number of snowballs on each side is counted. The
winner is the group with the fewest snowballs on their side.
It is probably best to repeat the game several times.
Wizards, Giants and Dwarfs
Aims / tips
This is a variation of scissors-paper-stone, but is more active and involves the whole
The team is split into two groups and given a base a reasonable distance away. Each
group must decide what they wish to be, either a wizard, a giant or a dwarf. The two
groups then meet mid-way between the bases, and after a count of three, do the action
and cry of their chosen person.
Actions and words can be made up, for example:
Giant =
Wizard =
Dwarf =
Fee Fi Fo Fum
Hih, hih, hee, hee
Giants beat Dwarfs
Dwarfs beat Wizards
Wizards beat Giants
Thump hands up and down
Hands sending a lightening strike in front of them
Tickling down an imaginary long beard
(because they are able to stomp all over them)
(because the wizard’s lightning strikes passes over their heads)
(because the wizard’s lightning strikes hit the giants)
The losing team must run back to their base as quickly as possible. The winning team
must try and ‘tag’ as many members of the losing team before they reach their base. The
tagged players then join the winning team. This then repeated until there is only one team.
(NB. If both groups choose the same character, everyone shouts “Doh!”, swings their right
arm in front of them, and heads back to their respective bases to choose again).
Ye - ha!
The movements for this need demonstrating really, but anyway: the group sounds in a
circle and pass a 'Ye-ha!' around the circle, directing it with their arms (get a demo!). At
any time a person can shout 'Hoe down!' and do the action for this (pulling your arm
down!). This then changes the direction of the Ye-Ha around the circle. The third
possibility is 'Hay Barn' when people make the shape of a barn above their heads. This
means that the person after them in the circle is missed out. The idea is to try and catch
people out. It's lots of fun and not as complicated as it might seem!
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Communication Exercises:
Colour Clash
Don’t make me laugh*
Gentle Persuasion
Talk down
Colour clash
Again in pairs, each chooses their favourite colour. Check that each person in a pair has
chosen a different colour (if not ask one to choose a different colour). They must then try
and persuade each other that their colour is best! At the end see whether anyone has
succeeded in persuading their partner.
Aims / tips
This is more of a relaxing game then an energiser.
The team sits down, heads bowed initially in silence and preferably with their eyes closed.
The team has to count up to 21 (or 10 if it is a small group). Any person can say a
number, but if two people speak at the same time, the team must restart from one.
People should not just speak in turn, instead random people should speak.
Gentle Persuasion!
This exercise shouldn't be used too early in a group. In pairs, one of the two has to try
and make the other person angry. They are not allowed to use personal insults or
physical contact.
An alternative is to ask one person in the pair to act sad and depressed. Secretly brief
the other person to try and cheer them up by being even more depressed themselves!
Do this a second time (the pair can swap roles) and ask the person who is meant to be
trying to cheer the other up to do so without putting themself down. Then compare the
success of the different strategies.
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This is a short ice-breaker activity and simply involves people taking in gibberish to each
other, using no recognisable words.
Story - agree / disagree
In pairs, one person tells, (in as much detail as they can), the story of their day / last week
/ best holiday etc. The other person interrupts at strategic points and disagrees. The first
person must then agree with them and continue the story as if they had been true. This
does not work if the second person interrupts too often.
This can (if you choose) spark a discussion about accepting what people say and talking
them at face value.
Talk Down
In pairs, both people have to start talking simultaneously about a particular topic e.g. what
they've done so far today. If either catches the other's attention so that they start listening
to them, they have won. This is a fun exercise that can be used to initiate a discussion
about listening etc.
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Concentration Exercises:
Crossed and Uncrossed
Hi Harry / One Spot
Please Sir, no Sir!
Questions around the circle*
This is an armadillo / hippopotamus
/ kangaroo etc*
Crossed and Uncrossed
A pair of scissors.
Fun, observation, lateral thinking. (NB. This game can be confusing)
A pair of scissors is passed around the circle. The person passing the scissors says, “I
pass these scissors crossed” or “I pass these scissors uncrossed.”
Each time they are passed, the leader agrees or disagrees with the statement.
indication is given as to what ‘crossed’ and ‘uncrossed’ refers to. (The game works on the
initial assumption that people are referring to the scissors).
Group members have to guess the meaning (and check out their guess), by joining the
leader’s agree/disagree comments when they think they know the meaning. The game
should continue until nearly all the group are correctly calling ‘agree/disagree’ and saying
‘crossed’ or ‘uncrossed’.
NB. ‘Crossed’ and ‘uncrossed’ actually refers to the passer’s legs. It does not matter
whether the scissors are crossed or not.
Hi Harry/ One Spot
Lipstick (or something similar)
The team stands in a circle, The first person (A) turns to the next person and says "Hello
Harry". That person (B) replies "Hi Harry". The first person (A) then says "Tell Harry".
Then the second person turns to the next person and they repeat the same three
greetings in order: i.e. "Hello Harry" (B), "Hi Harry" (C), "Tell Harry" (B). This then
continues round the circle.
Once you have been round once, suggest a faster round ('now that you know everyone's
name!). This time, if someone makes a mistake they get a spot of lipstick on their nose
and are then named 'one spot'. The round continues with people gaining spots if they fail
to call people the right names (e.g. Harry, 'One Spot', 'Two Spot' etc).
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Please sir, no sir!
This is a good, fun exercise for large groups. Rows of chairs are set out 'as if you're all in
school' and people asked to sit down. The person on the end of each row is responsible
for the row. Then the 'teacher' says / shouts 'who's been making a noise? It must have
been row number 1'. This row must then immediately stand up together and the person
on the end says 'Please sir (or name), No sir, it wasn't us, it must have been row number
3'. This row then has to immediately stand up. If the row does not all stand up together
the row has to go to the front. The aim is for each row to try and get to the back. (To do
this each row has to try and get the rows behind them out.)
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