Friday, May 23, 2008

Ice Breaker/Energizer - Have You Ever?

This an active, fun way to explore and celebrate the diversity of experiences that different people bring to any group. Participants stand in a group or sit in a circle.The instructor starts by explaining that they will call out different things that may or may not apply to each person. If the item does apply, then that person runs into the middle, jumps in the air, and does a high 5 with anyone else who runs in.

A list of about 20 items should be tailored to the particular group, setting, and program goals. Usually the items are of a "Have You Ever....?" form, but also free to ad lib, e.g., "Does Anyone Have....?" Items should be carefully considered in order to prevent embarrassment, ridicule, etc.

List of Possible "Have Your Ever?" Items:

  • Have you ever climbed to the highest point in your country of birth?

  • Have you ever lived overseas for more than 1 year?

  • Have you ever sung karaoke?

  • Have you ever been without a shower for more than 2 weeks?

  • Do you have both a brother and a sister?

  • Have you ever ridden a horse?

  • Have you ever eaten frogs' legs?

  • Can you speak 3 or more languages?

  • Have you ever been in love with someone who was vegetarian?

  • Have you swum in 3 or more different oceans?

  • Have you ever flown an aeroplane?

  • Have you broken 3 or more bones in your body?

  • Have you done volunteer work sometime in the last month?

  • Have you ever free-climbed a tree or rockface more than 10 meters vertically?

  • Have you ever had a close relative who lived to over 100?

  • Have you ever cooked a meal by yourself for more than 20 people?

  • Have you ever kept a budgerigar as a pet?

  • Have you ever been parachuting or done a bungee jump?

  • Can you not click your fingers on your non-dominant hand?

  • Have you ever seen a polar bear?

From James Neil

(adapted from Dave Hall (n.d.),

Participants can generate their own questions. Here's one way.

People are sitting in a circle. Everyone has a chair (or rope ring or hula hoop) except the person who is IT, standing in the center. The person in the middle asks a "Have You Ever" question that is true for him/her self e.g., "have you ever climbed a mountain over 10,000 feet?"

Anyone whose answer is "yes" gets up and moves to an empty seat. So, if four people get up they try to exchange seats as quickly as possible. The person who asked the question tries to quickly gain a seat, leaving one other person without a seat and they become the new IT.

In choosing a question, participants can try for questions which reveal something e.g., “have you ever trekked the Great Wall of China?” or ask simple questions like “have you ever fallen off of a bicycle?” for which everyone would get up.

Pileup variation: Anyone can ask a question and if you can answer yes to the question you move one space to your right and sit in that chair. If you cannot answer yes to the question, you stay seated in the chair where you are. This means somebody may be coming to sit on your lap from the seat to your left. Sometimes you get three and four people sitting in sort of a lap-style game on top of you. Then, when they ask the next question to go one space to the right by answering yes, they peel off one at a time sit down and you end up on top. It creates some very interesting combinations. Be cautious using physical touching activities with adults.

From Janet: I find this activity is great as an introduction activity for a session where participants work togther and/or know each other very well. It helps them learn new things and that often helps break down old "stereotypes" of bad group behaviour and role entrenchment.

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