5 Fun Team Building Icebreakers

When you bring a group of people together to work you might find that the range of personalities can take time to mould together. You can speed up the process even further by putting in place a number of team building exercises so that every member can get to know each other.The thought of an icebreaker may make some people roll their eyes and sigh, but the truth is that they are an effective tool in making people feel at ease with each other.

With this in mind we have put together 5 of the best icebreakers for team building; giving you some great ideas to create a cohesive and effective team.

Dancing Names

Not only is the “Tell me about yourself” part of any team-building event more than just a little bit tedious, many people will struggle to remember all of the names that they hear. The Dancing Names ice-breaker is not only a fun way to get everyone warmed up but also provides a visual reminder of all of the names. Everyone has to stand in a circle looking inwards at each other. Each person in the circle will say their name and follow it with a dance move. The rest of the group will then imitate this dance move and repeat the name 3 times. There are some groups that may be a little shy to start with, but once they get in the swing of things you will have people bringing out the worm and the running man, to name but a few dance moves.

Ask a Question

This is a relatively simple icebreaker which puts the group in charge. It allows them to find out more about their team-mates and is a great way to get to know each other. Ask everyone in the group to write down a question that they would like to ask other people in the group. These can be a variety of questions such as “where is the most interesting place you have been?” “What is your biggest passion?”. All the questions are then popped into a hat before being pulled out and answered one by one.

Back to Back Drawing

If you have a team that perhaps already know each other but need to work on their communication, then this icebreaker is a great idea. The group will need to split off into pairs, with each pair sitting back to back. One of the pair will have a clipboard, piece of paper and a pencil, whilst the other will have a template of a shape. The objective is that the person with the template has to get their partner to draw an exact supplicate of the shape, only using verbal pointers. It may seem easy but this can be a tricky one to get right.

The Big Calm Down

Towards the end of the session you might want to calm the group down and create a relaxed environment. A great way to do this is with an ice breaker that asks them to focus on calming thoughts. Ask them to get comfortable and close their eyes. Tell them to take 5 minutes to reflect on the words that they hear. These words are of course down to you and can be tailored towards your business; however some great ideas include “beach”, “sail away” or perhaps “green meadows”.

After the five minutes is up you can gather the group in one circle and ask them to talk about what images came to their minds.

Baby Photos

Are you bringing together a new team for the first team in the workplace? If you are then this baby photo based icebreaker is a great way to bring them together. Ask every member of the team (yourself included) to bring in a baby photo of themselves. These are all then pinned to a noticeboard and everyone is asked to guess who each baby is. You can do this as a week long game or perhaps split people into teams and give them half an hour to work out the answers; it is entirely up to you.

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51 Fun Team Icebreakers

Everyone will most likely recall the first day walking into a new workplace, college, marketing team, or corporate meeting. The new environment comes with its challenges, and one of them is having to introduce oneself to a bunch of strangers. While the regular introduction is one of the ways to get acquainted with team members, it is not the most efficient method; that is where icebreakers come in handy.

Icebreakers are designed to help familiarize people and mainly involve sharing of names, background information, and other personal/professional information. They help introduce team members in an informal, yet intimate way, while helping participants relax and ease into a meeting or training.

Icebreakers break through the shy, awkward feeling that most people encounter when around strangers. These activities can be used in a number of surroundings: social gatherings, schools, work settings, and sport teams.

The group leader should consider the age/size of the team; whether the topics in question are familiar or unfamiliar to group members; or whether participants hail from different backgrounds. When choosing team icebreakers, it is necessary to be conscious of the team dynamics. The selected activities should accommodate every team member, and no one should be forced to reveal information or participate in an uncomfortable event. In addition, the icebreakers should be in line with the topic of discussion or the goal of the entire team.

This list of icebreakers is recommended for team members; whether they know each other or have never met before. The list is detailed and is sure to provide some of the best team icebreakers. The games are not in any particular order, but can be tweaked to suit the goal of the day or to suit the given environment. In most cases, these icebreakers will require the guidance of a team leader or facilitator.

Introductions / 
Who am I?

Members pair up and are given five minutes to share vital information about each other. Each member is then asked to introduce a partner to the rest of the team.

Fact or Fiction
 

Every team member is required to write down THREE things on a piece of paper. Two are true, and one is false. Every member should then read out the three ‘facts’ while the rest of the group votes which ones are true or false.

Networking Bingo

Each contestant is issued with a pre-printed bingo card and a pen. The card should have 5-7 unique characteristics. Each member is then required to move around (network) the room and identify another team member who fits the details in the sheet. That person then signs the box. Once a player has all of his/her choices filled, that person yells BINGO! And everyone stops to allow that person to read the traits. One rule is that no name should be used more than once. Once a winner is determined, the winner’s card can be used to introduce the rest of the team members

Seating Plan

Ask contestants to arrange their seats according to their first name or in order of their birthday.

Wallet/Purse Introductions

The contestants have to pull out an item from their purse or wallets and explain how the item represents them.

Lollipop

Pass out lollipops to every group member and ask the participants to read the flavors. For every letter appearing in the flavor, members should say something about themselves to the group.

Summer Activities Name Game

Team members introduce themselves and disclose their summer activity. Members are required to present themselves with their first names. They should then reveal any activities that they partook in summer that starts with the same letter as their first names.

Name and Number

Members write down their name on one side of a card and number on the other then tape the card to their shirt with only the names showing. They then walk around and introduce themselves to as many people as they can. After some mingling, everyone is required to turn his or her card so that the number shows instead of the name. Team members should then write down – on a numbered piece of paper- as many names as they can recall, to the corresponding number.

Gossip

The group sits in a circle, and the team leader shares a secret with the next person in the circle. The secret is then shared across the circle, but should not be repeated twice to the same person. Once the secret is back to its source (team leader), it is shared with everyone, and a comparison is made with the original information.

Would You Rather?

Would you rather (eat peas or bananas? Use a bus or airplane? Read a book or watch a movie?). Questions may range depending on the motive of the team. First, the contestants straddle a tape then jump left or right depending on their answers.

Famous Pairs / Faces

Team members are required to identify the names of famous persons/celebrities. The nametag of the famous person is then taped on the back of each group player – the member should not see the tape on his/her back. The members are then asked to identify who they are. Each participant is allowed to loiter in the room and ask questions that can only be answered with a ‘yes’ or ‘no.’

I Have Never

Each participant starts with some candy then goes round the circle completing the sentence, “I have never…” If a member has done what the leading contestant has never done, they have to give that contestant some candies.

Hog Call

Divide the team into two pairs and ask each pair to choose two things, either a machine or animal. The members must decide who is which: animal or machine. Each pair then distributes to opposite sides of the room, and everyone is required to close their eyes. Every individual is required to identify another by the sound that person makes. The task requires some supervision.

Pile of Hats

The candidates are required to gather as many hats as they can and place them in the middle of the room. Group members should then sit in a circle around the hats. Each member is then given a chance to pick a hat of their choice, giving a reason why the hat represents them and how they feel at that moment. Everyone is given an opportunity to select a hat and give an explanation.

Marooned

Members should answer how many items – limited to five – they would have brought with them if they were to be left behind on an island. Members are only limited to five items per team and not per person.

Pat on the Back

Each person is required to draw an outline of his/her hand on a sheet of paper, which is then taped behind one’s back. Every team member then writes something positive on the back of another member.

String Necklaces

The objective of this game is to get as many strings as possible on one’s neck by getting other members to say “no” to one’s questions. Tie a necklace or yarn around everyone’s neck and ask some questions. If anyone responds with a “no,” he/she has to surrender his/her necklace.

Demographics

Brainstorm background data that the contestants may be interested in knowing about each member (for example, age, education, etc.). In reference to the demographics, have every participant choose who they are.

Where Are You?

Before members meet, the team leader needs to pick a date and ask everyone what they were doing on that date.

We Are One

One member provides a classification upon which all the other members organize themselves. For example, the member can ask those wearing black shoes to stand together.

Human Knot

Participants stand in a circle, shoulder to shoulder, and stretch their left hand into the middle of the circle to join with another person (not directly to his/her left or right). Each participant then places his/her right hand into the circle to join hands with another person. After their hands have tangled, they are required to untangle without breaking grips within the group.

Partner TV Commercials

Members are divided into groups of two and asked to interview each other within a limited time- say 3 minutes. Each member is then given a minute to come up with a television commercial marketing the other partner.

Uncle Fred’s Suitcase

In a circle, the first person (a volunteer) starts the game with “I packed Uncle Fred’s suitcase with………..” then names some object or item. The person seated next to the first person must then repeat what the volunteer has said, and add his/her item. The game continues around the circle, and each participant is required to recite the previous object/items then add another. The members are allowed to help a partner who forgets some object. After the last person has repeated the details and added his/hers, the entire group then stands to recite what is in the suitcase: “ I packed Uncle Fred’s suitcase with…..,…..,……..,……., etc. The object/items can be replaced with the member’s names.

Contrasting Statement

The leader comes up with a list of contrasting groups, for example, day/night. After each pair is revealed, the entire team should divide into two and join the group that they best relate to (for example day). Within each group, members are asked to explain their choice.

Hometown

A large outline of state or country is placed on the floor or wall, and participants are required to put their hometowns and names on the map. Participants then proceed to share more information about their hometowns and how they joined the team.

M&Ms / Pass It Around

A bag of M&Ms is required for introducing groups to each other. One group sits in a circle, and the bag is moved around. Team members are expected to help themselves with the M&Ms, but not to eat them. Once the bag has been around the entire circle, each member must reveal one thing about himself/herself for every M&M taken. This activity has some variations.

The Question Web

Members stand in a circle. The leader holds the end of a spool of wool or string and throws it to one member to catch. The member then chooses to answer a question (from a list of already prepared questions). Holding the string, he or she then releases it to another team member who repeats the same method (chooses another question to answer). In the end, a web is created, and team members learn more about each player.

All Together Now

Divide the team into groups depending on the number. It can be groups of three, four, or five. Colleagues in each cluster are then required to talk about themselves (including their dislikes and likes). The aim is to find three things in common to the other members of the group.

Superlatives

Each participant is asked to study the group composition and decide on a superlative adjective that describes themselves in reference to others (fastest, most organized, happiest, etc.). The participants then give more details about their choice.

All Together Now

Divide the team into groups depending on the number. It can be groups of three, four, or five. Colleagues in each cluster are then required to talk about themselves (including their dislikes and likes). The aim is to find three things in common to the other members of the group.

Superlatives

Each participant is asked to study the group composition and decide on a superlative adjective that describes themselves in reference to others (fastest, most organized, happiest, etc.). The participants then give more details about their choice.

Balloons

Use small pieces of papers to prepare questions and put those questions inside a balloon. Have each team member pop a balloon to retrieve a question and answer the question to the group.

Name Tag

Every member needs to make a nametag that includes a picture. The picture (symbol, cartoon, building, nature) should be able to say something about that person. Alternatively, people can write answers to specific questions (for example, where do you live?) in the corner. Every person should then be given a chance to explain his/her drawing.

Common Ground

Give the team members a specific time (say 7 minutes) to write down a list of all the things they have in common, but they should avoid the obvious. Once the time elapses, each group should disclose the number of items they have listed and reveal any unusual details.

Blanket Name Game

The entire team is divided into two groups and asked to sit on the floor facing each other. A blanket is placed between the groups so that each team cannot view the other. A member from one of the teams is quietly asked to move to the blanket until all members face each other – but cannot view each other because of the blanket. On the count of three, the blanket is dropped, and each person is expected to remember the name of the person facing him/her.

Chaos / Toss a Name

Organize contestants in a circle and ensure everyone introduces himself/herself. One player then begins by tossing an object to another, saying, “Hi, Name of Person.” Once the other person catches the object, he/she says, “Thanks, Name of tosser.” The receiver then calls upon another person before tossing the object to him or her. After the ball has been thrown for some time, a second ball can be added to make it more interesting.

Talent Show

Team members are given a chance to name and share the talent of their choice. This game enables the members to share the skills they have.

Conversations

Every contestant is given a sheet of paper with some instructions. The instructions should be structured in a way to ensure every member speaks to everyone around.

Personal Coat of Arms

Every person is given a sheet of paper with a blank coat of arms. Each participant is required to respond to specific statements/questions in each quadrant. Each participant is then asked to draw a motto or symbol about his/her shield that is representative of him/her. Participants should then share their results with the group.

Interview / Fun Facts

Divide the team members into pairs then ask them to interview each other. Each interviewer should aim to find three unique facts about their interviewee. Everyone should then be asked to present the three facts about their partner to the rest of the team.

Paper Plate Dates

Each participant is given a paper plate and asked to draw the face of a clock on the plate. With a horizontal line next to each number, each member is required to walk around to find a ‘date’ for each hour. Once everyone has found a date, he/she is required to write his/her name on the line. The whole point is that no member can have a ‘date’ with more than one person per hour. The date can only take place if each pair has the same time available. The team leader can then speed up time to allow a few minutes for each hour after everyone has made a date. Each pair should get the chance to know each other. For this exercise, gender is not an issue.

Personal Coat of Arms

Every person is given a sheet of paper with a blank coat of arms. Each participant is required to respond to specific statements/questions in each quadrant. Each participant is then asked to draw a motto or symbol about his/her shield that is representative of him/her. Participants should then share their results with the group.

Interview / Fun Facts

Divide the team members into pairs then ask them to interview each other. Each interviewer should aim to find three unique facts about their interviewee. Everyone should then be asked to present the three facts about their partner to the rest of the team.

Who’s Done That?

Prepare a list of around 20-25 skills or experiences that are relevant to the team. Make enough copies for everyone and ensure there is sufficient space below each item. Let every person find someone who can sign one of the lines. The signee should leave their name and contact information.

Ball Toss

Everyone should stand up to form a circle and face each other. Toss a bean bag or ball to a person and have that person share an interesting fact. That person then throws the ball to another player who is also required to share some facts.

Dear Dolores

Participants sit in a circle, and each person starts by giving their name accompanied with an adjective that begins with the first letter of their name (E.g. Industrious Ian, Happy Helen). The next contestant repeats the person’s name and adjective followed by his or her name and adjective. The process continues in the circle.

Lifelines

A ‘lifeline’ is drawn across a massive sheet of paper, and each member is required to mark a date (each date needs labeling for explanation) on the line that represents specific moments in their lives: turning points, lows, highs or other significant events. Each member then shares their dates with the other players. The group is then given a chance to ask questions about each other’s lifelines.

Did You See It?

Members take turns asking each other questions about their environment (college/workplace/home). For example, what is the name of the new receptionist? The game investigates how much attention people pay to their surroundings.

Traffic Lights

Divide members into teams and draw traffic lights on a chart in front of the room. The lights are representative of action plans: what they need to stop doing (red light), what they should minimize doing (yellow light), and what they should continue doing (green light). Each participant should then write his/her traffic lights and explain it to the group.

Me Too

Each contestant is given ten scraps of papers or pennies. The first person then states what he/she has done, and everyone else who has done the same thing must admit and put their paper or penny in the middle of the table. The second person states something else (e.g. I have never gone skiing) and anyone who agrees puts another penny in the center. The game continues until one person runs out of pennies.

Important Item

Participants are required to bring something of significance with them. Every member is then given a chance to explain why that thing is necessary. In some cases, players can be given an opportunity to guess the owner of a given item.

Animal Imitation

Arrange chairs in a circle and label each chair with the name of a particular animal. The team members are required to replicate the gestures and sounds associated with the animals in question. Members then rotate and imitate the animal labeled on their new chair.

The Shoe Game

One participant is selected to receive positive feedback from the other team members. Once that person has received feedback from everyone, another person is chosen. There are a number of ways to perform this activity.

Progressive Story

This exercise requires that members know each other and feel comfortable discussing personal issues. For this game, listening is crucial, but members do not have to sit in a circle. The team leader begins the story and in no special order, another group member picks up the story adding another element to the plot. The main idea is to ensure everyone adds something. The progression of the story is representative of the member’s emotions.

Positive Bombardment / Feedback

The group is required to stand in a large circle, shoulder to shoulder. Members are then expected to remove their shoes. At the team leader’s command, every member runs to the middle of the circle and throws their shoes in the pile. The first person then chooses a pair of shoe- that is not his/hers- and makes a statement about the owner based on the appearance of the shoes. The shoe owner then comes forth and introduces himself/herself to the other members before picking another pair of shoes to ‘analyze.’ The process is repeated until everyone has been introduced based on their shoes.

The team leader should come up with some follow up questions for each icebreaker. The questions should be used to rate the effectiveness of each. 

If you enjoyed these 51 Team Icebreakers you might also want to check out our 76 Icebreaker Questions.

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7 Online Dating Icebreakers

What is the point of online dating icebreakers? Maybe you’re recently divorced or perhaps you have split from your ex and are ready to try the online dating experience. Great. However, for starters, corny, predictable or pithy responses typically receive no replies from potential suitors. On the other hand, it’s essential to maintain a fun manner with regard to your initial conversation with your contact. This is because the way in which you reveal yourself will demonstrate how your potential match will expect future interactions. With that said, let’s take a look at some tips and help you land a date online.

Ask your match open-ended questions

Simply sending messages such as “You’re cute” or “I like your profile” are as dull as watching paint dry. In addition, if your initial response only requires a simple yes or no response, the conversation will likely end right there, if you even get a response. Try something like, “If you could go anywhere in the city on a date, where would it be and why?

Avoid initially flattering your match

Online dating ice breakers can be tricky for sure. They also take a little practice. However, sending cliché responses about handsomeness or beauty should be avoided like an overseas online pharmacy. Save these for when things progress. Why? Because people become suspicious of these types of messages. Instead, explain to your match or future potential date why any aspect of their profile impacted you so much that you just had to message him/her about it. Bada-boom! Now you have the person’s attention.

Use Humor

People are attracted to people who can make them laugh. Conversely, people have an affinity for people with a sense of humor, as long as it’s not overbearing. Also, avoid aggressive humor as this reveals a negative personality that is off-putting. Instead, use a positive style of humor, as this often leads to quicker and better connections. In fact, a related sense of humor consists of the ability to tell jokes and share stories with each other and thus is able to lead to lasting relationships. How about, “What was you first dating experience like in the second grade? Have fun!

Mention Something in Their Profile

Being sincerely interested in what attracted you to a person’s profile goes a long way towards getting a response. People like it when others take notice of their interests and their potential match shares the same thing(s) as they do. This increases your chances of getting a reply as well as getting the conversation moving ahead.

Don’t Be a Creep

Whatever you do, refrain from weird pick up lines, especially if they are sexual in nature. You will rarely if ever get a response. Online dating icebreakers of this type are offensive to the vast majority of people. Keep your initial message polite and avoid mentioning sex at all. Rudeness should also be avoided like a pencil in the eye. You’re looking for a date or a partner rather than something out of a B-grade horror flick.

Keep Messages Brief

Okay, pithy and brief are as different as night and day. A pithy example is: “You’re sweet.” Researchers have determined that the best messages are between 40 and 60 characters. If you’re taking 30 minutes to write that many characters, you’re overthinking it. Take a few minutes to write out a message, check the spelling, and send it into cyberspace.

Quick Responses Boost Your Chances

We’re all busy these days, but if you’re serious about mastering the techniques of online dating icebreakers you need to be responsive. Immediate replies are fantastic but are not necessary. On the other hand, writing a reply after more than a few days can leave you back to step one: searching. Check your profile daily if possible since it only takes a couple of minutes.

There is no real science as it pertains to online dating icebreakers. Nevertheless, these tips will assist you in landing a date. One other thing to me mindful of is that you should carry on your conversation until such a time as you mutually agree to meet for the first time. This is usually between two to three weeks. Rushing things can lead to an unpleasant experience and deter you from further online conversations. Finally, be patient and use common sense. Good luck!

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9 Fun Indoor Kids Activities

Looking to escape the heat with some fun indoor kids activities? When you pair an unbelievably hot day with kids on the loose for summer vacation and you have quite a dilemma! Here are some fun, unique, and educational activities to try with your youngsters that do not require you to leave the air conditioning!

Cooking

Kids love to help in the kitchen! While it may be too hot to cook anything in the oven, there are some no-heat options! Ask them for help in making sandwiches (cut them in fun shapes), making a fruit salad, or putting the peanut butter in their celery. Ever think about hosting an inside ice cream social for the kids and their friends? Let them help make their own desserts! Get some summer learning done while you’re at it – help kids practice measuring, fractions, and reading labels while they help with food preparation. Maybe you can even convince them to help clean up!

Take a Museum Trip

Shuttle the kids from one indoor location to another! During the summer, many museums have activities just for kids and families to enjoy. Pack a lunch so you don’t have to pay museum food court prices. Take a few hours to experience something new inside instead of melting outside.

Go to the Library

Again, go from one indoor spot to another! Many libraries have summer reading programs that reward kids for reading as many books as possible. This is a great chance to get some education and socialization over the summer. Enjoy free story hours and craft sessions whenever you can!

Indoor Trampoline Park

Hands down, this is one of the coolest ways to entertain a group of kids! Many locations offer open jump sessions, but also nights that are just for families. Check coupon sites for promotions since these are often popular locations to visit. Burning energy and lots of social time – sounds like a great indoor activity to me!

Host an At-Home Spa

This activity might not appeal to every kid, but it might appeal to some of the youngsters in your life! Have your kids help you look around the house for the items you might need – nail polish, foot tub, lotion, etc. If you want to take this to the next step, get out the makeup too! Plan for a whole at-home makeover. Super easy and a great photo opportunity!

Board and Card Games

Games can be particularly fun any time of the year! Look for games that give everyone a chance to play! Think about staying away from the video games so that you can have some great interactions with the children while they play! We have compiled a list of the funnest board games

Create an Indoor Campsite

This can be the coolest way to camp, literally! Create enough space in your house to setup your tent and get out your pillows and sleeping bags. Pack your picnic lunch (or dinner) to eat by the tent. If you’re up to it, you could even roast some marshmallows on a gas stove in the kitchen if you have one!

Build a Yarn Maze

Get out at the yarn and get ready to have your kids entertained for hours. Take the yarn and wrap it around banisters, doorknobs, chair legs, door frames, basically anywhere you can wrap it safely. Watch the youngsters climb around this yarn maze and have a great time! Roll up the yarn as you go so that you can reuse it for other projects! Bonus points if you can make it a scavenger hunt with something cool attached to the end of the yarn.

Indoor Slides

This one takes a little pre-planning and work, but it could be totally worth it to entertain the kids! Get large refrigerator-sized cardboard boxes and cut them to cover all the stairwells in the house. Slide from floor to floor for as long as possible!

Volunteer

Take the kids to a place where your family can volunteer together! A few examples: many food pantries need help sorting and stocking, libraries need help re-shelving books, nursing homes need people to host activities, and so on. Look for opportunities that have educational and social value. Think of the great lessons for kids to learn while in service of others.

Even when the temperatures are scorching hot, there are a plethora of exciting and new activities to try with your youngsters. Stay cool and have a great summer!

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8 Family Picnic Ideas

You want your family to go on a picnic together.  The weather is lovely, there is nothing on the TV and you have managed to drag the kids off the computer games.  How can you make sure your picnic is memorable?

Here are some ideas:

Have a picnic in your back garden.  

There is no need to travel.  Just throw down a blanket and decorate with balloons and throw around some cushions.  This is quick and a clever way to grab an hour or two with your kids.

Ban all devices and just sit and talk as a family for a short amount of time.

Have your picnic on a boat.  

Take a boat to the middle of a river or lake and eat as a family as you bob about on the current. There is nothing more calming than being in the middle of a body of water.  Also, Dad will become an expert in currents and how to get the most out of the boat – which can be funny to watch.

Encourage the Kids to Organize the Food!

Give them the freedom of the kitchen and the picnic basket.  Leave when they tell you they are happy with what they have made for you all to eat… potentially a disaster… always interesting.  I would suggest this might not be the option if you are trying to control the calories.  There is likely to be a strong emphasis on cake, chocolate and crisps… but you know you have taken this option because you want to have a day of eating this stuff too.

Colorful Jars of Food.

Cut up different fruit and vegetables as brightly colored as you can and fill up jars with a good variety.  These jars look awesome and are excellent to dip into as you are eating the picnic.  It really is an interesting way of getting kids to eat healthier and it keeps the food fresh and easily protected from the wildlife.

Make a Campfire.

Make yourself a camp fire… even though you are not camping you still want to roast marshmallows and bake potatoes at the base of the fire.  It also lovely to sit and watch as the light dims.  It will keep people out talking late into the night.  Make sure you dig a pit to build the fire it and ensure that it is completely doused with water before you leave.

The Snack that Smiles Back!

Give all your picnic foods faces… when you are making your sandwiches and cakes use salad and fruit to give all the food eyes, a nose and a mouth.  You could make it a competition to see who can make the funniest of faces and maybe give food names… it gets a bit brutal when you start chomping down.

Hide Mini Treasures

Hide mini treasure in amongst the food so that people find surprises as they eat.  I wouldn’t put these things in the food, otherwise the dentist will be busy, but in the packets.  People will have moments of excitement or feel special, even if it is just a little love note.

Sit and Talk

Just sit and talk and eat slowly.  This shouldn’t be unique… but in today’s world eating slowly and gently chatting is as rare as it comes.  Sit quietly and enjoy each other’s company.

5 Fun Cooperative Games for Kids

Through cooperative games kids learn to think and work with one another as they apply skills learned to accomplish the goals of their group or team. These games are always fun to develop and play and have the effect of bringing children together. While competitive games focus a lot on losing or winning, cooperative games are all about the success of the whole team.  They give all children involved a chance to be winners.

What’s in a Name?

(for kids in grades 1-3)

While kids at any age or grade can play the game, there’ll be variations. For kids in grade one through three this game is effective to help them bond together at the start of a new school year or term.  In this cooperative game the pupils are grouped in pairs or with partners where one has to talk about the surname or first name of their partner. It starts with one of the two in a pair telling the other what their name is and its meaning. After sharing names and meaning, the kids should be allowed to share a little more about their names. Kids should be encouraged to talk about their unique names, how they are spelled, whether they hold any special symbolism, why they were given the name, the meaning of the name in other cultures/languages and whom they were named after.

One individual should tell all this information in two minutes before allowing the other to do the same. They should be encouraged to pay as much attention as possible throughout the game. After the two have shared names, two pairs should be joined together to form a team of four kids; each partner in a pair has to introduce their partner to the other pair until everyone knows each other.  Kids should be encouraged to tell as much as possible about the name of their partner.

“MAX” – A CO-OPERATIVE GAME


Family Pastimes Max (Cooperative Board Game)

  • Players work together to get the creatures safely home before Max the cat gets them
  • Children learn to use logic, consultation and cooperative decision making in an exciting way
  • For 1 to 8 players ages 4 through 7 years

A cooperative game available for sale, it’s great for kids 4-7 years of age and accommodates 1-8 players. The kids have to learn to work as a team to ensure the creatures have arrived home safely before they are attacked by Max the ferocious cat. The game calls upon the mind of the kids to make cooperative decisions, consult and use logic in the most exciting ways. It’s made using child safe paints, water-based glues, soy-based inks, recycled papers and boards.

Capture the Flag

Among elementary kids Capture the Flag is one of the most popular games. In this game the idea is to have players from one side making way into the territory of the opposing team to take their flag and make way back to their own space without being tagged in the process. Pylons and a flag are required materials and best played outdoors. It can be played for 10 to 15 minutes every time or until a given team/group has accomplished a specific score. In the game the playground is divided into two with each team on either side. The kids need to create two teams, each team on their zone. Every team should have a flag, made from a light material such as fabric and easy to carry around by one kid. Each flag has to be placed at the back of the zone of every team where it’s visible to the opposing side. On a part of their zone each team should create a ‘jail’.  The game starts by having all kids lining up at the periphery of their area.

Once a whistle is blown they should go to the zone of their opposing side and try to take their flag while avoiding being tagged. Those tagged while in the opposing side’s zone are put in the jail and only get out if tagged by a teammate. If the flag is taken and ferried to the other zone next to the other team’s flag the team has either scored some points or won. However, the rule of the game is that while defending their flag a team cannot remain standing around to guard it. The defending team has to be a minimum of five meters from the flag at any time.

Race to the Treasure!


Peaceable Kingdom Race to the Treasure! Award Winning Beat the Ogre…

  • WE WIN TOGETHER: Build a path with your team and collect 3 keys on a race to beat ogre to the treasure! It’s a game…
  • FUN CHALLENGE: Kids love working together to beat the ogre. Players strategize, cooperate & build the path together….
  • BENEFITS:Cooperative games cultivate emotional development, shared decision making, positive self esteem, creative…

This award winner is a cooperative game for 2-4 children from five years old and above. It offers a chance for kids to lean the art of strategy, grid mathematical concepts and critical social development tenets and skills with zero reading needed.  The game involves players working as a team to reach the treasure before the ogre by developing a path from the beginning right to the end.   If the kids are successful the victory is celebrated as a team.  The game has a Play Advances Learning approval seal and won the Oppenheim Portfolio Toy Platinum award.

15 Seconds

One of the most entertaining and fun way of letting kids know about one another, this cooperative game helps everyone to learn how to think fast on their feet. You only need a list with specific questions and a timer. Essentially, every kid should sit down, forming a circle. A question is picked and every person has to answer it within 15 seconds. Everyone has to be silent and if a kid answers early the person manning the timer should read out the remaining seconds.

The questions can be favorite food, favorite movies, favorite pet animal, what you do every Sunday or Saturday morning, and favorite color among others. In case you’re handling a huge group, break the kids into groups of six. You can also have a long list of questions and have one person answering their own unique question. Make the game fun by asking the kid who has just spoken to choose the next person and the question they’re to answer.

Swimming Workouts for Beginners

Swimming is a fantastic way to get fit!  It is a physical activity that works every muscle group in the body, improving both strength and endurance.  Swimming is also a low impact activity.  If you have weak knees or ankles, you will find swimming much better than other workouts like running. 

Other benefits of swimming include:
  • It’s a great stress reliever and a very relaxing way to exercise

  • Swimming will greatly improve your cardiovascular fitness

  • It burns a lot of calories!

  • Your muscles will become toned and your posture will improve

  • It can improve your balance and coordination

  • Swimming is a fantastic way to exercise in summer when it can be too hot to work out in other ways

  • Because swimming is low impact, it is ideal for people with injuries

To help you get started, this article will share some fantastic swimming workouts for beginners!

Some General Tips Before Starting

Before you “dive in” here are some general tips for beginners.

  • Make sure you have a basic level of swimming before attempting a workout.

  • Swim in a safe environment like a swimming pool.  Only swim in the ocean if you are an experienced and fit swimmer.

  • Don’t overdo it early on.  Swimming takes a lot of effort, particularly if you are not used to it.

  • Warm up before entering the water

  • Remember to stay hydrated by drinking water

Short Freestyle Distance Intervals

This basic workout involves swimming freestyle for short distances with breaks. Start out by swimming 25 yards at a time, with a rest period of 30 seconds between each lap.  Beginners should swim at a slow to medium pace initially.

You may benefit from using breaths instead of counting seconds.  Perform a lap, then count to 20 breaths before starting the next lap.  This will also encourage you to really use your entire lung capacity while taking your interval break.

Depending on your initial level of fitness, swim between 10 to 15 minutes when first performing freestyle intervals.  Once you are comfortable swimming 25 yards, extend the length of your interval to 50 or 75 yards and extend the time you spend swimming.  Record your personal best distances and speeds!

Using a KickBoard

If you are not confident enough to swim 25 yard intervals, there are a number of workouts you can perform with a kickboard and flippers.  These workouts will help you practice kicking, putting your face under water and breathing correctly.

Perform your stretches to start, then swim 25 yards on your side.  Hold onto the kick-board with a straight arm and rest your head on that arm.  The other arm should be straight down your side.  Have a rest, then perform another 25 yards on your other side.

Then, perform 50 yards holding onto the kick board with both hands and looking into the water.  Turn your head to breath, using both sides.  This exercise will get you used to kicking and breathing alternately.

Endurance Swimming

Once you have started to perform intervals well, you can begin to swim longer distances.  Endurance swimming will help improve your muscle tone and stamina.

Start by performing a few warm up stretches.  Jump into the pool and swim 250 yards at a slow pace.  Take your time and concentrate on your form.  Take a 20 seconds (or 20 breaths) break.  Then swim for another 150 yards and take another 20-second break.  Finally, swim for another 50 yards.

If these distances are too long or too short, alter them to a comfortable distance.  Eventually work your way up to 500 yards or longer.  Always keep a steady pace and think about your technique — it is not about speed, it’s about how long you can swim.

BREASTSTROKE and Freestyle Medley

By combining these two strokes, you can give yourself a more thorough, full-body workout.  Freestyle will really push your shoulders, while breaststroke will emphasize your chest muscles.

  1. 1

    Start with 50 yards of freestyle at a slow pace to prepare your body.

  2. 2

    Perform 4 x 25 yard intervals of freestyle, counting the number of stroke it takes you to perform each interval.  Aim to have the same amount of strokes per interval.  Afterwards, have a break of 30 seconds if you need it.

  3. 3

    Perform 4 x 50 yard intervals of breast stroke with 30 second breaks

  4. 4

    Perform 4 x 25 yard intervals of freestyle, counting the number of strokes

  5. 5

    Perform 50 yards of breast stroke at a slow pace

It is a hefty beginners workout that will address many muscle groups.

Work on Your Speed!

Once you have achieved a basic level of fitness in the pool, you might be interested in seeing how fast you can go!  You can perform this workout using any type of swimming stroke.

  1. 1

    Perform your stretches and swim 50 yards at a slow pace

  2. 2

    Swim 2 sets of 25 yards at a medium-fast pace to get your body ready

  3. 3

    Swim 6 x 25 yards at fast pace.  In between each 25 yards, take a full 60-120 seconds to recuperate.  Count your strokes per lap and check your times!

  4. 4

    Swim 4 x 25 yards to cool down

Working on Your Form

Maintaining correct form while swimming is crucial.  Proper form will ensure you are using the right parts of your body while swimming and maintaining maximum efficiency.  This workout is for freestyle and uses a pull buoy — a floatation device that swimmers place between their legs to give them additional buoyancy.  The pull buoy allows you to swim without kicking your legs and helps you to concentrate on your arms.

  1. 1

    Perform your stretches and swim 2 x 25 yards to warm up

  2. 2

    Using the pull buoy, swim 2 x 25 yards only using your right arm for momentum.  Keep your left arm straight in front of your body.  Concentrate on your shoulder rotation, pitch of your arm and the shape of your hand.

  3. 3

    Using the pull buoy, swim 2 x 25 yards using both arms.  Concentrate on the position of your body in the water.

  4. 4

    Using the pull buoy, swim 2 x 25 yards only using your right arm for momentum

  5. 5

    Using a kickboard, swim 2 x 25 yards kicking only

  6. 6

    Swim 2 x 25 yards as a cool down

Swimming is a fantastic way to stay fit.  Regularity is the key — if you have 4 to 5 workouts per week you will be amazed by the changes that happen to your body!