People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing — that’s why we recommend it daily.Zig Ziglar (1926–2012)
US author and motivational speaker
Games & Energizers are useful, functional and doable. Some of them are energizers in the pure sense, others are icebreakers, and some are games to experience and highlight a certain topic like constraints in communication or disabilities.
We have grouped them according to the five phases of the group process in order to make it easier to compose a workshop. These are just suggestions. It will always depend on the demographics of the group, as well as its dynamics. Some groups get quicker, others slower as they enter a certain phase.
To enable you to make a judgement, we have discussed why we have placed each game in a particular grouping. This means that you can decide if a particular game is relevant for that part of your plan. Also to ease preparation for workshops and the creation of workshop plans, we have included the objectives of each energiser as well as the required resources. You can decide if a particular energiser is appropriate for your objectives and audience. Not every energiser is suitable for every group. Some might be too childish, while others demand a high level of concentration.
We hope this guide enables you to make a good choice and organise an atmospheric workshop full of energy!
Preconditions for Games & Energizers
Before you start a game, be aware that you are responsible for health and safety of the participants. Check that there is a first aid kit in your workshop suitcase (and check that it’s filled) and that you know where to get help (additional first aid kit, telephone for an ambulance). Create a secure atmosphere that makes even the more timid participants feel encouraged to join in.
In case something happens, one person should take care of the participants and distract them, perhaps by continuing the game. The other one should treat the injured person. Take him or her away from the group as not everybody feels comfortable being watched when they are in pain.
Participation in games is always voluntary. You can’t and shouldn’t force people to join in. If someone doesn’t feel like participating, there should be no pressure.
In case someone disturbs the game, you could separate them and suggest that they observe the way that the game works. Alternatively, suggest that they have a break and go for a walk to calm down.
If the game is getting slightly out of hand — getting too wild, too aggressive, or insulting — then stop it and clarify the situation in a discussion with the whole group.
Everybody should be familiar with the rules of the game. Explain it thoroughly and ask whether there are any questions. You should only start when you have done this!
How to choose your Games & Energizers
Of course the respective game has to suit the group as well as their current state. Some games might not be suitable for the first ten minutes when people hardly know each other. Participants need the sense of security and must be familiar with each other. Other games are designed precisely to familiarise people with one another. It doesn’t make sense to play them shortly before they leave.
According group process
In order to ease your choice we have grouped the games according to the stages of group dynamics. This grouping is not absolute. In order to choose the right game, it is necessary for you to be sensitive to the situation and develop an understanding of the group dynamic. You can either browse by category or search for a tag or by name.
Objectives of your Games & Energizers
The second criterion for the right choice of game is the objective. What do you want to achieve by playing? If it is just to revitalise the group, you should choose out of the sub-chapter Energizer. Or do you want the group to experience something together? If there is no objective, then save yourself the time and don’t play it!
Remember, you only have a limited time in a workshop. If you cannot fit a game into the give time frame, choose another!
Sometimes it happens that you have to change your workshop due to group dynamics or even external events. Suddenly, you need a new game, but which kind of resources is required? In order to facilitate your choice, we have outlined the necessary resources next to each game. It should be easy to come to decision quickly.
And now have fun playing!