A number of energizers – short physical exercises – are provided for use as “good helpers” and supplements in the teaching process.

Some of them have a “double meaning” which can add substantially to the learning outcome and fuel the plenary reflections and discussions. Others will simply add energy to the teaching. They can make the students laugh and “wake up”, and can be used, instead of a break, between sessions or as an “in-between activity” during the sessions. The value of the energizers should not be underestimated. They contribute to socialization and variation and make the teaching process more exciting. Use them! 

Introduction energizers for new groups


Ball and names 

The participants stand in a circle. One of them holds a ball. The person with the ball says his/her name and throws the ball to one of the others, who catches it, says his/her name and throws it to another person. The game continues until everyone has said his/her name. The game can continue where the person with the ball  says his/her name but also says the name of one of the other participants before throwing the ball to this person. The game continues until everyone has said his/her name and one of the other participant´s names.  


An important place  

A world map and a marking pin for each of the participants are needed to do this exercise. This is especially suited for groups with participants from different places/countries. The facilitator asks the participants to take a couple of minutes to think about a place that means something special to them. They can write down keywords if they want to. When everyone is ready, they step up to the map, one after the other, and place the marking pin on their "place" on the world map and briefly explain what their attachment is to this particular spot. This exercise creates a good atmosphere because everyone gets to talk a little bit about themselves and their background. 


Fun energizers – some with a double meaning

The wind is blowing 

The group sits on chairs in a circle with one person standing in the middle (no empty chairs). The person in the middle says “The wind is blowing… on everyone who wear earrings!” Everyone who wears earrings, including the person asking the question, has to stand up and run across the circle to find a new seat. There will be one person left in the middle who has to ask the next question: “The wind is blowing on everyone who... ". There are endless possibilities to proceed with. The wind can blow on everyone who: wears glasses; likes ice cream; has brown hair; likes horror movies; is a girl; enjoys summer holidays, has a pet, has been to France, likes pizza, has blue pants and so on.

This energizer is fun, but can also be used as a catalyst for reflections on similarities and differences. An introductory question can be to ask what can be learned from the exercise. After an open reflection, the facilitator may conclude that the exercise illustrates that all human beings have something in common, but may also differ when it comes to the clothes we like to wear, our experiences, dreams, what we like to eat, what we do in our spare time and so on. We are all unique and complex individuals with the same inherent human dignity. We must respect each other. "All equal – all different!" 


Clap on shoulder

The participants form a circle facing each other. One person is standing outside the circle. This person’s task is to walk quickly around outside the circle before clapping one of the participants on the shoulder. Afterwards, the person who clapped continues to walk quickly/run around the circle in the same direction as he/she started. The person who has been clapped has to quickly leave the circle, leaving an empty space in the circle, and walk quickly/run in the opposite direction of the other person. When the two meet at the halfway point around the circle, they should stop, greet each other and say their names. The aim is to be the first one to reach back to the empty space in the circle. The one who fails to get there first must continue the game by clapping a new person on his or her shoulder. 


Making figures

The facilitator asks the group to begin to wander around the room. When she/he calls out a command like “three right elbows!”, the participants, as quickly as they can, should gather in groups of three with right elbows touching. Follow with any combination of four hips, two right feet, six knees, two shoulders, seven left hands and so on.    


Making a line without using words 

Ask the participants to make a line according to the month they were born in. The line starts with January and ends with December. During this exercise they are not allowed to speak, so they have to use other communication skills to co-operate. When the line is ready, the facilitator asks the participants to say the month of their birthday out loud to check if they managed the task. This energizer can also be used to make groups. January to March is one group, April to June another and so on. It is also possible to make lines according to the participant's age (younger to older), hair colour (light to dark) and so on.  

This energizer is fun, but can also be used as a starting point for reflections on cooperation. An introductory question from the facilitator may be to ask what can be learned from this exercise. After the participants have shared their thoughts, the facilitator may conclude that people who are able to co-operate may achieve positive results and development. It all depends on noticing and respecting each other.  


Traffic light 

This energizer requires a big room. The facilitator chooses one person to face the wall on one side of the room. The rest of the participants start on the opposite side of the room and attempt to sneak up on the person facing the wall and tap on his/her shoulder. However, they cannot be caught doing so and the person facing the wall may turn around at any time. Anyone caught moving and pointed out has to return to the start line. No one can move while being watched. If a participant manages to tap on the shoulder of the person facing the wall, he/she takes their place facing the wall and the game starts over.


Energizers for making groups (before group work)


1, 2, 3, 4
Often participants who are acquainted with or know each other well choose to sit next to each other in the classroom. To split up the group in a random way (if the facilitator wants groups with participants who do not know each other well), the facilitator may use the following method. If the aim is four groups, he/she can ask the person in the first row (or at the first place in a horse shoe) to say ONE, the next person says TWO, the next THREE, the next FOUR, before the next person continues with ONE, the next with TWO and so on. When finished, the facilitator asks all the ONEs to gather in a group, all the TWOs to gather in a group and so on.  


Drawing lots

A simple way of dividing participants into smaller groups can be to draw lots with a group number. The participants who draw the same number will be in the same group. An alternative and a more fun way to do this is to use symbols (fruit, animals etc.) instead of numbers on the pieces of paper. Then all the "oranges", "apples" or "cats" go into each their group. 



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