Best Ice Breakers for Groups of Seniors

By , 3:05 pm
Beat_the_Clock_1958

Bud Collyer hosting Beat the Clock game show

I often get asked to create ice breakers for seniors. Frankly, I find that puzzling because I’m not sure what would make an ice breaker inappropriate for seniors. Perhaps those who request ideas are concerned about the degree of physical exertion required.

Seniors love and respond to ice breakers extraordinarily well! For clarification, I refer to “seniors” as anyone over age of about 60. To me, being a senior is more a state of mind than an age but that’s another discussion.

One thing seniors seem to really enjoy is how much fun they had in the past. I always try to conjure up activities that rely on their long term and fun memories. For instance, if you ask a senior to name as many kids as they can who were Mouseketeers, you’d probably be very impressed. (Did you need to look that up?)

Most seniors work fine in teams but better as individuals vying for their own award. Most of that is generational. Children, teens and young adults today are much better at working collaboratively in teams while older citizens were expected to cooperate but not be a member of a team, relative to today’s standards.

Also, many seniors grew up in the years of early television where game shows were plentiful. It was new, unique and exciting. Viewers could sit in their own living rooms and should out answers to the $64 thousand dollar question. (You might have to look that up too.)

The music of the day came mostly from one source: the radio. Today, people can listen to music from so many different platforms or silos, but a generation or two ago, radio was king.

The categories you can use to develop the memory questions are important. I suggest researching the years from 1930 to 1950 to find test questions for your ice breakers. Here are some suggested categories to consider but I’m sure you’ll have some of your own:

  • Television shows and stars and commercials (there were so few!)
  • Radio shows and stars
  • Music that was popular
  • Movies and the stars who were famous
  • Historical happenings (outside of war)

Whatever your ice breaker activity looks like, I suggest you incorporate something the participants can click, buzz or shake when they have the right answer. That’s just how things used to be. A small clicker in each hand, a whistle to blow, a bell to shake. Make it fun! And the noise contributes to the fun experience.

Here is a recap:

  1. Each senior is his or her own team.
  2. They must access their own memories for answers.
  3. Each person will use a noisemaker to indicate they know the answer.
  4. Person with the most right answers gets the prize and the most teasing.

With all this in mind, it appears your best icebreaker for seniors will need a title that is a playoff of older game shows.

Old show name: Beat the Clock might be converted to Beat the Other Guy

Old show name: $64 thousand dollar question might be converted to be The 64 Penny Question

Old show name: Take It or Leave It might be converted to Take It or Lose It

Old show name: Dotto might be changed to Ditto

Be creative and silly and let the seniors tell you when you don’t get a fact correct. They will love setting you straight.

If you want to add some physicality to the ice breaker, ask each senior to stand up while answering the question and walk around the room when they have completed their answer. Incorporate a little bit of Musical Chairs and you’ll get lots of laughter. If they are a robust group, have them walk/race to a place where their noisemaker is in order to answer the question.

I hope this jogs a few ideas you can use. Have fun!

Best Ice Breaker for Women

By , 3:28 pm

Women like to congregate.  Women value interaction.  Women are good at sharing.  Women enjoy helping others.  HUDDLE Sessions were first introduced at Games and Team Building for women only.  Since then, they have proven to be one of the grandest forms of ice breakers for groups of women and men.

Huddle-Sessions-Orange-Button_03

The HUDDLE Sessions are performed with four participants from anywhere in the U.S. and Canada and a certified facilitator who follows a structured process.  The experience is likened to a Lightening MasterMind.  The results are often life changing.  That’s an ultimate benefit of a really good ice breaker!

 

Check it out.  We have been through HUDDLE Sessions and found so much value we will go again.  And again.  And again!

 

 

 

Ice Breakers and Gamification

By , 3:47 pm

The term “gamification” can be seen trending upwards in browser searches these last few years.  Game techniques are being developed and used more and more each year in art, education, social causes, marketing, health and exercise, military service, consumerism and much more.  Think: Candyland the game applied at the oil and gas conference.  It could happen.

Al Gore and other well-recognized leaders are stepping up their participation in a strategy that shows no slowing down.  The term may eventually phase out yet the concepts are here for the long haul.  How do I know?  Because they have already been here for the back haul.

According to Gamification.org: “Gamification is a business strategy which applies game design techniques to non-game experiences to drive user behavior.”  If we overlay the goals of most ice breakers, we find a close match.  In other words, ice breakers are game design techniques applied to non-game experiences (usually) to drive or change behavior.  Very similar in definition.  Ice breakers are used to drive behavior of the participant by getting them to relax, laugh, bond with their group, learn something new, be inspired – all of which will affect their behavior.  In summary, ice breakers, which have been in existence for generations, are the original form of gamification.

Best Ice Breaker for Groups of Seniors

By , 3:26 pm
First pet

Courtesy commons.wikipedia.org

I will let you decide who is a “senior” and who is not.  For me the word “senior” refers to a state of mind, not a birth date.  And if being a “senior” is a state of mind, what does THAT mean?  It means that a senior is as old as he/she feels or as he/she thinks they are.

Yes, we use ice breakers with seniors in all sorts of environments.  There are seniors in assisted living centers, retirement communities, in our schools as professors and students, on the campgrounds, on Internet blogs and at the YMCA.  There is not much about being a senior that precludes them from enjoying a big variety of ice breakers. Don’t hesitate to use them!

Among our favorites is an ice breaker that tap into people’s memories.  Seniors, Juniors and everyone in between all have memories.  I’ve found that kids love memory games as much as their grandparents do yet seniors have much more content from which to draw.  Memory games are excellent discussion starters.

If you are going to use an ice breaker to tap into memories, allow a good amount of time for everyone to be interactive.  For instance, when one person is sharing their memory about their first pet, everyone else will want to share memories of their first pet too.  It’s human.  And it’s fun to watch as the memories come spewing out and shared with a group.

If your intent is to get people to interact, have a light-hearted conversation and come away with new memories of their own, use a memory game.

You can create memory prompts of your own.  The more simple your questions are, the better the answers can be.  For instance, you might ask about:

First pet

First candy tasted

First trip out of town

First baby ever seen

First impressions of thunder storms

Favorite activity as a child

Favorite teacher

Worst teacher

These are general questions that can stir up some really good discussions in your group.  As one person answers, the others can’t turn off their brains and will be reaching for their answers as well.  This activity can go on for a long time until you notice people starting to get distracted.  Memory games are one of our best ice breakers to use with seniors and other groups.

Best Ice Breakers for Groups

By , 11:57 am
rubberchicken copy

Will your ice breaker make a fool of you?

We have posed the question many times to people in all walks of life about the best ice breaker for a group.  It’s no surprise there is no single answer but what was interesting to us is that many people described their “best ice breaker” but did not know if it tied to a goal or not. Since we are in the business of generating ice breakers, that is disappointing!

If you are using an ice breaker or two with a group of people – business teams, boards of directors, families on a reunion, teens at camp or any other group – it’s really important to tie the icebreaker to the goal.  That’s sounds like a lecture, well, I guess it is, however, ice breakers are mostly a waste of time if they do not facilitate or progress toward a goal.

For instance, if you have a group of people and you want them to work on an issue together, the ice breaker could help to break down barriers and prejudices or stimulate creative thought that would lead to a really good outcome.    You would look for ice breakers that would help you accomplish that.  A game of Telephone is not a good choice.

If you have a group and you merely want them to have a good time together, you have a wide range of choices.  Just remember that you would be asking a lot of your ice breaker activity if you expect it to help people have fun.  We heard a story recently about a group that experienced an ice breaker yet many of the people were bored with it.  The person who selected the activity did not think about the various personalities in their group.  We hear often about people who thought their ice breaker was dull, boring, silly or childish.  I hope that doesn’t happen to you.

Selecting the best ice breaker for a group is a serious endeavor.  We respect that!  There are many suggestions on this site but the activity must fit your group and also tie in with the goal you hope to achieve.  Many people don’t think an ice breaker is up to that yet that is the very best use of the activity.  Good luck.

Ice Breakers are Hot!

By , 10:57 am

We have found a set of ice breakers that are hot for gift giving.  They are portable, inexpensive and packed full of fun.

But the best part?

These ice breakers are some of the finest at getting people connected, especially in teams of individuals who are quite different from each other.  Okay, that describes most teams, but in many cases, team leaders don’t have the privilege of selecting their own team members; they inherit them.Huddle Imagination cropped

The premise behind these ice breakers is that they should be used consistently.  The changes that take place over time are long lasting and more significant than, for instance, a weekend team building exercise or a long painful retreat.

Follow the instructions for these ice breaker sets and the awareness your team members get about each other will evolve slowly and help to build a more dynamic team of people who have learned how to work better in spite of or because of their differences.  That’s such a great concept and is so easy to grasp.

Stocking stuffers. Birthday gifts. Employee recognition. Family reunions. Project manager.  Parties.  New groups. New teams.  Old, stale teams.  People needing gift ideas should be stampeding toward these ice breakers.

Ice Breakers Must Be Appropriate

By , 11:00 am

Tired of Searching for the right Ice Breaker idea?

This offer has expired!  But don’t be discouraged, more ice breakers are provided and are waiting for your discovery.

Click here to see the offers on Games and Team Building

 

Ice breakers have been the mainstay for team development in organizations and companies for years.  And where would a good party be without interactive activities that ice breakers provide? But finding good ice breakers at a reasonable cost can be daunting.

In collaboration with another teaming site – Games and Team Building – we have collected 12 powerful and proven ice breakers that are appropriate for small groups – up to approximately 30 people – meeting just once for a special event or retreat or meeting frequently.  Some of the ideas provide ways to let strangers connect safely and with lots of laughing.  Other ideas offer ways for people to get to know each other even better.

Inside the ebook you will find complete instructions and specific details about what you will need to prepare. And they are all easy to implement! We verified each one.

In addition, there is a helpful legend to help you determine which ice breaker idea is appropriate for different audiences.  In this ebook, Ice Breakers for Small Groups, Vol. 1, the group activities are perfect for:

  •  Boards of Directors
  • Committees
  • Womens Groups
  • Men’s Groups
  • Company or Organization Divisions

There’s more!

$29.99 for BOTH books!

For a limited time, this offer includes a free companion book to assist facilitators in selecting the right venue, timing and execution for any ice breaker activity.  The Guidelines For Using Ice Breakers is required reading for anyone wanting to facilitate team building activities. And it’s Free with your purchase of Ice Breakers for Small Groups, Vol. 1.

This is a bargain. What are you waiting for?  Get these ideas right now and put an end to your searching.

If you are still not convinced, read about the ice breakers below.

ICE BREAKER SUMMARIES

Never Not Ever

Need a fun discussion activity that can be done while eating a lunch salad and fries?  This icebreaker is quick and easy to implement and requires only a tiny bit of preparation.  It’s a good activity for people who don’t know each other real well, such as Boards of Directors or Committees who will function well if they can connect a bit more. It also has the potential to be an outrageous and fun way to develop team building.

How I See the World

Everyone brings their perspectives to the table but that does not mean they will all get along.  This is a fun and sophisticated activity your group can do while sitting down.  It stirs up non-threatening conversations to help illuminate how everyone sees the world differently.  This is an essential aspect of team building so that all team members can function much better because of renewed understanding of their differences.  Preparation is easy, fun and takes less than an hour of research. Click Here to get these ice breakers.

Where’s My Mate?

Need to divvy up your group into teams or pairs in a fun way?  This works for small groups up to 30 people but will also work with larger groups.  People will learn very quickly if they are asking the right kinds of questions, which create all sorts of laughter around the room.  This activity will leave the new teams laughing about their experience well after your meeting or event.  Some people prepare for this in just a few minutes.  In the ebook, there are enough ideas for you to take and run. Click Here to get these ice breakers.

Who the Heck Are You?

All age groups love this activity, which works for people who already know each other or for those who have never set eyes on each other before.  Preparation requires some imagination on your part and the time is a lot of fun!  Your group members will learn a lot about each other.  If you need to form teams within your small or large group, this is one of those activities that people laugh about once they get teamed up. Click Here to get these ice breakers.

Heroes and Role Models

Although many groups have laughed their socks off during this activity, this ice breaker is on the more thoughtful side.  It’s a great way to end a grueling meeting or retreat to help everyone stay connected and find inspiration that will settle down the senses.  There is no preparation needed.  Complete instructions are included. Click Here to get the ebook with this ice breaker and others.

How Do You Line Up?

One of the easiest ice breakers of all time but creates a lot of laughter and helps strangers or acquaintances find easy ways to connect with each other.  This is a quick activity that will need little or no preparation because the instructions provide all you will need.  It’s great to use with boards of directors, departments of new people, or committees who may be in that new and awkward stage. Click Here to get in line for this ebook.

Last Person Standing

If your folks know each other pretty well, they will be surprised at the results of this activity.  If they are strangers, they will find interest in the details others bring to the table. There is no skill or physical exertion required but this ice breaker requires a little movement which is great after lunch or dinner when all those carbs tend to put people asleep.  You can prepare if you want but the instructions are so complete you may wish to use our format just like it is. Click Here to get started with this ice breaker.

Purse Diving

Some men carry purses but this activity is directed toward our women. It works with any age group and works equally well with women who know each other or not.  Allow enough time for laughing and teasing because that’s what this activity will stir up.  What are women thinking when they stuff their purses?  You will find out, possibly more than you want to know! Click Here to go purse diving for this ebook!

Wallet Diving

We have to give equal time to men-only groups and this activity is suited for their brains.  Don’t worry about preparation; you’ll have everything you need in the description of this activity.  Bring a healthy dose of teasing along and you have one handsome and quick ice breaker activity for men’s groups. Click Here to get an opportunity to crack open your wallet just a wee bit.

Finish the Thought

Sometimes people get to know each other better if they can share what’s on their mind.  If you want to create a vehicle to bond your group in a safe and harmless way, here is an excellent connector.  You can tweak this for the make up of your group or take advantage of the no-preparation-needed aspect of this creative activity. This is particularly useful as an opening activity if you need brain power for creativity or problem solving. Click Here to find out what thoughts are to be finished.

I Wear Many Hats

As the title implies, your preparation will include using many hats.  You only need to secure the goods, because our directions will take you through an activity that can be fun on the surface but touches a center within us all that cries out “Help, I’m overwhelmed!”  This activity is designed for women who are grappling with work life balance issues. Click Here to learn everything you can about this ice breaker.

What Exactly Did He Say?

This activity is particularly useful to use with employees or departments to help them bond better with each other and with their organization.  Don’t limit yourself to employees, this activity has been used at parties with great success.  It’s a great glue to get people working together on an activity that will actually teach them something.  What a concept! Click Here to get the ice breaker ebook.

Icebreakers for Board Meetings and Retreats

By , 12:34 pm

Many Boards and Advisory Groups are made up of individuals who are strangers to each other.  Some may already know one or two fellow Board members yet they are all expected to make decisions in a collaborative manner.   Often an organization’s welfare could be at stake if the Board members don’t work well together.  There are many simple icebreakers that can be implemented at Board retreats or meetings with the goal of connecting the members to each other from a strategic perspective.

We have used ice breakers with Board of Director groups with great success.  Every Board is different yet every Board has a mission and it requires that they come together to achieve the mission.  Boards, and other management groups, deserve activities that let them keep their dignity, show respect for their service, yet help them get closer to the other advisers in an acceptable manner.  Bringing in a third-party facilitator often helps to meet those requirements.

After all, Boards are groups of people just like other groups.  Their reason for being together is unique and differs from other groups we work with, such as employees in a department, womens groups or organizations of people with common interests.

Yes, ice breakers do work for Board meetings and retreats.  Don’t hesitate to use them which is a great service to those who must come together to get some things accomplished.

Icebreakers For Team Members Who Know Each Other

By , 4:09 pm

Let’s discuss two scenarios of teams whose members already know each other.

One team or department is functioning extremely well.  They meet deadlines, have few squabbles, solve problems quickly, respond collaboratively to obstacles and are often found laughing together.

The other team members work well and have earned reputations of keeping their heads down and driving forward toward their goals.  On the outside they are working extremely hard yet they seem to have problems arise – many from outside influences – that derail them or slow them down.  They aren’t doing anything wrong, yet they often miss critical deadlines.

Okay, this is a set up but can you tell which team consistently uses ice breaker activities?  Even though people work together and already know each other fairly well, ice breaker activities serve to keep them bonded, help them work more collaboratively and instinctively when obstacles interfere – and they always do.  There is more flexibility built into a group that stays connected, gets refreshed and continually learns new ways of working together.

We often find ourselves inside companies working alongside people who have worked together for years.  You would assume they know the secret to getting along.  Then why are these companies some of the most difficult to work with?  The teams are typically stuck.  They are stuck by their own differences and have not stayed nimble and invigorated by consistent team building activities.

I know which team I would want to be on.

 

Icebreakers For Groups Whose Members Don’t Know Each Other

By , 4:03 pm

When people are asked to come together with people they don’t know, it is a challenge to get them to warm up to each other.  If they must work together to accomplish a big task, the challenge is even greater.

One of the most successful ways to get these strangers connected is to introduce ice breakers as appropriate for their age, gender, culture, mission and environment.

For groups of strangers, it’s a good idea to use ice breakers often.  For instance, if a group is meeting for an event that lasts more than an hour or two, ice breakers can be used at the beginning, middle and end.  If a meal is involved, there are myriads of ice breakers you can use while they munch on a sandwich.

The challenge for the facilitator is to not over do it.  Don’t select an ice breaker because it’s silly.  Don’t select an ice breaker because it’s easy.  It must be appropriate for your particular group.  We offer some guidelines in our ebook Guidelines for Using Ice Breakers.

Even if the group is coming together for one occurrence, you will have a more successful event/meeting if the people can understand each other a little better.  If often diffuses some anxiety many people feel when they are with people they don’t know.  The objective may be to just reduce the level of discomfort and nothing more.  You can’t expect them to all go away as best friends after one meeting yet you can get them to go away thinking about being best friends with each other!

Ice breakers have been used for decades to bring people together.  They work for families, friends, strangers, co-workers, volunteers and others who are coming together to accomplish a common goal.

Ice breakers are often used by speakers who may be in front of an entire audience of strangers.  It’s a method of connecting with the audience to get them warmed up for the speakers topic.

 

 

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