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Icebreaker: In Order Of…

This activity serves as an icebreaker, team-building exercise, and self-leadership activity.

In order of can be done in many different ways.

You can come up with various variations as well.

The principle is to give different instructions where participants have to arrange themselves "in order of" (standing, sitting, or lying down).

A very enjoyable, simple, challenging, and insightful variation is: "Blindfolded, in order of shoe size".

I personally experienced my (lack of) leadership in this activity.

I literally stood still and did nothing.

Since then, I have become more aware in my life and ask myself, "What can I do in this situation?".

Imagine the impact this experiential exercise can have!

This activity promotes:
- Getting to know each other
- Team building
- Collaboration
- Self-leadership

Instructions for In order of:
Time: 20-30 minutes
Participants: 8 to 20
Indoor and Outdoor

Materials Needed:
Blindfolds, or simply asking participants to close their eyes will work too. Purchasing a set of tea towels is also a quick option.

Participants receive a group task that can only be completed together.

All participants stand apart, maintaining a distance from each other.

You provide the group with different instructions.

Here are a few suggestions:

Arrange yourselves in order of:
- First name
- Age (always hilarious)
- Height
- Place of residence
- Geographical order of residence (I usually don't provide clear explanations, leading to confusion. Participants tend to spread out, start shouting, and chaos ensues... until a leader emerges or not...)
- Etcetera, depending on the group's theme or the training/lesson

The most enjoyable and impactful variation is:

First, everyone blindfolds themselves. After the instructions, no one is allowed to speak.

The task now is:
Arrange yourselves in a line, in order of shoe size, from smallest to largest.

icebreaker self leadership teambuilding in order of

As a trainer, you observe what is happening.

Personal leadership now comes to the fore.

You probably already guessed...

I didn't take action.


One person just starts laughing. Another person starts talking (breaking the rules). Yet another person secretly looks around (also against the rules). Someone insists on following the instructions precisely. Someone tries to put everyone else in their place.

At a certain point, I ask:
"If you think everyone is in the right place, raise your right hand."

And then I mention the number of hands I see raised.

3 handen in order of

Often, you will notice that after that comment, the number of raised hands either increases or decreases.

icebreaker, self leadership, teambuilding in order of

In short, it's a fantastic activity that brings out a lot of observable behaviors and provides participants with valuable insights both individually (self-leadership) and as a team (teambuilding).

Now, there's still the debriefing to be done...

Beforehand, check if the participants are comfortable with physical contact. If needed, discuss how they should touch each other.

What happened? (this asks for factual behavior)
How did you participate?
Did you play fair?
How did it affect you?
Where do you recognize yourself doing "this" (or your team doing this)?
What will you/we take away from this experience?

In summary, it's an excellent activity that reveals a lot of behaviors and provides participants with valuable insights both individually (self-leadership) and as a team (teambuilding).

icebreaker, self leadership, teambuilding in order of

The Magic Rope

The Magic Rope is one of my favorite icebreakers.
There is so much in it and a lot can happen.
The intention of the exercise is that the group gets a short assignment and that the assignment is only successful when everyone has done it.

After that, I let the group choose a challenge.
With this I stimulate the team to be self-steering.

This activity promotes:


Time: 20 – 30 min
Participants: 8 or more
Inside and outside

Required materials
1 large rope and 1 or 2 people to turn the rope(2 turners if the rope can not be attached anywhere).

Set all participants on one side of the rope (keep the sun in mind)

Tell the participants that they get assignments and that these are only successful when it has been successfully completed by the whole group. The assignments start very easily and slowly become increasingly more difficult.

How it works:
The assignment is as follows:

  • Try to get to the other side of the rope without touching the rope.
  • First keep the rope still right above the ground ,so they can step over it. Repeat this with the rope twice. The second timeYou hold it up high enough, as a result they will have to walk underneath. But if they are smart, they run around it. This is allowed.
  • Keep turning the rope from now on and adjust the assignment;
  • First every time the rope turns around one person has to go under the rope.
  • Second go to the other side with 2 people at a time.
  • Now every time the rope turns around, there must be 4 people underneath.
  • After that go with 8 people and then with everybody.
  • Let the participants to make a plan to go underneath the rope at the same time. After they made it and told you, the instructor, they aren’t allowed to talk anymore.


Vary with the rules: Every time the rope turns, 1, 2, or more must pass under the rope.
You can have some participants blindfolded. So that it becomes more exciting.
Make duo’s and let them invent there own assignment.
What happened? (this is asking for actual behavior)
How do you feel about it?
What have you learned?

Security check
Try to avoid wet undergrounds. Also if someone touches the rope, then let loose of the rope.

Letting Go

A very effective, surprising and experientail exercise about letting go. The exercise might be a bit extreem.

This activity promotes


Time: 20 -30 min

Participants: –

Outside as well as inside.


Required materials

1 dumbbell of 5 kg( Yes, what you use in a fitness center).

1 dumbbell of 2 kg.

A stopwatch


Arrange the participants in a circle.


When the theme of “letting go”  comes up you can do this exercise.

How it works

  • You give the dumbbell to the person that brought up the subject of “Letting Go”. This person has to stand up and hold the dumbbell in front of him. With their arms horizontal.
  • Push the start on the stopwatch when the person starts lifting the dumbbell.
  • mesure how long it takes untill they drop the dumbbell.


  • Everybody, one by one.
  • With or without competition( The winner is the one with the longest time).
  • You can continue the conversation while the person is lifting and maybe even ask them questions.


In this exercise is evaluation and asking the right questions very important.

  • What happened?
  • Which was easier, letting go or holding on?
  • What happens if you hold on?
  • What did you learn?

Security check

Make sure that people don’t cross their own fysical barriers.

Everyone is Em

This crazy tap game can give many insights into patterns and it can go all sorts of ways. With children it can often be about ‘honesty’, with adults I use this exercise to look at ‘setting goals’.

This activity promotes:

Time: 5 – 10 min
Participants: 6 – 40
Very Active

Required materials
nothing, at most markings to line out the playing field.

Call the participants together and then give the instruction.

This game can be used as an energizer, but I usually use it functionally.

How it works

  • The participants have just heard that we are going to play a tap game called ‘Everyone is em’. As a trainer I often say directly afterwards; the game starts now!
    Half of them will immediately tap and the other half will looks a bit dazed because they are looking for the rules of the game.
  • This first variant does not last longer than 30 seconds to 1 minute.
    Then you call everyone together and you can ask questions like ‘Who is not tagged, etc.’
  • You give instruction that when you are tapped you will have to squat down because you are finished. After at most a minute you put it quiet. Now you can ask questions like “Who was tapping others in particular / who was mostly fleeing? What do you do if you both tapped at once? etc.
  • Then you give the instruction that if you are tapped, you squat down and others can give a ‘high ten’ to free you (hands against each other like a high five).
    This also takes a short time, one minute at the most. Afterwards you can ask if there is fair play and who was freeing others.
  • This too only takes a short time; at most a minute.
  • You call everyone together and say something like ‘What you show here, you show everywhere’. When people nod, you can share them about the behavior they showed and what they recognized from outside the game.
  • Then the variant follows that you will set a goal for yourself; how many people are you going to tap?
  • After 1 minute the evaluation on setting targets follows.


  • Concrete behavior; who has achieved his goal / who didn’t?
  • What was your goal?
  • Did you make it easy? – How do you normally set goals?
  • Was your goal too high? – find the connecting with practice…

Safety check
Don’t play on wet grass. Give instruction about ’tapping’ (soft, don’t hit).

Points of attention
This activity works well to keep people in parallel with the world at work or at home.