Thursday, 25 March 2010


When I deliver day-long training such as today, I like to break the day up with what we call, 'energisers.' They are brief activities I facilitate with the sole purpose of waking everyone up a bit - which is especially important in the after lunch 'graveyard slot' when you have a group of zombies filled up with more food than they are used to at lunchtime. The energisers often have the bonus of making people laugh.

I always have a few energisers up my sleeve - some are based on brain gym. For example:
You ask pairs of people to stand facing each other and:
* take it in turns to count to three alternately, 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3....etc
* alternate counting to three but clap on '1'
* alternate counting to three but clap on '1', and stamp in '2'
* alternate counting to three but clap on '1', and stamp in '2' and raise the arm (opposite the foot your stamped) on three.

Others involve a little concentration - like the 'Pencil Olympics'. (You have to ensure clarity about what you have to do on this one before anyone embarks upon it or fights break out!) This was an idea I just woke up with in my head - a clue to what my subconscious gets up to.

Or the 'equidistant' energiser where you ask people to 'clock' two random people in the room without telling them who they are. Then you all stand up and try to position yourself so that you are equidistant from both the people you arbitrarily earmarked. Eventually everyone stands still. It always works - even with large numbers of people (e.g. 60).

And some are out and out silly like the one I just woke up with in my head last Tuesday - that I carried out today:
I placed two chairs at the front of the room several feet apart. One chair represented 5 a.m., the other 8 a.m.. I asked participants to have in their head the time they usually got up on a work day. I then walked between the 5 a.m. chair towards the 8 a.m. chair and said that when I arrived at the point you estimated represented the time you get up, you were to stand up and make a noise. The noise you make could be a 'yeah', a squeak, an alarm clock, and animal noise, anything - but once you have made it you keep that noise. So I walked the time line. Then I walked backwards up the time line, then I walked quickly and then we did it all in slow motion. And yes, we did laugh. I tend to find most adults do not need much silliness and abandonment from the ordinary to get them giggling.


  1. I realise I have been a bit blog lazy. All very light and fluffy recently.

  2. Did you ever teach the "Teaching children to think" course? I went on it ages ago before we had met and we did lots of those sorts of activities!

  3. Very good; I like the pencil olympics

  4. Hey, you're allowed to be light and fluffy....

    Adults like to play too, you know, nothing like a good bit of silliness to keep the day trundling along.

  5. Light, fluffy, cheeky, lazy, creative, serious, industrious, menacing, reflective, silly or's still Molly P...and the very next minute she's something else!

  6. Heheh, love those exercises!! I once did some disability awareness training where I got people to pair up and gave them a number of phrases on strips of paper. One person then had to read the phrase without speaking whilst the other tried to read their lips. That always made people giggle because what they thought the other person was saying was no-where near the original phrase and was usually much ruder!!

    C x

  7. I love the pencil Olympics and what is wrong with being light and fluffy. They're my kind of thing - I can't keep up with long articles anymore.

  8. Pencil Olympics are great. Do you have a progressive series of more and more narrow lanes for the drawing?

  9. Nikki – no I never attended that course – but I suspect I would have loved it. I’d be interested to learn about any energisers you remember. I’m always on the look out for more.

    Mark – pencil olympics can bring out the competitiveness in people. It really can get people a little over-excited. And then hopefully the adrenaline will keep them awake! That’s the aim.

    Codgi – light and fluffy and playful is me – most of the time actually! Silly too. Silly is very much my thing. Clearly I use the blog to get other things out of my system!

    Ken D – Yes I can own all of those adjective quite happily!!!! Add flighty!

    Carol – I like that idea. It also reminds me (for some reason) about the time my friend that can ‘sign’, teaching me how to sign various sex, rude and swear words. I think it would be too much for some people but I’d love to do that to help people free up their prudishness!!!

    FF – I can’t read long articles either ...but I can write them. I am still a very, very, slow reader! So – yes – I like to read fluffy, but write other things – sometimes. Funny that I can write more quickly than I can read – I only just realised that! I love your crazy fluffiness.#

    Eric – I did think that...there’s a whole book that could be made....You’d need two pages – one for you and one for your opponent – on opposite pages.


I LOVE comments......