What is A Better Place?
The A Better Place icebreaker is an activity that I use to foster a positive and supportive group environment. Its purpose is to help participants share their hopes and aspirations for the future, allowing them to connect on a deeper level. This icebreaker involves asking each participant to describe one thing they would like to see in a better place, whether it’s a personal goal or a societal issue they hope to see improved. By sharing these aspirations, participants can discover common ground and build relationships based on shared values and interests. Overall, the A Better Place icebreaker is an effective way to create a positive and supportive atmosphere that encourages open communication and collaboration throughout the group.
Rules for A Better Place
- Players sit in a circle.
- The facilitator starts with the first person and asks them to name one thing they like or would like to do that is considered “a better place” for the environment.
- The next person in the circle must repeat what the previous person said and add their own thing.
- Play continues around the circle with each person repeating what has been said before them and adding their own idea.
- If a player makes a mistake (forgets an item or gets the order wrong), they are out of the game.
- The last person remaining in the circle is the winner.
- The aim of the game is to encourage conversation about positive environmental actions, not to win or lose.
Materials needed for A Better Place
- Slips of paper or cards: You’ll need enough pieces of paper or cards for each participant in the icebreaker activity. Write one word related to your team or group’s purpose on each slip, so that when players draw a card, they can reflect on how their contribution makes the team “a better place.”
- Pen or marker: To write the words on the slips of paper or cards, you will need a pen or marker. Choose a writing utensil that is easy to read and write with.
- Container or bowl: You’ll need something to hold all the slips of paper or cards until it’s time for players to draw one. A container or bowl works well for this purpose.
- Optional: Timer: If you want to keep track of how long each player has to reflect on their card, bring a timer. This can help ensure that everyone gets an equal amount of time to share their thoughts and ideas.
Setting up for A Better Place
To set up for the “A Better Place” icebreaker activity, there are a few key steps to consider:
Choose a facilitator: Select someone who is comfortable leading the group and keeping the conversation flowing smoothly. This person should be trained in facilitating icebreaker activities and have strong communication skills.
Determine the size of the group: The ideal group size for this activity is between 5-20 participants. Any larger, and it may be difficult for everyone to share their thoughts and ideas within the allotted time frame.
Set up the physical space: Find a quiet, comfortable space where participants can sit in a circle or around a table. Make sure there are enough chairs or cushions for everyone, and that the seating arrangement allows for easy eye contact and conversation between participants.
Establish ground rules: Before starting the activity, it’s important to set clear expectations and guidelines for participation. This can include things like respecting each other’s opinions, avoiding interrupting or talking over others, and keeping discussions confidential.
Allocate time: Decide how long the icebreaker will last, and allocate enough time for each participant to share their thoughts and ideas without feeling rushed. Aim for a total time of around 30-60 minutes, depending on the size of the group.
Prepare questions or prompts: Come up with a list of thoughtful, open-ended questions or prompts that will encourage participants to share their thoughts and ideas about creating a better world. These can be tailored to the specific goals or themes of your event.
Practice active listening: Encourage participants to listen actively to each other, asking clarifying questions and building on each other’s ideas. This will help create a positive, collaborative atmosphere and ensure that everyone feels heard and valued.
How to play A Better Place
- Prepare the game materials: Gather a list of words related to a chosen topic, such as “travel,” “music,” or “hobbies.” Each word on the list should be able to be associated with a positive attribute or action. For example, for the word “travel,” a positive association could be “exploring new cultures.”
- Divide into teams: Divide the participants into evenly sized teams. The number of teams will depend on the total number of participants and can vary based on the size of the group.
- Explain the rules: Explain to the participants that they will be taking turns drawing a word from the list and describing it to their team without using certain key words or phrases. For example, if the word is “travel,” they cannot say the actual word or any variations of it (e.g., “traveling,” “travels”). Instead, they must describe the word in a way that allows their teammates to guess what it is.
- Set a time limit: Set a timer for each round, giving teams a certain amount of time (e.g., 1-2 minutes) to guess as many words as they can. The team with the most correct guesses at the end of the game wins.
- Begin the game: Start the game by having one team member draw a word from the list and begin describing it without using the key words or phrases. Their teammates should listen carefully and try to guess the word within the time limit. Once the time is up, move on to the next team and repeat the process.
- Keep track of correct guesses: As teams guess words correctly, keep track of their score. The team with the most correct guesses at the end of the game wins.
- Encourage positivity: Encourage participants to use positive attributes or actions when describing the words, as this will create a more upbeat and inclusive atmosphere. For example, instead of saying “travel is tiring,” they could say “travel allows you to explore new cultures and try new things.”
- Debrief and reflect: After the game, take some time to debrief and reflect on the experience. Ask participants what they enjoyed about the game and if they learned anything new about their teammates. This can help build stronger connections and foster a more positive team culture.
Benefits of A Better Place
- Helps break the ice: This game is designed to help people get to know each other better by sharing their thoughts, feelings, and experiences in a relaxed and fun atmosphere. It’s a great way for me to start a conversation with someone I don’t know well, or to deepen my connection with someone I already know.
- Encourages active listening: In order to play the game effectively, I need to really listen to what the other person is saying and try to understand their perspective. This helps me improve my communication skills and build stronger relationships with others.
- Reveals shared interests and values: By answering questions about my favorite hobbies, travel destinations, and personal goals, I can discover common ground with the other players. This makes it easier for me to connect with them on a deeper level and find activities that we both enjoy.
- Promotes positive thinking: Many of the questions in the game are designed to encourage me to focus on the good things in my life. By reflecting on my strengths, achievements, and sources of happiness, I can cultivate a more optimistic and resilient mindset.
- Builds self-awareness: The game invites me to think about my own values, beliefs, and preferences, as well as how they compare to those of others. This helps me gain a better understanding of myself and become more confident in my own identity.
- Provides entertainment and laughter: Finally, the game is just plain fun! It’s a great way for me to relax, enjoy myself, and connect with others in a lighthearted and playful way.
Skills built with A Better Place
- Communication skills: Playing the A Better Place icebreaker requires participants to clearly express their thoughts and ideas in a concise and engaging manner. This helps build strong communication skills, which are essential for success in both personal and professional settings.
- Active listening skills: In order to effectively participate in the A Better Place icebreaker, it’s important to listen actively to what others are saying. This involves paying attention to the speaker, asking clarifying questions, and providing thoughtful feedback. Developing active listening skills can help build stronger relationships and improve collaboration.
- Empathy: The A Better Place icebreaker encourages participants to put themselves in someone else’s shoes and imagine how they might feel in a given situation. This helps build empathy, which is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. Empathy is an important skill for building strong relationships and creating a positive work environment.
- Creativity: The A Better Place icebreaker often requires participants to think creatively and come up with unique solutions to problems. Developing creative thinking skills can help individuals approach challenges in new and innovative ways, which can lead to breakthroughs and success in both personal and professional settings.
- Conflict resolution skills: The A Better Place icebreaker can sometimes involve disagreements or differing opinions. Learning how to navigate these conflicts in a constructive way is an important skill for building strong relationships and creating a positive work environment. Developing conflict resolution skills can help individuals communicate effectively, find common ground, and build stronger bonds with others.
Why I like A Better Place
I appreciate the A Better Place icebreaker because it encourages meaningful conversations right from the start. Instead of asking generic questions like “what do you do for a living?”, this icebreaker prompts people to share something positive and significant about themselves. This approach not only helps me quickly connect with others on a deeper level, but also creates a more inclusive and uplifting atmosphere. I find that when people share something meaningful about themselves, they feel heard, respected, and valued, which in turn makes them more likely to engage in further conversation. Additionally, the A Better Place icebreaker can serve as a powerful tool for building empathy and fostering positive relationships, making it an excellent choice for any social or professional setting.
Tips for making A Better Place more inclusive
Tip: Use open-ended questions that allow for a range of responses. This can help to ensure that everyone feels comfortable participating and can contribute their own thoughts and experiences.
Tip: Be mindful of the examples and scenarios you use in the activity. Make sure they are diverse and inclusive, representing people of different backgrounds, abilities, and identities.
Tip: Create a safe and respectful space for participants. Encourage active listening and make it clear that all perspectives are valued and welcome.
Tip: Consider providing options for how participants can participate in the activity. For example, you could offer the option to write or draw their responses instead of speaking them out loud. This can help to accommodate different learning styles and communication preferences.
Tip: Be aware of any cultural differences that may affect participation in the activity. Make an effort to understand and respect these differences, and be open to adapting the activity as needed to be more inclusive.
Tip: Reflect on your own biases and privileges, and consider how they might impact the way you facilitate the activity. Strive to create a fair and equitable environment for all participants.
Tip: Follow up with participants after the activity to get their feedback and suggestions for improvement. This can help you to continually improve the inclusivity of the icebreaker and make it more welcoming for everyone.
Reflection questions for A Better Place
- What did you learn about your teammates through this activity? This question encourages participants to reflect on what they’ve learned about their colleagues, helping them build stronger relationships and understand each other better.
- How do you feel about your team after completing the icebreaker? This question prompts participants to consider their emotions and thoughts about their team, promoting positive feelings and a sense of belonging.
- What strengths or skills did you discover in yourself during this activity? By asking this question, facilitators can help participants recognize their own abilities and potential contributions to the team.
- How does this icebreaker relate to our larger goals or objectives as a group? This question encourages participants to think about how the activity connects to their work or mission, promoting engagement and motivation.
- What was your favorite part of the icebreaker and why? This question invites participants to share their positive experiences and what they enjoyed most about the activity, fostering a sense of community and camaraderie.
About the author
Founder & Chief Icebreaker
I started Icebreaker Spot because I truly believe that strong connections are the foundation of successful teams. I wanted to create a platform that would make it easy for people to find and share icebreakers and team building activities, empowering them to build trust, foster collaboration, and ultimately, achieve greatness together.
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