What is Bigger and Better?
The Bigger and Better icebreaker is a team-building activity that involves trading and upgrading small objects into larger, more valuable, and creative items. The purpose of this game is to encourage teamwork, communication, and creativity among participants while they work together to acquire the most impressive item within a set time limit. Typically, groups of two to ten people are given paper clips or other small objects and are challenged to trade up for bigger and better items through negotiation and collaboration.
At the end of the allotted time, all teams reconvene to present their final items, which are then judged based on various criteria such as size, value, creativity, and overall best. This activity provides an excellent opportunity for team members to bond, think creatively, and develop problem-solving skills while having fun. As a result, Bigger and Better is an enjoyable and engaging icebreaker that can help build camaraderie and strengthen relationships within a group.
Rules for Bigger and Better
- Each team will be given a small object, such as a paper clip.
- The objective is to trade and upgrade the team’s object for a larger and more valuable item.
- Teams can only use the item they have to trade, and cannot offer anything else.
- Teams must stick together as a group during the game.
- A time limit is set, and teams must return with their final item before time expires or they will be disqualified.
- Each team’s final item will be judged in three categories: size, value, and creativity.
- Teams coordinate efforts and decide on strategies for trading and upgrading their items.
- No outside assistance is allowed during the game.
- All decisions made by the organizer are final.
Materials needed for Bigger and Better
- Paper clips or other small objects*: These will be given to each team at the start of the activity. The objective is for teams to trade up from their initial object and come back with the most impressive item within the time limit.
Setting up for Bigger and Better
To set up for the Bigger and Better icebreaker activity, follow these steps:
- Understand the game’s requirements: This active teambuilding exercise needs at least six people and works well with larger groups divided into teams of three to six individuals. Recommended age is 18 and up, and it can be played in various settings, including schools, colleges, and corporate environments.
- Determine the number of teams: Based on your group size, divide the participants into teams. Each team will need a small object for trading, like a paper clip or pen.
- Prepare objects for each team: Gather or purchase several low-value objects, such as paper clips or pens, to provide one per team. These items serve as starting points for trading during the game.
- Set ground rules and objectives: Clearly define the rules and objectives of Bigger and Better. Each team will aim to trade and upgrade their object into the largest, most valuable, and creative item possible within a set time limit (e.g., one or two hours). Remind participants that they must work together as a group, stay with their assigned object, and not offer anything other than the item they have during trades.
- Establish evaluation criteria: Inform teams that their final items will be judged in three categories: size, value, and creativity. This information will help guide teams in strategizing and selecting trade objects throughout the game.
How to play Bigger and Better
- Split the group into teams: As the facilitator, divide your participants into small groups of 2-10 people each. This will encourage teamwork and communication within the teams.
- Distribute the starting objects: Give each team an equal number of small objects to start with, such as paper clips. Make sure everyone understands that these are their initial trade items.
- Explain the trading rules: Let your groups know they can trade their objects for larger or more valuable items, aiming to upgrade as much as possible within the given time limit (e.g., 2-3 hours). Encourage creativity and negotiation during trades.
- Set a meeting location and time: After explaining the rules, inform your participants of the designated gathering spot where they will showcase their final items for judging once the time is up.
- Allow teams to trade: Release the groups to start trading and upgrading their objects. Observe as they work together, think creatively, and build camaraderie throughout this fun process.
- Judge the final items: Once all teams have returned, gather everyone at the predefined location. Judge the final items based on size, value, creativity, and overall best. Make sure to provide constructive feedback and celebrate each team’s efforts.
Benefits of Bigger and Better
Benefit: Develops Problem-Solving Skills During the game of Bigger and Better, I had to think creatively and make quick decisions on how to trade and upgrade my team’s object. This helped me develop problem-solving skills and strategic thinking.
Benefit: Encourages Teamwork As I worked in a team, I had to communicate and collaborate with my team members to come up with ideas for trading and upgrading our object. This encouraged teamwork and strengthened relationships within the group.
Benefit: Boosts Confidence During the show-and-tell and judging process, I had the opportunity to present my team’s object and explain how we acquired it. This helped boost my confidence and public speaking skills.
Benefit: Promotes Active Participation Bigger and Better is an interactive game that requires active participation from all team members. This kept everyone engaged and motivated throughout the activity, leading to a more enjoyable experience.
Benefit: Enhances Creativity The goal of Bigger and Better is to come up with the biggest, best, and most creative object. This encouraged me to think outside the box and develop innovative ideas, enhancing my creativity.
Skills built with Bigger and Better
- Communication: As team members work together to trade and upgrade their objects, they need to effectively communicate their ideas and negotiate with other teams and individuals. This helps build strong communication skills that are essential in any team setting.
- Creativity: Bigger and Better encourages participants to think outside the box and come up with creative ways to upgrade their small objects into something bigger and better. This fosters creativity, which is a valuable skill in many areas of life.
- Problem-solving: During the trading process, teams may encounter obstacles or challenges that require quick thinking and problem-solving skills. This helps build critical thinking and problem-solving abilities that are useful in both personal and professional situations.
- Collaboration: Working together as a team to upgrade their object requires collaboration and cooperation. This activity helps build trust, strengthen relationships, and promote a sense of teamwork among participants.
- Adaptability: As teams trade and upgrade their objects, they must be able to adapt to changing circumstances and think on their feet. This helps build adaptability, which is an important skill in today’s fast-paced and ever-changing world.
Why I like Bigger and Better
I appreciate the Bigger and Better icebreaker because it encourages teamwork and creativity in a fun and engaging way. By tasking teams with starting from a simple object like a paperclip and upgrading it through trades, this activity pushes participants to think outside the box and collaborate effectively.
The idea of transforming a small item into something valuable or impressive resonates with me because it reflects the potential for growth and development in any situation. I enjoy watching teams’ creative thinking processes as they strategize how to upgrade their objects, fostering a sense of camaraderie among team members.
Furthermore, Bigger and Better provides an excellent opportunity for participants to practice negotiation skills and build trust with one another while navigating the trading process. The game’s clear objective and time limit also ensure that everyone remains focused and engaged throughout the activity. Overall, I find this icebreaker enjoyable, educational, and valuable for fostering team spirit and creativity.
Tips for making Bigger and Better more inclusive
- Tip: Provide a variety of starting objects: To make the activity more inclusive for people with different abilities or resources, provide a range of small objects to start with, such as paper clips, coins, or buttons. This allows participants to choose an object that suits their capabilities and interests.
- Tip: Encourage creativity over monetary value: Emphasize that the goal is to create the most interesting or unusual item, rather than the most expensive one. This helps level the playing field for teams with different financial resources.
- Tip: Offer alternative judging criteria: Consider adding alternative judging categories, such as “most collaborative” or “best use of limited resources,” to recognize teams that may not have been able to acquire large or valuable items.
- Tip: Set clear boundaries and expectations: Make sure participants understand the rules and limitations of the activity, such as safety concerns, time limits, and acceptable trading practices. This helps ensure a fair and inclusive experience for all.
- Tip: Encourage teamwork and communication: Remind participants to work together, listen to each other’s ideas, and build on their strengths. This promotes inclusivity by giving everyone a chance to contribute and feel valued.
- Tip: Provide resources and support: Offer guidance and assistance to teams that may be struggling, such as those with language barriers or special needs. Providing resources like translation services, accessibility accommodations, or extra time can help make the activity more inclusive for all participants.
Reflection questions for Bigger and Better
- What strategies did you use during the trading process? Knowing how different groups approached the task can help you understand what techniques were most effective for this type of activity.
- How did your team make decisions about which trades to accept or reject? Understanding the decision-making process can give insight into how the group worked together and resolved conflicts.
- What was the most challenging part of the activity for you, and why? Identifying difficulties can help facilitators adjust future activities to better support participants.
- How did your team’s item evolve over time? Examining the transformation of the initial object can reveal the group’s creative thinking and problem-solving skills.
- What was your favorite moment during the Bigger and Better activity, and why? This question allows participants to reflect on positive experiences and share their enjoyment with others.
- How did working together in this activity help build camaraderie among team members? Recognizing the value of collaboration can strengthen relationships and encourage continued teamwork in future endeavors.
- What lessons or skills from this activity do you think are applicable to real-life situations? Transferring learning from a fun icebreaker to practical applications promotes personal growth and development.
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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