A great activity for everyone


Unleash Your Inner Energy: A Hilarious Drama Class Warm-Up Game

By Jon Zajac

What is Energy?

The Energy Game is a drama class warm-up exercise that I play to build energy and foster creativity within the group. The purpose of this activity is to help participants break out of their comfort zones, release inhibitions, and improve their ability to express themselves vividly. It involves standing in a circle and taking turns to make a sound and a motion, with each player amplifying the energy of the previous action by making the sound louder and the gesture more exaggerated. The game continues until everyone has had a turn, at which point another player starts a new round with a new sound and gesture. This exercise helps participants unleash their inner energy while adding their unique personality to the mix, resulting in a fun and laughter-filled experience. It also promotes trust, awareness, and focus among group members.

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Rules for Energy

  1. Everyone stands in a circle.
  2. The first player makes a sound and a motion, such as putting their hand up and saying “Umm” or hiding their head and whimpering.
  3. The player to the right mimics the sound and action of the first player, but increases the energy level of the action.
  4. Continue around the circle with each player adding more energy.
  5. When everyone has had a turn, the starting player must do the action/sound combo once more at the highest intensity yet.
  6. Another player starts a new round with a new sound and gesture.

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Materials needed for Energy

  • Hands and body: No additional materials are needed for the Energy icebreaker, as it only requires the participants’ hands and bodies to make sounds and motions.

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Setting up for Energy

To set up for the Energy Game warm-up exercise, follow these steps:

  1. Find a spacious area where everyone can stand in a circle without bumping into each other or any objects. Clear the space of any potential hazards.
  2. Ensure there is adequate lighting for all participants to see each other clearly.
  3. Instruct everyone to remove their shoes if necessary, to prevent noise and ensure safe movement during the activity.
  4. Encourage participants to wear comfortable clothing that allows for easy movement and gestures.
  5. Ask players to stand shoulder-width apart in a circle. This will provide enough space between them for exaggerated movements without causing collisions or discomfort.
  6. Explain the rules and objectives of the game, as well as the structure of each round, to ensure all participants understand how to play.
  7. Designate one person as the first player to initiate the first round.
  8. Set a clear expectation for the volume and energy level required at the end of each round, so that players know what they should aim for during their turns.
  9. Emphasize the importance of safety, trust, and active listening throughout the game. This will help create a positive and inclusive environment for all participants.

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How to play Energy

  1. Stand in a circle: I start by having everyone in the group stand in a circle. This arrangement ensures that all players can see and hear each other clearly during the game.
  2. Initiate the action: As the first player, I initiate the game by making a sound and a motion, such as putting my hand up and saying “Umm” or hiding my head and whimpering. The action should be subtle and easy to mimic.
  3. Mimic and amplify the energy: The player to my right then mimics my sound and motion while increasing the energy level. They make the sound louder and exaggerate the gesture, creating a more intense version of my original action.
  4. Continue around the circle: Each player follows by mimicking and amplifying the energy of the previous player’s action until it reaches every member in the group. When it gets back to me, I repeat the final action at the highest intensity yet to finish off the round.
  5. Start a new round: After finishing one round, another player starts a new round with a different sound and gesture, initiating a new cycle of energy amplification.

This game encourages creativity, self-expression, and letting go of inhibitions, as players put aside their self-consciousness to shout and show off a little. The Energy Game helps participants become more at ease with themselves and each other, promoting trust and group cohesion while boosting endorphins and positivity.

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Benefits of Energy

  • Boosts confidence: By encouraging players to exaggerate their movements and raise their voices, the Energy Game helps individuals become more comfortable with expressing themselves in a bold and uninhibited manner.
  • Encourages creativity: The game’s open-ended nature allows for unique sound and motion combinations, empowering participants to tap into their creative potential.
  • Fosters group cohesion: As the exercise progresses, each player adds their personal touch to the escalating actions, creating a collective performance that strengthens bonds among group members.
  • Promotes active listening: By requiring players to mimic and build upon their peers’ contributions, the Energy Game nurtures attentiveness and improves communication skills.
  • Enhances physical awareness: The game encourages participants to be mindful of their body language and volume, making them more aware of their presence and impact within a group setting.
  • Endorphin release: Laughter and high energy levels generated during the exercise contribute to an endorphin rush, leaving players feeling happier and more relaxed.

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Skills built with Energy

  • Creativity: The Energy Game encourages players to come up with their own unique sounds and movements, allowing them to express themselves in a fun and engaging way. This helps build creative thinking skills as players are challenged to think on their feet and be original.
  • Confidence: By actively participating in the game, players have the opportunity to showcase their personalities and abilities in front of others. This can help boost self-confidence and encourage individuals to feel more comfortable speaking up and sharing their ideas in a group setting.
  • Active Listening: As players take turns mimicking and amplifying the sounds and movements of those before them, they must actively listen and pay attention to what is happening around them. This skill is crucial for effective communication and collaboration within any team or group dynamic.
  • Group Dynamics: The Energy Game fosters a sense of unity and camaraderie among players as they work together to build upon each other’s contributions, creating a collective energy that can be both entertaining and empowering. This helps participants better understand and appreciate the dynamics of working in a group setting.
  • Emotional Expression: The Energy Game provides an outlet for players to tap into their emotions and physicality, allowing them to express themselves through sound and movement. This can help individuals become more aware of their own emotions, as well as those of others, leading to stronger empathy and emotional intelligence skills.
  • Trust: In the bonus exercise, Hands of Power, participants must trust their partners to guide them safely around the room while their vision is obscured. This fosters a sense of trust and collaboration between players, which can be beneficial for building strong relationships in both personal and professional settings.

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Why I like Energy

I enjoy the Energy game icebreaker because it is a dynamic and engaging way to warm up a drama class. The exercise encourages creativity and self-expression, as each player has the opportunity to come up with their own unique sound and motion. At the same time, it also fosters teamwork and active listening, as players must carefully observe and amplify the actions of those before them.

The increasing energy level of the game adds an element of excitement and fun, allowing me to let go of any self-consciousness and fully immerse myself in the activity. The fact that everyone gets a chance to be both loud and quiet also creates a sense of balance and inclusivity, making sure no one feels left out or overwhelmed.

Overall, the Energy game is an excellent icebreaker because it not only breaks down barriers and encourages participation but also gets endorphins flowing and smiles showing, setting a positive tone for the rest of the class or workshop.

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Tips for making Energy more inclusive

  • Tip: Provide a variety of sound and motion options. To make the game more inclusive for people who may be less comfortable with loud noises or physical movements, offer a list of suggested sounds and motions that can be used. This will give participants the option to choose an action that they feel comfortable doing.
  • Tip: Encourage self-expression. Let participants know that they can use any sound or motion that they want, as long as it is safe and respectful. This will help create a welcoming environment where everyone feels comfortable being themselves.
  • Tip: Be mindful of cultural differences. Some sounds and motions may have different meanings or connotations in different cultures. To avoid any unintentional offense, be aware of the cultural backgrounds of your participants and avoid using sounds or motions that may be perceived as disrespectful.
  • Tip: Modify the game for physical abilities. If you have participants with mobility issues or other physical limitations, modify the game so that everyone can participate. For example, allow participants to use a chair or other prop to help them stand or move around.
  • Tip: Use positive language and reinforcement. Encourage all participants by praising their efforts and creativity. This will help create a supportive atmosphere where everyone feels valued and appreciated.

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Reflection questions for Energy

  1. How did you feel participating in the Energy Game? Understanding how participants felt during the activity can provide insight into their comfort level and engagement.
  2. What was your favorite part of the game? Why? Knowing what participants enjoyed most can help facilitators tailor future activities to better suit the group’s preferences.
  3. Did you find it challenging to amplify the energy of the actions? If so, why? This question can reveal areas where participants may need additional support or practice in expressing themselves or building confidence.
  4. How did it feel to be both loud and quiet during the game? Exploring participants’ comfort with different levels of volume can offer insight into their self-expression and willingness to take risks.
  5. What did you observe about your own behavior and that of others while playing the game? Reflecting on group dynamics and individual actions can promote self-awareness and empathy within the group.
  6. How might the Energy Game be applied in real-life situations or other contexts? Encouraging participants to think about transferable skills can help them recognize the value of activities beyond their immediate context.

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About the author

Jon Zajac

Jon Zajac

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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