What is Four Corners?
The Four Corners icebreaker is a fun and engaging activity that allows individuals to share who they are through hand-drawn pictures. Its purpose is to serve as a conversation starter, helping people to get to know each other better in a relaxed and enjoyable way. This activity is suitable for all ages and can be used in small to medium groups. It involves dividing a piece of paper into four squares, with each square representing a different topic about the individual, such as their favorite hobbies or what they would be if they were an animal. Participants then use drawing to illustrate themselves based on these topics. Once everyone is finished, the group comes together to share and discuss their drawings. It’s a great way for students to showcase their unique qualities in a fun and interactive way. No artistic skills are required, so the focus is on creativity and having a good time.
Rules for Four Corners
I. Each player receives a pen and sheet of paper.
II. Everyone divides their sheet into four boxes/squares.
III. Choose four topics in advance for each square (e.g., favorite hobbies, favorite place on earth for vacation, if you were an animal, what are the most important things in your life?).
IV. Draw representations of oneself in each square according to the chosen topics.
V. Allocate five to ten minutes for drawing.
VI. After completion, gather together and share the drawings as a group.
Materials needed for Four Corners
- Pen: Distribute a pen for each player to use for drawing.
- Sheet of paper: Provide a sheet of paper for every participant to divide into four squares and create their drawings in.
- Writing utensils: Offer additional writing utensils, such as markers or colored pencils, to encourage creativity and self-expression in the illustrations.
Setting up for Four Corners
To set up for the Four Corners icebreaker activity, follow these steps:
- Ensure there is enough space for all participants to gather and move around comfortably.
- Give each participant a pen or marker and a sheet of paper.
- Instruct each participant to divide their paper into four equal squares either by folding the paper in half twice (vertically and horizontally) or by drawing lines.
- Announce the four topics for the squares, which can be pre-selected and should be related to personal interests, preferences, or aspirations. Examples include favorite hobbies, dream vacation spots, animal representations, and important values.
- Allow adequate time (5-10 minutes) for participants to create their drawings in each square according to the assigned topics.
How to play Four Corners
- Distribute paper and writing utensils: I provide each participant with a pen and sheet of paper.
- Create four squares on the paper: I instruct participants to divide their paper into four boxes by folding it in half twice or drawing lines.
- Choose four topics for the squares: I decide on four themes for the squares, such as favorite hobbies, dream vacation spot, chosen animal, and most important things in life.
- Draw in each square: Participants use the selected topics to create drawings that represent themselves in each of the four squares.
- Allow time for drawing: I give the group 5-10 minutes to complete their drawings.
- Gather participants and share drawings: After everyone has finished, we come together as a group to present and discuss our illustrations, learning more about one another in the process.
Benefits of Four Corners
- Encourages Creativity: By requiring participants to use hand-drawn pictures to represent themselves, Four Corners encourages creativity and self-expression.
- Builds Connection: Sharing personal drawings with the group allows participants to learn more about each other, building a stronger sense of connection and community.
- Improves Communication Skills: Presenting and explaining their drawings helps participants develop their public speaking and communication skills.
- Requires No Artistic Ability: The simplicity of Four Corners means that artistic ability is not required to participate, making it accessible for everyone.
- Promotes Positive Self-Expression: Encouraging participants to think about their favorite hobbies, places, animals, and values promotes positive self-expression and self-awareness.
- Breaks the Ice Effectively: As an icebreaker activity, Four Corners effectively breaks the ice and helps create a friendly and welcoming atmosphere for all participants.
Skills built with Four Corners
- Creativity: Playing the Four Corners icebreaker encourages individuals to think creatively and express themselves through drawings. This activity allows participants to explore their imagination and showcase their unique perspectives in a fun and engaging way.
- Self-expression: By illustrating their favorite hobbies, places, animals, and values, players have the opportunity to share who they are and what makes them unique with others. This self-expression can help build confidence and strengthen interpersonal connections.
- Active listening: As participants share their drawings, they must practice active listening to understand and engage with their peers’ experiences and interests. This skill is essential for effective communication and relationship building in any setting.
- Patience and focus: Drawing takes time and concentration, which can help players develop patience and improve their ability to focus on a task. These skills are valuable in both academic and professional contexts.
- Critical thinking: Choosing the topics for each square requires participants to think critically about what they value and enjoy most. This process can help them better understand themselves and make more informed decisions in other areas of their lives.
- Collaboration and teamwork: Although Four Corners is an individual activity, it can foster a sense of community and collaboration as players share their drawings and learn about one another’s interests and experiences.
- Empathy and understanding: By seeing the world through others’ perspectives in their drawings, players can develop empathy and a deeper appreciation for the diversity of experiences and values within their group.
Why I like Four Corners
I appreciate the Four Corners icebreaker because it allows individuals to express themselves in a fun and creative way. The activity requires participants to think about their interests, values, and aspirations, and then represent them visually in a series of drawings. This process can help people discover commonalities and differences among themselves, fostering a sense of community and understanding.
Furthermore, Four Corners is an inclusive icebreaker that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities. The lack of artistic skills required for this activity makes it accessible to everyone, encouraging participation and engagement. Additionally, the flexibility of the four topics allows facilitators to tailor the exercise to their audience, making it relevant and meaningful to the participants.
Overall, Four Corners is an enjoyable and effective way to break the ice and promote connection among individuals. Its simplicity, accessibility, and adaptability make it a valuable tool for educators, facilitators, and leaders looking to build relationships and foster community in their groups.
Tips for making Four Corners more inclusive
- I would recommend providing a variety of writing utensils, such as markers, colored pencils, and pens, to allow participants to express themselves in their preferred medium.
- Consider offering larger sheets of paper or encouraging participants to use the back of the page for additional space to draw and write.
- Try using topics that are open-ended and applicable to a wide range of experiences and backgrounds, such as “a cultural tradition that’s important to you” or “an obstacle you’ve overcome.”
- Make sure to create a welcoming and non-judgmental atmosphere by emphasizing the importance of self-expression and creativity over artistic skill.
- Consider offering visual examples or prompts for each topic, especially if participants may be unfamiliar with the concepts being presented.
- If possible, provide options for accommodations such as larger print text or alternative communication methods to ensure that all participants can fully engage in the activity.
- Encourage participants to ask questions and seek clarification about each other’s drawings and experiences, fostering a sense of community and mutual understanding.
Reflection questions for Four Corners
- What did you enjoy most about creating your Four Corners drawing? This question can help participants reflect on the creative process and the aspects they found most engaging.
- Which square was the hardest for you to draw, and why? By asking this question, facilitators can gain insight into possible challenges or limitations that participants faced while expressing themselves through art.
- Did any of your squares spark conversations with others during sharing time? If so, which ones? This question encourages participants to think about the impact their drawings had on others and fosters a sense of community.
- How well do you feel the Four Corners icebreaker helped your group members get to know each other? This question invites self-reflection on the effectiveness of the activity in achieving its intended goal.
- Did participating in this activity change or reinforce any preconceived notions you had about others in the group? Why or why not? This question promotes empathy and understanding among participants, helping them recognize commonalities and differences with their peers.
- Were there any topics in the Four Corners icebreaker that you wish were explored further or added? Which ones, and why? By asking this question, facilitators can gather feedback on how to improve future iterations of the activity.
- What did you learn about yourself through creating your Four Corners drawing? This question encourages participants to reflect on their self-perception and personal growth.
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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