A great activity for everyone

Hodgy Podgy

Unleash your creativity with this laugh-inducing rhythm game where players build stories one word at a time!

Hodgy Podgy
By Jon Zajac

What is Hodgy Podgy?

Hodgy Podgy is a fun and engaging icebreaker game that combines rhythm and storytelling for a memorable experience. The purpose of this activity is to encourage teamwork, creativity, and active listening skills in a group setting. During the game, players stand in a circle and take turns adding words to create a sentence, with each word added on the beat of a clapping rhythm. The goal is to construct grammatically correct and logical sentences while maintaining the rhythm.

As an observer, I appreciate Hodgy Podgy for its simplicity, inclusivity, and ability to foster a sense of camaraderie among participants. Players must pay close attention to each other’s contributions and think quickly to maintain the flow of the story. The game’s structure promotes active listening and encourages players to build upon each other’s ideas in a supportive environment.

In addition to its entertainment value, Hodgy Podgy offers subtle educational benefits by promoting vocabulary development and language skills. Players must consider grammar and syntax as they construct sentences, making it an enjoyable way to practice these essential skills. Overall, I believe that Hodgy Podgy is a versatile icebreaker suitable for various settings and age groups, offering both entertainment and opportunities for learning.

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Rules for Hodgy Podgy

  1. Stand in a circle with everyone facing the center.
  2. Choose a leader to start the round by clapping a slow rhythm and saying “Hodgy podgy” on each beat.
  3. The leader starts a sentence by saying any word on the first beat of the rhythm cycle.
  4. The next person in the circle must continue the story by adding the next word in the sentence on the first beat of the next rhythm cycle.
  5. Each word added to the sentence must make logical and grammatical sense.
  6. A player can end a sentence by saying a punctuation word such as “period”, “exclamation point” or “question mark”.
  7. The next person in the circle starts a new sentence on the first beat of the next rhythm cycle.
  8. If a player makes a mistake, they become the person who starts the next round.

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Materials needed for Hodgy Podgy

  • Rhythmic clapping: Hodgy Podgy is a word game that uses rhythmic clapping as a timing device for players to add words to a sentence in sequence. Players need to match the rhythm set by the leader and add their word on the first beat of the next cycle. No additional materials are required for this icebreaker.

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Setting up for Hodgy Podgy

To set up for the Hodgy Podgy icebreaker activity, you will need to gather a group of people and have them stand in a circle, facing the center. Choose one person to start the round by clapping a slow rhythm and saying the starting phrase “Hodgy podgy, hodgy podgy, hodgy podgy, hodgy podgy!” This person will also be responsible for starting each new sentence during the game. Make sure all participants understand the rules and are ready to start clapping and adding words to the story in rhythm. There is no need for any special materials or setting, as this game can be played indoors with just a group of people.

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How to play Hodgy Podgy

  1. Gather a group of people: I recommend having 6-15 participants for an engaging Hodgy Podgy icebreaker game.

  2. Choose a starting point: Decide who will begin the round by saying “Hodgy podgy, hodgy podgy, hodgy podgy, hodgy podgy!” while clapping to a 4-beat rhythm.

  3. Establish the rhythm: The leader sets the pace with their claps (legs on the first beat, hands on the second beat, thumbs-up on left hand for third beat, and thumbs-up on right hand on fourth beat), which everyone in the circle should follow.

  4. Start a sentence: On beat one of the rhythm cycle, the leader says any word to start the story (e.g., “Big”). The next person will need to continue the story by adding the next word in the sentence during their turn on beat one of the following rhythm cycle.

  5. Maintain grammatical sense: Ensure that each word added makes logical and grammatical sense when connected to the previous words in the sentence.

  6. End a sentence: A player can end a sentence by saying a punctuation word such as “period,” “exclamation point,” or “question mark” on beat one of their rhythm cycle, after which the next player starts a new sentence.

  7. Continue the game: Players take turns adding words to create a silly and entertaining story together.

  8. Identify mistakes: If a player fails to continue the sentence in time or says something illogical or ungrammatical, the round ends, and that player becomes the leader for the next round. This encourages active participation and focus from all players.

  9. Enjoy the game: Encourage everyone to contribute and have fun as they create unique and humorous stories together. The Hodgy Podgy icebreaker fosters a sense of community while promoting active listening and cooperation.

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Benefits of Hodgy Podgy

  • Improves verbal communication: By taking turns adding words to create a story, players practice speaking and listening skills in a fun and engaging way.
  • Boosts creativity: The game encourages players to think on their feet and come up with creative ideas for the story, helping to develop their problem-solving and critical thinking abilities.
  • Enhances memory: Remembering and building upon previous words in the sentence helps improve short-term memory skills.
  • Builds teamwork: The game requires cooperation and collaboration among players, fostering a sense of community and team spirit.
  • Encourages active listening: Players must pay close attention to the story as it unfolds and think quickly to add their own word in time with the rhythm.
  • Provides stress relief: Hodgy Podgy is a light-hearted and entertaining game, providing a fun way for players to relax and let loose.
  • Develops self-confidence: Taking turns contributing to the story helps build self-esteem and confidence in one’s own ideas and abilities.
  • Promotes grammar and vocabulary skills: The game encourages players to use correct grammar and expand their vocabulary as they build upon the story.

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Skills built with Hodgy Podgy

  • Active Listening: Playing Hodgy Podgy requires players to pay close attention to the words being said by their peers in order to continue the story in a logical and grammatical manner. This helps build active listening skills as players must fully focus on the sentence and wait for their turn to add their word.
  • Speaking and Vocabulary: The game provides opportunities for players to practice their speaking and vocabulary skills, as they must think quickly and come up with appropriate words to contribute to the story. This can help boost confidence in public speaking and expand one’s vocabulary.
  • Rhythm and Coordination: Hodgy Podgy also involves a clapping rhythm that players must follow, which can help improve rhythm and coordination skills. This aspect of the game adds an element of fun while also providing a subtle physical challenge.
  • Teamwork and Collaboration: The cooperative nature of the game encourages teamwork and collaboration as players work together to create a story. By contributing words one by one, they must build upon each other’s ideas in a harmonious way, fostering a sense of unity and cooperation.
  • Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving: Players need to think on their feet and make quick decisions about what word to add next while maintaining grammatical and logical sense. This helps build critical thinking skills and problem-solving abilities as players navigate the challenges of adding words in a timely and coherent manner.
  • Patience and Graceful Losing: Since mistakes can lead to losing a round, players learn patience and gracefully accepting defeat. They also have the opportunity to reflect on their mistakes and improve in subsequent rounds, promoting continuous learning and development.

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Why I like Hodgy Podgy

I enjoy the Hodgy Podgy icebreaker because it is a simple yet entertaining rhythm game that encourages group participation and creativity. The game is easy to understand and play, making it accessible for people of all ages and backgrounds. I appreciate that it doesn’t require any materials or setup, which makes it a convenient option for impromptu gatherings or events.

One of the things I like most about Hodgy Podgy is the way it fosters collaboration and communication among players. By having each person add a word to the story in turn, the game encourages active listening and builds a sense of community within the group. Additionally, the need to add words that make logical and grammatical sense helps to develop critical thinking skills and can be a fun way to practice language arts.

I also appreciate the low-pressure, relaxed atmosphere of the game. The rhythm clapping provides a clear structure and pace, but there is no time limit for adding words to the story, which reduces stress and allows players to feel more comfortable participating. Furthermore, the fact that mistakes result in becoming the leader for the next round adds a element of fun and unpredictability to the game.

Overall, I find Hodgy Podgy to be a enjoyable and engaging icebreaker that can bring people together through collaborative storytelling and rhythmic clapping.

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Tips for making Hodgy Podgy more inclusive

  • Tip: Include a Warm-up Round Before starting the game, consider having a warm-up round where players introduce themselves by saying their name and one interesting fact about themselves. This will help create a comfortable atmosphere and give participants an opportunity to learn each other’s names.

  • Tip: Encourage Open-Ended Sentences As a facilitator, encourage the use of open-ended sentences instead of closed ones, which can end the story too quickly. By doing so, you ensure that everyone gets a chance to contribute and keep the game going for longer.

  • Tip: Offer Word Prompts To make sure everyone feels included and has an opportunity to participate, prepare a list of age-appropriate and culturally diverse word prompts. Share these prompts with participants who may struggle to come up with a suitable word during their turn.

  • Tip: Adapt the Game for Different Abilities If you have players with different abilities or language skills, consider modifying the game by allowing them to say a phrase instead of one word, or providing visual cues to help them follow the rhythm and story.

  • Tip: Be Sensitive to Cultural Differences As a facilitator, be aware of cultural differences among participants and ensure that language used in the game is inclusive and respectful. If necessary, provide explanations for words or phrases that may be unfamiliar or offensive to some players.

  • Tip: Emphasize Process Over Product Encourage participants to focus on the collaborative process rather than the outcome of the story. By emphasizing teamwork and creativity, you create an inclusive environment where everyone feels valued and engaged.

  • Tip: Provide Non-Verbal Participation Opportunities If some participants may feel uncomfortable speaking in front of a group or have limited verbal skills, consider allowing them to participate non-verbally by using gestures, facial expressions, or symbols to contribute to the story.

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Reflection questions for Hodgy Podgy

  1. What was your experience playing Hodgy Podgy? Understanding participants’ experiences can help facilitators gauge the success of the icebreaker and identify any areas for improvement.
  2. How did you feel when it was your turn to contribute to the story? This question can reveal insights into participants’ comfort levels with public speaking and collaboration.
  3. What strategies did you use to come up with a word or phrase that made sense in the context of the story? Encouraging reflection on problem-solving strategies can help participants develop critical thinking skills.
  4. Did you notice any patterns or themes emerging in the stories created during the game? Identifying commonalities and differences in the stories can foster discussion about creativity, imagination, and group dynamics.
  5. How did it feel to be “out” when you made a mistake? Did you find it easy or difficult to recover and participate again in the next round? This question can help facilitators understand participants’ resilience and willingness to take risks, which are important skills for team building and collaboration.
  6. What did you learn about yourself or others during this icebreaker? Encouraging self-reflection and observation of others can promote empathy, understanding, and appreciation of individual strengths and differences.
  7. How might you apply the skills you used in Hodgy Podgy to other situations or contexts? This question can help participants make connections between the game and real-life scenarios, promoting transferable skills and learning.

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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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