A great activity for everyone

Line Up

Unleash the Hidden Leaders: A Fun and Challenging Icebreaker where Participants Arrange Themselves Based on a Given Quality

Line Up
By Jon Zajac

What is Line Up?

The Line Up icebreaker is a fun and engaging activity that involves arranging participants in a line based on a specific quality they possess, such as birth date or alphabetical order by middle name. This icebreaker is an excellent way to promote teamwork and leadership skills in large groups, as it requires cooperation and communication among participants to successfully organize themselves. The purpose of this activity is to foster connections and build relationships within a group, making it ideal for camps, workplace bonding events, or other large gatherings. By working together to establish order out of chaos, participants can discover hidden leadership qualities in themselves and others. This icebreaker is an effective way to break the ice, encourage interaction, and create a positive group dynamic.

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Rules for Line Up

  1. Call the group to order and explain the rules of the game.
  2. Explain the quality that the players will line up according to.
  3. Do not help the group or give them hints as they organize themselves.
  4. Participants may use objects available in the room to help them if they request.
  5. When the group believes the line up is correct, they will start at one end and call off their qualities (e.g., birthdays).
  6. Down the line, every participant will name off their quality.
  7. The game is won if the line is correct.
  8. If the line is incorrect, give the players another quality to line up to and allow them to try again.

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Materials needed for Line Up

  • Large open space: This is needed for participants to move around freely while they try to arrange themselves in the correct order.
  • List of qualities: These are the criteria that participants will use to line up. Examples could include alphabetical order by middle name, chronological order according to birth date, or house number.

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Setting up for Line Up

To set up for the Line Up icebreaker activity, you will need to find a large open space where participants can move around freely. This could be an indoor room or outdoor area, as long as there is enough space for the entire group to gather and line up.

Next, you will need to decide on the quality that the players will line up according to. It’s important to choose a quality that is relevant and interesting to the group, and to clearly communicate the rules and order of the line up to the participants.

It’s also a good idea to have a backup quality or two in mind, in case the group has difficulty lining up according to the first quality you choose. This will help keep the game engaging and prevent frustration among the players.

Overall, setting up for the Line Up icebreaker involves finding a suitable space, deciding on a line-up quality, and being prepared with backup options if needed. By properly setting up the game, you can help ensure that it runs smoothly and is enjoyable for all participants.

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How to play Line Up

  1. Call the group to order and explain the rules: I start by gathering the participants in a large open space and explaining the rules of the Line Up icebreaker. I clearly communicate the quality that they will need to line up according to, such as lining up in the order of their birthdays with January 1 being the furthest to the left and December 31 being the furthest to the right.
  2. Allow the group to organize themselves: I avoid providing assistance or giving hints as the participants work together to figure out how to arrange themselves. The players are allowed to use any objects available in the room if they request them.
  3. Check for correctness: When the group believes that they have lined up correctly, I have them start at one end and call off their birthdays (or the chosen quality). I listen as each participant names off their date, and declare the game won if the line is correct.
  4. Provide a new quality for lining up if incorrect: If the line is incorrect, I give the players another quality to line up according to and allow them to try again.

Helpful Tips and Notes

  • The challenge of this icebreaker lies in establishing leadership within a group of people who may not know each other well. If no one steps forward to make decisions, it can be difficult for the players to organize themselves. Conversely, if too many people step forward with conflicting leadership strategies, it can be hard to find cohesion.
  • Line Up is particularly effective in groups of people who are not already familiar with each other’s leadership skills, as it helps to identify natural leaders and fosters teamwork.

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Benefits of Line Up

  • Helps establish leadership: Playing Line Up can help participants develop and showcase their leadership skills as they work to organize the group according to the given quality.
  • Encourages teamwork: The game requires cooperation and communication among players, fostering a sense of teamwork and collaboration.
  • Promotes critical thinking: Participants need to think critically about how to arrange themselves based on the chosen quality, problem-solving as they go along.
  • Reveals hidden qualities: By lining up based on less obvious traits like middle name or house number, participants discover new things about each other and create opportunities for further conversation.
  • Adaptable for various group sizes: This icebreaker can be played in groups of any size, making it a versatile option for different settings.
  • Easy to set up: With just a large open space and a list of qualities, Line Up is simple to organize and requires minimal resources or preparation.
  • Accessible to all ages: The game can be easily adapted based on the age and abilities of the participants, ensuring everyone can actively engage and enjoy playing.

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Skills built with Line Up

  • Communication skills: Playing the Line Up icebreaker requires participants to communicate effectively with each other in order to arrange themselves in the correct order. They must listen carefully to the instructions given, ask questions if they are unsure, and work together to find a solution.
  • Leadership skills: The game provides an opportunity for natural leaders to emerge, as someone must take charge and make decisions about how the group should organize itself. Those who step up as leaders can practice their ability to delegate tasks, motivate others, and handle group dynamics.
  • Problem-solving skills: Line Up is a problem-solving activity that requires participants to think creatively and strategically. They must figure out how to arrange themselves in a specific order based on a given quality, which can be challenging but also rewarding when they finally succeed.
  • Teamwork skills: The game encourages collaboration and cooperation among participants as they work together to achieve a common goal. By working together and building relationships with each other, they can learn to trust and rely on one another.
  • Time management skills: Line Up requires participants to manage their time effectively, as they must arrange themselves in the correct order within a given amount of time. This can help them develop important skills such as setting priorities, planning, and organizing.
  • Self-confidence: Playing the game can also boost participants’ self-confidence, as they learn to trust their own abilities and those of their teammates. By taking on leadership roles and making decisions, they can gain a sense of accomplishment and pride in their contributions to the group.

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Why I like Line Up

I appreciate the Line Up icebreaker because it is a flexible and interactive way to build connections within large groups. The game’s simplicity encourages participants to engage with one another, helping to create a sense of community. I also like that Line Up can reveal natural leaders in a group, providing valuable insights for facilitators.

The versatility of the game is another aspect I enjoy. With numerous qualities to choose from when lining up, facilitators can adapt the game to suit various age groups and contexts. Additionally, Line Up can be played without any special materials, making it a convenient choice for impromptu icebreakers.

Lastly, I appreciate that Line Up encourages problem-solving and collaboration among participants. It fosters an environment where individuals work together to achieve a common goal, ultimately strengthening teamwork and communication skills.

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Tips for making Line Up more inclusive

  • Tip: Provide a variety of qualities to line up by. By offering a range of qualities that participants can line up by, you can ensure that everyone has the opportunity to contribute their unique perspective or information. This also helps to level the playing field and prevent dominant personalities from taking control.
  • Tip: Encourage collaboration and teamwork. Instead of focusing solely on finding the “right” order, emphasize the importance of working together as a group. You can do this by encouraging participants to communicate with each other, share ideas, and help each other out. This can create a more inclusive atmosphere where everyone feels valued and heard.
  • Tip: Use accessible language and examples. When explaining the rules and qualities for lining up, make sure to use clear and simple language that everyone can understand. Avoid using jargon or technical terms that may be unfamiliar to some participants. You can also provide concrete examples or visual aids to help illustrate your points.
  • Tip: Be mindful of cultural differences and biases. When choosing qualities for lining up, be aware of any potential cultural sensitivities or biases that may arise. For example, asking participants to line up by their height or weight could be seen as insensitive in some cultures. Instead, opt for more inclusive qualities such as birth month, favorite color, or number of siblings.
  • Tip: Check in with participants throughout the game. As the game progresses, take time to check in with participants and see how they are doing. This can help you identify any potential issues or barriers that may be preventing some individuals from fully participating. For example, if a participant is having difficulty hearing or seeing, you can provide accommodations such as a microphone or visual aid.
  • Tip: Acknowledge everyone’s contributions. After the game has ended, take time to acknowledge and appreciate everyone’s contributions to the activity. This can help create a positive and inclusive atmosphere where everyone feels valued and respected. You can do this by thanking participants for their participation, highlighting specific contributions, or sharing your own reflections on the game.

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Reflection questions for Line Up

  1. Question: What challenges did you face while trying to organize yourselves in line? This question can help participants reflect on the difficulties they encountered during the game, such as lack of communication, multiple leaders, or not knowing how to start.
  2. Question: How did you determine who should take leadership roles? By asking this question, facilitators can encourage participants to think about their decision-making process and evaluate the effectiveness of their strategies in determining leaders.
  3. Question: What did you learn about yourself as a leader during this activity? This question helps participants reflect on their own leadership qualities and recognize their strengths and weaknesses in group situations.
  4. Question: How did you work together to solve problems and make decisions? This question can help participants think about the importance of collaboration, communication, and teamwork in achieving a common goal.
  5. Question: What surprised you most about this activity? By asking this question, facilitators create an opportunity for participants to share their unique experiences and insights gained during the game.
  6. Question: How can you apply what you learned from this icebreaker to your daily life or work? This question prompts participants to consider how they can use the skills and lessons learned from the Line Up icebreaker in other contexts, such as school, work, or social situations.

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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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