A great activity for everyone


Compete in Hilarious Pedometer Challenges: Bobble Head, Temper Tantrum, and Nervous Nelly!

By Jon Zajac

What is Pedometer?

The Pedometer Icebreaker is a series of fun and engaging games designed to provide players with an intense workout while also keeping the audience entertained. The purpose of these games is to encourage physical activity using pedometers, which track the number of steps taken by the wearer. This icebreaker includes three different games: Bobble Head, Temper Tantrum, and Nervous Nelly.

In Bobble Head, players attach a pedometer to their forehead and shake or nod their head as quickly as possible for one minute, attempting to register the highest number of steps on the device. The player with the highest score at the end of the round wins.

Temper Tantrum involves attaching a pedometer to each ankle of the players, who must then lie on their backs and shake their feet vigorously for one minute, attempting to accumulate the most steps on both pedometers. The player with the highest combined score wins.

Finally, Nervous Nelly requires players to attach a pedometer to each wrist and ankle, and then engage in any movement that will register steps on all four devices simultaneously. After one minute, the player with the highest combined total on all four pedometers is declared the winner. These games are sure to provide a fun and engaging way to promote physical activity while also offering plenty of laughs for spectators.

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Rules for Pedometer

  1. All pedometers must be reset to zero at the beginning of each game.
  2. Players must not jiggle their pedometers after stopping their movements to avoid influencing their scores.
  3. The player with the highest number on the display at the end of one minute wins the game.
  4. Pedometers must be attached securely to players’ heads, ankles, or wrists, without obstructing movement.
  5. Players should lie on their backs while shaking their feet during the “Temper Tantrum” game.
  6. Players must stop moving immediately when the timer reaches one minute in all games.
  7. In the “Nervous Nelly” game, players try to get the highest combined score on all four pedometers.
  8. If there are not enough pedometers for all players in the “Nervous Nelly” game, players should take turns and record scores.

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Materials needed for Pedometer

Here’s the list of materials needed to play the Pedometer icebreaker:

  • Pedometers: You will need a pedometer for each player in each game variation.
  • Sweatbands or headbands: These are used to attach the pedometer to the player’s forehead for the Bobble Head game.
  • Timer: A timer is needed to keep track of time during each game.
  • Wrist straps, shoes, socks, or tape: These materials can be used to attach the pedometer to the ankles for the Temper Tantrum game.
  • Additional wristbands or watch bands: Extra wristbands or watch bands may be necessary to attach the pedometers to the wrists and ankles in the Nervous Nelly game.

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Setting up for Pedometer

To set up for the Pedometer icebreaker activity, you need to first ensure that all pedometers are reset to zero. Then, attach the pedometers to the heads of the players using a sweat band or other similar method, being careful not to jiggle the pedometer and affect the score. Set up a timer to keep track of the one-minute duration for each round. For the “Temper Tantrum” game, you will need to attach the pedometers to both ankles of each player, and for the “Nervous Nelly” game, you will need to attach pedometers to both wrists and both ankles of each player. Make sure to have enough pedometers for each player if you are playing in turns.

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How to play Pedometer

  1. Gather the necessary materials: I need to collect all the required items for the Pedometer icebreaker games. These include pedometers or activity trackers, sweatbands or headbands, tape, timers, and enough pedometers for each player’s ankles and wrists if they’re playing “Nervous Nelly.”

  2. Prepare the pedometers: Ensure all pedometers are reset to zero before starting any game. This will allow for accurate scorekeeping.

  3. Attach the pedometers for Bobble Head: Use a sweatband or headband and securely tape or tie the pedometer onto it. Then, place the band around each player’s forehead.

  4. Set up Temper Tantrum: Attach a pedometer to both ankles of every player using either the device’s wrist strap, by placing it in their shoes/socks, or taping it directly onto their shoes.

  5. Prepare for Nervous Nelly: Securely attach a pedometer to each player’s wrists and ankles, ensuring that all devices are reset to zero before starting the game.

  6. Explain the rules: Clearly explain the rules of each game (Bobble Head, Temper Tantrum, or Nervous Nelly) and ensure that everyone understands how to play and what their objective is.

  7. Start the timer: Begin the one-minute countdown for each game using a timer. Encourage players to move as quickly as possible while following the specific rules of their chosen game.

  8. Monitor player movement: Ensure that players adhere to the rules and avoid cheating or manipulating their pedometers during gameplay.

  9. Announce the winners: After each game, determine the winner based on the highest scores shown on the pedometer displays. In Nervous Nelly, announce the player with the highest combined total score from all four devices.

  10. Play multiple rounds or switch games: If time allows and players are interested, offer additional rounds or switch to different games, allowing everyone to participate in each activity. Encourage laughter, friendly competition, and a great workout!

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Benefits of Pedometer

  • Get Moving: Playing the Pedometer icebreaker games encourages players to be physically active and get their bodies moving. This can help improve overall fitness levels, increase energy, and promote better health.
  • Laughter and Fun: The absurdity of the Pedometer icebreaker games is sure to bring laughter and fun to any group. Laughing has numerous benefits including reducing stress, strengthening social bonds, and boosting the immune system.
  • Team Building: These games can be played in groups, encouraging teamwork and collaboration. Players must work together to come up with strategies for getting the highest score possible, which can help build trust and strengthen relationships.
  • Competition: The competitive nature of the Pedometer icebreaker games can bring out players’ competitive side, pushing them to perform at their best. This can help improve focus, concentration, and motivation.
  • Creativity: Players must think creatively to come up with unique ways to get the highest score possible on their pedometers. This can help boost creativity and problem-solving skills, making for a more mentally stimulating experience.
  • Customization: The Pedometer icebreaker games can be easily customized to fit any group or occasion. Players can adjust the rules, time limits, and number of pedometers used to create a game that is both fun and challenging.
  • Affordability: All that is needed for these games are pedometers, which can often be found at a low cost or even for free. This makes the Pedometer icebreaker games an affordable option for groups on a budget.

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Skills built with Pedometer

  • Teamwork: Playing the Pedometer games requires coordination and cooperation among players as they work together to achieve high scores. By participating in these games, individuals can improve their ability to work effectively with others towards a common goal.
  • Competitiveness: The Pedometer games encourage a healthy sense of competitiveness as players strive to outperform one another. This helps build a competitive spirit and motivates participants to push themselves harder.
  • Physical Fitness: The Pedometer games provide an intense workout, helping individuals improve their physical fitness levels. Shaking and bobbing the head or limbs requires energy and stamina, which can help increase strength and endurance over time.
  • Creativity: Players must think creatively to come up with new ways to move their bodies in order to register steps on their pedometers. This encourages outside-the-box thinking and problem-solving skills.
  • Focus and Concentration: The games require players to pay close attention to their movements and the readings on their pedometers, helping improve focus and concentration.
  • Resilience: The Pedometer games can be physically demanding and may cause individuals to feel tired or frustrated. However, pushing through these challenges can help build resilience and determination, allowing participants to bounce back from setbacks more easily in other areas of life.
  • Body Awareness: By focusing on their movements and the feedback from their pedometers, players can improve their body awareness and learn to better control their bodies. This can lead to improved posture, balance, and coordination.

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Why I like Pedometer

I enjoy the Pedometer icebreaker because it provides a fun and engaging way to promote physical activity. The games mentioned, such as Bobble Head, Temper Tantrum, and Nervous Nelly, incorporate pedometers in creative and entertaining ways that not only encourage movement but also generate laughter and excitement among participants.

What I like most about this icebreaker is its ability to bring people together through playful competition. By challenging players to achieve high scores on their pedometers, the games foster a sense of camaraderie and teamwork as participants work towards a common goal. Moreover, these activities can be tailored to various fitness levels, making them inclusive and accessible for everyone involved.

Another aspect I appreciate is the opportunity to promote health awareness in a lighthearted manner. The Pedometer icebreaker demonstrates that physical activity can be fun and engaging, which may inspire participants to incorporate more movement into their daily lives.

Lastly, these games offer an excellent alternative to traditional icebreakers by providing an interactive experience that goes beyond simple introductions or conversation starters. By incorporating pedometers into the activities, the icebreaker creates a memorable and enjoyable atmosphere that helps break down barriers between participants, making it easier for them to connect with one another.

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Tips for making Pedometer more inclusive

  • Tip: Provide a variety of attachment options Make sure to have different ways to attach the pedometers to players’ bodies, as people may have different preferences or requirements due to clothing, physical ability, or comfort. For example, you could provide sweatbands, wrist straps, shoe clips, and tape, so that each player can choose the best option for them.
  • Tip: Offer pedometer alternatives Some people might not have access to a pedometer or may prefer not to use one. Consider offering alternative ways to participate in the games, such as using a smartphone app or manually counting steps. This way, everyone can join in the fun and feel included.
  • Tip: Modify the rules for different abilities The original rules might be challenging for some players due to physical limitations or mobility issues. Be prepared to modify the rules to accommodate different abilities, such as reducing the number of pedometers per player, shortening the time limit, or allowing players to use their preferred movement style.
  • Tip: Encourage teamwork and cooperation Instead of focusing solely on competition, promote a collaborative atmosphere by having players work together in teams or pairs. They can combine their scores, help each other with pedometer attachments, and cheer each other on during the games. This way, the icebreaker becomes a bonding experience rather than just a contest.
  • Tip: Emphasize fun and laughter The primary goal of this icebreaker is to have a good time and connect with others. Encourage players to laugh at their own silly movements and celebrate each other’s successes, regardless of the final score. This will help create a positive and inclusive environment for everyone.

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Reflection questions for Pedometer

  1. What was your experience playing these pedometer games? This question can help participants reflect on the physical aspect of the game and how it made them feel.
  2. How did you try to cheat the pedometer into registering more points? This question can lead to a discussion about creativity, problem-solving, and cheating.
  3. Did you find any strategies that were particularly effective in increasing your score? This question can help participants reflect on the mechanics of the game and what worked well for them.
  4. How did it feel to compete against others in this way? This question can lead to a discussion about competition, sportsmanship, and the pressure to perform.
  5. Did you notice any differences between your own movements and those of other players? This question can help participants become more aware of their own body language and how it compares to others.
  6. What did you find most challenging or tiring about these games? This question can help participants reflect on the physical demands of the game and what aspects were particularly challenging.
  7. How might these games be adapted for different ages, abilities, or settings? This question can lead to a discussion about inclusivity, accessibility, and creativity in game design.

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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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