A great activity for everyone

Rubber Chicken

A thrilling and hilarious outdoor game of speed, strategy, and chicken wrangling!

Rubber Chicken
By Jon Zajac

What is Rubber Chicken?

The Rubber Chicken Game is a lively and energetic icebreaker that involves competition and quick thinking. Its purpose is to encourage teamwork, attentiveness, and readiness in participants. This game can be played with any object, but a rubber chicken is traditionally used. It’s best suited for larger groups, divided into teams of 5-10 players each.

In this activity, a judge throws the rubber chicken behind all seated players, who then race to retrieve it and return it to their team’s line while protecting it from opponents trying to steal it back. The game continues until every player on each team has had a turn, creating an engaging and fun atmosphere that fosters camaraderie and friendly competition.

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Rules for Rubber Chicken

  1. Check for any hazards in the play area.
  2. Assign a judge who will have a rubber chicken.
  3. Divide players into two teams with even numbers.
  4. Line teams up parallel to each other and have them seated on the ground.
  5. The judge throws the rubber chicken behind all players.
  6. On the judge’s command, the first player from each team races to the chicken.
  7. Players run back to their lines while protecting or trying to steal the chicken.
  8. The player with the chicken tosses it back strategically for the next player on their team to have an advantage.
  9. Repeat steps 6-8 until all players in a line have retrieved the chicken.
  10. Substitute the rubber chicken with other objects for game variations.
  11. Add obstacles for an extra challenge.
  12. Implement one-arm challenges and light force, depending on competitiveness or physicality.
  13. Set up boundaries with paint or cones if needed.
  14. Adjust the number of teams for increased competition or team pairing.

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Materials needed for Rubber Chicken

  • Rubber Chicken: This is the main object to be used in the game. It will be tossed and retrieved by players throughout the duration of the game.
  • Open Area: While not a physical object, having a spacious area to play in is crucial for ensuring player safety and allowing them enough room to move around freely.
  • Judge: This person will oversee the game, ensure rules are being followed, and act as the one who tosses the rubber chicken.
  • Players: These are the individuals participating in the Rubber Chicken Game. They should be ready to move quickly and pay close attention to the game’s progression.
  • Seating for Players: Each team’s players will need a place to sit while waiting for their turn to retrieve the rubber chicken. This can be on the ground or on benches if available.
  • Optional Obstacles: If you choose to incorporate challenges into the game, you may need items such as hoops, cones, or other objects to create an obstacle course.

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Setting up for Rubber Chicken

To set up for the Rubber Chicken Game, you will need to find a large open area that is free of objects or holes that could cause injuries. Once you have found a suitable location, assign one person to be the judge and have them sit in a central position with the rubber chicken.

Next, take your players and split them into two even groups. Set the groups parallel to each other and have them seated on the ground, facing the judge. Each line of players should be spaced a few feet apart from one another to allow for room to run.

Before starting the game, it is important to explain the rules and ensure that all players understand how to play safely. You may also want to set limits on physical contact to prevent injuries or excessive force. Once everyone is ready, the judge can begin the game by throwing the rubber chicken behind the players.

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How to play Rubber Chicken

  1. Split the group into two teams: I like to divide the group into two even teams and have them sit down facing me, the judge.
  2. Give clear instructions: Before starting the game, I make sure to explain the rules clearly and answer any questions the players may have.
  3. Throw the rubber chicken: I choose a spot behind all of the players and throw the rubber chicken, getting the game started.
  4. Race to the rubber chicken: On my command or whistle, the first player from each team stands up and runs to retrieve the rubber chicken.
  5. Return to the starting line: The players then run back to their teams while protecting the rubber chicken from being stolen by the opposing player.
  6. Pass the rubber chicken: Once the player reaches the starting line, they toss the rubber chicken back to the next player on their team.
  7. Repeat until everyone has gone: The game continues with each player taking a turn running to retrieve the rubber chicken and returning it to their team’s line.
  8. Use variations for added challenge: I sometimes add obstacles or challenges, such as dizzy bat races or one-armed challenges, to make the game more exciting and challenging.
  9. Enforce boundaries and rules: To ensure a safe and fair game, I set clear boundaries and enforce rules about acceptable force when trying to steal the rubber chicken.
  10. Have fun!: The Rubber Chicken icebreaker is a high-energy and engaging game that’s perfect for breaking the ice at any event. I always make sure to encourage everyone to have fun and enjoy themselves while playing.

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Benefits of Rubber Chicken

  • Builds Competitiveness: The Rubber Chicken Game encourages a healthy sense of competitiveness among players as they race to retrieve the chicken and protect it from being stolen by opponents.
  • Promotes Quick Thinking: The fast-paced nature of the game requires players to think quickly and make strategic decisions, such as where to toss the rubber chicken to give their teammates an advantage.
  • Encourages Physical Activity: As a physically active game, it promotes movement and exercise, which can improve overall fitness and well-being.
  • Fosters Teamwork: Players work together as a team, taking turns retrieving the rubber chicken and protecting it from opponents. This helps build trust and collaboration among team members.
  • Improves Reaction Time: The game’s fast pace requires players to be ready to move at any given moment, helping improve their reaction time and agility.
  • Enhances Communication Skills: Players must communicate effectively with each other to strategize and work together as a team, which can help build confidence and communication skills.
  • Provides an Opportunity for Fun and Socialization: The Rubber Chicken Game is a fun and engaging activity that provides players with an opportunity to connect with one another and have a good time.

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Skills built with Rubber Chicken

  • Physical Activity: The Rubber Chicken Game is a fast-paced and active game that requires players to run, jump, and compete with one another, promoting physical activity and fitness.
  • Teamwork: By playing in teams, the game encourages cooperation and communication among team members, building a sense of camaraderie and collaboration.
  • Competitiveness: The game brings out the competitive spirit in players as they race to retrieve the rubber chicken, fostering a healthy sense of competition and motivation to win.
  • Attentiveness: Players must be alert and ready to move at any given moment, building their focus, concentration, and quick reflexes.
  • Strategic Thinking: The game requires players to think strategically about where they toss the rubber chicken, giving their teammates an advantage in the race back to the line.
  • Adaptability: With variations such as obstacles and one-arm challenges, the game pushes players to adapt and respond quickly to changing circumstances.
  • Inclusivity: The Rubber Chicken Game is suitable for groups of all sizes, making it an inclusive activity that can be enjoyed by everyone.

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Why I like Rubber Chicken

I enjoy the Rubber Chicken game icebreaker because it is an active and engaging activity that can be played by groups of all sizes. The simplicity of the game, requiring only a rubber chicken and players, makes it easy to organize and play in various scenarios. I find this game particularly appealing due to its fast-paced nature, which keeps everyone attentive and ready to move at any given moment.

Playing the Rubber Chicken game outdoors or in large open areas allows me to run around safely without worrying about crashing into objects, adding to the excitement and fun of the game. The competitive aspect of this icebreaker is also something I appreciate, as it encourages players to be speedy and strategic in their efforts to retrieve the rubber chicken.

The set-up process for the Rubber Chicken game is straightforward, with minimal materials needed and simple instructions to follow. This ensures that everyone can quickly understand the rules and get started with playing the game. I also like that the game can be customized with variations such as substituting the rubber chicken with other objects or incorporating obstacles for added challenges.

In summary, I like the Rubber Chicken icebreaker due to its active nature, ease of organization, competitive aspect, and adaptability with various gameplay options.

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Tips for making Rubber Chicken more inclusive

  • Use a softer chicken: Consider using a rubber chicken that is soft and lightweight, to make it easier for people of all abilities to participate without the risk of injury.
  • Modify the rules: Adapt the rules of the game to suit the needs and abilities of all players. For example, you can allow players to use both arms, or let them take their time returning to their line.
  • Create smaller teams: Divide players into smaller teams to ensure everyone has a fair chance of participating and to prevent overcrowding in the game area.
  • Encourage teamwork: Promote cooperation and communication within teams by allowing players to work together to retrieve the rubber chicken. This can help build relationships and create a more inclusive atmosphere.
  • Provide clear instructions: Make sure everyone understands the rules and objectives of the game. Use simple language and visual cues, such as demonstrations or diagrams, to help explain the game and make it accessible to all players.
  • Create a safe environment: Choose a spacious, hazard-free area for playing the game. Ensure that there are clear boundaries and that everyone understands them. Encourage players to be mindful of each other’s safety and to respect personal space.
  • Rotate roles: Offer opportunities for all players to take on different roles within the game, such as judge or team leader. This can help ensure everyone feels involved and valued.
  • Celebrate effort, not just victory: Recognize the contributions of all players, regardless of whether they won or lost. Focus on celebrating individual efforts, skills, and personal growth rather than just the final outcome of the game.

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Reflection questions for Rubber Chicken

  1. What was your experience playing the Rubber Chicken Game? This question can help participants reflect on their thoughts and feelings during the game, allowing them to express any challenges they faced and how they overcame them.
  2. Did you find the game competitive or cooperative? Why do you think so? Understanding whether the group perceived the activity as a competition or collaboration can offer insights into their team dynamics and communication styles.
  3. How did you feel about the strategies used by your teammates during the game? This question can help participants reflect on their team’s performance, allowing them to identify strengths and areas for improvement in future activities.
  4. What challenges did you encounter while playing the Rubber Chicken Game? How did you address those challenges? This question encourages participants to think critically about problem-solving and adaptability during group activities.
  5. How do you think the game variations changed your experience of the Rubber Chicken Game? By asking this, facilitators can help participants understand how modifying rules or adding obstacles impacts their engagement and performance in a team setting.
  6. Did you observe any differences between teams while playing the game? If so, what were they? This question can prompt participants to think about diversity and inclusion within the group, as well as how individual strengths contribute to overall success.
  7. How did you feel when other players tried to steal the rubber chicken from you? How did you respond to that situation? This question encourages self-awareness and emotional intelligence, helping participants recognize their reactions to challenges and develop strategies for resilience.

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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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