A great activity for everyone

Thirsty Straws

Hilarious Water Relay Race: Drink as Much as You Can, Pass it On!

Thirsty Straws
By Jon Zajac

What is Thirsty Straws?

The Thirsty Straws icebreaker is a fun and engaging relay race designed for groups of four individuals aged 10 and up. The purpose of this game is to encourage teamwork, communication, and camaraderie while providing a lighthearted and entertaining experience. The objective of the game is to be the first team to drink an entire liter of water, with each member only allowed to drink once. However, the twist is that if every person does not consume their share, the last team member is left with the often insurmountable task of finishing off the remaining water. This aspect of the game usually results in laughter and enjoyment for both the participants and spectators. While this version may not be the most hygienic option, a cleaner alternative involves using multiple bottles of water in a relay format, where the next person can drink when the previous one finishes their bottle. Overall, Thirsty Straws is an excellent icebreaker to promote social interaction and team building while providing a memorable experience for all involved.

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Rules for Thirsty Straws

  1. Players must be divided into teams of 4.
  2. Each team is given a liter of water and long straws.
  3. The straws should be long enough to reach the bottom of the container.
  4. Choose the order in which each person will drink.
  5. The goal of the game is to finish the entire liter of water before the other teams, with each member drinking only once.
  6. If a player does not drink their share, the last person is left to finish whatever is left, usually a difficult and hilarious task.
  7. As an alternative, consider using multiple bottles of water for a cleaner option. The next person can drink when the person finishes his or her one bottle.

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Materials needed for Thirsty Straws

  • Liter bottles of water: You will need one liter bottle of water for each team participating in the Thirsty Straws icebreaker game.
  • Straws long enough to reach the bottom of the container: Each player will need a straw that is long enough to reach the bottom of the liter bottle. This will allow them to drink the water more efficiently during the relay race.

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Setting up for Thirsty Straws

To set up for the Thirsty Straws icebreaker activity, you will need to gather enough teams of 4 players each and have them gather in a suitable outdoor setting. Before starting the game, designate a clear start and finish line for the relay race. Each team should be positioned behind the start line, with their liter of water and straws ready. It is important to ensure that there is adequate space between teams to prevent any accidents or spills during the game. Additionally, make sure that a bathroom is available nearby due to the high probability of players needing to use the restroom after drinking large amounts of water. Lastly, remind players of the rules and the importance of following good sportsmanship and having fun.

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How to play Thirsty Straws

  1. Gather materials: I make sure to have all the necessary materials ready, including a liter of water for each team and straws long enough to reach the bottom of the container.
  2. Divide into teams: I divide the participants into teams of four, making sure everyone understands their teammates and the order in which they will drink.
  3. Explain the rules: I explain the objective of Thirsty Straws: to be the first team to drink the entire liter of water, with each member only allowed to drink once. I emphasize that if every person doesn’t drink their share, the last person will have a very difficult task and it may lead to some laughs.
  4. Start the game: I give the signal for the first person in each team to begin drinking using the straw provided. The water must be drunk directly from the container, not poured into a glass or another vessel.
  5. Pass the container: Once a participant finishes drinking, they pass the container to the next person in their team, who then starts drinking. This relay-racing style continues until one team successfully drinks all of their water.
  6. Determine the winner: The first team to finish their liter of water wins Thirsty Straws!
  7. (Optional) Cleaner alternative: If sanitation is a concern, I suggest an alternate version using multiple bottles of water. Each person drinks from their own bottle and passes it on when finished, ensuring a more hygienic experience.

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Benefits of Thirsty Straws

  • Builds Teamwork: By working together to finish the liter of water before the other teams, players learn the importance of communication and collaboration in achieving a common goal.
  • Encourages Quick Thinking: The fast-paced nature of the game requires players to think on their feet and make quick decisions, helping them develop critical thinking skills.
  • Promotes Healthy Competition: The relay race aspect of the game brings out the competitive spirit in players, making it a fun way to encourage physical activity and healthy habits.
  • Improves Endurance: Drinking large amounts of water quickly can be challenging, but it also helps improve lung capacity and endurance over time.
  • Enhances Mood: The combination of exercise, fresh air, and friendly competition releases endorphins, boosting players’ moods and overall well-being.
  • Provides a Good Laugh: Watching teammates struggle to finish their share of water can lead to lots of laughter, creating a fun and enjoyable atmosphere for all involved.

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Skills built with Thirsty Straws

  • Teamwork: Playing Thirsty Straws requires effective team communication and cooperation to ensure that each member drinks their share of the water in the most efficient way possible.
  • Time Management: The game teaches players to manage their time wisely, as they need to drink quickly to pass on the container to the next person.
  • Hand-Eye Coordination: Drinking through a straw while trying to finish first requires good hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.
  • Endurance: The game can be quite physically demanding, especially if teams are competing against each other, which helps build endurance and stamina.
  • Problem Solving: Players need to come up with strategies to drink as fast as they can while minimizing spills, making the game a great way to encourage problem-solving skills.
  • Competitive Spirit: Thirsty Straws is a fun and engaging relay race that encourages a healthy competitive spirit among players, helping them develop sportsmanship and a positive attitude towards competition.

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Why I like Thirsty Straws

I appreciate the Thirsty Straws icebreaker because it is both enjoyable and engaging for participants aged 10 and up. The game encourages teamwork and competition, making it an excellent activity for groups of friends or colleagues. I also like that the game can be easily adapted to different settings and group sizes, allowing for flexibility in its implementation.

Furthermore, the messiness factor of Thirsty Straws adds to its appeal as a fun and memorable icebreaker. The challenge of drinking quickly and passing on the container adds an element of excitement and anticipation, creating a lively atmosphere that is sure to break the ice among participants.

However, I understand that not everyone may appreciate the messiness or potential lack of sanitation involved in drinking from a shared container. In such cases, I suggest modifying the game by providing each team with multiple bottles of water, allowing for a cleaner and more hygienic alternative.

Overall, Thirsty Straws is an enjoyable and engaging icebreaker that can bring people together through friendly competition and laughter.

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Tips for making Thirsty Straws more inclusive

  • Tip: Consider using different types of beverages to accommodate team members with varying preferences or dietary restrictions. For example, offer water, juice, or non-dairy milk as options. This simple modification can help ensure that everyone feels included and comfortable participating in the game.
  • Tip: Use accessible language when explaining the rules to make sure all players understand how to play. Avoid using complex words or phrases that may be difficult for some individuals to comprehend, especially if English is not their first language.
  • Tip: Encourage teamwork and communication among team members by emphasizing the importance of collaboration in completing the relay race. This can help create a more inclusive environment where everyone feels valued and involved.
  • Tip: Modify the game to reduce physical strain or stress, such as allowing players to sit down while drinking or taking breaks as needed. This can help ensure that individuals with mobility issues or disabilities can participate fully and comfortably.
  • Tip: Consider offering smaller or larger containers depending on the size and abilities of each team. For example, teams with younger or less experienced players may benefit from using smaller containers to make the task more manageable. Conversely, more competitive or older teams may enjoy the challenge of using larger containers. This can help level the playing field and create a more inclusive game for all.

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Reflection questions for Thirsty Straws

  1. What was your strategy as a team for completing the Thirsty Straws game? This question can help participants reflect on how they approached the challenge of working together to drink an entire liter of water. It may also highlight the importance of having a clear plan and coordinating efforts in a group setting.
  2. How did you feel when it was your turn to drink the water? Why? This question can encourage participants to reflect on their emotions and physical sensations during the game, which can help build empathy and self-awareness.
  3. Did anyone step up as a leader during the game? If so, how did they demonstrate leadership? This question can help facilitators identify potential leaders within the group and encourage participants to reflect on what qualities make a good leader.
  4. What challenges did your team face while playing Thirsty Straws? How did you overcome them? This question can help participants reflect on their problem-solving skills and ability to adapt to unexpected obstacles, which are valuable skills in any setting.
  5. How can the lessons learned from this game be applied to real-world situations? This question can help participants make meaningful connections between the game and their daily lives, emphasizing the importance of teamwork, communication, and leadership in achieving shared goals.

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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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