A great activity for everyone

Zip Zap Boing

Fast-paced word game of selection and misdirection, where players point or pass based on called words, with a twist: the rules change mid-game!

Zip Zap Boing
By Jon Zajac

What is Zip Zap Boing?

The Zip Zap Boing icebreaker is a fast-paced and engaging game that encourages group interaction and communication. The purpose of this activity is to promote quick thinking, active listening, and paying attention to one’s surroundings. In Zip Zap Boing, players stand in a circle and take turns pointing at each other while saying either “Zip,” “Zap,” or “Boing.” Each word has a different effect on the direction of play, requiring players to think and react quickly.

The game starts with one player initiating by pointing to another player and saying “Zip” or “Zap,” depending on whether they want to choose the person to their left or right. If a player wants to select the person who pointed at them, they say “Boing” without pointing. The selected player then becomes the next to point and call out one of the three words, continuing the cycle. A player receives a strike if they hesitate, fail to respond, or point incorrectly. Three strikes result in elimination, and the last person standing wins the round.

Zip Zap Boing creates an enjoyable atmosphere that helps participants relax, have fun, and get to know each other better. The shifting rules and emphasis on verbal cues rather than physical gestures keep players on their toes and create a sense of shared excitement. This icebreaker is suitable for groups of various sizes and ages, making it a versatile choice for classrooms, parties, or team-building events.

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Rules for Zip Zap Boing

  1. If a player wants to choose the player to their left, they point and say “Zip”.
  2. If they want to choose the player on their right, the point and say “Zap”.
  3. If they want to choose the person that just pointed at them, they say “Boing” without pointing.
  4. Each time another player is selected in this way, it is their turn to quickly Zip, Zap, or Boing.
  5. If a player hesitates or doesn’t respond when it is their turn, they get a strike.
  6. If a player’s word doesn’t match where they are pointing, they get a strike.
  7. The first player to three strikes loses, and the game ends.
  8. When Zipping or Zapping, players don’t point, and when saying “Boing”, they do point. This change in rules increases confusion and requires players to pay close attention to words instead of pointing motions.

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Materials needed for Zip Zap Boing

  • Players: A group of ten or more people
  • Open Space: Enough room for the players to stand in a circle
  • Mental Alertness: The ability to quickly process information and react accordingly

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Setting up for Zip Zap Boing

To set up for the Zip Zap Boing icebreaker activity, you will need to gather a group of people and have them form a circle. This game is best played with ten or more participants. There are no specific materials needed for this activity, only a group of people willing to participate in the game.

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How to play Zip Zap Boing

  1. Establish a circle of players. Have everyone in the group stand in a circle so that they can easily see and hear each other.

  2. Decide on the starting player. Determine who will start the game by choosing randomly or selecting the person who appears most eager to begin.

  3. Understand the Zip, Zap, Boing words. Remember the meaning of each word: “Zip” means pointing and choosing the player on your left, “Zap” means pointing and choosing the player on your right, and “Boing” means selecting the person who just pointed at you without any pointing.

  4. Follow the Zip, Zap, Boing pattern. Start with the first player making a clapping motion, saying “Zip,” and pointing to another player. The chosen player then continues by using one of the words and pointing accordingly, following the rules outlined in Step 3.

  5. Pay attention to strikes. Keep track of any hesitation or incorrect word usage, giving strikes as needed. Three strikes for a single player result in elimination from the round.

  6. Change up the rules (optional). To increase confusion and challenge players further, modify the rules so that Zips and Zaps are no longer accompanied by pointing, and Boings require pointing. This change will force players to focus more on the words used than their physical motions.

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Benefits of Zip Zap Boing

  • Improves Reaction Time: Playing Zip Zap Boing requires quick thinking and reflexes. The game’s fast-paced nature helps players to react quickly to different situations, which can be beneficial in many real-life scenarios.
  • Enhances Focus and Concentration: In order to avoid getting strikes, players need to pay close attention to the words used and the actions of other players. This sharpens their focus and concentration, making them more alert and attentive.
  • Boosts Confidence and Public Speaking Skills: Since Zip Zap Boing is a group game that involves speaking out loud, it can help boost players’ confidence and public speaking skills. The game provides a fun and low-pressure environment for players to practice their communication skills.
  • Promotes Social Interaction and Teamwork: Playing Zip Zap Boing requires players to interact with each other and work together as a team. The game encourages cooperation, active listening, and respect for others’ turns, which can help build stronger relationships and promote a positive group dynamic.
  • Encourages Adaptability and Flexibility: Changing the rules of the game randomly forces players to adapt quickly to new situations and be flexible in their thinking. This skill is valuable in many areas of life, including work, school, and personal relationships.

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Skills built with Zip Zap Boing

  • Communication Skills: Playing Zip Zap Boing requires clear and concise communication, as players must quickly say the correct word and point to the appropriate person. This helps build communication skills by encouraging quick thinking and clear articulation.
  • Attention to Detail: As the rules of Zip Zap Boing change, players must pay close attention to the words used and the direction of pointing. This helps improve focus and concentration, allowing players to better observe their surroundings and respond appropriately.
  • Reaction Time: With the speed at which the game is played, players must react quickly to avoid getting strikes. This develops quick reflexes and improves reaction time, making it easier to respond to unexpected situations in other areas of life.
  • Memory Recall: Remembering the changing rules of Zip Zap Boing can be challenging, especially as they are switched back and forth throughout the game. This helps improve memory recall, allowing players to better retain and recall important information.
  • Social Skills: As a group game, Zip Zap Boing requires interaction with others, helping build social skills such as cooperation and teamwork. Players must work together to keep the game going, fostering a sense of community and collaboration.

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Why I like Zip Zap Boing

I like the Zip Zap Boing icebreaker because it is a fun and engaging way to get people moving, speaking up, and paying attention in a group setting. The game’s rules are simple enough to understand quickly, but the added twist of choosing the direction of play with each word keeps things interesting and challenging.

One reason I enjoy this icebreaker is that it helps me to focus and be present in the moment. Since the game requires quick thinking and reflexes, I need to pay attention to what’s happening and respond quickly to avoid getting strikes. This mental exercise is an excellent warm-up for any activity, whether it’s a class, a meeting, or a party.

Another reason I like Zip Zap Boing is that it encourages interaction and communication between players. The game requires players to point and speak to each other, creating a sense of connection and engagement. Additionally, the rules can be changed and modified, allowing for new challenges and variations to keep things fresh and exciting.

Overall, I find Zip Zap Boing to be an enjoyable and effective icebreaker that helps me connect with others, sharpen my mind, and have fun in a group setting.

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Tips for making Zip Zap Boing more inclusive

  • Tip: Adapt the game to different ages and abilities. For example, for younger children or those with special needs, you can simplify the rules or allow more time for responses.
  • Tip: Encourage everyone to participate by creating a welcoming and non-judgmental atmosphere. Make it clear that mistakes are part of the learning process and that everyone is there to have fun.
  • Tip: Be mindful of cultural differences and avoid using words or phrases that may be offensive or misunderstood by some participants. Consider providing alternative options or explanations if necessary.
  • Tip: Use inclusive language and avoid making assumptions about people’s gender, race, ethnicity, ability, or background. For example, instead of saying “guys” or “girls,” you can say “everyone” or “friends.”
  • Tip: Provide clear instructions and demonstrate the game before starting to play. Make sure everyone understands the rules and can see and hear what’s happening.
  • Tip: Be flexible and adaptable to different situations. If something doesn’t work as planned, try a different approach or modify the game to better suit the needs of the group.

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Reflection questions for Zip Zap Boing

  1. What was your experience playing Zip Zap Boing? Understanding participants’ experiences can give insight into how well they connected with others during the activity.
  2. How did you decide when to point and when not to point? This question can reveal how attentive participants were to changes in rules, as well as their ability to adapt quickly to new instructions.
  3. Did you find it challenging to keep up with the changing rules? Why or why not? This question can help facilitators gauge the level of difficulty for the group and adjust future activities accordingly.
  4. How did you manage communication with your fellow players during the game? Examining communication strategies used during the icebreaker can lead to valuable insights about teamwork and collaboration.
  5. Can you share a moment when you felt particularly engaged or connected with another participant? Encouraging participants to reflect on positive connections can foster a sense of community and belonging within the group.
  6. What strategies did you use to minimize mistakes and avoid strikes? This question can help facilitate discussions about problem-solving, resilience, and self-improvement.
  7. How might the skills you used during Zip Zap Boing apply to real-world situations or other group activities? Connecting the icebreaker to practical applications can deepen participants’ understanding of its value and relevance.

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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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