Zip Zap Boing

This fun icebreaker can help students focus and learn to pay attention to each other.

Ask participants to form a circle. The activity starts with someone (the facilitator, to start) saying “Zip” and going around the circle to the right, everyone else saying “Zip,” one at a time. At any point, someone can say “Boing,” which reverses the order. Then everyone around the circle has to say “Zap,” with the order moving opposite to how it started. If someone says “Boing” again, the order is again reversed and each person has to say “Zip” again, in order.

If someone makes a mistake and says the wrong thing or speaks out of order, start over. When everyone understands the game, you can make it competitive and have people sit down if they make a mistake. The last person standing is the winner. If you have a class with more than 10 people, I recommend sticking with the cooperative model, since it can take a long time to get to a single winner.

from Moving Beyond Icebreakers, by Stanley Pollack and Mary Fusoni