The human rock, paper, scissors energizing activity is an energetic and simple, yet effective, energizing activity that works well for large groups and which is suitable for conferences and workshops.

Summary by The World of Work Project


The Human Rock, Paper, Scissors Energizing Activity

This energizer activity is a physical, host led activity that works well for large groups where participants are able to be fairly active.

It requires each participant to be able to choose a full body pose for each of the “rock, paper or scissors” gestures people normally make with their hands.

A person making a body shape, like they would in The Human Rock, Paper, Scissors Energizing Activity
Is that supposed to be scissors?!

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How the Activity Works

The activity works best in large groups, typically conferences or large workshops which have a host, compere or lead facilitator who is running the day. Obviously, before the activity starts, the host or facilitator needs to explain the rules to all of the participants. We’d also recommend a brief demonstration.

In this activity all of the attendees at the event are competing against the lead facilitator at rock, paper, scissors. The twist though is that instead of using your hands, everyone adopts a body pose for each of the rock, paper or scissors shapes. You can make up whatever shapes you want for this.

The game is played over multiple rounds, until only one person is left standing, and they are crowned the winner.

In each round of the game all of the participants in the room are competing against the host or lead facilitator. The host counts down 3,2,1, then everyone, including the host, adopts a body pose. Anyone who was “beaten” by the host then sits down, and the game is repeated. You keep playing until there is only one person left among the participants. They are the “winner” of the game and they usually receive a token prize.

Learning More

Team building and ice-breaking activities are very important. They help build trust in teams and help progress team maturity. They can also reduce the risks of social threat and improve interpersonal awareness.

Being able to deliver them is a helpful facilitation and meeting skill. A few specific activities we’ve written about include: Human Rock, Paper Scissors, the Film Photo Challenge, the Map Game, Circle of Memory and the Questions Cocktail Party.

Laughter and play are also great ways to help build a team. You can learn more about how playfulness helps teams in our podcast on the subject:

The World of Work Project View

This activity works well provided you have the space for it, and provided the attendees are able bodied. It’s a fairly fun and quick activity, and it certainly has the effect of getting everyone energized.

Whoever is hosting this activity needs to be pretty light-hearted and fun about it though. You can’t take it too seriously and you need to be willing to energetically look like a bit foolish along the way as you make your shapes.

Of course, this activity won’t be good for all groups. Some people might find it a bit silly or embarrassing (but even if they do they’ll probably find it energizing). Ultimately, you’ll just need to decide if it’s right for your event.

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This post is based on our experiences facilitating workshops and events. There are no specific references for it.

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