“Fizz Buzz” is a simple game that can be used as an energizer or team building activity. To play the game, individuals are placed into small groups of three to six. In their groups, they take turns counting out loud. This twist is they must replace each multiple of three with “Fizz” and each multiple of five with “Buzz”. Other variations exist.

Summary by The World of Work Project

Fizz Buzz

A diagram showing what people say when playing Fizz Buzz

This fast paced children’s game works best for small and medium sized groups. It can be flexed to work for either more or less active groups.

Players generally stand in a circle in a group of between three to six. The player designated to go first says the number “one”, and each player after them counts one number in turn. However, any number divisible by three is replaced by the word “fizz”. And any divisible by five by the word “buzz”. Numbers divisible by both become “fizz-buzz”. A player who hesitates or makes a mistake is eliminated from the game.

While this game is usually used for groups, it’s also possible to play the game in pairs. In this version, the pair that lasts the longest in the room is crowned as victors.

You can also modify the game as you wish by replacing Fizz / Buzz with any words you choose, or with an action.

For example, instead of saying “fizz” participants can be told that they need to clap, or jump, or raise an arm. Through this type of modification it’s possible to make the game quite silly and funny.

Alternatively, you can modify the actions of the game to link to overarching themes that you’re looking to focus on.

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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: The Disassociated Word Game, Participant Bingo, Find Your Partner, Vegetable Introductions, and Human Rock, Paper, Scissors.

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

Fizz Buzz is a simple children’s game that’s actually quite helpful as a way to energize a group. It’s not for everyone, so you need to choose when and with whom you use it. It is, though, a useful energizer to know.

To its advantage is the fact that it requires no materials or preparation, and it can bring some good humor and energy. The ability to modify it with words or actions that link to the overall theme of the day or activity is also helpful.

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This post is based on general experience and there are no specific references for it.

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