Defenders Bingo

Credits Indira Cornelio, Alma Uguarte Perez Last Updated 2017-06

You and your participants will begin introducing yourselves to one another in this icebreaker exercise, which is built around an interactive game that encourages participants to get to know each other beyond just names.

This session was developed for, and should be attributed to, the Institute for War & Peace Reporting resource “Cyberwomen: Holistic Digital Security Training Curriculum for Women Human Rights Defenders” under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International CC BY-SA 4.0 License

Materials to Prepare:

  • Bingo sheets for each participant (pre-filled with participants’ names)
  • Blank index cards
  • Pens/pencils (enough for all participants)
  • Optional: Markers and blank sticky labels (for name tags)

Running the Exercise:

Remembering names and identifying faces is more difficult for some people than it is for others. This “icebreaking” exercise will help participants remember these details while also allowing them to learn more about the people they will be working with throughout the training process – each other!

Step 1 | Have each participant write their first name on a blank index card, and collect them all once everybody has finished.

Step 2 | Next, give everyone a Bingo sheet that’s been pre-prepared with all participants’ names (see example below) – optionally, you may also include your name on the board.

Example of a pre-prepared Bingo sheet:

Step 3 | Explain to the group how the game works:

  • You will read aloud, one by one, the index cards that participants filled in with their names;
  • As you read out names, participants will circle each name where it appears on their Bingo sheets;
  • The first participant to circle a complete row of names (horizontally or vertically) will shout “Bingo!” and be declared the winner.

Step 4 | Ask the winner to read aloud the name of the first participant in their winning row – the person named will stand up, repeat her name, and then add a detail (choose which ahead of time and let them know as part of your instructions) such as what she likes to do in her spare time, what her favorite movie or song is, her favorite food, etc.

Step 5 | The winner will repeat the process in Step 4 until each participant in their winning row has introduced themselves. As each name is called, take its matching index card from the stack you used in Step 3 and set it aside.

Step 6 | Once the winner has finished calling out the names in their winning row, thank them; then, read aloud the names on your remaining index cards so that each participant has the chance to introduce themselves to the group.

Step 7 | Once all the participants have introduced themselves, it’s your turn! Repeat your name for the group and share a detail about yourself as well. Close the exercise by reminding the group that you are all starting a new adventure together, and that knowing and recognizing each person in the group will be very important to the success of your journey.

Optional: At the end of the exercise, give each participant a blank sticky label and a marker so they can make their own name tag – this not only helps participants remember each other’s names, but also helps you to do the same (always a plus for your training process!)