Icebreaker: What Is Under My Thumb

Icebreaker: What Is Under My Thumb


This fun activity is suitable as an ice breaker. This is a simple randomisation exercise that you can use to get a group of people answer a number of random questions. You will need to write these questions on a football before the course. As each delegate receives the ball he should randomly answer a question based on the setup described here.

Since you have total control over the questions, you can bias the exercise based on your needs. You can use it as an icebreaker with generic questions about delegates. You can also use this for recap to cover what has been discussed in a particular session by asking delegates to answer related questions. You can also use this method as a test.


Answer a random question written on a ball.

What You Need

  • A football. You will need to write a number of questions on the hexagons and pentagons. You can also do this by sticking labels on the ball so you can easily change the questions for another exercise. The choice of these questions will dictate the nature of the exercise you are running and you should choose them based on your training needs.
    • For an icebreaker you can use:
      • Favourite holiday
      • Favourite car
      • Favourite sport
      • Favourite museum
      • Favourite city to visit
      • Favourite country to visit
      • Favourite board game
      • Favourite hobby
    • For recap you can use a number of questions related to what you just taught.


  • Get all the delegates to form a circle while standing.
  • Ask for a volunteer who will start the exercise.
  • Explain that you will throw the football at him and the volunteer needs to catch it firmly.
  • The volunteer should then look to see which hexagons or pentagons his thumbs have landed on and answer the two questions written on each tile underneath his thumbs.
  • Ask the volunteer to throw the ball at someone else. The new person should answer the questions and then throw the ball at the next random person.
  • Continue until all delegates have contributed.
  • Optionally you can carry on with another round so delegates get to answer more questions. In this case set a rule that they cannot answer a question twice. If their thumb is on a repeat question they have answered before, they should answer the question written on a tile next to the one underneath their thumb.


Explaining the Exercise: 2 minutes

Activity: 10 minutes

Group Feedback: 0 minutes






By Linda @ Wednesday, September 18, 2013 10:02 AM

I expected to see a brown leather "oval" football, lol, in the US we call the pictured ball a soccer ball. Thanks for the fun icebreaker.

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