Engaging Games

Play these games as a whole group to help you and your trainees get to know each other, cooperate, and build empathy and connection.

From: Online Games to Get Your Class Engaged & Connected. Developed by Jason Jacobs & Laurine Towler - https://www.morningsidecenter.org/teachable-moment/lessons/online-games-get-your-class-engaged-connected


Objective: This activity builds group cooperation, focus, and concentration.


  1. This game can be played with cameras off/on, or a mix of both.

  2. The goal is to count to 20 as a group. Someone will start with “1,” then someone else will say “2” and so on. (NO assigned order)

  3. Anyone can say a number. However, if two people speak at the same time, you go back to 1 and start again from the beginning.

  4. If the group gets to 20 and wants to continue, the group can see how high they can count, or go backwards from 20 to 1.

  5. Optional: Depending on the size of the group, you can require that every person contributes at least one of the numbers.


Invite students to share:

  • What was challenging about this?

  • What did we have to do as a group to work together?

  • How could our group take it to the next level the next time we play?


  • If the group finds this challenging, ask, “What could we do as a group to do better?” Encourage suggestions that build teamwork such as listen closely, everyone only say one number, remember who has gone before, etc.

  • Discourage short-cuts such as establishing a pattern or using nonverbal signals.


Objective: Builds group focus and cooperation, encourages active participation and demonstrates the importance of each individual in the group pattern.


  1. Make sure everyone in the group can see each other. (Everyone should have camera ON, Microphone ON, and “Gallery View”).

  2. Explain that you will establish a pattern by sending a CLAP to someone on your screen, and saying their name. They will then send the CLAP to someone else and say their name. Everyone should receive the CLAP one time only. The last person to receive the CLAP passes it back to the facilitator. If necessary, help participants identify who has not yet received the CLAP.

  3. Tell participants to remember WHO they received and sent the CLAP to. Explain that our first goal is to establish a pattern that can be repeated.

  4. Send the CLAP through the group again, SAYING THE NAME of the recipient, while following the same pattern.

  5. When the group has successfully sent the CLAP through the same pattern twice, pause when you receive it. Tell the group you are now going to send through the same pattern, WITHOUT saying the name of the person you are sending it to.

  6. Optional intermediate step: When/if the group masters sending the CLAP without saying the names for 2-3 rounds, announce that after sending the CLAP, you will start sending a second movement in the same order. (This can be a SNAP or something else you choose). Our goal is to keep both gestures moving through the established pattern.

  7. Optional advanced step: When/if the group masters sending two gestures around consistently, announce that you will add a third gesture. (This can be a WAVE or something else). Try to keep all three gestures moving through the pattern consistently. This will probably take some practice and playing the game a few times.


Invite students to share:

  • What did we have to do, individually and as a group, to keep the gestures moving around?

  • What is challenging about this game?

  • What skills are we building with this game?


  • It’s best to make sure each gesture is different from the others, so they are clear to see.

  • You can invite students to suggest the three gestures.

  • Once participants know the game, you can call on a student to be the leader and start sending each of the gestures.

  • Conversation during the game can confuse things, so point out that if we’re talking, we may lose track of the gesture.

  • Strategy tip: Always keep your focus on the person you are receiving gestures from. (Better to let participants discover this themselves)

  • Keep track to ensure that both gestures continue to move around the group in the pattern. When a gesture gets dropped, you can say “We lost our CLAP movement, I’m going to start it again.”