Quirky Ideas as Positive Contributors

When lockdown began in March 2020, the prep school came up with the idea to ask for volunteers to set a daily challenge for other staff. As we were restricted in our movements and socialising opportunities, this was a lovely way to engage people, get creative and share.

Challenges varied with art, cooking, poetry, quizzes etc on offer. The challenge I spent most time on was Rachel Brooke’s ‘MCM Prep School does desert island discs’. “Choose six tracks to take to a desert island and give reasons for your choices” – what could be simpler?….well – I, like many others, agonised over these choices and it was actually pretty tough.

It was so rewarding to read the reasons for the tracks. There was so much emotion in the recollection of the stories.

The link to wellbeing here is twofold.

We love the opportunity to think and talk about ourselves….however, the real joy in doing this is knowing that the people you are sharing with are interested and ask good questions based on your responses. It’s a fantastic ice-breaker.

Empathising and bonding are key wellbeing contributors. Debate and discussion also. Music choices certainly spark debate, so this activity was perfect. The stories behind the choices were powerful and often similar. These included holidays, family and special moments in people’s lives so empathy was also present.

I’m not sure whether ‘quirky’ is the correct term to use for the following list as some ideas are fairly ordinary. Anyway – here are some ideas for ice-breakers, or games to try, especially if you are at a loose end, missing family and friends, or even planning to meet new people successfully.

My choices were as follows – do have a go yourself as the process is rewarding –

WARNING – this may interfere with many other plans you have…

Africa – TotoBanger – Upbeat, great intro, very recognisable and everyone sings along. Singing is  good for you – FACT
Together in Electric Dreams – Oakley & MoroderThe best first or last song of an evening. Gets you dancing or leaving wanting more.
Love Will Tear Us Apart – Joy DivisionAbsolute Banger – I grew up in the 80s.
A Message To You Rudy – The SpecialsReminds me of summer BBQs in South London with family and friends – Ska, Rum and cards. Allows you to dream of being in the Caribbean feeling perfect.
 It Must Be Love – MadnessMy favourite love song!
 Blitzkrieg Bop – RamonesIf someone asked me for a definition of ‘pop’, I’d play this for them.

Ice-breakers (when requiring conversation):

  1. What fictional world would you like to live in? 
  2. What period of History would you like to return to?
  3. What place would you go to immediately if you could click your fingers and be there?
  4. What superpower would you have for a day?
  5. If you could invite a selection of guests to dinner, who would they be and why (past or present)?
  6. List your top 5s (any category here: fruits, tv, volcanoes, islands, oils, currencies, impressionist painters….


Ideas for When You Are Alone:

  1. Culture Vulture – find out facts about a culture you know very little about. Did you know that in Mexico it is traditional for those celebrating their birthday to have their face shoved into the cake whilst taking the first bite?
  2. Listen to a new podcast or radio show. Every so often choose one on a topic or subject you are less familiar or confident with. If you are into sport and food try ‘Life Goals’ and ‘Off Menu’. Both full of stories, music, food and emotion.
  3. Write a letter. This can be so ‘mindful’ and therapeutic. I recently wrote my mum a letter but instead of sending it, read it to her down the phone. It was great!
  4. Write a speech…maybe ‘Why I love…? Or ‘Why is it important to…?’
    Plan an appearance on ‘Room 101’. What would you like to get rid of forever?
  5. Complete some riddles or code-breaking. Try the lateral thinking puzzles
    Listen to a quiz or ask Alexa to provide one for you.
  6. Stare out of the window or find a favourite spot to sit or walk. Observe nature.

There are so many others and as I write this my youngest son is taking part in a ‘pointless’ game in his online science lesson where the pupils have to write something that no-one else comes up with within 10 seconds on a separate scientific category each time.

Thanks for reading!

Mr A. Duncan | Head of Geography

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