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Including a Brainstorming icebreaker activity can be a great way to get participants in a training session to be creative and also to have fun getting to know each other. The ‘Mood boards’ brainstorming activity is one of our favorites and it’s detailed below, for you to use.

Brainstorming icebreaker

Recommended Brainstorming Time-frame

If you allow 15 to 20 minutes for this brainstorming icebreaker activity, that is the best option.

You can also ask the participants to return to this activity at different points during the training session so that they can build on what they have learned during the training session and then apply it to their brainstorming.

Number of Participants and Group Numbers

This activity can be run in small groups or the whole class can contribute to the same board and then engage in a final discussion.

If you decide to separate your participants into small groups, I suggest 4 to 6 participants in each group.

Purpose Of this Icebreaker Activity

The ‘Mood boards’ activity really gives your participants a chance to be creative, to work together as a team, by associations, and to use a variety of media, such as words, drawings, or photos.

‘Mood boards’ also help participants work as part of a team, as each participant will give input to the creative process.

This activity is especially good to include if the subject you are teaching involves creativity in some form.

Activity Instructions

1. For this activity, you will need:

  • An empty wall or a board on which to attach items
  • Blue tack, stick tape or drawing pins (depending on the board material)
  • Scissors
  • Post-it notes
  • Old magazines for cutting out photos
  • Pictures
  • Markers and/or pens
  • String if you want participants to create connections between items

2. Decide on the focus, or purpose of your mood board. Is there a specific question you would like the participants to answer? A specific problem to solve? A certain point you would like them to reflect on? Are you trying to get your participants to brainstorm?

3. Place an ‘anchor’ in the middle of the board. This can be a word or an evocative photo.

4. Ask participants to add new elements (words or pictures), thinking about how the new item complements or adds to the anchor and the following elements. The mood board can develop various branches.

5. Once the mood board is finished, start a discussion, which can include questions such as:

  • What themes come out or repeat?
  • Do we notice any trends?
  • Are there any negative issues?
  • Do we spot any opportunities?
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Benefits of the ‘Mood Boards’ Brainstorming Icebreaker

  • Mood boards are hands-on activities that encourage participants to use actual materials. So, they are good at stimulating the kinaesthetic learning style.
  • Because of the variety of media involved (e.g., visuals and words), they can stimulate different types of learning styles.
  • This type of activity stimulates team building and communication.

This activity really encourages participants to think holistically and to make associations between different ideas.This is an activity that tends to be popular and fun to do and is an easy activity to run as a teacher or freelance trainer.

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Paul Symonds PhD

Paul is a trained researcher with a PhD in wayfinding. Paul is a co-founder of Symonds training. We focus on providing high-quality training materials packages and programs for trainers, classroom teachers and HR departments.

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