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Tick Tock!


This is a simple energiser that you can use in a course or workshop to produce some laughter and relaxation. Do not take this seriously, no-one will learn anything profound except the benefits of laughter. It is best for eight to twenty people.


Have the group sit in a circle with you as leader.

You have two pens, large markers are best.

You start by passing one pen to the person on your right.

You say "This is a Tick"

The person on the right can only pass it on to the next person on the right, if he or she has checked back with you what it is. He or she does this by saying "A what?" to you, if she/he is sitting next to you, or the person on his or her left, who passes the "A what" back, to the next person, until it gets back to you.

When you have "A what?" come back to you from your right, you confirm it by saying "A tick" and the "A tick" goes to the right until the person who has the "tick" hears it and passes the pen (The tick) on to the next person on the right. This person then needs to check back what it is, as above.

So you have "a tick" going to your right and "a what's" coming back to you from your right.

After the tick has got to the second person on your right, start the "tock" going round the circle the other way, with the same rules. That is the person who gets it can't pass it on until she or he has checked back with you what it is, as before. Now "a what's"  and pens, are going round the group both ways.

When the "tick and tock" cross, the marmalade meets the mixer and much merriment and mayhem materialises! 

The game ends when the tick and tock are back in your hands having been right round the group.

I first played this at silly New Years Eve parties - I think it came from David Jaques.

It is nothing like as difficult to do as to describe.


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Phone +44 (0)1707886553, or +44(0)7879861525 email or Skype nickheap

Using these materials
I am entirely happy for you to use or draw on any these materials in any way you think will be helpful. I am keen to have my work, and the work of the people I have learned from, used.  


The language on this site is correct UK English throughout. There are differences in spelling and meaning between UK and US English. The context should make the material understandable in the US.

Further Information

There are free articles, exercises, designs, book references and links to other sources about many aspects of personal, team, management and organisation development on this website. I will add other resources as I learn what you want.

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