4 of a Kind

Type of Initiative:  Icebreaker, Energizer

Source:  Playing With A Full Deck, by Michelle Cummings

Group Size:  Best played with 16 or more players.

Props Needed:  playing cards, one per participant

Setting Up the Cards:  You will need one card for each participant with 3-4 cards from each suit.  For example, if you have 13 people in your group you would need four Diamonds, four Hearts, three Clubs, and three Spades.

Playing the Game:  Invite your group to stand in a circle.  Shuffle the cards and deal each participant one card.  Ask them to hold it face down and not look at their card.  The goal of the activity is for participants get into groups of 4 according to suits as quickly as possible.  When the facilitator calls out, “Go!” participants quickly look at their card and scramble to get into 4 of a kind.  When a group believes they are in the right place they put their finger next to their nose.  After groups have formed, they must come up with 4 things they all have in common with each other.  After a few minutes of sharing, all groups exchange cards with three people from other groups so they do not know what card they have.  When the facilitator calls out “Go!” participants quickly look at their card and scramble to get into 4 of a kind.

Variation:  When the facilitator calls out “Go!” participants place their card to their forehead without looking at it.  Group members must help each other get into 4 of a kind.

Debriefing Topics:

  • What were some of the things you found you had in common with others in the group?
  • Was is difficult to find four things you have in common?


Learning styles utilized from the 7 Kinds of Smart:  ~self smart, people smart, picture smart, body smart

Purchase from the Training Wheels store:  Playing With a Full Deck, Jumbo Playing Cards

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