Handshake Partners

Handshake Partners


Running Time: 15 minutes Group Size: 12-30 Materials: None


“What do you usually do when you first meet someone? Say hi? shake hands? At JUMP! we like to break the ice with a good handshake, but not just any handshake. Over the years we’ve created a whole bunch of fun handshakes and we’d like to introduce some of them to you so you can make meeting someone new a little more fun and goofy.”


  • Have the participants stand in 2 concentric circles. (They can start in a circle and after the first person steps in every other person steps in to form 2 circles).
  • Have the inside circle face the outside circle and shake hands with the person in front of them. (This way you can manage the pairs, is there one missing, etc..)


  • To interact with new people and/or learn something new about them


  • Introduce 1 handshake (some options below), have the pairs try out the handshake and then ask them to take a minute to have a conversation about 1 ice-breaking question (some options below).
  • Ask the inner or outer circle to rotate 1-4 people to the right or left, so that each person ends with a new partner, then repeat above (introduce a new handshake and ask them an ice-breaking question).
  • Do 2-3 rotations, and then give the final pairs a few minutes to create their own handshake (this will be their ‘Made-up Handshake Partner’). It should include a name, action, and sound. Once they’ve had a few minutes to create a handshake, give an opportunity to share their new handshake.


  • Lumberjack
  • Fisherman
  • Cappucino
  • Jellyfish
  • Coca-Cola
  • Heartbeat
  • Motorcycle
  • Beat Box


1. Who do you trust most in the world and why?

2. What is the most challenging thing you’ve done in the last year?

3. What is one new thing you’d like to try that you’ve never done?

4. What are you most looking forward to today?


Debrief is built into the activity through ice-breaking questions.


  • Make sure that the participants remember their handshake partners, so you can use them to get into pairs later in the program
  • You can’t choose your partner
  • Watch Video on box to see the handshakes in action


Icebreaker, pairs, no materials, introduction