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GUEST BLOGGER: Marcy Fortnow, Engaging Play

Looking for a creative activity to boost participation, storytelling, and ideation? Dive into the whimsical world of Squiggle Birds, one of my favorite energizers!

Whether you’re running a check-in, retrospective, energizer, or a check-out, Squiggle Birds can be facilitated both in-person and virtually. The only essentials are a piece of paper and a pen for each participant.

Squiggle Bird Instructions:

1. Be sure participants have supplies (a blank piece of paper and a pen).

2. Initiate the Squiggle Drawing:

  • Ask participants to draw several squiggles on their paper.
  • To clarify, demonstrate what you mean by a “squiggle”: draw some roundish, varied squiggles in different sizes around the page. Aiming for about a dozen should be perfect.
Example of squiggles

3. Turn Squiggles into Birds:

  • Showcase how to transform a squiggle into a bird by adding a triangle beak, a dot for an eye, two simple feet, and a triangle tail.
  • Encourage everyone to turn their squiggles into birds.
Example of squiggles turned into birds

4. Narrate the Bird’s Tale:

  • Pose a storytelling question, such as asking participants to pick their favorite bird and share its feelings today.
  • It’s always amazing to see how creatively participants can narrate their bird’s tale!

5. Sharing Session:

  • For virtual settings, move participants into breakout sessions.
  • For in-person sessions with a larger crowd, form smaller groups.
  • For in-person meeting with a small team, participants can share with everyone directly.
  • Choose the instructions below that match your need:
    • Check-in: Share the origin story of your bird and its eagerness to be present.
    • Reflection: Describe your bird’s current mood and its next destination.
    • Check-out: Share your bird’s learnings and its feelings upon departing.

6. Debrief:

  • Reconvene in the main room.
  • Discuss the experience by asking:
    • What aspects did you find playful or fun about your birds?
    • What kinds of stories did you hear?
    • What surprised you?

Dive into the world of Squiggle Birds and let the creativity flow! Enjoy your avian adventures.


The Squiggle Birds activity is a fun-filled exercise designed to boost creativity, storytelling, and participation. Participants draw squiggles, turn them into birds, and narrate a story around them. Whether facilitated in-person or virtually, it promises an engaging session of imaginative tales and avian fun. Dive in and let the feathers of creativity flutter!

About the Author

Marcy Fortnow is the owner of Engaging Play, a team building and training company that delivers workshops and programs through traditional training, active facilitation, and engaging play. She develops and delivers experiential learning programs for corporate groups, organizations, and boards, to raise their leadership level, improve teamwork, enable better communication and problem solving, and increase productivity.

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