Games are great to use during a workshop. They may be scheduled into the workshop at various times or you may just toss one in when you feel that the group could benefit from playing a game.
They have so many potential purposes and of course can also be used for a number of purposes at the same time. For example a name game can fulfill the purpose of introducing people but, depending on the choice of the game, it may also energise people and support the group’s container.
A great way to share facilitation and the power of the facilitator with the group can be to ask if anyone would like to lead a game. If someone is keen to lead a game this can be a good opportunity for the facilitator to take a backseat and let other people be ‘up front’ for a little while.
The games in this handout are separated into the categories of introductory games, name games, dynamicas (energisers) and fun ways to get people into groups. Have fun!
1. Introductory games
1.1 Remember the circle
Ask the group to sit in a circle. Someone introduces themselves and saying one thing they enjoy for example, ‘Hello! My name is Nicola and I love to eat chocolate’. The person next to the facilitator goes next. They introduce themselves and say something that they enjoy or like doing. They then introduce themselves for example, ‘Hello! My name is Nombeko and I love singing, this is Nicola and she loves chocolate’. The game continues until each person is introduced. This game can be adapted to fit the theme of your workshop for example participants could introduce their name and a fact that they know about and issue/hope to change and so on. Good to encourage people to listen.
1.2 Human Bingo
Ask each participant to draw a grid with nine boxes. Ask them to write down (in any box they choose) a statement such as ‘has brown eyes’, ‘has grandchildren’, ‘lives in a city’. Once everyone has finished writing their nine statements, ask the group to move around the room asking people questions to see if they match the statements on their grid. Each participant must get the signature of the person who matches the criteria for each square. The person who gets all nine boxes signed first wins. This game can be used as an introductory session and or fit the theme of your workshop if you suggest a theme for the statements.
To gauge where people are from (in the city, a state, the world) ask a person where they are from and place themselves in a position in the room. Ask participants to point out North, South, East, West directions. Then invite all people place themselves where they feel is relatively appropriate. The facilitator then asks participants to position themselves where they feel represents where they are from. The facilitator then asks each person where they are from and an image that they see ie: when they walk outside of their home. See also “I am the centre”.
1.4 Paired Interviews
Members of the group pair up with someone they don’t know so well. They go to some part of the room for about 5 minutes to find out 5 pieces of information about each other that they will be happy to share with the whole group. They return to the group to share all the information they have learnt from each other, each person introducing their partner.
1.5 Hand Prints – an alternative to paired interviews
In pairs describe something about yourselves using the palms of your hands. • Palm = what relationships and values do you consider as being very important to you? • Thumb = what activities are most important to you? • Fingers = what ‘things’ are you interested in but are perhaps less important • Wrist = what group/organization would you describe yourself as being most associated with?
Introduce each other to the rest of the small group This may work best with smaller groups who are wishing to get to each other a little better. Of course other questions can be asked that relate to expectations of the workshop or evaluation.
1.6 I am the centre
- Help the group get to know each other (to ‘warm up’ the room);
- Have the group learn where each other are literally and figuratively ‘coming from’.
20-30 minutes (depending on size of group)
How it’s done:
Have participants stand up and clear out any mess/chairs from the floor space. Physically place yourself in the centre of the room and declare, “Where I am standing is” – and finish with the location of the training (Bangkok, Philadelphia, Accra, etc). Explain that the ground in the room is something like a map of the world – you might have the group point out the directions (North/South/East/West).
Tell participants their task is to position themselves around the room based on where they are from. Don’t guide participants too much, since part of the challenge is for the group to begin to turn to each other as resources. On the other hand, give enough instruction and direction so participants aren’t left completely baffled, as they try to figure out where is the Congo, where is Australia, etc.
After participants have arranged themselves, go around the room and give everyone a chance to give their name and where they are coming from. As you walk around, help the group notice any large clumps or small clumps, great time to acknowledge differences existing in the room. Welcome in the diversity. No debrief is needed on this tool, although you might want to give people a chance to notice any feeling level expression. I’ve used this tool as a kind of diversity speak-out. For example, I used it where a percentage of the group was Native peoples who have been forced all their lives to live under United States labels (“South Dakota”… “Alaska”… etc). They passionately spoke about their experiences – it gave them a chance to be seen and more fully understood – and a chance for other participants to become more conscious of the margins of society.
Source: Daniel Hunter of Training for Change adapted this tool from a similar tool used by Margaret Lechner at the Conflict Resolution Center in Richmond, Indiana.
2. Name games
2.1 Names and balls/pillows/soft toys
You need balls, pillows or soft toys. While holding a ball the first person says their name and they toss the ball to someone else across the circle says their name and then passes it on until everyone has caught the ball.
2.2 Names across circle
After saying name slide hands off each other and ‘shoot’ to a person across the circle and then they repeat. Each person could also do a movement, make a sound or a combination of both.
You need a long ball of twine/wool. While holding the end of a long ball of twine/wool the first person says their name and they toss the twine to someone else across the circle who holds onto the string and repeats. You then retrieve the string by reversing the path the string took and each person says their name and who they are passing it to.
2.4 Name Graffiti
Equipment: Sheets of paper and some large textas Each member of the group has a texta and writes their name on a large sheet of paper. They then write or draw something around their name or why they have come to the workshop that says or shows something about themselves and then people can then be asked to elaborate.
2.5 Pattern Ball
Equipment: 3 different toys/coloured bean bags Members of the group sit/stand in a circle. A bean bag is thrown from the a person to another person in the circle to catch and their name is called. That person throws it to another naming them and so on until the bean bag returns to the first person. The pattern of who throws or catches in what order is memorised by the group. This pattern is repeated several times, and different coloured bags are thrown at different stages of the pattern to keep everyone concentrating. You can try reversing the order of the pattern.
3. Dynamicas (Energisers)
In this exercise, participants get together with people based on various similarities. For example, if you said, “Get together with people who share favorite fruits” everyone would call out their favorite fruit – finding other people who share the same similarity and getting into a group with them. Demonstrate and then have them do it. Have the various groups call out their favorite fruit group-by-group. Continue changing up groups by calling out a range of issues, from the silly to the serious: e.g., favorite animal, least favorite letter of the Roman alphabet, religious tradition and so on.
3.2 When she went to Venus…
Have the group stand in a large circle. Explain this active warm-up activity. The first person says: “Did you hear?” The second person (the person to their right) says: “What?” First person: “Mrs McGarity went to Venus.” Second: “Really how?” First person: “She went to Venus like this!” – and the first person proceeds to make some repetitive motion. Everyone in the circle repeats the motion (and continues repeating the motion). Then, the person to the left of the first person repeats that same series: “Did you hear?/What?/Mrs McGarity went to Venus./Really, how?/She went to Venus like this” and makes his/her own motion (which the whole groups repeats). The process continues around the entire circle until ending when everyone has done it. (In large groups, this can be done in several separate groups simultaneously.)
3.3 Put together the “coy” (from Ouyporn Khuankaew, Thailand)
In this game everyone is going to be Thai currency (can be adapted to be any currency). How it works: if you are older than 46, you will be 1 baht. If you are 39-46, you will be 25 sadang [1/4 of a baht]. If you are under 36, you will be 50 sadang [1/2 baht]. Then, trainer calls out some amount of baht. For example, “2-1/2 baht, 3.75 baht, and so on.” After each calling, the participants try to get into physical groups that equal that amount of currency.
3.4 Shopping fruit basket (from Ouyporn Khuankaew, Thailand)
Have everyone sitting down in a circle. Pick a category such as fruit, books, animals. Have someone walks around inside the circle and begins “shopping” for items in that category (naming them out loud). Everyone else picks an item in their head in that category (if the category is fruit: they might come up with oranges or durian or bananas). If someone’s choice has been called then they stand up behind the person and follow them around. The person continues calling out items until they are done. Then they declare “check-out” and everyone tries to find a seat to sit in. The person left standing then walks around the circle….
3.5 Honey I love you but I just can’t smile…
Have the group stand in a large circle. As facilitator, stand in the center. In this exercise, whoever is in the center (currently the facilitator) is going to try to make someone in the circle smile. He or she can walk up and pick one person. Then, without touching the person, the person in the center tries to make the person smile by saying, “Honey, if you really love me, will you please smile for me?” The person in the outside circle has to reply, “Honey, I love you but I just can’t smile.” If he/she smiles when saying that they change places with the person in the centre – becoming the next person in the center.
3.6 Something true about yourself (from Gerald Gomani, Zimbabwe)
Have each participant write down something true about themselves (anything), without their names, on a piece of paper. Then, have them wad it up. Then, throw snowballs at each other! After a few minutes of play, have the group read the snowballs.
3.7 Why… Because… (from Gerald Gomani, Zimbabwe)
Have people on one half of the group write down a Why question (“Why is the grass green? Why is there suffering?” etc). Have the other half write down a Because answer (“Because I said so. Because it can float.” etc). Give no indication for the purpose or what types of why questions or because answers people should write. Then – and this can be a hilarious exercise – go around the room and have the Why’s ask a question and get their answer from the Because’s.
3.8 Back to Back*
Explain that this is a changing partners game. Everyone will start with a partner except you. Partners will stand either Back to Back or Face to Face. When you call out either Back to Back or Face to Face everyone has to change partners and arrange themselves according to what was called. Of course you will try to find a partner, so someone else will become the leader. Ask everyone to find a partner. A variation: caller can change the body parts, e.g., calling “hand to hand”, “hand to knee”, “elbow to ear.”
3.9 Balloon Bounce*
You will need four matching balloons for each team; a large triangle indicated on the floor with masking tape. Have each team arrange themselves at the corner of a triangle. Explain that the teams will have to move their four balloons to the side of the triangle opposite them, keeping the balloons in the air at all times.
3.10 Big Mouth*
Get three volunteers in center circle. Ask a question. Each one takes a deep breath, answers the question seeing which one can keep going the longest without taking a new breath. Use semi-serious questions like “What’s the best way to raise children?” People can come up with important-sounding answers, in an atmosphere in which content is not important and fun is the object.
3.11 Big Sigh*
Get into a circle, leader in the middle. Everyone follows what the leader does. Leader crouches on the floor, hands on the floor, and slowly rises, giving an increasingly loud sigh as she/he does so, ending with arms stretched high and the sigh becomes a shout. Very good for relieving tensions.
3.12 Big Wind Blows*
There are just enough seats in the circle for everyone but you. You are the big wind, and whoever you blow on has to move. Instead of blowing, you call out, “The big wind blows on everyone who…” and then add your own description; for example, “on everyone who wears black socks,” or, “everyone who has two ears.” Everyone who fits the description must get up and change seats. In the general commotion, you try to get a seat also. Whoever is left standing there, gets to be the Big Wind next time. If the Big Wind calls “hurricane” then everyone has to change seats.
3.13 Bump Tag*
Get into pairs standing shoulder to shoulder, scattered around the room. Choose one pair and make one person “It” and one person the runner. “It” chases runner to tag him – if tagged, runner becomes “It”. Runner may escape at any time by lining up with any pair, person on other end becomes new runner.
3.14 Crocodile and Frogs*
You will need a noise maker of some kind for the crocodile to use: an old plastic pill bottle filled with pebbles, a tin can and a stick to beat it with will do. Imagine the room as a pond. All participants are frogs except for one who is designated as the crocodile. A dozen or more sheets of newspaper or newsprint are spread randomly across the floor. These represent lily pads. The goal of the crocodile is to eat the frogs; the goal of the frogs is to escape being eaten. When the crocodile is making noise with her/his noisemaker, she/he is sleeping and snoring, and the frogs are safe in the pond. When the noise stops the crocodile is awake – the frogs are still safe as long as they are standing on the lily pads. When the noise is being made, the frogs must move around the pond, but not step on the lily pads. When the noise stops the frogs must jump onto a lily pad before the crocodile gets them.
More than one frog can stand on a lily pad if they can manage it, but each frog must either have both feet on the lily pad with a little paper showing around the edge of each shoe, or one foot on the paper with the other foot raised in the air. As she/he makes noise, the crocodile goes around the room and removes three or four sheets of paper. When she/he stops making noise, all frogs not completely on the papers are caught and are out of the game. Then the process is repeated, more sheets of paper are removed, and more frogs are caught, until there is only one piece of paper left, and nearly all the frogs are caught.
3.15 Earthquake* (houses and tenants)
This dynamic involves “houses” and “tenants.” A house is made with two people facing each other with arms held high and palms touching. Have two co-facilitators show this. A tenant is a person who goes into a house, which means, stands under the arch made by the two house-people. Ask a volunteer to do this. Ask everyone to form trios as demonstrated. This exercise works with a group with numbers one more than multiple of three, e.g. 1 plus 18; 1 plus 21.
If you call “tenant,” all tenants must move; if call “houses,” all houses, staying together, must move over a new tenant. The leader can be considered a tenant. “Earthquake,” all houses break up and everyone forms new trios. Role will probably change. You, of course, will be looking for a spot. If you find one, the person without a post will become the leader.
3.16 Elephants and Palm Trees*
The person in the center of the circle points to someone and says “elephant.” That person bends over and puts hands down to make a trunk. People on either side of him or her put their arms up to make his/her elephant ears. If the person in the center says “Palm Tree,” the person pointed to hold hands straight above his/her head. People on either side make branches going out from the tree. After trying this a few times, the leader says “skunk,” the person pointed to turns around with a hand behind for a tail. People on either side turn away holding their noses. As the pace picks up anyone hesitating becomes the person in the center.
3.17 Molasses Tag*
Play tag as usual (one “it,” tags any other person, who becomes “it”) except that everyone must use slow exaggerated motions, as if swimming through molasses.
3.18 Touch Blue*
Leader calls a color: “Touch Blue,” and everyone must touch something blue on another person. Have everyone touch something blue on someone or something else, something yellow, a knee, some glasses, etc. Call the next thing as soon as people touch whatever has been named. Continue with other colours and descriptions.
One person begins with any mechanical noise and motion, repeated in machine-like fashion. Others connect themselves when they see a place in the machine where they would like to fit in.
This energiser challenges everyone to cooperate in silence – they may, however, use gestures. The group’s task is to arrange themselves in order, according to the month and day of their births. If they ask, “Where is the beginning of the line?” say that they’ll have to figure that out in silence. When movement ends, ask if they all feel comfortable with the arrangement. If not, they can continue. If they are comfortable, ask them to state the month and day of their births in order.
A variation is to ask people to line-up by height, but do so with their eyes closed and humming all the time. When movement ends, ask if they all feel comfortable with the arrangement. If not, they can continue for a while. Finally, have them open their eyes and see how they’ve done. When doing this with eyes closed, facilitators keep participants safe by redirecting them should they wander near the edge of the room or into furniture.
3.21 Owl and Mouse*
Use two blindfolds and two small plastic bottles filled with pebbles to use as rattles. The object is for the owl to catch the mouse, and for the mouse to elude the owl. Ask for two volunteers: one owl and one mouse. Blindfold both and give each a rattle. They are to shake the rattle so they can find (or elude) each other. The other participants are to form a protective circle around them so that they don’t hurt each other. When the owl catches the mouse, start again with two new volunteers, or make the mouse into the owl and get a new mouse.
3.22 Have you ever?
Form a circle of chairs (one for each person) and then take one away. One person stands in the middle and calls a question beginning with “Have you ever…?” For example, “Have you ever eaten watermelon?” Everyone who has eaten watermelon then jumps up and moves to a place vacated by someone else who has moved. The last person who is left without a seat remains in middle to call out something else beginning with “Have you ever…?”
Seeds for Change have a version called the Green Trousers Game: Form a circle of chairs (one for each person) and then take one away. One person stands in the middle and calls out something like “Everyone with green trousers.” Everyone with green trousers then jumps up and moves to a place vacated by someone else who has moved. The last person who is left without a seat remains in middle to call out something else.
3.23 What are you doing?
Participants stand in a circle. One person moves to the center and begins acting an activity, such as building a sandcastle. It is important that the participants really do the activity. A second person enters the circle and asks, “What are you doing?” The first person then responds, while still doing the original activity, with another activity: “Brushing my hair.” The second person then begins brushing their hair, and the first person leaves the center. Another person enters and asks, “What are you doing?” The person in the center, while still doing her activity, replies: “Climbing a tree” (or any other activity whatsoever), etc. etc.
It can be suggested that actions relate to workshop content to consolidate/have fun with learnings.
This one’s good to use once people at least slightly know each other. As the game grows there are lots of laughs. It is good to encourage people not to think of ‘what to do’ and just say/do anything.
3.24 Hands on the floor/Hand beat
Group kneeling on the floor on their knees with their hands out, palms down in front of them, close together if possible. One person lifts and slaps their left palm and then right palm down one at a time and then the beat rolls around the circle as each person repeats. Variations are infinite such as everyone raises their right hand and places it to the right of the left hand of the people beside them. You can add that someone slaps a hand down twice then the beat is reversed. Can be useful in diverse groups.
3.25 Train smash
Standing in a circle holding hands 3 or so people are nominated as ‘train stations’ and 2 as ‘junctions’. One person squeezes the hand of a person next time the ‘pulse’ (train) travels around the circle. When the train reaches a train station they make a sound ie: “toot” and when it reaches a junction it changes direction. A person is in the middle of the circle and has to guess where the train is at by touching the person they think has it. When they are correct they swap with that person and the game continues.
3.26 Finger and hole
Standing/sitting in a circle each person points their left index finger to the person to their left and puts their right hand in a circle towards the person on their right. Then each finger is placed inside the circle and when the facilitator says, “go” or counts to three then each person has to try to ‘free’ their finger and catch the finger that is inside their right hand circle.
3.27 Zip Zap Zop
Standing in a circle people place their palms together in front of them. The facilitator explains to the group that Zip Zap Zop all refer to different directions that they will point their hands.
- Zip: left
- Zap: right
- Zop: across the circle (or whatever you like).
Whoever starts chooses one of Zip, Zop or Zop says it out loud for example “Zip” an passes/points their hands to the person on their left, it carries on (domino effect) with each person turning to the left with their hands and saying “Zip” until someone says something different such as “Zap” and then the direction changes to the right. It can just get faster or people who slip up sit down.
InterPlay have a slightly different version: Everyone stands in a circle. One person quickly claps and points at another, while saying “zip.” The person who received the “zip” then claps and points at another, while saying “zap.” That person then claps and points to someone while saying “zop.” The pattern continues, “zip, zap, zop, zip, zap, zop….” The goal is to pass the words and energy around as quickly as possible, which is harder than it seems. Many theatre companies use this as a warm-up before going on stage, to establish teamwork and to encourage quick thinking. If you use this with a group of students, you may find that it takes several tries to get into the rhythm of the game. Don’t give up! Eventually, the group will begin to go at lightning speed.
3.28 I’m talking to you
Standing in a circle people one at a time say, “I’m talking to you” in different ways. Each person clearly says, “I’m talking to you” to a particular person and as they say it they walk towards them. Before they reach that person they have spoken to that person needs to say it someone else and start walking to the person they spoke to. The person who says, “I’m talking to you” take the place of the person they spoke to. This energiser is great to reinforce clear communication.
Standing in a circle this game can be good to focus a group. One person at a time zooms their attention, hands and clear eye contact to another. (Bit tricky to explain without actions but here goes) first ‘zoomer’ places both of their hands next to their face, parallel to cheeks. At the same time the people either side of the ‘zoomer’ also become involved. Whatever side of them is next to the ‘zoomer’ they raise that hand to their cheek so that for a moment there is a trio of people involved the ‘zoom’ across the circle. Then the ‘zoomer’: make eyes contact with someone across the circle says ‘zoom’ clearly and points their hands to them.
Then whoever received the zoom ‘catches’ it by placing their hands to the face/cheeks and the people next to them place one hand to the face (the one next to the new ‘zoomer’). Then ‘zooms’ to someone else. It can just keep going or people can go out if they are watching or quick enough to catch or support the zoom.
3.30 Share a stretch
Share a stretch and the group copies, move around the circle to have everyone share a movement or stretch.
3.31 Hospital tiggy
One person is the chaser when they tag someone they are also ‘it’. Wherever they were tagged they cannot use. If it was their leg then they must hop or if it was their arm of hip they must hold that and not use it. The game ends when the first person falls over.
Standing in a circle the facilitator explains the objects people will be acting out in trios:
- Elephant: person the middle is a moving trunk; people either side make big ears with their arms
- Toaster: person the middle is a jumping on the spot (toast popping out of the toaster); people either side hold their arms around the jumping toast person
- Cloud: person the middle is a makes a circle with their arms other their head; people either side loop their arms around the middle circle
- Tree: person the middle is the strong tree trunk; people either side make big branches with their arms
Ask a few people to demonstrate so that people are clear on how each trio acted object looks. Person in the middle points to people and says one of the objects and people make them in trios. Either one person stays in the middle and just gets faster and faster or whoever is the slowest to join the acted object swaps with the person in the middle and points to people so that people just keep swapping.
3.33 Paired tiggy
In Tiggy, once someone is tagged they stand still with their legs apart. ‘Free’ people can run between their legs and then the person is no longer ‘Stuck in the Mud’ and is free to free other people.
3.34 Rabbit in a hole
One person is ‘it’ everyone else is in groups of three with linked arms. The two people on the end of the trio have their hands on their hips. It is a fast moving game where the person who is it loops their arm around a person in a trio and then the person on the end of that trio is ‘it’ and has to run and loop onto someone else so they are no longer ‘it’.
Tiggy where once someone is tagged they bob down. ‘Free’ people can touch them on their head and then the person is no longer bobbed down and free to free other people.
3.36 Stuck in the Mud
Tiggy where once someone is tagged they stand still with their legs apart. ‘Free’ people can run between their legs and then the person is no longer ‘Stuck in the Mud’ and free to free other people.
3.37 Ozone and sun
Before the game begins each person chooses someone who is their sun (S) and ozone (O) and keeps this to themselves. People start to move around the space and make sure that for the entire time the O is between them and the S.
3.38 Octopus tiggy
One person is the chaser and when they catch people they join up holding hands and the ends of the ‘octopus’ catch people and add them to the line until everyone is the octopus.
3.39 Mother duck
As everyone has their eyes closed for the whole game. At the start the facilitator chooses one person to be the ‘mother duck’ that stays quiet throughout the entire game, the rest of the people are ducklings. Facilitator says “go ducklings” and every ‘duckling’ walks around quacking looking for their mum/ parent (etc). Each duckling knows when they have found their ‘mum’ because they are they only quiet one. They then stay quiet close to their ‘mum’ and eventually all of the ducks are huddled together quietly.
A facilitator talks the group through this energiser. Get everyone to stand up. Start tapping your head lightly with your fingers imagining soft rain. Let it slowly get heavier the further you move your hands down your body. Let the rain turn into a thunderstorm on your calves. Clap them hard with your hands. Then move your hands back up you body, ending with soft rain on your head.
3.41 Waking up in the Jungle
Stand in a circle. Ask each person to pick out an animal noise. They then pretend to wake up, starting from silence, making their noises softly at first and with growing crescendo until they are yelling very loudly. A good quick game for sleepy groups.
3.42 Clapping game
This game mixes the logical and creative sides of the brain. It is a good preparation for tackling complex issues that require both logical analysis and creative solutions. Sit in a circle on the floor or around a table. Everybody then places their hands flat on the surface, the arms crossing over with those of the neighbours. Start the game by clapping one hand on the surface. Let the clap run around the circle, so that always the hand claps that is next to the one that clapped last. After practicing this for a couple of rounds, introduce a complication. If a hand claps twice, the direction of the clap changes direction. Again, practice. When everyone has understood the rules, start the game proper. Any hand that claps out of turn or doesn’t clap should be put behind the person’s back. When somebody has both hands out of the game, then they have to drop out of the game. Increase the speed of the game as you go along. The more people there are in the group, the less exciting it is for the individual player. It is a good idea to form two or more groups for the game if there are more than twelve people.
4. Fun ways to get people into groups
4.1 Numbering off
Using fruits or any theme it could be role play characters related to the workshop content.
4.2 Fruit salad
Ask everyone to sit on a chair in a circle. Ask one volunteer to stand in the middle of the circle. Remove her chair from the circle to the side of the room. Go around the circle and name everyone ‘apple’, ‘banana’ or ‘orange’. Remember to give the volunteer in the middle a name too! When you shout out ‘Apple’ everybody who is named apple must jump up out of their place and try to sit on an empty chair. The person standing in the middle must also try and sit down on an empty chair. The person left without a seat must stand in the middle. People named ‘banana’ and ‘orange’ must do the same if their fruit is shouted out. If you shout ‘fruit salad’, everybody in the circle must jump up and rush to find an empty seat! Another fun version is Zoo or Animals where rather than fruit people are animals and act/voice their animal.
This game can be adapted to fit the theme of your workshop for example rather than fruit use interest groups or roles people take on in groups. You can also ask people to move across the room acting out their character. After the game people can go into the groups/categories that they were in.
4.3 Balloon stomp
Duration: 10-15 minutes Preparation time: 10 minutes Equipment: balloons and cut out statements (below)
Chose a set of questions (Q) and answers (A). Write each Q and A on separate pieces of paper. Roll each one up and place it in separate balloons. Blow the balloons up. People walk around the room (could be to music) until facilitator says “jump” then each person stands on a balloon to burst it and releases the statement inside. Each then looks for the person with the A to the Q they have, or the Q to the A. Depending on the statements written this is a can be used for fun, for getting people into pairs or to open up a range of learnings. It can be a way to begin a discussion about any issue as after people have tried to match up the Q and A a discussion could then take place about the risk of stereotypes, myths, different value judgments and beliefs that lead people to believe certain Q and A matched up and some of the problems these might pose and or how they influence what we do.
Have the group walking around and then call out numbers that they clump into. Repeat with different numbers. Whatever number you want in each group call out that number for the final clump.
4.5 Body parts and number/Body bump (Very similar to clumps)
Have the group walking around the space and then call out a number and body part, for example 5 elbows. So people get into groups of 5 and touch elbows. Repeat with different numbers and body parts. Whatever number you want in each group call out that number for the final clump.
For this game, you will need sticky dots in a range of colours. Dots encourages non-verbal communication. Fix a coloured dot onto the cheek of each participant. You can give some thought to how you want to mix the groups. Ask the participants to stand up and move around the room in silence. Participants must find out what colour their dot is without talking. Once they know what colour their dot is, they find others with the same colour and that will be their group.
For this game, you will need set of jigsaw pieces, one for each group, from a range of jigsaws. Alternatively, you might use a photo or picture cut up. Give a jigsaw/photos/picture piece to each participant. Ask them to walk around the room and try to find people with pieces that would go with theirs. Eventually the various members of the small groups find themselves together joining up their pieces to make the picture, and they become a group. If you want to look at a particular theme: environment; gender; community relations; unfair trade; this can determine the pictures you will use.
4.8 Peruvian Ball
Objectives: This game is excellent to practice and create dialogue about communications skills and styles, being specific with non-verbal communication, and body language. It’s also good as a fun allaround energizer and warm-up.
Everyone in the room has an imaginary ball. Each ball has its own special movement pattern, and its own sound. The participants practice “throwing” or “bouncing” the invisible balls by themselves, while simultaneously making the sounds (“boi-oi-oing,” “zip-zap,” “wheeeee,” etc.)
After everyone has the movements and sounds decided, the participants start walking around the space. The facilitator calls “freeze,” and then instructs everyone to trade balls with someone. There is no talking allowed, only demonstrating the sounds and movements of the balls.
Once everyone has traded, everyone starts walking around the space again, this time with their new balls. The facilitator calls “freeze” again, and instructs everyone to trade with another person.
After four to six trades have been made (depending on the size of the group), the facilitator instructs everyone to find their original balls. Everyone must then move about, demonstrating the balls they are holding, while searching for the ball they originally created. If a participant finds his ball, they trade with the person who has it, and then takes their ball to the side out of the playing space.
It is rare for everyone to find their original balls in this game. If some people can’t find them, ask the participants why. This is a great way to start talking about miscommunications at work, how to give specific instructions, or communicating without words.
There are a number of ways that this game could be used to get people into groups. For example the last person that someone swaps with could become their new partner or these new pairs could join with another to makes a group of four.
• The Change Agency, http://www.thechangeagency.org
• Training for Change http://www.trainingforchange.org
• The games marked with an asterisk (*) are sourced from Alternatives to Violence Project’s Manual Basic Course (Revised 2002).
• For more dynamicas and other nonviolence training tools, check out Alternatives to Violence Project http://www.avpusa.org/