|Non-formal Education Training Module (Peace Corps, 1991, 182 p.)|
Time 10-15 minutes
Directions: Form small groups of five or six participants. Give each group a small piece of cotton, the fluffy kind that comes in a roll or in balls in most first aid kits. Pull it a little to stretch it out thin.
Explain that the groups will compete to see how long they can keep their piece of cotton in the air without touching it. Demonstrate by taking a piece of cotton and holding it above your head, dropping it and blowing on it to keep it afloat.
Explain that the groups will have one minute to discuss and decide their strategies, including changing the shape of their cotton, and that they will have a one minute trial period followed by another minute's discussion before the real competition begins.
If two or more small groups are unable to keep their cotton afloat for more than a few seconds and so are quickly eliminated, you may wish to give all groups another chance after the first round.
Processing: Processing of this might include reflections on how each group worked together, made decisions, used resources and knowledge gained in the trial run. If you've already introduced the Experiential Learning Cycle, you could point out how this activity follows the cycle.
Cultural Considerations: There is a risk in any game that HCN participants may think it is more suitable for children than for a "learning" situation. However, well-planned processing that brings out a few minutes of serious reflection may convince them otherwise.
Pass the Orange
Time 10 minutes
Directions: Have participants help you arrange enough chairs for everyone into two long rows facing each other. These rows represent two teams competing against each other.
Ask participants to sit down and extend their feet straight out in front of them. Chairs should be far enough apart so they won't touch the feet of the person in the opposite row. Place an orange, or other round fruit (or ball) in the hollow formed above the ankles of the first two persons in each row.
Tell the group that the object is for them to pass their orange to the legs of the next person in the row, and so on down the row, without letting the orange drop and without touching it with their hands. If the orange drops, it is returned to the first person to begin again. The orange must be passed all the way down the row and back up again to the first person to complete the game.
Processing: Processing might focus on the value of mutual support and encouragement within a group or team and the effects of competition between teams.
Cultural Considerations: In some cultures you might want to have men and women do this game separately.
Have a Letter
Time 10 minutes
Directions: Have participants help you arrange chairs in a circle facing the center. The number of chairs should equal the number of players (participants and facilitator) minus one.
The facilitator stands in the center of the circle and explains that she/he is delivering mail and that when she/he calls out a description, (for example, "I have a letter for everyone wearing glasses!) everyone who fits that description must change chairs. If someone is unable to find a new chair, that person becomes the new delivery person.
To start the game, the facilitator calls out, for example, I have a letter for everyone wearing green!- In the confusion of people rushing to change places, the facilitator sits in one of the chairs vacated by participants. Since there is always one less chair than number of participants, whoever is left after the switching of places must go to the center to deliver another letter.
Processing: None. This is just for fun. Use it when participants seem to need a lift.
Cultural Considerations: Similar versions of this game are played in a wide range of cultures and countries. In Thailand, the group calls to the facilitator, Which way does the wind blow? and the facilitator answers, The wind blows toward everyone wearing glasses!"
Time 10 minutes
Directions: Clear the center of the room of chairs and tables. Tell the group to imagine that they are on a sinking ship with a limited number of lifeboas of various sizes. The captain (the facilitator) must decide how many people can be placed in the lifeboats and will call out directions on how lifeboat groups should be formed. Those who are left out of lifeboat groups sink. The captain begins by calling out, for example, Groups of four! and everyone must link hands in groups of four. If there are 22 people in the group, two will be eliminated. By varying the even odd combinations, the numbers will be gradually reduced.
Processing: Ask the group to think of how this game can be used in numeracy (e.g. basic mathematics) classes. (One way it has been used has the captain calling out simple mathematical formulas, ea. "Groups of five minus two!") Ask them how it might work (or not) in the host culture. See also "Cultural Considerations, below.
Cultural Considerations: People with no experience of ocean going vessels or (especially) with lifeboats may need a brief explanation of the concept e.g. that the lifeboats are small, that not everyone can fit in them, and that the captain has absolute say over how many can go in a lifeboat. Processing with such groups might revolve around cultural differences in such circumstances.
Time 10 minutes
Directions: Form groups of six to eight participants. Each group must have a facilitator who has been prepared for this activity. The small groups each stand in a circle and are given a pillow which is placed in the center. They are told that the facilitator for their group will go around their circle, whispering the name of a different fruit in each person's ear. When the name of that fruit is called out by the lead facilitator, the person assigned that name must move quickly to the pillow, sit on it, jump up and return to their place before the name of another fruit is called.
What the group does not know, however, is that the facilitators will actually whisper the name of the same fruit to everyone. When that name is called, everyone in each group will try to sit on the pillow at the same time. This activity can be conducted only once, since it involves a joking deception on the part of facilitators.
Processing: Processing might examine both the role of humor in group interactions and how it is defined in different cultures. This activity also lends itself to a discussion of trust within the group and what norms the group wants to establish in terms of mutual trust, openness and honesty.
The Standing/Sitting Circle
Time 10 minutes
Directions: Everyone stands in a circle, close enough that shoulders touch. All turn so that their left shoulder is toward the center of the circle and take a step to the left so that each person is almost touching the person behind and in front. As the facilitator directs and on the count of three, everyone sits at the same time, each person resting on the knees of the person behind her/him.
It may take a couple of tries, but the seated circle should be stable enough that all can raise their hands in the air above their heads while seated.
Processing: Ask the group what was necessary to achieve the goal (cooperation, coordination, trust, willingness to take a bit of a risk, good humor, etc.). Briefly discuss how these qualities are necessary for group unity in any activity.
Cultural Considerations: As with other contact game warm-ups, this is not appropriate for all groups or may need adaptation, for example, forming two groups, one of women, one of men.
Time 10 minutes
Directions: This activity is most appropriate when participants have gotten to know each other, at a point when mutual support seems needed or at the conclusion of a program or workshop.
The group stands or sits in a circle. A soft ball is used to identify the speaker. One person, holding the ball, begins by addressing the person on their right with a positive comment, such as, "I really enjoy your sense of humor or I like the way you listen to everyone. The speaker then lightly tosses the ball to someone dse in the group who addresses his or her neighbor with a positive comment. The ball is tossed back and forth until everyone in the group has had the opportunity to speak.
Processing: Processing can touch on the need for positive feedback and group support. Ask how the game might work in your host culture, and in what situations.
Time 5-10 minutes
Directions: This activity is best begun early in a workshop or program and can be repeated regularly.
Ask the whole group to suggest a simple greeting or slogan to begin the meeting or session (Welcome, Good Morning, Cooperation etc.). Then divide participants by voice groups (soprano, alto, tenor, bass), or ask a musical participant to do this. Have the group harmonize around word or phrase: Good Morning Encourage creative variations such as call and response, faster and slower repetitions, etc. This musical moment can precede other warm up activities.
Have the group suggest how other musical activities appropriate in the host culture could be used in training sessions, classes or group meetings.