Where are YOU now?
Resources: Maps, Stickers (possibly a small prize)
Duration: 10 – 20 minutes
Group Size: Any size. If you have a big group make sure you have more than one map.
Description: Split the group into smaller teams. Give each of them a map (this might be a map of the city, of the area or a map of the country) and some stickers. Ask the participants to point where they are exactly on the map. The team that gets closer to the exact point gets more points. Then ask them to locate another point on the map, giving points to the team that gets closer to the real point.
This exercise focuses on orientation, but also on consciousness of the space where the person is living.
Tips: The activity should be conducted with enthusiasm, the winner possibly receiving a small prize at the end. Ideally everyone gets a treat, but the winner a little bit more!
Resources: Large enough table!
Duration: 10 – 15 mins
Group Size: Any size
Description: The group gets into a circle around the table with everyone sits close together. Everyone places their hands directly in front of them on the table, with their palms facing down. They move the position of their hands so that one hand of each of the 2 people at either side of them is now between their own two hands. The exercise begins with the instructor declaring the direction of play (say, clockwise) and beginning a quick example round. Starting with one of the instructor’s hands, each hand in the sequence of the circle must clearly tap once for everyone to see, and this tapping should continue around the circle until everyone has tapped once and got used to whose hand is whose. Taps should be very clear to everyone. On the first “proper” round, the key rules are stated: if anyone taps TWICE (quickly and clearly), the direction of play is instantly reversed. If anyone raises their hand to tap out of sequence, that hand must be placed behind their back. Thus, a process of elimination comes into play. People tend to slip up remarkably quickly by getting over-excited or losing concentration. The game works well with medium sized groups (6-15 people). Exercises that involve physical movement and sounds are perfect to create self-consciousness and to wake up the group.
Stress for success!
Resources: Stress balls and a big room
Duration: 30 – 45 minutes
Group Size: Any size
Description: Ask participants to stand and form circles of about 5 – 8 people, giving each group one stress ball to begin with. Have the first person throw the ball to someone else and remember to whom they threw it, since they will be asked to continue the same pattern. Each person throws the ball to someone who has not yet had the ball. The last person throws it back to the person who started, who will be asked to continue throwing the ball a little faster. Once they have the pattern established, introduce another ball, then another and then another. Balls will drop, roll, etc. but urge the participants to continue. After 5 – 10 minutes of playing the game ask participants to sit down and identify what they can learn from the activity. This activity is a great lesson on mindfulness: during the activity participants will understand that they have to focus to be successful, and not be distracted by other thoughts, or the balls will drop.
The Guided Blind
Duration: 15 minutes
Size: in pairs
Description: Divide the group into pairs. In each pair, one person keeps his eyes closed with a blindfold. The other person makes a sound which was agreed by both at the beginning and the “blind” person has to follow the sound of his partner. The guider must carefully guide his partner on a safe path and make sure he does not hit other people around. The blind-folded participant may find difficulty in listening and following his partner’s sound among all the others in the room. This activity helps team building and promotes connections, trust, and friendship.
Resources: a piece of paper and pen, playing cards
Duration: 20 minutes
Size: minimum 10 persons, and divided into two groups
Description: Start with splitting the people into two groups. Within the group, try as much as possible to separate people who know each other. There are 3 exercises in this activity:
- Write a short sentence in each participant’s own dialect or language and ask the person next to him to read it aloud.
- Each group works together to build a tower using playing cards. Give a time limit of 10 minutes. The group that builds the highest tower or uses more cards wins.
- Create a slogan for each group. This has to be discussed and agreed upon by all the group members.
This activity aims to build trust and work in a team, while exploring differences between languages.