- To get to know each other better
- To encourage self reflection
- Tape or chalk
AS THE WIND BLOWS
- Chairs (1 per participant)
- Lots of Skittles or colorful beads
- A ball of string
ONE TRUTH, ONE LIE
- Music player
Varies by activity.
Choose 1 (or more!) of the following activities:
NAME GAME (15 MINUTES)
Participants will form a circle — this can be with desks. Starting with one person they will say their name. The next person will say the first person’s name and their own. The third person will say the first two peoples names and their own. The last person will say everyone’s name in order they went and their own. You can also run this activity with variations such as associating an animal, a fruit, or a geographic location with names. In this way, each person would say, “My name is Angel Anaconda,” “My name is Bob Banana,” or “My name is Cleo and I’m from Colorado.” Another variation is to associate a movement with your name. The group must be standing in a circle for this activity, preferably with open space in the middle of the circle. After each person says their name they perform some action, like shooting a basketball, spinning in a circle, or jumping in the air. In each version, each person has to repeat the words and/or actions of the people who have gone before him/her. These variations may make the activity easier or more difficult — for some people it becomes an extra thing to remember, while others may find that the association makes it easier to remember things.
QUESTION WHEEL (5 MINUTES)
Create a large circle on the floor with tape or chalk, and divide into quadrants labeled with the numbers 1 through 4. Make sure there is enough room for everyone to stand on the wheel. Ask a series of questions, each with four possible responses. Instruct participants to stand on the number that best fits with their answer. You can also ask questions that help to evaluate how participants are feeling about the program or their accomplishments. After they have chosen where to stand, ask the group what they see in terms of distribution: Where are most people standing? Least? Why do they think this pattern exists?
Example Question: It is hard to find an affordable place to live in this community.
Stand on #1 if you strongly disagree, #2 if you disagree, #3 if you agree, #4 if you strongly agree.
FOUR CORNERS (15 MINUTES)
Write the words Agree, Disagree, Somewhat Agree, and Somewhat Disagree on four pieces of paper, and post each at a different corner of the room. Ask participants to listen to the following statements and stand under the sign that best reflects how they feel. Debrief by discussing that different people respond differently depending on their interests, personal perspectives, and experiences.
Use the following statements, or pick your own:
- I think people are born with equal opportunities to succeed.
- I think everyone should go to college.
- I think that adults generally respect youth.
- I like to share what I know and think with others.
- I like taking action.
- I like to try to persuade other people to see things my way.
ROLE CALL (15 MINUTES)
Divide the group into two teams. Ask the teams to line up in order according to various criteria (e.g., birthday, name, hair length, amount of time living in the community, number of siblings, number of cousins). The team that lines up in the correct order the fastest wins that round. Go through the order to make sure they are lined up correctly. If one team is winning more frequently move people around. After you have completed a few rounds of the activity, discuss what strategies helped and hindered their process. You can also do this as a full group to see how fast they can complete the tasks together.
AS THE WIND BLOWS (15-20 MINUTES)
Have participants arrange chairs in a circle with plenty of room in between them. There should be one less chair than there are people playing the game. One person starts off being “it” in the center of the circle. That person must share their name and say, “The wild wind blows …” and then fills in the blank. For example, someone may say “… anyone who’s wearing white socks.” Then anyone in the group who is wearing white socks has to get up and sit in another chair in the circle. The statement that the person makes must be true of themselves as well (i.e., the person must be wearing white socks if they use that as their example). The person who is it must find a chair as well, and no one can sit in a chair that was immediately to their right or their left. The person who ends up without a chair is “it” next and makes the next “The wild wind blows …” statement. If the person who is it cannot think of anything to say, he or she can also call “Thunder!” and everyone in the circle must get up and find another seat. (This is called “Thunder!” because of the noise of everyone’s feet as they run to find another chair.) This exercise can be geared toward more serious questions to help the group learn about each other, such as “anyone who speaks another language,” “anyone who has a job” or “anyone who plans on going to college.” The activity can also be used to ask opinion questions, or just to have fun and ask light-hearted questions about what people in the group like to do in their free time, or what they had for breakfast that morning. If you are trying to direct the game in a more serious tone, make sure to indicate that to the group ahead of time and give them several suggestions of questions you have in mind before you start the game.
SKITTLES (1-2 MINUTES PER PERSON)
Pass around a bag of Skittles with the instruction to take as many as they would like, but not to eat any until you say it’s OK. You can use colorful beads instead. Once all the group has taken their candies, tell them that they have to tell the group something about themselves for every candy they have taken. Once they have said one thing for each piece, they can eat their candy. You can also play a variation on the game by assigning questions to particular colors of Skittles. For example:
- My favorite book is…
- The things I like most about myself are…
- I wish I were, or could be…
- My favorite holiday is…
- My best friend’s name is…
- If I could travel anywhere in the world, I would go to…
- My favorite food is…
- After school or work, I like to…
- My favorite color is…
- My favorite music is…
- If I could change the world to make it a better place, I would change…
- In my spare time I like to…
- My favorite TV show is…
- If I could change something about myself, I would change…
- My favorite subject in school was or is…
STRING (15 MINUTES)
Participants will stand in a circle with one person holding a ball of string. The person with the ball of string holds on to the end of the string and says one thing they want to change about the world. This first person hold on to his or her string and tosses the ball to someone. No one can let go of his or her string and when it’s done everyone will be connected by the string. It will be a web of the participants’ concerns. The facilitator should stress that everyone is connected by their concerns. One person’s issues are everyone’s. A problem is a problem even if it isn’t happening to you.
BEST FRIEND (2-3 MINUTES PER PERSON)
Have members sit in a circle and introduce the person sitting next to them to the rest of the group, even though they may have never met. The person should start by saying, “This is my best friend Rob,” and then say at least three things about the person (e.g., she was the third person to land on the moon, he is 95 years old, she has a pet alligator). Once the person has been introduced by their “friend,” they introduce themselves to the group, telling people the truth about who they are. Then they introduce the person next to them by making up things about the person. This continues until everyone in the group has had a chance to introduce both someone else as well as themselves.
ONE TRUTH, ONE LIE (15 MINUTES)
Participants make a big, open physical space and stand in a circle. Two x’s will be marked on the floor across from each other using tape. The facilitator will play music, and participants will walk in a circle when the music the two participants standing a couple feet away from each other on the x’s will be playing One truth One lie. One participant will tell the other one true thing about them and one lie. For example, “I have 7 brothers,” and “I like country music.” The other participant will guess which one is true and which is a lie. If the participant guesses correctly, then the other participant is out. If the participant who said one truth and one lie stumped the other participant, then the guesser is out. Music is played again. Repeat until everyone has had a chance to participate, and one player is left. They have stumped everyone.