HAND CUFFS: Divide the group into pairs and each person gets a piece of twine that has holes at either end they slip their hands into (handcuffs). Their rope must be overlapped with the rope of their partner before they put their hands in the loops. Then, working together, the partners must get themselves untangled. Hint: A person who is in a wheelchair could do this – no one needs to lift their feet off the ground. Solution: Without twisting or placing a “throw” in the string, create a bend in the center of one person’s string. Gently pass this bend through one of their partner’s loops from behind their tied loop. Pull the bend over their partner’s finger tips, back under the tied loop and walk away from each other.
Helium Stick: Have everyone in the group place one extended pointer finger underneath a foam noodle that you are holding horizontally at his or her shoulder height. When they are set, let go of the noodle. Their goal is to lower the noodle to the ground with everyone keeping in contact with the noodle using only their pointer finger (nail side up) underneath the noodle. Variation: have them walk while holding it up.
HERMAN’S HEAD: Take two pairs of group members and separate them from everyone else. Have each pair stand inside a hula-hoop (one pair per hula-hoop). Blindfold one of the pairs. The rest of the group should be in a line, standing shoulder-to-shoulder facing the two pairs in the hula-hoops. The pair in the hula-hoop that is sighted is the brain. The line of participants is the mouth. The blindfolded pair in the hula-hoop is the body. The facilitator should tell the brain what task the body must do. The brain must mime the task without speaking. The mouth must guess what the task is (much like charades). The body, who cannot see the brain miming, must do whatever the mouth says to do. This continues until the body does the correct task.
HIGH HOOPDOM: Have groups collaborate to see how many levels of hoopdoms they can build on top of each other. Four was our best for the day. A suggestion was made to try this activity out with someone on a “Flying Squirrel” belay to get up higher.
HOOPDOM: This is from Sam’s Book “Raptor”. Form the large group into smaller groups of 6. Arrange them so they form a circle of small groups. Each small group gets 6 hula hoops. A hoopdom is a geodesic structure that is built with the hoops. One hoop is used for each the top and the bottom. The remaining four form the sides of the structure. Demonstrate how these are made. Have the teams practice building these and explain that there will be a contest to see which group can build one the quickest. Allow 5 minutes to practice. For the competition, all hoops must start on the floor, horizontally. After the build, nobody can be touching them and they must be freestanding for 5 seconds. Do a number of repetitions. After every couple, give the groups a minute to plan some more.
HOOPDOM SOCCER: Keep the circle of hoopdoms from the previous activity. Place a number of gator skin soccer balls in the middle of the floor. It should be more than half the number of hoopdoms, but less than the total. For 70 people, we used 6 balls. Soccer rules are in effect while the balls are in play. The object is for the teams to kick the balls into the hoopdoms, and have it come to rest inside, without the “doms” falling over. You can score in any goal. After a score, remove the ball and throw it backwards over your head with two hands, returning it to play. If you knock over a hoopdom in the course of play, you have to rebuild it before you can continue. After, share the strategies your team used and if they were successful or not.
Human Knot: This works well with groups of 8-12 persons. Have the group stand in a tight shoulder-to-shoulder circle and reach across the circle to grab the hands of two different people. Keeping in mind how flexible a person actually is, the group needs to get untangled without breaking hands. Variation: see Not So Human Knot.
KEY PUNCH: A series of numbered poly spots are scattered around a specific area inside some type of boundary. The students stand outside the rope boundary and count off in a consecutive line. There should be more spots than students or fewer students than spots at the station. Beginning with the student who is number one, they must run across the rope boundary and touch the spot with a designated part of the body. When they come back to their relative starting position, they tag number two who runs out and does the same thing. This continues until the all the numbers have been touched by the sequence necessary. Time how long it takes. The next attempt can start with number 2 so the order is slightly different.
KNOT IT UP: Using pieces of rope approximately 5-6 feet long, place them on the floor where they all cross at a center point. Using 6-8 pieces of rope, you will need one piece of rope for each two participants. Each individual grabs one end of the rope and picks it up to hold at about waist height. On facilitators signal, they will attempt to tie a knot in the center by passing over or under other ropes and/or crossing the center to the other side. After a given amount of time, the groups place their rope ends on the floor with the newly “tied” knot in the center. Groups rotate to another “knot” and pick up an end. Participants then must untie the knot that they found at the new position. Facilitators can restrict the sightedness or verbal communications used by the participants.
Lap Sit: Everyone stands shoulder to shoulder in a circle and then turns to the right. Have the group take a few steps to the left to tighten the circle. The group all at the same time tries to slowly sit on the lap of the person behind them. Variation: once seated, the group must attempt to walk as a group.
LASER POINTER TAG: Divide into smaller groups of 4 or 5. Each member gets an old CD to use as a mirror. Each group gets a laser pointer. Warn about the hazards of lasers pointing into eyes. The object is to bounce the laser beam off of each person’s CD and then “tag” a predetermined fixed point. This could be an object or another person.
Line Ups: Have the group members line up according to height, birthdays, age, favorite animal, shoe size, etc. Variation: mute, blindfolded or with limited talking.
LONGEST LINE: Divide into groups of 7-8 and choose a starting line. When you say go, the group is trying to make the longest line without detaching from each other. They may use anything they have ON them to help connect the line.
LOOSE ENDS: A series of 6-8 ft rope pieces are placed randomly in a pile on the ground with all the ends coming out of the pile like “spokes” of a wheel. It is easier and usually more effective, especially for a novice group, to use as many different colored pieces as possible. You need as many pieces of ropes as you have participants. Each person should grab one end in each hand and attempt to take two different colored ropes if possible. Ask each participant to remain bent over or close to the pile of ropes until everyone has a rope in each hand before they all stand up at once. When they stand up they are then requested to remain grasping each end until the activity is complete. The group should attempt to untangle the pile of ropes in an attempt to form an unbroken circle. Be aware that there may be times that you could end up with interlocking circles or independent circles. You can make this activity easier or more difficult according to the verbal communication restrictions or sightedness of individual participants.
Machine: Group creates a "machine" with each person being an integral part with actions and sounds. It can be either stationary or moving. Have the group create the purpose and function of all the parts.
MAGIC ROPE/TURNSTYLES: The group is given a rope that is held by 2 facilitators (or one facilitator and one chaperone). The group is given a scenario of some sort that includes a code (e.g. 1, 2, 3 all the way to 20). The group is then responsible for figuring out how the code makes the rope move so they can get to the other side. If they make a mistake or anyone touches the rope passing through, they must all go back and start again. They must get everyone through and use the code/riddle to do so until the very end!
Magic Shoes: The group is given a pair of magic shoes to use to get across a "void." Only one person can wear the pair of magic shoes at a time, for one direction,once. The shoes cannot be thrown across the "void" and no one can be left behind
(Solution: at some point persons will need to carry 2 people).
Minefield: Pairs are formed with one partner blindfolded. Set up boundaries with various objects scattered around within the boundaries. Sighted individual must stand on the sideline and guide their blind partner through the "minefield" without letting that person touch any of the objects. If a object is touched the pair must begin again. The guide needs to stay out of the minefield!
Missing Page: The group is given a bunch of different props (carpet squares, rope, noodles, blind folds, etc.), a pen, and a piece of paper. A page is missing from your initiative book and you need a new initiative. As a group, they must create an initiative using the props provided. You may want to give them a theme to build around, such as trust or communication. Make sure they address safety issues. This activity is for when groups become familiar with initiatives, so you probably don’t want to start with this one. Save it for the end of the day or the second day of an overnight.
M & M: This initiative is similar to Eyes, Ears, Body. Split the team up so that there are 1-3 people blindfolded and 3-5 people sighted. After the blind people are blindfolded, lay out a rope as a boundary, a course of clothing items on one side of the boundary, and a helmet behind the clothing (furthest from the rope boundary). Give the sighted people (who are on the opposite side of the boundary from the clothing) a list of words they cannot say. Good taboo words include: go, stop, left, right, down, forward, back, the names of the objects on the clothing-side of the boundary, and the names of the blindfolded people. Also tell them that can say only one word at a time, and that they must speak in turn (i.e. they cannot speak again until all the sighted people on their team have said one word). They are mute unless it is their turn to speak again. The goal is to have the sighted people guide the blind people to the items using verbal commands, have them dress a fellow blindfolded team member, and then walk around the helmet and back towards the sighted people and across the boundary. Consequences may be given if anyone says any of the taboo words, whispers (does not honor their muteness), or says more than one word at a time. A good consequence is giving them a nonsense word that they must say when it comes time to say their one word (ex. taco, duck, etc.).
Monster: Group must create a monster that moves as a unit using a certain number of hands and feet touching the ground (ex: for a group of 10, it must have 3 hands & 6 feet). Best performed on mats.
Not So Human Knot: Group stands in a tight shoulder-to-shoulder circle. Each person crosses their arms; right over left or left over right (all need to be the same) and grabs the hand of the person to either side of them. With hands held tight and without raising their hands above their heads, the group needs to get untangled.
Objects Game (E): Everyone in the group is blindfolded. Various natural objects are place in the hands of each of the participants and they are given the opportunity to get to know their object. Don't tell others what it is, though! The objects are then passed around the circle until the participants each get their own object back again.
one fish, two fish: Using eight noodles, create the following picture of a fish.The goal is to get the group to make the fish swim in the opposite direction in no more thanthree moves. A move is considered any time a noodle is picked up and set back down again.This initiative can be varied with two teams competing against each other or as a version of Eyes, Ears, Body, etc. In order for this initiative to work, it is important that when the fish is made, all the noodles are at 90 degree angles with each other.
PAPER PORTAL:Fold the paper in half. On the folded end, about an inch from each side, cut a slit until you are near (again about an inch away from) the open-ended section of the paper. Then, cut in between those slits - effectively cutting along the folded edge but only the middle portion. Turn the paper and now start cutting from the open-ended part of the paper, and do so on each side. Then flip the paper again and do it on what was the originally folded side. You are essentially rotating which sides you cut from. Do this until you need to make only ONE final cut in down the middle. Open it up and voila!
Path of Excellence: Place a grid of carpet squares on the ground (5 by 5). Facilitator has a personal map of the path that the participants need to use to get through the grid. As the group tries to find the right path, the facilitator must tell them if the move is part of the path or not. If they step on a square that is not part of the path, they must retrace their steps and allow someone else to try.
PING PONG BOUNCE: The directions for this activity are in the book, “The More The Merrier” by Sam, Chris Cavert, and Faith Evans. The directions begin on page 326. Have the group gather in an urban sprawl, but then move into a wagon wheel of 4 or 5. Direct the group to make a hand stack. The person with their hands on the bottom just volunteered to come and get the direction sheet and listen to the pre-brief of the activity with the facilitator. Each group needs a score sheet from the book, a pen, a ping pong ball and a timer with a stopwatch. Allow about 15 minutes for this activity. The objective is to obtain as many ping pong bounces as you can in one minute. The rest of the rules are on the direction sheet from the book. Allow the leaders to ask any questions of you, the facilitator. It is up to you to interpret what is meant by a “catch”. After the fifteen minutes are up, flip the direction sheet over and have each group go through the debrief questions as a reflection.
Plane Crash: The entire group is blindfolded. As quietly as you can, tell 2 or 3 people to take off their blindfolds and follow you. The sighted ones are to be told that the rest of the group has been in a plane crash that has rendered them all blind. The designated sighted people are natives who know the safe path to their rescue site. However, they don't speak a Latin based language and it is taboo on their island to have any physical contact. They must create their own language and then get the crash victims to follow them to their rescue site without touching them.
Popsicle Push Ups: The challenge is to see how many people can get up off the ground with only hands touching the ground and with everyone touching someone else in the group. No props are allowed. Goal is to stay off the ground 5 seconds.
Prussic Pass: Players form a circle and pass one or more hula-hoops around the circle as quickly as possible without letting go of hands. It's fun to time this one and try to beat the group record.
Prui: Players close eyes or are blindfolded and try to find the "Prui"(the Prui doesn't speak), members go around shaking hands and asking, "Prui?". If a member is not the Prui, they answer back "Prui." If they are the Prui, members join hands with the Prui until all members are connected.
Punctured Trash Can: Use the punctured trashcan in the Sheepshank with buckets or using a hose. Challenge the group to fill the can to overflowing with water (or give them a mark to reach). Only body parts may be used to plug the holes.
RODS & NUTS: Each student is given a wing nut and told that they are the only one who can touch that particular wing nut. Small groups are then presented a threaded rod and told that anyone may touch or handle the rod. On a signal, the group must have each wing nut threaded down the length of the rod. This can be done for time attempting to set a record to beat the previous attempt.
Sculpture: Divide the group into teams of three. Designate a sculpture (blind), clay (mute) and a model (mute). The blindfolded sculptor forms the clay into the same shape as the model. Be careful of touch issues!
Skin the Snake: Everyone stands in a single file line facing the back of the person in front of them. Have the participants raise their right hand and put it between their knees. They should then take their left hand and grab the person's right hand in front of them. Undo the tangle without stepping over anyone's hands.
Shoe Twister: Everyone takes off their shoes and puts them in the center of the circle. Everyone then joins hands. When the group is given the signal to begin, everyone must get their shoes back on without touching their own shoes and without letting go of anyone's hands.
Sounds(E): Have participants lie on their backs with both fists held up in the air. Each time someone hears a new sound, they lift a finger. See how many different sounds or birds you can hear in a certain amount of time.
SPAGHETTI SOUP: This is a rope coil version of the human knot. Tie the ends of a length of rope together using a knot that will not come easily apart. The length of the rope should accommodate the size of the group. Usually 4-6 feet for each participant will be enough. Coil the rope in 3-4 foot loops and lay it on the floor. Ask each participant to bend over and grab the rope on the opposite side of the coil with one hand and remain bent over or close to the pile of ropes until everyone has grasped the rope before they all stand up at once. When they stand up they are requested to remain grasping the rope with that same hand until the activity is complete. Participants may be allowed to slide the rope through their hand but may not release and re-grasp the rope.
STICKY SITUATION: Needed is a ¾ or 1 inch roll of masking tape per group. Set-up the boundaries for each of the groups (the number in each group will determine the size of the boundary area). Place all members in the boundary area & hand one of the participants a roll of masking tape. Their challenge is to stay within the boundaries while completely unrolling the roll of masking tape without breaking it. The tape is only allowed to touch the skin of the participants: not clothing, hair, or any other objects outside the boundary area. The tape cannot touch itself either. The size of the boundary area does matter, the larger the area, the easier the initiative.
Team on a Tarp: The group starts by standing on a tarp or blanket. The goal is to flip the tarp/blanket over while everyone is still standing on the tarp/blanket without touching the ground.
Texas Big Foot: Group must stand shoulder to shoulder and put an arm around the person on either side of them. The goal is to have the entire group to take 3 steps into the circle and remain standing with everyone touching the ground. It's a challenge!
TIE ONE IN: Using pieces of rope 5-6 feet long, ask two participants to grasp one end each. Without letting go of their end, partners should tie and overhand the knot in the center of the rope. If you have some gifted and talented participants, you can ask them to tie a figure 8 or any other knot you think that they can complete.
Touch My Can: Give a group a soda can and break them off into pairs. Either secretly or out loud give each pair a body part (arm, nose, ear, toe, etc.) and tell them they can only use those parts to pick up the can and lift it in the air. You can give each person a different body part if you want.
TOXIC WASTE: The challenge is for the group to work out how to transfer the “holy grail” (object in the center – water bottle, etc.) from the middle of the circle to outside the toxic waste (this is established with a rope boundary). They may only use the equipment provided and within a time frame. The waste will blow up and destroy the world after 20 minutes if it is not neutralized. Anyone who ventures into the radiation zone and touches the toxic waste will suffer injury and possibly even death, and spillage will prevent them from receiving the cup of life and living forever. Therefore, the group should aim to save the world and do so without injury to any group members. The rope circle represents the toxic waste. Anyone who touches the toxic waste or materials provided that have also been tainted by the toxins will suffer severe injury, such as loss of a limb or even sight.
Traffic Jam: Divide the group into two teams. The teams face each other in single file lines with each person standing on a carpet square. Place one carpet square between the two teams. The object is to have the teams pass each other and trade places. The rules: you cannot go backwards, only one person on a square at a time, you can only pass onto an open square, you cannot pass anyone from your own team or more than one person at a time.
Twelve Feet off the Ground: Object is to get the whole group 12 feet off the ground. The easiest solution is to sit on the ground and have a group of 6 people lift their feet up off the ground. Adjust the number of feet that need to be off the ground according to the number of people in the group.
THE SHELTER: The objective is to build a free-standing shelter that the whole group is able to fit underneath, using newspaper and masking tape. Break the groups into smaller 5-7 person groups. Give each group a stack of newspapers and one roll of masking tape. Each group is given up to 12 minutes to plan their strategies. During the planning stage no one from the group is allowed to touch any of the materials. When the group is ready to start the activity, no one is allowed to talk at any time during the construction of the shelter. All the groups should be given the same amount of time to complete the activity (20-30 minutes). The structure is free-standing, so it shouldn’t be supported by or attached to any walls, ceilings, chairs, taped to the floor, etc. or held up by participants. All participants of the group must be able to fit under the completed shelter. Talking should take place only during planning.
Unnatural Trail (E): Participants walk along the trail one at a time trying to spot hidden objects along the way. If all the objects are not spotted, then try again. Discussion: Camouflage and how it works to help animals.
Warp Speed: The object is for the ball to be touched by everyone in the group in the shortest time possible. It can be done in l or 2 seconds or less!
WIN AS MUCH AS YOU CAN: This is an activity used to evaluate competition. A full write-up can be found at http://media.wiley.com/assets/149/39/sample_download.pdf online.
ZHINNZER’S MARCH: Participants each get a new “unsharpened” pencil. They hold the pencil in their right hand with the end of the pencil on the tip of their index finger, holding it with the thumb and second finger. They then take their left hand and place the tip of their index finger on the pencil of the person to their left. After they have left their index finger “firmly” on the eraser end of their partners’ pencil, they release the thumb and second finger of the right hand. At this point, everyone has two fingers on two pencils and the fun begins. Ask the circle of participants to perform some action or activity without losing a pencil.
ZOOM: This engaging group activity helps develop communication skills, perspective taking, and problem solving skills and is based on the intriguing, wordless, picture books "Zoom" and "Re-Zoom" by Istvan Banyai which consist of 31 and 30 sequential "pictures within pictures". The Zoom narrative moves from a rooster to a ship to a city street to a desert island and outer space while the Re-Zoom narrative moves from an Egyptian hieroglyphic to a film set to an elephant ride to a billboard to a train. Hand out one picture per person (make sure a continuous sequence is used). Explain that participants may only look at their own pictures and must keep their pictures hidden from others. Encourage participants to study their picture, since it contains important information to help solve a problem. The challenge is for the group to sequence the pictures in the correct order without looking at one another's pictures. Participants will generally mill around talking to others to see whether their pictures have anything in common. Sometimes leadership efforts will emerge to try to understand the overall story. When the group believes they have all the pictures in order (usually after ~15 minutes), the pictures can be turned over for everyone to see.
Trust is a powerful tool and an essential educational tool; it is the key to personal involvement. At the end of the day, it’s satisfying to hear students say, “I’d like to try that,” in contrast to their initial reaction of, “No Way!” A part of the reason for this growth in personal confidence is the establishment of trust. Trust that: I don’t have to “do” everything, the safety equipment and procedures work, what the facilitators say is honestly presented, if I try something and fail my peers will be supportive of my efforts, I will not be laughed at or made to appear foolish, and my ideas and comments will be considered without ridicule.
An individual will seldom take a physical or emotional chance if they perceive callousness and unreasonable risk as part of that risk-taking. A group surrounded with positive experiences and successes will experience trust growing apace with personal confidence.
Trust, within the framework of an adventure curriculum, is gained with patience, thoughtfulness and care over a period of time, and can be damaged or lost in a second by carelessness or inconsiderate behavior. Cultivate and protect the trust that an individual offers and shares. -Silver Bullets by Karl Rohnke
Proper Spotting Techniques
Spotting means breaking a fall, not assisting the participant with the activity. Do not hold onto them during the event. Allow them to reach beyond their limits and actually begin to fall and then cushion their fall.
Book Ends: A three-person trust fall, with participants falling sideways into the arms of spotters at their shoulders. Spotters stand at the sides of the faller with their hands directly on the faller's shoulders. Faller stands with feet together and hands clasped and held at his/her chest. After commands are used and which way the faller will begin is designated, the faller can begin. The faller is then passed back and forth between the two bookends and stood upright when the faller is ready. Done well, the faller can become almost horizontal with an exciting free-fall as they are passed from side to side. The faller needs to stand stiff; if s/he is nervous and does not hold his/her posture, build confidence by asking him/her to start slowly and work up.
Elbow Lean: This activity requires pairs who begin by standing side by side, facing opposite directions. Their right feet are next to each other. Using strong communication skills, the two grasp each other hand to elbow and lean back. The two must talk to one another to find out who needs to lean more and when to end the lean and stand back up again. Then, the two link hand to wrists and lean back. Finally, the grand challenge is to grasp hands and lean back. Remember: the participants must keep their backs straight!
Everybody's Up: Partners sit back to back and lock elbows. The goal is to stand up without using hands. Variation: once it is achieved with two, add more people to the groups.
HUG A TREE: Divide the group into pairs. One person out of the pair will volunteer or be appointed to be blindfolded. Their partner will then take them on a walk and to a specific object (works great with trees) which they will have to find their way back to once they have sight again. Therefore, that person can use the senses whatever senses and strategy they would like to remember what their object is so they can return to it. Once the person takes off their blindfold they have 3 guesses to find their object and then they switch and their partner is blindfolded.
Human Camera: Ask the group to partner up. Have one partner close his/her eyes and the other partner leads him/her to a interesting object that they would like to record on retinal film. Make sure the person is standing directly in front of the object that you would like him/her to see. Gently tap on his/her shoulder to activate the shutter. At this time the "camera" opens his/her eyes for a brief moment to "take the picture." After each photographer has taken a few photographs, the two individuals can discuss what they have jointly recorded.
LAP SIT: Everyone must stand extremely close to the rest of the group, side by side. Then, everyone will turn to the right and face someone else’s back and take one more step into the center of the circle. At the same time, everyone will sit on the lap of the person behind them (you can count slowly so that people know when to sit). If it is done slowly and seriously enough, everyone supports each other. You can make it harder by having the group close their eyes, have to take 2 steps forward, etc.
Levitation: Everyone in the group but the "levitator" is a spotter. The levitator lays on the ground on his/her back with hands clasped and held against their chest. The rest of the group positions themselves around the levitator with their hands under them (one or more people should be specifically in charge of the head and the neck area). The levitator can then choose how high they would like to go (knees, waist or shoulders) and if they would like to be rocked on the way down. After that is established, commands are used (spotters ready, ready, lifting, lift away), and the person is ready to go.
MOUSE TRAPS: Participants set mouse traps and then lower their hands flat onto the mouse trap to unset it without causing it to snap. A further challenge would be for participants to pair up, having one blindfolded and one sighted. The sighted partner must verbally guide the blind partner’s hand down onto the mouse trap to unset the trap without it snapping.
Partner Pull-Up: Partners face each other, sitting down with their toes touching. They reach forward, bending their knees if they must, grasp hands and pull together to try to stand up and then sit down again. Variation: Add group members one at a time until the entire group can stand up together.
Sherpa Walk: Participants are given blindfolds and can be asked to get into a formation that can move or they can hold onto a rope. The person in front guides the group by following the clapping hands of the facilitator. Make sure that participants are aware that if at any time they feel uncomfortable, they can let you know, take off the blindfold, or say the word "freeze" (if said, everyone stops where they are until the situation is deemed safe again). Variation: pair walks where one leads and the other is blindfolded.
TRUST LEANS: Everyone gets a partner. Of the pairs, one person stands in front of the other. The partner in back is the spotter and gets in proper spotting stance. The partner in front crosses his/her arms across his/her chest, says commands, and leans back. The spotter gently catches the faller and pushes them upright. Once this has been done, the partners should switch places and try again. Partners should try to move farther apart. It is helpful to pair partners of similar heights.
Trust Run: Group divides in half with opposite sides facing each other at arm's length. Their arms should be extended and interwoven. One person in the group is designated to run through the arms at top speed. The group should raise their arms at the last possible moment so the runner can progress through the two lines without any contact.
WIND IN THE WILLOWS: Have the group form a circle standing shoulder to shoulder in proper spotting stance. One person stands in the center of the circle and crosses his/her arms across his/her chest. That person says commands and leans back into the circle, keeping his/her feet planted. The spotters in the circle gently pass the person’s upper body around the circle once and then stand the person back upright. Everyone should take a turn.
Yurt Circle: The group forms a circle by holding hands or by holding onto a rope circle. If feet are planted and everyone stays stiff, the group should be able to hold on and lean back without falling. When the group can do that without anyone taking a step back, have the participants count off by 1's & 2's. Have the 1's lean out while the 2's lean in and then switch. Variation: Have them go to a seated position and then back to a standing position.
FLOWER POWER: Partners stand toes to toes and hold hands or grab forearms. They attempt to lean back and straighten their arms. After successfully completing this they find another pair and stand toes touching, facing one another. They are requested to do the same thing by grabbing each other’s hands or forearms and attempt to lean back and straighten their arms. Then a group of eight attempts the same movement.
Bat &Moth (E): See description in Ice Breakers.
Capture the Flag: Two teams are on opposing sides in a designated area. Each team has a jail and a flag (bandana) on their side. The object is to retrieve the other team's flag without getting tagged and going to jail. It is suggested to put cones around the outer boundaries and the division between groups (and for jail if not using an object on the grounds). Rules good to present include: guard flag and jail 5, 10, or15 steps away, to get out of jail a person from your team needs to tag you out of jail and hold your hand across division line, and there will/won't be jailbreaks.
Charades: Have a list of objects, actions, etc. for the group. Divide them into teams. One member from each team comes up at the same time to be given a word. The word may be the same or different for each team. They go back to their group and make actions to convey the word to the group. The enactor may not speak at all, but may make hand motions to indicate that the group should keep guessing or has the wrong idea. The group is finished when they have completed the list of words.
Flashlight Tag: Any form of a tag game that you like, except "it" uses a flashlight to tag rather than physically tagging.
Onion & Flour (E): Materials: Pieces of Onion & Flour. Split the group into 2 groups. Have an facilitator/chaperone in charge of each team. There are two rounds. First round, Team A is the prey: squirrels that have been munching on onions. Team B is the predator: foxes. Team A is given onion pieces and they are given 5 minutes to hide, while the foxes close their eyes and wait. As the squirrels are hiding, they need to rub onion on objects that they pass (blades of grass, trees, etc.) to leave a scented trail that leads to their hiding spot. After 5 minutes, the foxes can start sniffing to try to find the squirrels. When they find the squirrels, the groups switch roles. For the second round, Team B is field mice and Team A are snakes. The mice are given a bag of flour and 5 minutes to hide. They must leave little dustings of flour on the trail to their hiding spot. These dustings represent the mice's poo poo, and after 5 minutes the snakes "sniff” for the scat of the mice. In the dark, the flour will glow.
Skits in a Bag: Prepare a bag for a skit for each group. In these bags, include any wacky props, phrases/words, lyrics, and/or themes that will become part of a skit presented by the group. Have it be for pure entertainment or a little competitive. If you make it competitive, you may include the requirement that all items in the bag are used, or the group is disqualified. You may include a panel of judges too. Be creative with the bags in order to encourage groups' creativity.
Sleeping Miser: Choose one person in the group to be the Sleeping Miser. S/he sits greedily in the center of a circle protecting a "valuable" object. The Stalkers (the rest of the group) form the circle around the Miser. As the Miser sleeps (either by being blindfolded and/or being in the dark with a flashlight), at a signal the Stalkers attempt to retrieve the Miser's object without waking her/him. If the Miser wakes, she/he points to the area where she/he heard a sound (with finger or flashlight). If the Miser has successfully pointed at someone, that stalker must freeze. A referee is good to have for debates. When a number of stalkers are frozen, have frozen ones start back in the circle. Make sure unfrozen stalkers do not move forward during this time-out period. Allow no running or diving for the treasure. The stalker who succeeds in capturing the treasure is Miser for the next game. This is a good activity to prepare a group for being quiet on the trails "stalking" secretive animals.
Song Wars: Prepare a list of topics/words to present one at a time to the group. The group will be split up into teams. You choose the number per group and therefore also number of groups. After the group is split into teams, present them with one of the topics or words. The object for each team is to think of as many songs using that word or topic. A team is eliminated if they cannot produce a song within a set time limit (2 minutes, 30 seconds etc.) after the team before them finishes singing. The song also needs to be an actual song of which the team sings at least 6 words of it including the required word or topic. The song also needs to be sung (known) by the entire team. The game goes in rounds until there is only one team left. Play as many rounds as you like.
Watcher of the Road: The watcher sits on the ground with closed eyes and flashlight in hand. The participants line up at a starting point. Several people try to stalk, pass him or her together and reach home base. If the watcher hears anything, s/he shines the light in that direction. Anyone the light touches must freeze. It’s no fair sweeping the light around. The first to pass the watcher and reach home base becomes the next watcher.