Materials: None

Aims: Role-playing, group decision-making, group interaction.

Procedure: Divide in groups of 8 – 10. Each group member adopts a specific role, usually an occupation, e.g. a doctor, an athlete, a teacher, movie-star, mother, housewife, etc. (These can be written out and picked from a hat). Tell groups they are in an air-raid shelter after an atom bomb has fallen, big enough and with enough air and food for only six people, therefore they must get rid of several members. Each group member must argue as to why he should be allowed to survive. A group decision must be reached as to who goes and stays: no suicides or murder allowed. Set a time limit for the decision. Later discuss how the group interacted making the decision, whether each person played an active or passive role, how satisfied each was with his role, etc.

Variations: Instead of an air-raid shelter, have a life raft or desert island or space ship. Add incidents, accidents, rituals, funerals, ceremonies.


This exercise is a good one to use early in the semester because it helps to build a sense of group rapport through the establishment of an environment for self-disclosure.

Divide the class into pairs. Instruct the students to carry on a normal conversation for five minutes, each person telling the other as much as possible about himself. Ask the students to pick those things about themselves that they think are important to share. After five minutes ask the class to come back together again as one large group (preferably in a circle). Then ask each student to introduce his partner by stating his partner’s name and the one special thing that impressed him as most important about that person.

If you like, you can end the discussion by asking the group to talk about what it was like to talk to the other person and what it was like to be talked about in the group.

Every person needs recognition. It is expressed cogently by the lad who says, Mother, let’s play darts. I’ll throw the darts and you say `Wonderful.‘ „
Educator Handbook of Stories, Quotes, and Humor
M. Dale Baughman


Aims: Trust, concentration, group development

Procedure: Group chooses each member in turn and elevates them to a horizontal
position above the heads of the group. The person is held there for a specific period, and then lowered carefully to the floor. The elevated person must relax and close eyes. It is often a good idea to have the groups raise and lower in unison. This often avoids confusion and helps concentration.

Variations: Vary speed and control of lift,- walk, rock, etc.
Have the person involved give instructions to the group.
Combine with Backward fall & catch.


Materials: Circle of over 25 people

Aims: Trust, fun

Procedure: a) Group stands in a close circle, in queue form, with right shoulders towards the center of the circle.
b) Circle closes so that everyone is touching the person in front and behind them.
c) Participants hold the waist of the person in front d Everyone bends their knees until they feel themselves supported on the knee of the person behind.
e) If successful (rare first time) the whole group is self supported, each person sitting on the knee of the person behind.

Note: This can only be successful if the circular shape is maintained throughout and it is helpful if the group leans slightly towards the center as they are trying to settle down.

Variations After secure sitting position is achieved
1 Everyone leans inwards slightly and raises left leg
2 Try alternate stepping with right and left feet, (very difficult.)


Materials: None

Aims: Group development, trust, warm-up

Procedure: Whole group links hands into a human chain. First person leads chain
through itself, over and under arms, between legs, etc. Extra care must be taken not to break the chain, to move slowly and to be gentle. Tangle ends when group is too tightly packed to move. One person then untangles the group, giving them directions without touching them.


Materials: One chair

Aims: Self-validation, group development

Procedure: A chair is placed in front of the group. Each person has a chance to sit on the chair and talk to the group. They can develop any subject
of their choice. It is often better to start out with descriptions of themselves – group leader setting the pace by going first.

This is very important activity which can become a permanent feature of each drama lesson, especially if a drama lesson is over 60 minutes long.

Positive developments can result in group discussion and ways of resolving problems.

Variations: Speak on controversial subjects, give views, then discuss, argue, do values continuum, etc.


Materials: None

Aims: Improvisation, movement

Procedure: Work in pairs or teams: use mime or short improvisations
Compare silence with noise, running with slow motion (really slow,
almost imperceptible).
running and leaping with slow motion, exuberance with
old people – young people
tall I people – short people
big (expansive and extrovert) – small (nervous and introvert)
floating – mud wallowing
sleek and darting – slow and ponderous
slow witted – quick witted
stiff person – loose person
rich – poor
strong – weak
industrious – lazy
taciturn person – chatterbox
Englishman – Frenchman
pompous person – friendly person
serious person – silly person
school teacher – school child
policeman – criminal
angel – devil
motorist – pedestrian
slow people – quick people

Variations: Development into improvisations: dealing with various situations; people might be involved in conversation,1etter writing, shopping


Who: Large Group

Where: Walking outside

Aids/Equipment: Blindfolds

Objectives: To develop group and individual trust
To communicate without words

Leaders Hints: Who is willing to trust the person in front of them? (step
Who communicates with the people behind?

Instructions: 1. Everyone lines up in a single row behind the leader.(Group leaders should be spaced every couple of students to ensure they remain safe)
2. Each person puts on a blindfold.
3. Each person puts their hands on the shoulders of the one ahead of them. Explain that when they walk outside, if they need to step up the person in front will tap their right leg, and if they need to step down, the person in front will tap their left leg. They must do the same to the people behind them and pass the message along.
4. The leader leads the line outside and around the grounds.

Conclusion This activity can be used after contemplative reflection (Sunday morning) or towards the end of the camp, when people are more familiar with each other.


Who: Small Group (with presentation to the whole camp)

Where: Individual groups then in large area or hall

Aids/Equipment None

Objectives: To assess emotional expression and adaptability
To motivate and energise students
To provide a variety of activity and have the groups working together spontaneously

Leaders Hints: Observe who dominates the group, who comes up with ideas, who stands away or doesn’t contribute
Observe who is willing to participate, who keeps everyone involved
Observe who is shy in front of the main group or is unwilling to be involved

Instructions: 1. Each group is given a proverb/expression and ten minutes to prepare.
The skit is to be quick and similar to charades, where the phrase is spelt or acted out. The main group has to guess the
2. Leaders can give an example in front of the group before the others begin.

Conclusion This activity can be used in place of the usual „skit“. By giving each group a different expression, there is more variety and tests the general knowledge of the group.

While on exchange, students are often ask or required to do things which are „silly“ cr in front of others. This activity provides some initial experience and tests the willingness of the students to do things that think make them appear foolish.

Suggestions: „A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush“
„A rolling stone gathers no moss“
„Once bitten, twice shy“
„A stitch in time save nine“
„Let sleeping dogs lie“
„Good things come in small bundles“
„Too many cook, spoil the broth“
„An apple a day keeps the doctor away“


Group Size 7 – 12 (For Larger groups, split up into smaller groups, or use the variation below)

Materials None

When and Where This is an activity which requires people to make close physical contact. Not everyone feels comfortable doing this sort of thing, so keep this in mind, especially with a group who are unfamiliar with each other. Use before, during or after a session of work, to develop group identity.

Procedure Group meets together in a tight circle with arms outstretched in front and eyes closed. Each person grasps one hand of someone close and one hand of someone further away. Each hand should be linked with only one other hand. Make sure that no two people are holding both of each other’s hands.

Now, as a group, attempt to unknot the circle. Hand grips are allowed to be changed but not broken.

Variation For a group larger than 12: Form a circle and hold hands. Break the circle at one point and ask one of the end persons to tie the rest of the group into a knot. When the knot is complete, the person at the other end tries to untangle the knot. Hand grips cannot be changed or broken.


Who: Small Groups of 5-7

Where: Enough room for each group to have plenty of room around them

Aids/Equipment: Lots of drinking straws

Objectives: To get new participants working as a team
To introduce participants to each other in a non-threatening way

Leaders‘ Hints: Observe who talks the most, who is quiet, who just does what they are told

Instructions: “Workers sit together on the floor with a pile of straws in the centre. The “workers” are instructed to work as a team & use the straws to make a big beautiful design on the floor.

Conclusion: A simple team building game ideal for groups of strangers. Variations
on this game include giving them teams each 30 rolled up newspapers
and seeing which group can make the tallest construction.


Who: A single group of 5 – 20 people.

Where: A room large enough to hold the entire group, or outside (but not with lots of people standing around watching, as participants may get a bit embarrassed).

Aids: Nil

Objectives: To use your imagination
To get to know each other

Leaders‘ Hint: This game rewards the people who are the most imaginative

Instructions: Participants are to become parts of a large imaginary machine. One person acts out a repetitive motion or sound of a machine part. One by one other arts are added to the machine until the whole groups is involved. An example would be an engine with people playing the roles of: Starter
A wheel
Moving Handle etc

Variation: Breaking the group up, one group becomes a machine and the other group has to guess what sort of a machine it is, then vice-versa.

Conclusion: This exercise requires a fair amount of imagination, but can also be a lot of fun if the people really get into the acting.


Who: Teams of up at least 3 people

Where: Indoors

Aids Scrabble Tablets
Score sheet – pen

Objectives To learn to work as a team using non-verbal communication

Leaders Hints Observe those who assume the role of team leader

Instructions Each team member chooses one scrabble table. They must not look at the tablet. They must stick it to their forehead immediately. No team member is allowed to inform another team member of what that person’s letter is.
The team must create as many words as possible in the time given. A judge needs to write down each word as the team forms it. The words must be at least 3 letters, although there may be more people in each group.
The words created must never be said aloud, since this would allow people to find out their letter too easily.
Award one point for each letter used, with a bonus of 5 points for using all the tablets in the group.

Variation 1 Make it harder by increasing the minimum number of letters per word.
2 Give everyone a letter, allowing him or her to see it. Shout out words and have people find other letters and line up as the word as soon as possible. Make it a competition by eliminating people who don’t become part of a word.

Conclusion A good fun team game.


Who: Groups of 5 – 6

Where: Inside or outside

Objectives To learn to make an argument about the importance of oneself
To learn to negotiate with other people

Leaders Hints Look for those who try to intimidate others

Instructions Groups sit in a fairly small circle, which represents the basket of the passenger balloon. Each person has to pick an occupation for himself or herself eg plumber, lawyer, doctor etc. Make sure that people have chosen their occupation before you explain the scenario to them.
The balloon is slowly losing altitude and in order for some of the people to survive, one person has to jump out.
Everyone has to put forward their reasons why they shouldn’t have to jump out and why someone else should. Everyone must agree on who has to jump within 5 mins or everyone will perish

Conclusion This game is a bit like bomb-shelter. It is quite useful since the people don’t need to know each other to be able to play it.


Who: Small teams (say 4-5 people)

Aids 2 blindfolds per team (one for walker, one for next person in line), Chalk, 1 Chair per team, 1 Spoon / box of matches / apple per team
Other obstacles (eg bins)

Objective To win by trusting each other

Instructions Draw course on the ground (including circles for pick up / put down points), One team member is blindfolded
Navigate course with instructions from other team members. Navigate obstacles and pick up / put down objects (judge to return object to pick up point after it is put down)
Repeat with other team members Fastest Team wins

Commands Stop, Go Left, Right
Forward, Back Down, Up
Pick up, Put down Yes, No
Sit, Stand

Example Course
Conclusion Bit of trust involved, so good for people who at least have met before


Who: Groups of 30-40 people.

Where: Inside a very large room or outside, preferably over a carpet or grass surface.

Aids Nil

Objectives To build people’s trust in each other
To work together as a large team

Leaders‘ Hints Spread the strong people evenly amongst the two groups

Instructions Form lines of about 30-40 people
Line up in pairs, one pair behind the other
With the help of two strong people at the front and back if needed, life a person, life a person up an pass them along the top of the line lying flat and supported by the hands of the people underneath.

Conclusion A good trust, you can also increase the number of people you pass along so that everyone who feels comfortable can have a go.


Who: Groups of up between 7 – 12 people

Leaders‘ Hints Look for the innovators who can solve this problem

Instructions Give each group member a number from 1 – 7 (or 10, or 12 etc)
Make sure that no-one else knows what their number is. They then have to line up in numerical order, but they must close their eyes
and not talk. After an appropriate amount of time, stop the game.
Discuss how they felt about not being able to do it, and see if they can find ways that may have made it easier eg tapping their numbers on each other’s back.

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