dancing2Community Group Games

A formation community needs to create space to laugh, relax and interact with one another, to regress and to let off tension and collected hurt feelings. There are many formative advantages for spending time to sing, dance and laugh together. Community recreation with many creative games can be a good setting for community building. Unfortunately a culture of individualism provides ample opportunities mostly for solitary relaxation through internet surfing and TV which offer very little interaction among community members. It is noted that communities that spend time together at meals, prayer and periodically in group recreation (on feast days, week ends etc.) have better cohesion and accomplishment of community goals.

Advantages of group games:

  •  Offer easy entertainment, fun and relaxation
  •  Ease out tension in relationships
  •  Provide an environment for tension release and healthy regression
  •  Involve all in the community and affirm mutuality and self-confidence
  •  Create cooperation and healthy competition among members
  •  Offer opportunities for leadership and creative learning
  •  Learn skills to organize and engage young people in creative learning

Some tips for conducting group games

1. Choose a day and time that is generally suitable for relaxation (eg. Saturday evening) and free from the tension of exams. The community project should include moments of community recreation and add them in the yearly plan so that members come together prepared for fun and enjoyment.

2. A community recreation with group games well-conducted reinforces the interest to look forward to similar moments in future. “The proof of the pudding is in the eating”, goes a proverb.

3. The group games are to be prepared well in advance in order be interesting. When students take turns to conduct games, it will give them opportunity for leadership and organization. When group games are conducted:

  • The leader must know the rules and procedure of the game well
  • Materials required are to be kept ready in advance.
  • Give clear and precise instructions to avoid any confusion.
  • If needed, give a model practice before the “real” one to make sure that everyone knows the rules.

4. Group games need a relaxed atmosphere. Participation of formators in the games will encourage the group.

5. It is very important that each member be respected and an atmosphere of cooperation and relaxation be maintained.

6. A team of two or three conducting the game as organizers (in bigger formation centres) will give opportunity for team work. The leaders should arrive at an understanding among themselves about what each one of them do during the game.

7. Success of a game depends on many factors such as the confidence and interest of the leaders, mood of the group and choice of appropriate games. At times a diffident group may pick up enthusiasm as the games gain momentum.

8. It is always better to choose games of different categories: games that involve larger or smaller groups, individual competitions, sitting and running games etc. Singing folksong together or dancing is also a good way of involving everyone into the process.

9. Animators of the games should be sensible to wind up the gathering in the right moment. It is the time when the group members are relaxed, interacted sufficiently with one another and would be happy to stop, even though they would not mind to continue a little longer. Prolonging the games longer than what is planned in the schedule is unwise.

At the end of the games it would be advisable not to disperse immediately, but rather sit together a few moments in reflective sharing and prayer.

A few Selected Group Games for your community

1. Engaged, Married and divorced.

eng-marry-divAn ice breaker game.

Players: 8 or more
Materials: a bell, or a piece of rhythmic music which can be started and stopped when required
Preparation: Keep three pieces of paper with three different words written in them: engaged, married and divorced. Roll them and keep them ready in a small box or container.

The rules:
-When the bell rings (or music goes) the participants dance around zigzag and when the bell stops each one picks up a companion and form a pair and take one of the postures of “engaged” or “married” or “divoced”. The “engaged” stand face to face with each other and one bends to kiss the ring finger of the other. The “married” stand side by side holding the hands. The “divorced” stand back to back.

When the pairs have chosen their postures, a lot is drawn from the box and the pair drawn is declared out. The others continue the game until a single pair remains as the winner. For more mixing and contact pairs can be randomly chosen after each draw.
At the beginning the leader describe the game and demonstrates the postures with the help of a pair.

2. find out the rules of the group

A game to improve observation of links between events.
Group of 10 or more
No materials required.

Procedure: Funny rules are accepted in a group and the group follows it. The observer is to find out the rule. The group sits in a circle. One persons goes out (outsider) and others choose a rule. E.g. for every third question asked, the group claps twice. When the “outsider” comes back, he has to discover the rule by asking people questions about themselves. Then he has to guess the rule employed. After three chances he is asked to perform something for the group and another becomes an “outsider”. Choose difficult or simple rules according to the group and their level of experience. There can be more than one rule operating at the same time.

Some examples:

  • At every third question the person at the right scratches his head visibly
  • To every third question everybody claps
  • Everyone first clears his throat before answering
  • All stamp the feet on the floor whenever a reference to Claretians is present in the question asked.

When question is asked to persons with eye glasses, the answer is given by the next person.
(Rules can be visual e.g., clapping, scratching etc., or structural. e.g., answers are always given in negative: “What is your age?” – “I am not 23” etc.)

3. King David and the wise virgins

An interesting game of group action
Groups of 8 or more
Materials required: a black board or paper and pen to record point.
Leader prepares a list of articles that could be procured from the surrounding without much difficulty. This articles should not be easily damageable. This list is not to be revealed to the group before.

Procedure: The leader sets apart a member as King David (For example, the oldest Claretian in the community) and acts as his Minister. Others are divided in to two or three groups (depending on the number). The King is seated in a chair and minister stands/sits next to him. The king may speak in Hebrew (imitational) and the minister translates in the common language to have more fun and suspense. The leader welcomes the king and tells that the king is pleased with the group. One of the group is wise virgins and the other foolish. As it is not clear which group is wise, the King wants to give a test. He would ask for any gift from the group. The group which is wise and alert will get it for him first and wins the test after 10 rounds.

The kings expresses his desire to the minister one at a time. For example, “The king wants a ball pen”.
The contact person between the group and King is the minister. He receives the items from the group. In case of a dispute, King takes the final decision (or repeat the round)
Both groups rushes to get the article mentioned and to reach it to the minister first and win the point.
The group that reaches the gift first will be accepted and wins a point which is marked in the blackboard. The other group loses that round
The king asks for another item and the game goes on for 10 rounds.
The group that gains more points win the game. In case of a tie, one more round is added.
It would be fun if articles asked for are varied and available: pen, a white hair, steel cup, a dry leaf, white socks, apple peeled and sliced in to 5 pieces in a white paper, a black button on a white shirt etc.
This is a group game that involves movement (senior members could take roles that does not involve movement. For example, the king or his minister).

4. Chimpanzee race

chimpAn individual competition
Players: 2 or more
No materials needed
Procedure: Players stand side by side on a starting line. When the leader gives a signal, the players spread their feet apart, bend over and grasp their ankles. In this position, with knees stiff, they both walk to the finishing line, about 20 or 25 feet away. The one who gets there first wins.
If they lose the grip on their ankles, they must return to the starting point and begin again.

This is an exciting race, if there is a large group.

5. Baby Bottle race

babybottleIndividual game
Players: 2 or more
Materials required: Collect baby bottles with new nipples. Puncture it with a pin in such a way that the water flow from each is of the same speed. Fill the bottles with water or soft drinks to the same. level in each bottle.

Procedure: The leader invites 2 or more volunteers and handles the bottles. At signal each “baby “ is to empty the bottle. The one who finishes the water first wins the race. It is interesting to return to be a “baby” again!

6. “Poor Pussy”

This is a group game that involves all in the group.
No materials required.
Procedure: All sit in a circle except one member who is the “Poor pussy” (PP). PP goes around and kneels in front of any one in the group and meows and acts in cat-ish ways (sound or action like a cat). The person facing the PP is to pet or stroke him in the head saying “Poor Pussy, Poor pussy”.. If the person who is petting the Poor Pussy smiles, he or she becomes the next PP, and PP gets to sit in the circle. PP may do anything except touching to make the person laugh.

Other people in the circle are allowed to laugh, whistle or do whatever they can to make it more difficult to keep himself serious without smiling.

– Collected by Fr. Babu Thannickal cmf