Called LIGHT AND LIVELIES in AVP Training
These are some that we have found to work well in Junior Gathering Groups.
Obviously they are not all appropriate for all age groups.
Generally speaking, Light and Livelies provide energizing activity and/or humor to balance sedentary activities and emotionally "heavy" exercises. They are the icebreakers and community builders.
Those Light and Livelies that involve touching, such as Crocodiles and Frogs and Human Pretzel are only introduced after a sense of community, support and trust has been established.
Having as many adults as possible participate in the Light and Livelies models the fact that physical, humorous activities can benefit everyone. Some Light and Livelies may be done either sitting or standing. Most will be more energizing if they are done standing.
Often Light and Livelies are placed just before a Break. This makes it easier for everyone to have a more relaxed and refreshing break. Light and Livelies are designed to be just that – “Light and Lively.” They are not meant to go on too long. Try to read the children. It is wise to stop before the group loses enthusiasm. One way to stop is to say that the activity will end, for instance, after two more turns.
Cut out "Happy Faces" arid "Hearts" for everyone in the group, or any two different objects, such as a pen and a shoe. Have the group sit or stand in a circle with two facilitators opposite each other, each supplied with half of the "Happy Faces" and "Hearts." Pass a "Happy Face" to the person on your right, saying, "This is a Happy Face." Ask that person to say back to you, "A what?" You reply, "A Happy Face: pass it on." Let them pass it on using the same dialogue. Let the group pass it to three or four people.
After people have the idea, ask that the "Happy Face" be returned to you. Go to your left saying, "This is a Heart." Hopefully the person on your left will say, "A what?" and you'll say, "A Heart; pass it on." Explain that your co-facilitator will also be passing out "Happy Faces" and "Hearts." Each facilitator will pass out "Happy Faces" and "Hearts" alternately. The challenge is to see if we can keep things straight. Let the passing continue until everyone is receiving both "Happy Faces" and "Hearts" at the same time. When used as a closing, end by saying: "My wish for you is that you'll all receive and give many "Happy Faces" throughout your life, so that your heart and the hearts of the people you meet will not be broken."
Other "things" can be passed out in the same way. For example, a pen and a shoe, two different tinker toys or even, a Handshake and a High Five, or a Handshake and a Hug (depending on the closeness of the group).
Back to Back .
Explain that this is a changing partners game. Everyone will start with a partner except you. Partners will stand either Back to Back or Face to Face. When you call out either “Back to Back” or “Face to Face” everyone has to change partners and arrange themselves according to what was called. Of course you will try to find a partner, so someone else will become the leader. Ask everyone to find a partner. Have co-facilitators be prepared to "even things up. A variation: caller can change the body parts, e.g., calling "hand to hand", "hand to knee", "elbow to ear." The exercise could be called "Body Parts."
You will need four balloons for each team of a particular color; a large triangle indicated on the floor with masking tape. Have each team arrange themselves at the comer of a triangle. Explain that the teams will have to move their four balloons to the side of the triangle opposite them, keeping the balloons in the air at all times.
Get three volunteers in center circle. Ask a question. Each one takes a deep breath, answers the question seeing which one can keep going the longest without taking a new breath. Use semi-serious questions like "What's the best way to raise children?" People can come up with important-sounding answers, in an atmosphere in which content is not important and fun is the object.
Get into a circle, leader in the middle. Everyone follows what the leader does. Leader crouches on the floor, hands on floor, and slowly rises, giving an increasingly loud sigh as he does so, ending with arms stretched high and the sigh becomes a shout. Very good for relieving tensions.
Big Wind Blows
There are just enough seats in the circle for everyone but you. You are the big wind, and whoever you blow on has to move; Instead of blowing, you call out, "The big wind blows on everyone who ... " and then add your own description; for example, "on everyone who wears black socks," or "everyone who has two ears." Everyone who fits the description must get up and change seats; in the general commotion, you try to get a seat also. Whoever is left standing there, gets to be the Big Wind next time. If the Big Wind calls "hurricane" then everyone has to change seats.
(To the tune of "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean") Everyone is standing in a circle. Make sure there is elbow room between people. Arms are raised. As the song is sung, the group changes position with every word that starts with a "B." Move from arms raised to touching toes. Stay in that position until the next word that starts with "B." Move up and down with the song and end with arms up. Be sure to invite everyone to sing along. You might go through it slowly at first, and then repeat at a faster pace.
Get into pairs standing shoulder to shoulder, scattered around the room. Choose one pair and make one person "It" and one person the runner. ''It'' chases runner to tag him - if tagged runner becomes "it"). Runner may escape at any time by lining up with any pair, person on other end becomes new runner.
Crocodile and Frogs
You will need a noise maker of some kind for the crocodile to use; an old plastic pill bottle filled with pebbles. a tin can and a stick to beat it with will do. Imagine the room as a pond. All participants are frogs except for one who is designated as the crocodile. A dozen or more sheets of newspaper or newsprint are spread randomly across the floor. These represent lily pads. The goal of the crocodile is to eat the frogs; the goal of the frogs is to escape being eaten. When the crocodile is making noise with his noisemaker, he is asleep and snoring, and the frogs are safe in the pond. When the noise stops the crocodile is awake - the frogs are still safe as long as they are standing on the lily pads. When the noise is being made, the frogs must move around the pond, but not step on the lily pads. When the noise stops the frogs must jump onto a lily pad before the crocodile gets them.
More than one frog can stand on a lily pad if they can manage it, but each frog must either have both feet on the lily pad with a little paper showing around the edge of each shoe, or one foot on the paper with the other foot raised in the air. As he makes noise, the crocodile goes around the room and removes three or four sheets of paper. When he stops making noise, all frogs not completely on the papers are caught and are out of the game. Then the process is repeated, more sheets of paper are removed, and more frogs are caught, until there is only one piece of paper left, and nearly all the frogs are caught.
This L&L involves "houses" and "tenants." A house is made with two people facing each other with arms held high and palms touching. Have two co-facilitators show this. A tenant is a person who goes into a house, which means, stands under the arch made by the two house-people. Ask a volunteer to do this. Ask everyone to form trios as demonstrated. This exercise works with a group which numbers one more than a multiple of three, e.g., 1 plus 18; 1 plus 21.
If you call "tenant”, all tenants must move; "houses”, all houses, staying together, must move over a new tenant. The tenants stay still. The leader can be considered a tenant. "Earthquake”, all houses break up and everyone forms new trios. Roles will probably change.
You, of course, will be looking for a spot. If you find one, the person without a spot will become the leader.
Elephants and Palm Trees
The person in the center of the circle points to someone and says "elephant." That person bends over and puts hands down to make a trunk. People on either side of him or her put their arms up to make his elephant ears. If the person in the center says "Palm Tree," the person pointed to holds hands straight above his her head. People on either side make branches going out from the tree. After trying this a few times, the leader says "skunk." The person pointed to turns around with a hand behind for a tail. People on either side turn away holding their noses. As the pace picks up anyone hesitating becomes the person in the center.
Group in circle, leader in center sings song and makes gestures.
"Father Abraham had seven sons-seven sons had Father Abraham.
They couldn't laugh, they couldn't cry, they could only shake their _
(Left hand, right hand, arms, head, legs, butt, etc.) Everyone follows the leader. Gestures escalate in vigor until everyone's body is shaking and turning. Gestures are all repeated as you add each new one.
Fire on the Mountain
Ask the group to stand in a circle. Count off by two's starting with yourself. This L&L requires an odd number of people. Ask one co-facilitator to sit out if necessary. Ask the "2's" to take two steps forward, continuing to face inward, to form a smaller circle within the circle of "l's." This circle shouldn't be too tight.
Ask those in the inner circle to raise their arms above their heads to form a "mountain." Explain that those in the outer circle will walk around the
"mountain" until you call. "Fire on the mountain." Then, to find protection, those in the outer circle will step inside the inner circle and stand in front of someone. That person will give protection by putting her/his hands on the shoulders of the person in front of them. Step inside the circle yourself and ask the person you stand in front of to do this.
Since the outer circle has one more person than the inner circle, someone will not find protection. That person becomes the new leader. Those that were the "mountain" will step back a little and become the outer circle along with the new leader. They will walk around the new "mountain" until the new leader calls, "Fire on the mountain." Continue playing in this manner.
Everyone lies on floor with head on next person’s stomach. First person in coil says “Ha!” Second says, "Ha Ha!" Third person says "Ha Ha Ha!" This continues until everyone is laughing.
Howdy, Howdy, Howdy
Have everyone stand in a fairly tight circle. Be sure there's enough room for people to walk around the outside of the circle. Ask for a volunteer to walk around the circle. That person will tap someone in the circle on the shoulder and continue walking in the same direction that s/he started. The person who was tapped starts walking in the opposite direction of the "tapper." When they meet, they shake hands and both say, HOWDY, HOWDY, HOWDY. Then, still walking, they both try to get back to the place of the person who had been tapped. The person who gets back first rejoins the circle. The person who gets back second becomes the "tapper." In confined space enforce "walking"-there is a tendency to begin "running'.
Using 2 hula hoops, ask everyone to form a circle and join hands. Have a teammate stand opposite you in the circle. For just a moment, break hands with the person on your right. Put a hula hoop over your arm and rejoin hands. Have your teammate do the same with the person to her/his left. Explain that the goal is to have the group cooperate to pass the hula hoops all the way around the circle, back to the person who started it without breaking hands. You and your teammate start, each passing the hoop over your own bodies. Since your hoop is to the right and your teammate's is to the left this should cause them to go in opposite directions, creating a challenge when they arrive at the same person.
I Love You, Baby, but I Just Can't Smile
The person who is "It" sits in a chair, looking glum. One by one, people try to make him or her laugh. "It" is forbidden to laugh." Instead, he responds to all efforts to make him laugh with "I love you, baby, but I just can't smile." In saying this, he in turn is trying to make the other person laugh. If "It" laughs, he is out of the game and whoever made him laugh takes his place. Continue until everyone is laughing.
I'm Going on a Picnic
Group sits in a circle. First person says, "I am going on a picnic and I'm taking some…" (Say something that starts with the letter "A," for example, "ants"). The next person says. "I'm going on a picnic and I am taking some
ants and some. (Says something that starts with the next letter of the
alphabet, for example, bananas). Continue around the circle; each person repeats what the person before said and adding something starting with the next letter of the alphabet. Some people may choose to take strange things on a picnic, like elephants.
Jack And Jill
Decide ahead of time on four hand motions, for example:
snap fingers of left hand,
snap fingers of right hand,
clap hands, d) slap thighs
Use the traditional nursery rhyme:
JACK ANDJILL WENT UPA HIIL
TO FETCH A PAIL OF WATER
JACK FELL DOWN AND BROKE HIS CROWN AND JILL CAME TUMBLING AFTER.
Start the rhyme and go around the circle, with each person just saying one word in turn. Try this a few times to get the flow of it. Now the whole group does the motions while each person says hislher word:
JACK (snap left fingers) AND (snap right fingers) JILL (clap hands) WENT (slap thighs)
UP (snap left fingers) THE (snap right fingers) HILL (clap hands) TO (slap thighs), etc.
This L & L tends to have a lot of energy. Participants should be warned to be careful so that no one is hurt. Do not use chairs with arms. Team members should stop the game if it is in danger of getting out of hand. They should also be prepared to serve as referees in cases where two pairs try to sit in the same chairs.
The exercise operates on the same principle as "A Big Wind Blows," except that the exercise is done in pairs. Set up pairs of chairs randomly around the room. It is best if the chairs do not form a circle and there should be at least three feet of space between the pairs of chairs. Place one pair of chairs in the center of the room. These chairs will be designated "Jail."
Seat the group in the chairs and remove any empty chairs from the room. Ask each pair of participants to link arms. The pairs of participants are to keep their arms linked throughout the game. Number each pair of participants including the pair that is seated in "Jail." The pairs are to keep these numbers throughout the game no matter what seats they may end up in.
The pair that is in "Jail" is "it." They may call two or more numbers and the pairs with those numbers must find new seats. The pair in “Jail" then tries to take one of their seats. If they want everyone to find new seats, they call "Jailbreak." The new pair that ends up in', jail" then repeats the process.
John Brown's Baby
(to the tune of ''Battle Hymn of the Republic, " AKA ''John Brown's Body")
Everyone stands in a circ1e. The group sings the song through once with all the words and then five more times. With every repetition actions are substituted for words. In the first repetition substitute for baby; in the second repetition substitute for baby and cold, etc.
JOHN BROWN'S BABY HAD A COLD UPON ITS CHEST
AND THEY RUBBED IT WITH CAMPHORATED OIL.
For the word: substitute the action:
baby arms cradled in front, move arms side to side
cold make sneezing sound
chest hit chest with palm of hand
rubbed rub circles on chest
camphorated oil hold nose
The last time the song is sung, it will go like this: (with the actions) JOHN BROWN'S [_] HAD A [_]
UPON ITS [_] (3X)
AND THEY [_] IT WITH [_]
This L&L challenges everyone to cooperate in silence – they may, however, use gestures. The group's task is to arrange themselves in order, according to the month and day of their births. If they ask, "Where is the beginning of the line?" say that they'll have to figure that out in silence. When movement ends, ask if they all feel comfortable with the arrangement. If not, they can continue. If they are comfortable, ask them to state the month and day of their births in order.
A variation is to ask people to line-up by height, but do so with their eyes closed and humming all the time. When movement ends, ask if they all feel comfortable with the arrangement. If not, they can continue for a while. Finally, have them open their eyes and see how they've done. When doing this with eyes closed, facilitators keep participants safe by redirecting them should they wander near the edge of the room or into furniture.
Listen to the Universe
Explain that in this L&L a volunteer will leave the room for a minute while the group chooses a spot in the room for the volunteer to find. The volunteer will find the spot by listening to everyone slap their thighs. If the volunteer is going near the spot or "getting hot," everyone will slap loudly. If the volunteer is far away from the spot or "cold," the slapping will be soft. If there are no questions, ask for a volunteer and have her/him step out of the room.
Ask someone to pick a spot and then have the volunteer come back into the room. After the first volunteer finds the spot, ask for another volunteer to step outside the room. Continue. This can be made more challenging by having the volunteer do something when they find the spot. For example, you might have the volunteer go to a table and pick up a book.
One person begins with any mechanical noise and motion, repeated in machine-like fashion. Others connect themselves when they see a place in the machine where they would like to fit in.
Stand up in circle. Face left. Everyone rub back of person in front. Then switch, turn around, and rub back of person on other side.
Play tag as usual (one "it," tags any other person, who becomes "it") except that everyone must use slow exaggerated motions, as if swimming through molasses.
Have the group sit in a circle. Explain that you have been looking for Mrs. Mumbly but you just can't find her. Say that you are going to ask your neighbor (either to your left or right), "Have you seen Mrs. Mumbly?" Your neighbor will reply "No, but I'll ask my neighbor." Then that person asks her/his neighbor, "Have you seen Mrs. Mumbly?" and action continues around the circle. The catch is that people are not allowed to laugh or show their teeth while speaking. If they laugh or their teeth are seen, they are out of the game. The game goes on until only one person is left in it, or until the leader cuts it off.
Name That Tune
(also can be used to break into groups)
Have folded slips of paper ready on which you have written names of very familiar songs such as Old McDonald; Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star; Row, Row, Row Your Boat; Happy Birthday; London Bridge. You will need one song for each group to be formed. There must be as many slips of paper for each song as the number of people you want in each group. Put slips in a small container. Everyone draws a slip and reads without letting the others see. Without talking, have people stand and move around while humming their song until they find others with the same song. They will then remain standing together. As the groups quiet down, ask each small group to hum its tune for everybody.
This L&L takes place in Noah's Ark. The animals have gotten loose, in the dark, and the object of the game is for each animal to find his mate by the sound of the mate's voice alone. Divide participants into two groups. Hand out small slips of paper with the name of an animal to each group, so that there is one each of the animals used in each group. Now, bring the groups together, standing up. They are to shut their eyes and mill around, calling for mates with the sound the animal itself would use. When they find their mates, they are to stand still and wait for others to find theirs. Confusion will become order as more and more find their mates.
Owl and Mouse
Use two blindfolds and two small plastic bottles filled with pebbles to use as rattles. The object is for the owl to catch the mouse, and for the mouse to elude the owl. Ask for two volunteers: one owl and one mouse. Blindfold both and give each a rattle. They are to shake the rattle so they can find (or elude) each other. The other participants are to form a protective circle around them so that they don't hurt each other. When the owl catches the mouse, start again with two new volunteers, or make the mouse into the owl and get a new mouse.
Pass the Electrical Pulse
Stand in circle holding hands. Leader squeezes hand on one side in a simple pattern. The person receiving the squeeze then squeezes the hand of the next person in the same pattern The pattern (pulse) gets passed around the circle. Once it is well started on its way, first person sends a different pattern in the other direction. Try to make them cross, whenever they meet
Pass the Face
Stand in circle. First person turns to second person, makes whatever face s/he wants Second person receives that face, copies it, then turns to third person, converts it to a different face and passes that to the third person. Third person receive that face, copies it. changes it, passes it on, and so on.
Pass the Putty
Take an imaginary lump of clay from your pocket and pretend to mold a shape. Take something that everyone can easily recognize. No talking. Then mash the lump to its original size and pass it on. Variation: Mold putty into one of your troubles; get rid of it by passing to your neighbor, who then molds his own trouble and passes it on.
Use 6 to 8 Koosh balls, soft balls or small socks sewn in ball-like shapes. Have the group stand in a circle. Say that we'll be gently tossing a ball around the circle to form a pattern. It is important to remember the person to whom you throw the ball, and the person from whom you receive the ball. The first time the ball goes around, people will cross their arms over their chest to show that they have already received the ball. After the ball has come back to the beginning, send it through the same pattern one more time to be sure everyone has remembered the pattern. Then slowly add more balls, all following the same pattern. See how many you can get going without the group getting confused. Once the pattern is established, see if you can reverse it.
Two people leave the room. Others hold hands and grabbing wrists to be sure the grip doesn't rotate. They then twist themselves over, under and through each other without letting go. The two people come back in and untangle the group. Group cooperates as the untanglers direct.
A Variation: Everyone in circle puts out right hand, takes right hand of someone else. Then put out left hand and take someone's left hand (if odd number, one person waits until second time and puts out both hands). Group then works to untangle itself. When untangled! some will be facing opposite directions. Sing "Gift to be simple." Turn with words 'To turn, to turn come round right' and end facing center of circle.
If group can't disentangle after a few minutes, tell them not to worry; just try again, splitting group into two smaller circles. If everyone in the whole world did it, they could end up in a perfect circle; youjust have to break it down to a manageable size.
Explain that in this exercise people will mill around with their eyes closed
searching for "Pruee." You will pick "Pruee" from someone in the group after everyone has their eyes closed. After ''Pruee” is-picked' s/he may open her/his eyes but s/be may not say anything. To find "Pruee," people will go around saying, "Pruee? Pruee?" If they run into someone else also saying "Pruee? Pruee?" that won't be "Pruee," because "Pruee" can't speak. If people saying "Pruee? Pruee?" run into someone who is silent, they have found "Pruee!" Then they will join "Pruee" by holding hands. They may then open their eyes and be silent. Eventually everyone should end up in a long line of "Pruee attachments." Suggest that people hold their hands up at chest level with palms facing out as they go about searching for "Pruee." Say that facilitators will be watching everyone to be sure that no one's safety is endangered. (Plan this with teammates before starting.)
Ask the group to stand in a circle. You and one person across the circle will each hold a small object (a magic marker top, wad of paper) concealed in one hand. Have everyone make fists in front of them, waist high. Start passing the object to your right or left without having anyone see it. Everyone mimes passing it. A volunteer in the middle of the circle will try to "catch someone red handed" with the object. That person will take the volunteer's place in the center and continue.
Ask everyone to close their eyes and begin to clap in whatever way they want. This, usually starts out very mixed up and then comes together gradually to create a unique sound experience. End whenever people open their eyes or slow down the rhythm.
Ask the group to stand in a circle with space between persons. A facilitator explains that the leader stands in the center of the circle and gives commands, either "Do ___” or "Simon says, do _____." Everyone is to do only what "Simon says." Those who act on the leader's command ("Do this") are out and those who act on Simon's command continue actions in the circle.
Using 1 or 2 koosh balls or small socks sewn in ball-like shapes have the group stand in a circle. Say that everyone but a "singer" will be gently tossing a ball around the circle. The “singer" will stand outside the circle with her/his back to the circle. S/he'll sing or hum a song. When the song stops the ball stops. The person holding the ball when the song stops becomes the new "singer.” The previous singer joins the circle and the game continues. A variation would be to use two balls and two "singers." This might make people feel safer when singing. The two would work cooperatively to choose a song and a signal for stopping.
Divide the group into pairs. Each pair sits on the floor, back to back. The pairs then link arms. Their knees are to be bent with their feet flat on the floor. Then the pairs just stand up!
Once you've mastered the game in pairs, then try it in groups or three or four. It becomes more difficult as the size of the group increases. With larger groups, it is important to sit in a circle close together, with shoulders and hips touching.
Demonstrate hands straight overhead and number it 1. Do the same with 9 other position—down to touching your toes. Then call out a number and everyone tries to get into the correct position from memory. Call the numbers fairly fast.
First form groups of two. The partners are to join hands facing each other. No talking. Each pair is to establish an imaginary line between their two territories on the floor between them. The object of the exercise is to get the other person to come over to your territory. You will have two minutes to do the exercise. Do not break hands until the exercise is over.
Process exercise afterwards: Did any pairs decide to change places and thus meet the needs of both individuals?
Leader calls a color: "Touch Blue," and everyone must touch something blue on another person. Continue with other colors and descriptions.
Tug of Peace
You will need 50 to 100 feet of heavy rope, 5/8" or thicker. Seat your group in a circle on the floor, not quite shoulder to shoulder, facing in. Ask them to stand up, without using their hands, and without touching anyone else. Next, have them sit down again, as before. Pass the rope around the circle, in their laps, and tie it in a secure knot so rope is in a complete circle and the knot cannot slip. Now, ask your group to grasp the rope in front of them and gradually pull back evenly on the rope and ... stand up!
There are just enough seats in the circle for everyone except you. You assign names of vegetables on a list you have made (e.g., beans, carrots, potatoes, peas) in such a way that there are at least three people having the name of each vegetable. Then call out one vegetable and those having that name swap seats. When you are able to sit down in one of the seats before another participant does, that participant then becomes leader and goes on calling names of vegetables. If he calls "Vegetable Cart," everyone changes seats.
Wake up in the Jungle
Stand in circle. Ask each person to pick out an animal noise. They then pretend to wake up, starting from silence, making their noises softly at first and with growing crescendo until they are yelling very loudly.
In a circle, you start miming some action, e.g., combing your hair. The person to your right asks, "Wha'cha'doin?" You say some action other than "combing my hair." You might say, "Tying my shoes." Your teammate then mimes "tying shoes" and the person to hislber right asks, "Wha'cha'doin?" Continue this way around the circle. Then, go around the opposite way.
Who Are Your Neighbors?
Remove your chair from the circle. You will ask someone in the circle, "Who are your neighbors?" That person has to give the adjective name of the two people beside her/him. If the person is not able to do this, you'll take that person's seat and s/he will be in the middle. If the person does name the neighbors, you'll ask, "How are your neighbors?" The response may be one of three things. If they say, "They're all right," everyone will move one chair to the right. If they say, "They're all left," everyone moves one chair to the left. If they say, "They're all mixed up," everyone switches seats any way they wish. You'll try to get a seat. If you succeed, whoever doesn't get a seat asks the questions.
Who’s The Leader?
Form a circle. Ask for a volunteer to stand in the center and close his/her eyes. You'll silently point to another in the circle to be the "leader." The leader will start doing some motion, e.g., tapping one hand on his/her thigh. Everyone will follow what the leader does. If the leader starts to rub her/his hands together, so will everyone else. The leader must change the motion every 15 to 30 seconds, and the guesser in the center must discover who the leader is. When the "leader” is discovered, ask for two more volunteers and continue as above. When the "leader" is discovered, s/he becomes the guesser and a new leader is designated. Continue as above.
Have the group get into a fairly tight circle. Say that you'll be passing two words around the circle, "Zip" and "Zap." Each word has its own direction. "Zip" goes to the right; "Zap" goes to the left. Have a co-facilitator placed about five people to your right. Say, "Let's try sending "zip" to the right" and do so. Prearrange that your co-facilitator will callout, "Boing," when the action reaches him or her. At this point explain that "Boing" is used to reverse the action. An alternative to limiting "Boings" is to introduce a fourth word, "Perfluey" or "Double Boing." Whichever word you choose passes the action across the circle to someone you name. For instance, call "Merry Mark, Double Boingl" Merry Mark must start either "Zip" to his right or "Zap" to his left!
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