ACTIVITY 9: ENERGIZERS
The following non-verbal activities can help to raise group spirits, create solidarity, and refocus energy.
Arm in Arm: Ask participants to divide in pairs of equal strength. Explain: "How many times can you put your partner's hand to the table in 60 seconds? There can be two winners to this game." Then say "Go" and let participants know when 30 seconds and 10 seconds remain. Those who cooperate will be able to touch many times while those who compete will have few or no touches. Point out the difference between cooperation and competition.
The Chain: Ask participants to stand in a circle with their eyes closed. Move them around, attaching their hands to each other so that they make a knot. Then tell participants to open their eyes and try to untangle themselves without letting go of their hands.
Fireworks: Assign small groups to make the sounds and gestures of different fireworks. Some are bombs that hiss and explode. Others are firecrackers imitated by handclaps. Some are Catherine Wheels that spin and so on. Call on each group to perform separately, and then the whole group makes a grand display.
Group Sit: Ask participants to stand in a circle toe-to-toe. Then ask them to sit down without breaking the connection of their toes. Avoid this activity if members of the group are disabled or elderly.
The Rain Forest: Stand in the center of participants, who mimic your movements, making different sounds and gestures for aspects of the forest (e.g., birds, insects, leaves rustling, wind blowing, animals calling) by snapping fingers, slapping sides, clapping hands, and imitating animals. The resulting sound is like a rain forest.
Silent Calendar: Explain that the whole group must line up in order of the day and month they were born, but they cannot use words to accomplish this.
The Storm: Assign different sounds and gestures to small groups of participants (e.g., wind, rain, lightning, thunder, etc.) and then narrate the soft beginnings of the storm, conducting the various sounds like an orchestra (e.g., "And then the lightning flashes! And the thunder roars!") through to the conclusion of the storm.
To the Lifeboats!: First demonstrate a "lifeboat": two people hold hands to form the boat; passengers stand inside the circle of their hands. Then explain that everyone is going on a voyage: "At first the sea is calm and everyone is enjoying the trip. Then, suddenly, the ship hits a rock. Everyone must get into a lifeboat in groups of three (or one, or four, etc.)." Participants then scramble to form "lifeboats" and take in the proper number of passages. Usually someone "drowns." Then take up the narrative again. "Now the ship continues peacefully ... but suddenly a hurricane begins. The ship is sinking. Everyone to the lifeboats in groups of two." Continue like this through several "shipwrecks."