Concentric Circles

Type of Activity: Processing

Props Needed: None

Set Up: In this activity the group is divided in half, and two circles are formed, with the participants facing each other in an inner circle and an outer circle.

This activity was adapted by Jen Stanchfield from its traditional use as a get-acquainted activity to an engaging processing tool. Variations of this ice-breaker have been utilized by many adventure based educational programs.  The variation that prompted its use as a reflective activity here was adapted from a game presented in John Luckner and Reldan Nadler’s Book: “Processing The Experience”.

Concepts: This reflective technique is substantially less intimidating for many participants than a general discussion since each person is only asked to converse with one other person at a time. It also creates conversation between participants rather than between facilitator and participants. Sometimes participants are more open if they aren't speaking to their facilitator. Remember: effective processing can occur even when the facilitator is not present to hear it! This activity is used to not only process a specific experience; it serves as an excellent closing activity for a session or program day.

Process: The participants are asked to greet each other by name and than are asked to participate in engaging cooperative activity together, such as “finger fencing” or “gotcha” (see the book Back Pocket Adventure, by Jim Grout and Karl Rohnke, for creative partner activities).

After completing the partner activity, participants are asked to share their answers to a reflective question asked by the facilitator concerning the activity or experience the group is processing.

After a few moments, or when the conversational energy diminishes, the facilitator invites the inner circle to rotate and form new partnerships by having the inner group move three spaces to the left, saying hello to those two they pass by. The new partners greet each other; the facilitator provides another cooperative activity and question to discuss.

The activity continues with alternating movement, activities and questions.

If you would like more participants to hear some of the insights expressed by others during the activity, before each rotation the facilitator can ask if anyone would like to share their conversation with the group.

For a closing activity, participants can answers to questions such as “Is there a moment from today that stood out for you?” “Where you surprised at yourself any time today?” “Did you see something in another group member that you were especially proud of?”


For more resources see:  A Teachable Moment


Material in this Online Games Database is copyrighted.  Copyright ©  Training Wheels or by the author who submitted the activity.  Permission needed to copy or reproduce.