The Chicken Game

Type of Activity: Group gathering/Processing/Get to Know You

Props Needed: None

Set Up: It is best to have enough room for the group to make a VERY large circle for the purpose of demonstration – but you can adapt pretty well if not. Works well with 10 to 25 participants for 10 to 20 minutes.

Process: Circles are a very important aspect of communicating with each other within a group. However, circling up a group can often be one of the most challenging activities you will ever attempt. Making circles into a game can change the dynamics completely. Before you play The Chicken Game (not the Chicken Dance) you will need to demonstrate the skills (circles).

The Chicken Soup circle involves all participants standing, with arms straight down at their sides, close enough together so the arms are touching each other as if they were Velcroed together (often referred to as a Velcro circle). Have the group get into Chicken Soup.

Let’s interject here with another skill. Only the skilled “circlers” get their circles round the first time – so don’t feel bad. When you ask the group to adjust the shape they made into a circle give them permission to “Cluck, Cluck, Cluck” their way into position (it’s fun, really!) – works with MOST groups, you decide. Okay, on with more circles.

The Double Chicken Wing is performed with both arms in winged fashion – hands on hips, arms bent at the elbows. Participants move to touch elbow-to-elbow all the way around – “Cluck, Cluck, Cluck.”

The Single Chicken Wing (Right or Left. If you call, “right” it will be, “Single Chicken Wing Right” if it’s left, it’s, “Single Chicken Wing Left.”), will require participants to put one hand one their hip bent at the elbow. This represents a little chicken wing – we like to flap the wing around a bit for fun as we play (chicken noises work good for some groups too!). To form this circle, participants sort of work their way around each other until everybody’s Chicken Wing is touching the participant next to them.

Chicken Dumplings requires each participant to find their own “personal space.” This would be where everyone finds a place in the room or boundary where they have enough room to move their arms around (safely) without touching anyone else.

Since we’ve started playing The Chicken Game there have been other variations people have suggested like, “Chicken Salad,”  “Boneless Chicken” and “Chicken Sandwich” – we’re sure you can conjure up the visuals on these. Feel free to add other formations if you believe you will need them during your program.

We also need to teach the, “Mingle” skill for this activity. The Mingle is a great filler and  addition to many games. Mingling involves participants walking around shaking hands and saying, “hello” to each other (nice social skill). If the group is still getting to know each other there would be, “Hello, I’m Chris,” with a response of, “Hello, I’m Susana.” The two break off to Mingle with others. If the participants know each other, it might go like this, “Hello Susana,” “Hello Chris!” then Mingle on.

Okay, now we’re ready to play. As the group is gathered around you, indicate the different types of circles you will be using for the game – out of the ones you have already practiced. Then, explain Mingling and do a little practice. When the participants understand Mingling, have them stop for the final directions. When you call out, “Mingle” the group will do just that – Mingle. At some point during the Mingle you will call out a circle formation – “Chicken Soup!” The group, as quickly and care-fully as possible, must get into that circle formation. When the circle is made, call, “Mingle” again, and the group blends and mingles until the next circle is called – practice all the circle types at least once (the Boneless Chicken is fun to throw in there).

Once the participants know the formations you can use them throughout the program to get into the appropriate size circles for your activities. You can also just play The Chicken Game as an energizer.  Note:  Be patient when you first try this one.  If you have real young participants it will take a while to get the circle you’re looking for.  Make sure you get the participants to help each other out – that’s what this is all about, right?  Besides, delegation is a skill too!

For original write up purchase "The Empty Bag" by Cavert and Hammond, pg.  13 - 15. 

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