Type of Activity: Get to Know You

Props Needed: None

Set Up: Enough room for participants to move their arms around freely. Plays well with 8 to 25 (or more) for 20 to 30 minutes.

Process: Make sure everyone has enough room to move their arms up and down straight out from their sides. Ask everyone to start with their arms down at their sides. First, everyone count to 6 – “One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six.” Good. Now using the left arm you’re going to count and add some movement. On “One”, a straight left arm goes up, out to the side and stops straight up    overhead in the air. On “Two” back down to the side the same way. On “Three” the arm goes straight back up overhead. On “Four” is back down to the side. On “Five” straight up again, “Six” back down to the side. Good.  Now some practice with the right arm. On “One” a straight right arm moves through the side stopping straight up overhead. On “Two” the right arm moves down but only half way, stopping when it is parallel to the ground. On “Three” the arm goes all the way back down to the side. At “Four” the arm goes all the way back up again, on “Five” down parallel to the ground, and on “Six” it’s back down to the side. You might like to practice each arm one more time. The ultimate challenge is to put both arm movements together at the same time! (see the pictures provided for a double-arm visual.) Try this a few times starting out slow and building up speed.   After some laughs stop the action. Let them know they can practice later on their own if they want to master it.


Variation: If you think your group is ready for another challenge split them up into groups of 3 to 5 participants. Have the small groups develop a system to perform the arm motions together as a group – synchronized  6- Count. After a few minutes of practicing, have each group, if they so choose to, perform their routine in front of the rest of the group. Remember, laughing with and not at.

Before the group is split into smaller teams to work on the actions together we might choose to use this experience to emphasize a bit of our role as facilitators. There might be times when we will provide some information that might assist the group or participants. For example, on number “One” both hands are up on number “Six” both hands are down – this “guide” might move someone closer to their goal (they still have to do the work but there is some information). Also, if you separate out and teach them the “windmill” movement in the middle on “Three” and “Four” they can add to their base of knowledge to become even closer to success – almost 80% if they put the learning together. This little object lesson might come in handy down the road.

Debrief Topics:

  • What strategies did you come up with to make it easier?
  • Was it difficult to split your actions? Why?

For original write up purchase the book "The Empty Bag" by Cavert and Hammond. 


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