Building a Handshake

Type of Activity: Get to Know You

Props Needed: None

Set Up: Need a nice size open space to move around in. Plays well with 10 to 24 participants (even numbers work best for this one – so you might get to play!!) for 15 to 25 minutes.

Process: Pair up participants and have them create a sequenced greeting handshake of some sort – one with 2 to 3 different “moves” included. For example, a high five followed by an index finger link shake followed by a fist-to-fist touch. Give each pair a few minutes to master their greeting. When everyone has had enough time to practice ask the participants to find a new partner. Participants then share their last greeting with this new partner. The challenge is then to combine the two greetings together using all the movements of both greetings – they don’t necessarily have to be in the same order (but most keep them that way). Give the pairs ample time to memorize this new combination greeting. If you dare, ask the participants to find a new partner again – someone they have not done a greeting with. Can this new pair combine their newest greeting into one mega-handshake? If time allows you could have pairs share their handshake with the rest of the group.

Variations: Have pairs come up with a sentence that rhymes, like, “Once you find your way there you can stay.”  Each pair commits their rhyme to memory. Create new pairs that put their rhymes together. Remember this combination and find another partner to add to the poem. Pairs can rearrange lines to make it work. If they can, pair up a fourth time for another line (hey that rhymes!)

Debrief Topics:

  • Did anyone have similar base handshakes?
  • Was it difficult to join the handshakes?

For more resources see: "The Empty Bag" by Cavert and Hammond

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