Switch, Change, Rotate

Type of Activity: Problem Solving, Communication

Props Needed: None

Set Up: Need a nice big open area for this one. Ask your participants to get into groups of 3 or 4 and stand in a single-file line facing in the same direction. Works well with 20 or more for 20 to 25 minutes.

Process: This activity involves the facilitator giving specific commands the small groups are asked to follow - to the best of their ability. First you’ll want to do some practicing with the small groups standing in place.

  • “Switch.”  The participant at the front of the line peels off and goes to the back of the line – practice.
  • “Change.” The line of participants is required to turn 180 degrees to face the opposite direction – practice.
  • “Rotate.”  This command requires the front and back participants to exchange places – practice. Spend a little time practicing with each command while the groups are stationary.
  • “Move.” On this command the groups start walking (doesn’t need to be fast) around the room (within the established boundary area) in their single file line formation – the head of the line being the leader. The lines are allowed to weave around the area as long as each small group stays together.
  • “Freeze” – this obviously stops all the action. So, now the groups have all the commands they need.

Here is the ultimate challenge. Start out the groups with, “Move” then begin working in the Switch, Change & Rotates as the groups are walking around. (If you have some music to play during the activity it gives the groups some beat to walk to.) Give the groups enough time between calls to get into the correct formation. Be sure to mix up the “commands” so the groups do not know what order the commands will be given!! After a few minutes the groups should have it down pretty well. This activity brings you wonderful leadership issues and how the group members help one another.

Variations: If you think your group is ready for a trusting challenge, have them first, “Freeze” in place. Ask them to close their eyes for the next round. Assure the participants they can open their eyes at any time if they need to but challenge them to work together to keep this safe. Also, teach the “Bumpers Up” position (hands and arms up in front of you with thumbs touching) to add some up-front safety.

Debriefing Topics:

  • How much information can you truly comprehend/processes?
  • What were the roles of each position?
  • Changes in leadership.

For original write up purchase "The Empty Bag.”  

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