Playing Card Blind Line Up

Type of Activity:  Problem Solving, Communication

Source:  Playing With A Full Deck, by Michelle Cummings

Props Needed:  playing cards, one per participant

Aim of the Game:  To line up in the correct order from the lowest number to the highest number without talking and with their eyes closed.

Group size:  6-10 Players per suit

Setting up the Cards:  Remove all of the face cards.  Aces have a value of 1.  Shuffle the deck well. 

Playing the Game:  Each participant is asked to take a Card, look at the number and put it in their pocket.  Ask them not to share their number with anyone else in the group.  Distribute blindfolds to those participants who have trouble keeping their eyes closed.  The objective is for the participants to line up in order from lowest number to the highest number with their eyes closed, and without talking.  They may not strategize before beginning.  Inform them that they must be able to prove to themselves and to you the facilitator that they are in the right order before the activity is over.  Encourage the participants to put their ‘bumpers up’ to avoid any collisions with other participants.  Also let them know that you will be watching the group so that no one wanders off from the group and that you will keep them safe.  Anytime you ask someone to close their eyes you should do a safety talk about boundaries and safe  environments. 

Most of the time groups will start out by milling about trying to tap their number out on someone’s shoulder.  Eventually someone will figure out clapping their number so that they can be communicating with more than one person at a time.  If the group gets pretty close but are not quite there it is good to ask for a show of hands if they think they are right before they open their eyes.  You can give them feedback such as, “There is one person that does not think the group is in the right order, how can you prove to the group that you are in the correct order?”  Usually this will result in one more round of sequential clapping to prove that they are in the right order.

Variation:  Remove the number 1 from the discs that you hand out.  In American society, we are taught to always look for number one.  Sometimes this will throw off the group, specifically the number 2 as they will be looking for the Ace card to stand next to.

Debriefing topics:

  • How did you try to communicate your number to the group?
  • What was frustrating about this activity?
  • How did it feel to have your eyes closed?
  • How did other’s behaviors in the group affect your performance?

 Learning styles utilized from the 7 Kinds of Smart: ~body smart, logic smart, music smart

Purchase from the Training Wheels store:  Playing With a Full Deck, Jumbo Playing Cards

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