Eskimo Toss

Type of Activity: Trust - HIGH RISK

Props Needed: None

Set Up: Need a mid-size open area with some good overhead room. Plays well with 12 to 25 for 25 to 35 minutes. If we have 24 participants we’ll create two groups with a facilitator in each group. With less than 24 participants we have the extra participants standing around the outside of the zipper line of spotters for extra support and spotting. We then rotate spotters with each toss to keep participants engaged – and to give the catchers a rest.

Process: Eskimo Toss is set up the same as Cookie Machine (Zipper spotting with at least 11 people involved). The one addition to the set up is that one of the spotting participants must move around to the head of the active participant and be responsible for supporting the head at all times. The Eskimo toss also has a bit more energy involved so you can present it accordingly. Once the active participant is in the arms of the spotters, the concept is that the spotters will be tossing the participant into the air. It will be very important for the participant to keep her body “stiff as a board” during the toss – bending at the waist could allow the participant to “slip” through the arms of the spotters. The toss will also need to be synchronized by the spotters. When ready, the spotters count together, “1, 2, 3, toss” lifting arms together to toss up the participant. The spotters also need to be mindful to “catch with their legs,” absorbing the weight by bending their knees, instead of catching with their backs. We like to instruct the group to start with a small toss – about spotters eye level, progress to a medium toss – about head level, and then to a higher toss – just above the head level of the spotters, if the active participant is “up” for it (get it?). As always, you, as the facilitator, need to keep the actions safe. Also, we (the facilitators) should position ourselves near the head and shoulders of the participant being tossed so we can put a hand in there if needed. When the tossing is complete make sure the spotters set the participant down feet first. The spotters at the shoulders and head safely set the participant up to standing. From here the groups can switch around so another participant can be tossed.

Variations: If you ever get the chance to experience the Eskimo Toss in an authentic blanket take it!!

Debriefing Topics:

  • What did it feel like to be supported by the group?
  • What feelings did you experience?
  • How did it feel to be responsible for someone else’s safety?

For more resources see: The Empty Bag

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