6 years and older
A small game based on metaphors, well adapted for young children to work on solidarity and physical contact while having fun.
The game needs a defined area and a small carpet or something which can be made smaller (ropes, plastic, etc.). If the group is too large, divide it into several groups of six to ten players, playing at the same time. Each group needs its own place for playing.
The animator tells a story:
The children are at sea, swimming and having fun in the water (the children run around and pretend to swim). When the (imaginary) sharks arrive, the lifeguard (the animator) whistles once (or claps his hands) and everyone swims to safety on the island (carpet or other) not leaving a single foot in the water. When the danger has passed, the lifeguard whistles twice and the children can go back into the water. But the tide is coming in and the island gets smaller each time (the animator should fold the carpet to make the area smaller and smaller). When the animator whistles again the chil- dren get back on the island so that nobody is left in the sea. If one or more children are left in the water (even a foot off the carpet) and get eaten by the sharks, the whole group has to do a collective exercise like running three times round the place or any other idea.
The children must find a way to help each other so that they can all manage to stay on what is left of the carpet.
Psychosocial: to develop ways of cooperating, as well as respect for others and trust through physical contact.
Physical: to improve balance and strength depending on which strategies are used, as well as resistance since the game involves running.
The level of difficulty depends on the number of players in each group and the area of the carpet. It is up to the animator to manage this, evaluating the abilities of the players. The animator must give the instructions clearly: no part of anyone’s body must be off the carpet or touching the ground.
It is interesting to watch strategies evolve. There is often a tendency not to think about anyone else: for exam- ple, certain children sit on the carpet, without thinking about room for the others. Selfish or selfless behaviours can be a basis for discussion.
It is important to remind the children about the instructions and encourage them to talk to each other to find creative strategies (for example: link arms, leaning on the inside foot with the outside foot in the air, or make a human pyramid).
The players have to accept that they will touch each other and be touched. Respect and trust are important aspects which the animator must point out.
- Was it difficult to be in physical contact with the others? Can you explain?
- What were the different attitudes in the group? Helping each other? Selfishness? Did anybody refuse to collaborate? Can you explain?
- What did you think of the collective exercises? Can you explain?