Communication Focused activities:
Many of the following activities require prior planning and setting up before the event.
Get hold of some children’s building blocks (like Lego, Duplo, Mega Blocks etc.) Sort out two identical piles of blocks which should contain blocks of different colours and sizes. Bag up one set. With the other set build a strange object.
Get the group together and, without showing them the object you have built, ask them to select one person to build what you have made. Take this one person out of sight behind a partition or door where they can hear but not see the group and give them the bagged up set of blocks.
Now give the rest of the group the object you have constructed. They must talk to the person out of sight and give them the instructions to build the object which they have in front of them.
Get the group to stand in a circle. Now get them to reach out with their right hand and take hold of someone else’s right hand. Have them do the same with the left. The group now has to untangle themselves without letting go of each other’s hands.
While the group are not looking set up an obstacle course in a room (this could be simply chairs in the path from one door to a wall opposite). Blindfold one member of the team. The rest of the team must guide the blindfolded person through the obstacles using words alone.
You can adapt this game by having the group pair up and one person of each pair being blindfolded and having to negotiate the room with their partner shouting instructions. (All of them at the same time! – could be very noisy.)
Another version is to have objects in the room the blind people must retrieve.
Yet anther option is to play a simple fishing game (a magnet on the end of a piece of string attached to a pencil (the rod), and paper fish with paperclips on their heads). The blindfolded person fishes under the instructions of their partner or team.
Get the group to pair up. Give each pair two paper mazes and a pen. The person who is holding the pen will be first to go. The pen holder must close their eyes (or be blindfolded). The person with their eyes open has to provide the instructions to the pen holder to guide them through the maze. Once one person has done it, then the other person should have a go.
Blindfold the entire group so that no-one can see. Pick one person to be the leader and have everyone else link up with a hand on each other’s shoulders, forming a long blindfolded snake behind the leader. Set up an obstacle course and get the group to go from one side of the room to the other. (This course can be simple chairs, but to make it harder use at least some other obstacles, for example, pillows on the floor creating an uneven surface, and a table under which they must crawl.) The sighted leader must give instructions to the person behind to avoid the objects and these instructions should be handed down the line as they come onto the objects.
Write down some objects on small cards. (You made need to think of a lot depending on how long you play.) Get the group to pick someone to do the talking. This person has to get the group to guess what is written on the card by talking only. They cannot say the word! Then swap around so that everyone has a go.
Or you could play this as charades, to show how important body language is in communication.
Talking to each other.
Get the group to pair up. Each pair should take it in turns to be the talker and listener.
Firstly tell the pair to face back to back. They must talk about themselves for 1 minute.
Now get them to face each other and do it again.
Ask them which was easier. (It should be easiest facing one another.)
Using half the information!
Cut up a small illustrated children’s book. Mr Men books are ideal. Make sure no writing is visible (you may need to stick the pages onto card). Muddle up the pages and get the group to sort the book back into the right order (using only the pictures as a guide.)
Tricks to get people talking / thinking about what is not said rather than what is!
You need a few people in the know for these two games. The first one involves cutlery, the second requires no extra tools.
Arrange the cutlery on the ground and say the arrangement represents a number. Get your person in the know to say what the number is (they can make it look hard to guess and possibly question you about the placement of a few knives etc.) In actuality you are providing the information on the number it is by showing the number on your fingers which you leave in plain sight (either next to you on the floor, or resting on the table, or in your folded arms). Keep going, making more and more complex arrangements until people work out the trick and begin to join in with the person in the know.
Tell people they have been on holiday and they are taking things home with them through customs. You will act as the customs officer who will tell them what is allowed to come and what is not. They should start by saying things to you to which they want to take home with them, to which you will reply yes or no. You will only say “yes” to those items preceded by the phrase “err.” (Those in the know should say “err” before “suntan lotion” etc.)