Each partner chooses a number between 1 and 5 and shares it with their partner.
Calculate the sum of the two numbers.
Ask each pair to turn back to back with their partners, and interlock their elbows to form a physical connection.
Each pair then jumps up and down together equal to the sum of their two numbers.
Repeat with a new partner, or try a small group variation.
Video Transcript for Bouncy Bouncy presented by Mark Collard
Does everyone else have a partner? Okay, great excellent.
The first task is just place one hand behind your back facing your partner, and then on when I say go, because that works pretty well to start a game, each of you are going to bring that hand which is presently hidden in front of you extending a certain number of fingers on it.
For example, just watching what we do here with Vicki and I. So on go we’re both going to bring our hand with an extended number of fingers.
(Including thumbs or not?) Yes, our thumbs can be considered numbers as part of the task.
Ready and Go. Okay, so what’s the number here? (Four)
Now I happened to do none in that case. You can do none all the way up to five.
So just quickly identify that now. Go with that. So just identify that part first with your partner. So bring it out in front of your and identify what that number is.
You got it. You got the sum? Add those two numbers together.
Okay, so in our case it is four. So Vicki had four fingers and I had none.
Go back to back with your partner. Interlock arms as comfortably as possible. Your object now is to bounce up and down the number of times of the sum of the numbers you came to.
So we are going to be starting. So when you are ready Vicki on the count of three we are going to jump up and down four times. One, two, three. (One, two, three four)
You go when you are ready.
(People jumping up and down)
(I am glad we had a small number) It could have been ten.
You all know where you are headed with this one. So you are facing your partner, one hand behind your back.
This time you must use at least one finger or up to five. So on go shoot out the number of fingers you have on your hand so you can add up what that number is. So one, two, three, Go!
This time we are not adding, but you’re multiplying. Whatever the numbers are, so we got two times three equals six.
We now go back to back and go up and down six times. You ready? Wait hang on. One, two, three. (One, two, three four, five, six) Good job.
(People jumping up and down)
How To Play Narrative
This has got to be one of the silliest partner energisers I think I have ever come across, but it works like a charm.
Separate into pairs, perhaps locating a partner who is of similar height. Or adopt one of the many fun, random ways of Getting Into Pairs.
Ask each person to choose a number between 1 and 5, share it with their partner, and then calculate the sum of those two numbers.
Next, ask the pairs to turn back to back, and carefully interlock their elbows with one another to form a cosy connection.
Finally, announce that you would like each partnership to jump (bounce) up and down together according to the sum they generated. So, if the sum equals seven, the pair jump up and down seven times. One (up), two (up), three (up) and so on.
Crazy, I know. But I guarantee, it will energise your group, not to mention create lots of laughter.
If you sense that some participants may find it difficult to lock elbows (or may not be careful in their pursuit of bounces,) suggest that they choose to hold hands while standing back-to-back.
Practical Leadership Tips
Hint: do not telegraph in advance what you are about to ask your group to do. Preserve the adventure for as long as possible. If you happen to describe what you are about to ask the pairs to do before you ask them to choose a number, most savvy folks will cotton on and aim low.
If you have an odd number of people in your group, either jump into the action to make up the final pair or create a group of three.
Watch those particularly athletic folk who think it’s fun to bend forward, causing their partners to balance precariously on the back of the former. This IS fun, but it needs to be a mutually-agreed venture, not something only one person wants to embrace.
You could integrate Bouncy Bouncy as part of a well-designed SEL program to develop your group’s abilities to make caring and constructive choices about their social interactions, not to mention, enjoy a fun time with others.
Specifically, this activity offers opportunities to explore and practice the following social & interpersonal skills:
Demonstrating Self-Discipline & Self-Motivation
Demonstrating Empathy & Compassion
Recognising Strengths In Others
Demonstrate Cultural Competency
Making Reasoned Judgements
Anticipating & Evaluating the Consequences of One’s Actions
Promoting Personal & Collective Well-Being
You can learn more about SEL and how it can support character education here.
Health & Wellness Programming
There is no specific health & wellness perspective to this activity other than promoting the benefits of enjoying a quick stretch and a good laugh. In a small way, you could argue that the interaction required to safely play Bouncy Bouncy speaks to the development of healthy behavioural norms and certain interpersonal skills. For example, it is entirely possible for one person to harm their partner if they did not consider the impact of their behaviours on them.
If you can think of more explicit ways in which Bouncy Bouncy could be purposefully integrated into a health and wellness program, please leave a comment at the base of this page.
Out of Ten: Each person picks a number from 1 to 10.
Larger Groups: Form groups of three, four, or whatever number of people. With groups of four or more, you can invite people to turn to face each other (or not), then jump.
Open the Virtual Adaptation tab to learn how to present this activity online.
While not involving pairs of two people, you could simply ask everyone to nominate a certain number (between 1 and 10) and then invite them to push back from their screens and bounce up and down that number of times to serve as a quick, fun energiser.
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Useful Framing Ideas
Let’s change the energy in the room before moving onto another topic, so quickly, please find another partner…
From where you are standing, extend each of your two arms and hands as far to your sides as possible. Now, look for one other person who can extend their arms as far as you can…
Reflection Tips & Strategies
Coupled with one or more reflection strategies, here are some sample questions you could use to process your group’s experience after playing this quick energising game:
Was it difficult to coordinate the jumps with your partner? Why?
What did you and your partner do to successfully jump together?
What value do you see in this exercise?
How might the success of your jumping relate to your group’s success?