In view of your group, start to rub your open palms together in front of you.
In response to your non-verbal urgings, invite your group to copy your moves.
Next, rub your hands more vigorously and then start to click your fingers.
Then use two fingers of one hand to clap into your opposite palm, before gradually morphing into full open-palmed clapping.
Crouch over and bending your knees, start to slap your palms onto your thighs.
Finally, while slapping your thighs vigorously, stamp one or both feet onto the floor/ground.
Once you have reached a crescendo, slowly reverse the motions until you are slowly rubbing your hands together again.
Video Transcript for Coming & Going of the Rain presented by Nate Folan
(Group rubbing hands together to begin Coming & Going of the Rain)
(Group snapping fingers)
(Slowly snapping to conclude Coming & Going of the Rain)
How To Play Narrative
This is such a cool exercise, so I tend to reserve it for only the most deserving groups. Have fun with it.
Start by attracting the attention of your group. And perhaps without notice or introduction, start to slowly rub your hands together in front of you.
As your group starts to catch on, they too will mimic your moves and within moments you will hear a large, collective rubbing sound.
After five to ten seconds of rubbing, transition from rubbing into clicking one of your fingers. Then click the fingers of both of your hands. Start slowly, and then gradually build up the pace of your clicks.
From here, use two fingers of one hand to clap into the palm of your other hand. Again, begin by clapping slowly, and then build up the pace, before involving three and then four finger claps, and then whole of hand clapping. Eventually, everyone in your group shall be clapping furiously.
To mimic the sound of really large raindrops, crouch over a little, bending your knees, and start to slap your thighs, one hand at a time, before slapping both hands at the same time.
Finally, reach a crescendo by stamping one and then both feet onto the ground/floor to simulate thunder.
Sit with this ‘rainstorm’ for a little while, and then slowly and again without notice, reverse all of your movements and sounds until you return to rubbing your hands together in front of you slowly again.
And that’s it.
Ahhh… you’ve got your group’s attention, they are focused, and ready to embrace what’s coming up next.
Practical Leadership Tips
With each of the stages you progressively introduce, the key is to ‘morph’ into each one, rather than present each new stage abruptly. In a sense, as a new stage is introduced you will do a little of both the new and the old movements until one takes over the other.
There’s no right or wrong method to the coming & going of the rain, but imagine your moves mimicking the beats and strokes of the rain falling onto the ground. It starts with slow, soft beats, and then little drops, building to bigger and heavier drops, until finally the full fury of the storm is experienced. And then, slowly, the showers break up a little, and turn into lighter drops again, before finally disappearing altogether.
This is an ideal technique to use when seeking the attention of very large, noisy groups. I learned it during my eight seasons at summer camp and it works like a treat.
You could integrate Coming & Going of the Rain as part of a well-designed SEL program to promote and maintain healthy and supportive relationships in your group.
Specifically, this activity offers opportunities to explore and practice the following social & interpersonal skills:
Identifying & Managing Stress
Demonstrating Self-Discipline & Self-Motivation
Understanding & Expressing Gratitude
Communicate & Listen Effectively
Build Positive Relationships
Demonstrating Curiosity & Open-Mindedness
Promoting Personal & Collective Well-Being
You can learn more about SEL and how it can support character education here.
Health & Wellness Programming
The connection and calm that often transcend a group as it participates in this exercise make it an ideal activity for programs that focus on mindfulness practices. As you lead the various actions, invite your group to block out all other distractions and tune in to the sounds and sensations of the passing rain cloud. This is especially true if you adopt the blindfold version described in the Variations tab. In conclusion, invite your group to reflect on what they felt, thought and valued during the exercise.
Vary The Sounds: The sky’s the limit – introduce a variety of sounds from tongue-clicks, whistles, thigh-slaps, hoots and hollering! Just make it fun.
Rain Circle: Ask your group to stand and form a tight circle, with each person facing the back of the person in front of them. With eyes closed, ask each person to mirror the identical stroke (they receive from the person behind them) onto the back of the person in front of them. As leader, start with slow, gentle strokes, and gradually build up the pace and intensity of the beats in an attempt to mimic the sound of a passing rainstorm.
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Useful Framing Ideas
Note, as this exercise can be introduced without any introduction or fanfare, you may not need any particular framing up front. But, having said that, it is true that you have to pick your group and your moment (which is just another way of saying that your group must be prepared.) For example, an audience expecting to be entertained will be more willing to follow your lead. Whereas, a group of teenagers unsure of where they fit in within the rest of their class are more likely to resist the urge to mimic you unless they think it’s cool to do so.
This exercise is best ‘framed’ when you want your group’s attention, but you don’t want to raise your voice (see Variations tab.)
It’s also a brilliant technique to open an event, especially if there is a lot of people buzzing with anticipation in the auditorium.
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 soothing, audience-participation exercise:
What did you first think when the activity started?
What feelings did you experience as the activity progressed? Good, bad, otherwise?
What was the impact of such an exercise on the group when the rain passed?