Form a circle, facing into the centre, including yourself.
Invite a volunteer to perform a fun, quirky movement or stretch.
Once introduced, the rest of the group is asked to mimic that movement as best they can.
The volunteer continues their movement for 5 to 10 seconds, and then invites a new person to introduce the next movement.
Continue this routine multiple times around the group.
Video Transcript for I’ve Got The Power Stretch
presented by Mark Collard
So at this point I’d like you to imagine, I think I brought it with me, I did, I brought the power. The power sits in my hands and it has the ability to transform the group so that as I do something the rest of the group is invited to follow.
So for example, I might choose to go like this, and immediately the group copies or mimics my actions. So feel free to take that action on now.
Here we go, fantastic.
So it could be that I change it up, woo hoo, huh.
And after about ten or fifteen seconds you may want to give yourself a little bit more room. Step on back a little bit, that I pass the ball, I might use that person’s name indeed, I pass it over to Tim. Are you ready Tim? You want to catch the power. Oh good catch. Okay now whatever you now take us on.
(Group follows Tim in I’ve Got the Power Stretch)
Alright, so we follow Tim’s action. He’s got the power.
(He’s got the power.)
Ah good catch alright.
(Group follows different person.)
We love inventive stretches.
You can be crazy.
(Group begins to follow different person in I’ve Got The Power Stretch)
Look at that. Oh I’m going the wrong way.
How To Play Narrative
It’s not necessary to create a circle for this exercise, but it’s useful, because half the fun is discovered in the looks of delight and torment as people take on some pretty silly moves.
Once you have your group’s attention, pull an imaginary ‘sphere of power’ out of your pocket to kick-off the activity.
Explain to your group that this power has the ability to transform everyone to mimic whatever the person holding it chooses to do. At this point, demonstrate a quirky stretch that would never be seen in your common, garden-variety PE text-book. With an encouraging look, invite everyone else to join you in performing the action.
Relish the power for about five to ten seconds, and then spy another person on the other side of the circle, and toss the ‘power’ over to them, perhaps calling their name first. It’s now their turn to transform the group’s energy, and so on it goes.
The person holding the power can choose to do whatever they want, but try to crank up the ‘weird and wonderful.’
Continue playing until you sense the group is warmed-up, or the energy is starting to wane.
Practical Leadership Tips
Joke around in the beginning, and enrol your group in the whimsy of your pass, and ensure that they catch the ‘power.’ If they don’t, perhaps pick it up off the ground, and hand it to them – they’ll get the idea.
While clearly involving lots of movement, try not to turn this exercise into a boring routine of PE type stretches and warm-ups. They were boring when you were young, and they’re still boring today.
Depending on the size of your group, it’s not necessary for everyone to have a go. You’ll know when the group has had enough, so continue the fun while the energy and interest of your group remains high.
If you are concerned that some people in your group may not feel comfortable ‘performing’ in front of their group, introduce the ability for anyone to ‘pass’ – there is always, always, always another person in the circle who will willingly take their place.
Resist the urge to work around the circle one by one. There’s not much fun and certainly no suspense in that format, so insist on a random passing of the ‘power.’
You could integrate I’ve Got The Power Stretch as part of a well-designed SEL program to develop your group’s ability to understand the perspectives of and empathise with others including those from diverse backgrounds.
Specifically, this activity offers opportunities to explore and practice the following social & interpersonal skills:
Demonstrating Self-Discipline & Self-Motivation
Taking Other’s Perspectives
Demonstrating Empathy & Compassion
Understanding & Expressing Gratitude
Recognising Strengths In Others
Communicate & Listen Effectively
Build Positive Relationships
Demonstrating Curiosity & Open-Mindedness
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 a short burst of physical activity and a few laughs.
If you can think of more explicit ways in which I’ve Got The Power Stretch could be purposefully integrated into a health and wellness program, please leave a comment at the base of this page.
Micro-Macro: One person starts with a really small, barely noticeable movement (eg blinking their eyes several times,) then the next person is obliged to present a really large make-you-sweat movement (eg jogging on the spot raising knees as high as they can.) Then back to a micro-movement again, and so on.
Object of Power: Introduce a prop, such as a hula-hoop, piece of rope, rubber chook, to be passed between volunteers and somehow involved in the stretch. The rest of the group mimics the actions of this person as best they can.
Open the Virtual Adaptation tab to learn how to present this activity online.
Rather than re-create the concept of a circle online, simply invite volunteers to motivate all others attending your virtual gathering to mimic their stretching moves, one at a time. Instruct each person to pass the ‘power’ to a new person by first calling their name.
If the group is new to each other, be sure that each person has a name displayed on their video thumbnail before you get started.
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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 quirky stretching, warm-up exercise:
Was it hard to think of an interesting stretch?
Was it easy to mimic the actions of another person? Did you get it right?
What did it feel like to have the rest of the group mimic your actions?
Ordinarily, what do we think when people mimic our actions?
The inspiration for I’ve Got The Power Stretch, and many more creative stretching exercises, was sourced from the following publication: