Perhaps by way of demonstration, ask a volunteer to stand in front of you. Each glances at the action featured on the back of your cards and then, on the count of “1, 2, 3” announce that both of you will bounce into action and mirror or imitate the physical gesture they see on their card.
Explain that if you and your partner happen to perform the same action, you are invited to share a quick high-five to celebrate. Otherwise, you can acknowledge your effort with a quick fist bump.
When ready, instruct each person to swap cards with their partner, bid farewell and then seek a new partner. To start over.
This process of show, match, swap and find a new partner continues for as long as your group has the energy. Or, if you’re looking for something new, take a look at the Variations tab.
Practical Leadership Tips
A deck of We Connect Cards comes with 10+ activities you can use that will (as they proudly state on the box) inspire infinite connections.
The Cards are categorised broadly into three groups:
Green – simple questions that are fun and light
Blue – questions that are a bit deeper
Purple – questions that encourage self-reflection
You can get your own set (or three) of We Connect Cards here.
If you can’t get (or afford) a set of We Connect Cards, no trouble – you can produce your own. Simply create multiple sets of up to 10 different actions (depending on the number of people in your group.) Either hand sketch these actions (think stick figures) or search online for a set of royalty-free images which feature the actions you are looking for.
You can watch Chad Littlefield, founder of We and Me and developer of the We Connect Cards, present this activity to a small group of adults in the Video Tutorial tab.
You could integrate Mirror Neurons as part of a well-designed SEL program to help your group make caring and constructive choices about personal behaviour and social interactions across different situations.
Specifically, this activity offers opportunities to explore and practice the following social & interpersonal skills:
Demonstrating Self-Discipline & Self-Motivation
Setting Personal & Group Goals
Taking Other’s Perspectives
Demonstrating Empathy & Compassion
Understanding & Expressing Gratitude
Communicate & Listen Effectively
Build Positive Relationships
Demonstrating Curiosity & Open-Mindedness
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 to one’s wellbeing of enjoying a series of social and physical interactions.
In a small way, as with all activities that invite social interaction, you could argue that this exercise can provide your group with a wonderful opportunity to explore healthy and respectful behavioural norms. The key connection you may want to make is that when everyone is on the same page, ie mirroring the positive behaviours of the group, everyone wins. To explore this further, take a look at the questions described in the Reflection Tips tab for some useful starting points.
If you can think of more explicit ways in which Mirror Neurons could be purposefully integrated into a health and wellness program, please leave a comment at the base of this page.
Tougher Trio: Form groups of three people all of whom must match actions to earn a point. With more than 10 actions, points are really hard to earn.
Take a look at Freeze Action for a similarly interactive exercise (coming soon.)
Take a look at ESP which is a very similar, more versatile exercise you can play without the cards.
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Useful Framing Ideas
Have you ever heard the term ‘Are you on the same page?’ It means, in other words, that everyone is connected or thinking the same thing(s). While it’s an easy concept to grasp, in practice, it is often very difficult to achieve. This exercise will explore the challenges and benefits of everyone being on the same page…
There is a uniquely human phenomenon called Mirror Neurons that scientists first discovered by watching babies respond to others around them. Babies love to imitate and copy because it’s one of the ways they learn by watching others. Next time you see a baby, look directly at them and smile, frown, poke out your tongue, etc and watch as the baby attempts to copy your actions. It’s fascinating. In a small way, this next activity reflects this natural phenomenon…
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 entertaining energiser:
How often did you match actions with a partner? Did this surprise you? Why?
Did it feel different to match than not match your partner?
Can you think of specific behaviours which are imitated in our group?
Are these imitated behaviours positive or not?
What can we do to help our group embrace more of these positive behaviours?
The inspiration for Mirror Neurons was sourced from Chad and Will at We And Me. You can purchase these cards from here.