Each person stands facing their partner about half-metre apart and places both hands into their pockets (or behind their back.)
Nominate one person as the Red Baron (chaser) and the other as Snoopy (the chased.)
When ready, each person removes one hand from their pocket and manoeuvres their hand to either avoid or make contact with their partner’s hand.
When contact is made, swap roles.
Play several rounds and/or swap partners.
Video Transcript for Snoopy & Red Baron
presented by Mark Collard
So you and I have a chance to play Snoopy & Red Baron. It begins with a hand, and it starts really beautifully is that, imagining that my hand is Snoopy and your hand is Red Baron, with our feet apart, facing each other, your plan is to actually chase Snoopy but it’s going to be a bit like you just sort of swoop in and around.
You never touch me but it basically follows my hand as it moves around, so it’s like they’re flying through the air, up and down, in and out. And then of course you bring in two hands. We now have two Snoopys and two Red Barons as we go.
Alright, you got the basic idea. Start by inviting one person to be Snoopy who’s doing they’re running away and then the Red Baron is doing the chasing. So he just follows him behind as close as possible as you go.
Alright, Joel, you start when you’re ready. So I’m following you now. Start with one hand. I’m basically trying to follow everything you do. Feel free to act out the sound. You can turn up the volume if you want.
(people playing Snoopy & Red Baron)
Now we’re just changing up. We’re now going to invite you not to bother with the hands, but I’d like you to imagine that your feet now become the Snoopy and the Red Baron.
So for example, facing Kristen here, let’s suggest that your right foot is Snoopy. I’m going to be Red Baron. So I’m going to be following after you, but again we start off by me just simply following the same pattern of movement that Kristen makes with her foot.
So it clearly involves a little bit more balance. So when you’re ready… so I’m trying to follow all of the movements that she makes. She’s choosing to go very fast, so it’s very hard to follow.
Alright, so when you’re ready. So start off nice and slow and then she’ll then follow… and then you’ve got to follow them and then change feet as well, then move on to two feet.
It’s a good thing you were listening.
How To Play Narrative
Find a partner who shares a favourite Peanuts cartoon character as you. As you may have guessed, more than a modicum of imagination will be required for this activity.
Stand facing your partner, about half-metre away with your feet spread about shoulder-width apart. Each of you can use only one hand, it doesn’t matter which one.
Choose who wants to be Snoopy and who wants to be the evil Red Baron, then accept that the life-like fleshy thing at the end of your arm is your chosen character. Tuck Snoopy and the Red Baron safely away into your pockets, awaiting a start.
When “GO” is called, Snoopy and the Red Baron are cleared for take off as each person reveals their hands from their pockets. Announce that the Red Baron does the chasing, attempting to make contact with Snoopy (partner’s hand,) while Snoopy works feverishly to avoid being hit by the Red Baron.
Movement of one’s body is permitted, except you cannot move your feet, and you cannot make contact with any other part of your partner.
As soon as the Red Baron makes contact with Snoopy’s hand, the aircraft is deemed to have been shot out of the air, and you can move onto the next round. Or, swap characters and partners.
Practical Leadership Tips
This exercise is based loosely on a playful re-creation of the popular Peanuts cartoon strip, but you can pit any two related characters against each other, eg Batman v The Joker, cat v mouse, etc.
Caution people from being too enthusiastic in their swiftly manoeuvres, lest they crash into their partner’s hands rather painfully. Remember, the chasing hand is aiming to touch, not disintegrate, the hand of their opponent.
You could integrate Snoopy & Red Baron 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
Use Planning & Organisational Skills
Demonstrating Empathy & Compassion
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 short burst of physical activity and a good laugh.
In a small way, you could argue that the focus required to interact and engage physically with others may speak to the benefits of having developed a set of supportive and healthy behavioural norms in advance. Or, if not, you could use these less-than-desired interactions or outcomes to explore what sorts of behaviours your group would prefer to see. For example, you could invite your group to reflect on the level of safety and care that was demonstrated by each pair during the activity and relate this to a set of observed impacts on others.
If you can think of more explicit ways in which Snoopy & Red Baron could be purposefully integrated into a health and wellness program, please leave a comment at the base of this page.
Both Hands: Bring out the reinforcements – each person is entitled to use both hands, giving each of them twice the chance of air-borne success.
Open Space: Dispense with pairs, and invite each person to move anywhere they want within a designated area, in an attempt to touch the hand of any other person.
Swallows & Swifts: Rather than compete, invite one person to follow closely behind the hand of their partner, almost as if they were two swallows or swifts. Hands never touch, but the hand which follows aims to keep as close as possible, matching the exact moves of their counterpart.
Balance Tag: Take a look at Stationary Foot Tag whereby each person uses one of their feet (while balanced precariously on the other) to make or avoid contact with the other. Much more difficult, but twice as much fun.
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Useful Framing Ideas
From which cartoon comic strip do the characters Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy and Snoopy belong? That’s right, the Peanuts cartoon. And do you remember Snoopy’s arch-nemesis called the Red Baron, a daring figment of his imagination that would chase Snoopy in his dreams in beat-up vintage bi-planes? Well, this next exercise is all about that battle – Snoopy v the Red Baron – let’s see who wins…
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 fun & innovative partner stretching exercise:
How difficult was it to follow your partner’s movements?
How did it feel when you and your partner were in sync?