Instruct each person to place their two hands in front of them in a prayer-like manner (palms pressed together.)
Without moving any other fingers, move each of the middle fingers so that they cross side to side.
The middle fingers should be resting perpendicular to all other fingers.
Ensuring no other fingers cross, slide the palm of one hand away from the body while the middle fingers remain interlocked.
Keep sliding until the fingers of each hand partially overlap the palm of the other.
The middle fingers will be pointing in opposing directions on top of each other.
Now, wiggle these two extended middle fingers for fun.
After a few minutes of practice, invite each person to find a partner.
Starting with hands by their sides, on “GO” the first person to Wiggle Waggle, wins.
Video Transcript for Wiggle Waggle
presented by Mark Collard
First of all just place your own hands, a bit like prayer-like, palm up against each other like this. Now some of you will be familiar, and apparently my parents tell me that this is an exercise they used to occupy my attention for a long time when I was very, very young.
Using your biggest fingers now, place them in a… they cross each other position. And this is the hard part where you slide your hands and you create what’s called a Wiggle-Waggle.
So for those who are doing it, you cross your fingers… That’s it.
Now for those who know how to do it, cross your fingers the other direction, see if you can still do it. For those who can do it, cross your fingers the other direction, see if you can still do it.
If you need some help just ask for a neighbour or your partner.
Anyone wish to volunteer that when you saw this you said oh yeah, I could do this and you’ve been able to do it pretty convincingly for a while, so does anyone like to volunteer that they’ve done it? Okay, great. Jim.
So Jim, what’s going to happen here is I’d like you to imagine that there’s no one else around here, or if they are rather just spectators sitting on the sides of the saloon. It’s the O.K.Coral, it’s high noon, and there’s someone in the background going (whistling). And we face off with each other, our hands side by side, rippling with adrenaline, waiting for something to happen.
And here’s what’s going to happen. As you play the game, in order to start, one of you needs to look at the other person and give them what I call the Clint Eastwood look, and you go…
Now if you wish to engage with that person who you’ve just seen give you the Clint Eastwood look, you will give them the Clint Eastwood look back, and that is a level of engagement that says you agree to play.
You could of course… Just give me the Clint Eastwood look. Great. And if I wish to engage I will give him the look back. However if you could just give it to me again, the other option is, I size him up and I go ‘No’, and I move on to the next person.
So you have a choice every single time. So let’s just say we do choose to do it. Okay, so we’re both engaged. At this point as soon as one of you, because both of you are now ready to play, any one of you can say “GO” and as soon as someone says it, the first person to do a Wiggle-Waggle wins. Okay? Are you ready?
Alright, you got the idea. So start with your own partner and then move on to someone new. Do at least six or seven rounds with different people. Go!
The whole wiggle-waggle competition was about who’s like doing the quick draw thing, but now it’s a little more cooperative where you’re basically going to be facing your partner, okay, and this time with your hands by your side you come close enough so you’re only a few feet away. As soon as you say “Go”… You keep moving away from me, Deb. That’s okay, you’re good there. On “Go”, your object is to be able to form a circle of Wiggle-Waggles.
So for example when I say “Go”, we both put our hands up like this, place up against… cross… fingers… Yeah! Alright. See how long it takes you to form a circle of wiggle-waggles.
How To Play Narrative
This is one of those activities that truly relies on a good demonstration, or illustration to fully comprehend how it’s done.
Even then, many people are still prone to getting this awkwardly wrong – but it’s not wrong, just an exercise in FUNN.
Start by pressing the palms and fingers of your two hands together in a prayer-like form just in front of your chest. Now, imagine that as your hands are pressed up against each other, it’s as if there was a thin sheet of glass separating them. Keep this image in mind.
Next, look at the middle fingers of both your hands – they are often the tallest fingers, which is good. Take your left middle finger and slide it physically past the right middle finger, so that from your point of view, it passes behind the right middle finger. Let the left middle finger fall (or point down) at right angles to the rest of the fingers. As a consequence, the right middle finger can do the same.
That was the easy part. The trick is to imagine that other than your two middle fingers, every other finger is about to slide across the aforementioned sheet of glass which rests between your hands. This image is critical because you are likely to break a finger in this next step otherwise.
Slide your left hand, and push your left wrist out from your body, whilst sliding your right hand towards your body – all the time keeping your middle fingers locked in battle, and that sheet of glass between your hands.
As you do this complex little slide action, you must prevent all of your other fingers from wandering into enemy territory and falling in behind the fingers of the other hand.
You’ll know when you have finished because as you look down at your hands, you will see, your right middle finger pointing up at you, with your left palm facing down, partly obscuring your right palm facing up. Your left middle finger is underneath pointing away from you. Phew, you’ve done it!
Now, practice a few times, and get ready for the fun.
Find yourself a partner, and face them about a metre or so apart. Look them dead in the eye, with daggers (er, you should ham this up big time.) Place your arms just out from your sides, twitching nervously with that Clint Eastwood “Make my day…” look about them. Then, on “GO,” the first person to perform a perfect Wiggle Waggle wins!
It’s that easy – okay, maybe not! But it’s sure to bring howls of laughter.
Best way to conduct this activity is to encourage individuals to mingle about the area, and as soon as one person spots another not engaged in a ‘duel,’ invite them to get each other’s attention, square up to them, give them the eye, aaannnndddd, GO!
Practical Leadership Tips
Given the inherent silliness of this digitally-interlocked exercise, consider your group’s preparedness to look foolish before launching head-long into it.
If successfully embraced, consider presenting PDQ Test which offers many more unique anatomical exercises or your group to attempt.
To attract the fixed stares of even the most dexterous participants, wiggle your middle fingers (a) in opposing directions at the same time, and (b) in the same direction – left or right – at the same time. It’s mesmerising for the uninitiated.
You could integrate Wiggle Waggle as part of a well-designed SEL program to develop your group’s ability to manage their emotions, thoughts and behaviours effectively in different situations and to achieve goals.
Specifically, this activity offers opportunities to explore and practice the following social & interpersonal skills:
Identifying Personal, Cultural & Linguistic Assets
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 fun dextrous stunt and a good laugh.
In a small way, you could argue that the focus and effort required to successfully contort one’s hands and fingers may speak to the benefits of being adaptable and resilient because these two skills are often called upon to achieve the desired fandangled outcome.
If you can think of more explicit ways in which Wiggle Waggle could be purposefully integrated into a health and wellness program, please leave a comment at the base of this page.
The Other Way: From the start, slide your left middle finger to the front side of your right middle finger. This will cause you to slide your palms and hands the other direction. Ideal for the already adept Wiggle Waggler.
Co-operative Pairs: In pairs, face one another, and set your arms and palms in the direction of the other. Place a palm each against your partners’ two palms, and… um, you can guess the rest.
Co-operative Teams: As above, but form a circle of Wiggle Waggle-ness, matching palms with your left and right-side neighbours. Once you’ve given your group a few moments to test this new technique, time how long it takes from the arms-down position to achieve a full group Wiggle Waggle.
Amazing Dexterity: Take a look at PDQ Test to explore many more fun and dextrous manipulations of one’s body.
Open the Virtual Adaptation tab to learn how to present this activity online.
In one large group or divided into smaller breakout rooms, demonstrate this unique ‘digital’ stunt and then invite everyone to give it a go. If possible, when everyone has successfully completed the task, invite each person to push their hands closer to their cameras and, when ready, take a screenshot and share – it looks awesome.
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Useful Framing Ideas
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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 hilarious physical stunt:
When you first started to learn this exercise, how were you feeling? Did this change with practice?
In what ways did you observe people helping others?
What might this exercise teach us about perseverance?
Fun & Interactive ‘Get-To-Know-You’ Session
What You Need:
12+ people, 30 mins, chairs for everyone
Wiggle Waggle – nonsensical hand exercise to generate focus and energy