Form a circle (sitting or standing) whereby every person can clearly see every other person.
Without further instruction, ask everyone to close their eyes.
Each person may open their eyes, at any time, in an attempt to catch another person with their eyes open too.
To eliminate a person caught with their eyes open, an individual must call out “CAUGHT YA PEEKIN’ …” followed by that person’s name.
If a person is successfully eliminated, invite them to open their eyes and put their hands on their head, or to push out of the circle.
Each individual aims to stay in the game for as long as possible.
Continue playing until a winner emerges, or move on when the energy starts to wane.
How To Play Narrative
Either seated or standing, invite people to create a circle in which everyone can see everybody else. Then, without further instruction, ask everyone to close their eyes, and the game has started.
Explain now that the aim of the game is for each person to bravely open their eyes – at any time – and attempt to catch another person with their eyes open too.
Sometimes these two people will spy each other at the same time, or one may catch the other looking another direction. Either way, when a person observes another with their eyes open, they are entitled to call out loudly “CAUGHT YA PEEKIN’,” and then call that person’s name, eg “CAUGHT YA PEEKIN’, JOSE.”
If two people spy each other at the same time, whoever calls out first and correctly (remember, to be successful, one must call the other person’s name) wins the duel.
Of course, any time someone opens their eyes, they are vulnerable to attack from another, and may have their name called out before they even have a chance to catch some else peeking.
Naturally, everyone’s goal is to stay in the game for as long as possible.
I suggest that when a person is eliminated, that they place their hands on top of their heads (or sit/stand back from the circle) to make it clear to all those who are still ‘alive’ that these folk are out of the game, and are entitled to have their eyes open to enjoy the ongoing snitching!
Continue playing until you can announce a winner, or simply move on when the energy starts to wane.
Practical Leadership Tips
Note for your own interest how many people adopt the strategy to keep their eyes closed the whole time. It may be safe, but certainly not as much fun as playing – which, in and of itself is a life lesson, right?
Ah, yes, there is always some level of controversy over just how ‘open’ someone’s eyes have to be so that they are successfully caught peeking. Generally speaking, if one’s eye-lids or eye-lashes start to quiver, even though you cannot actually see their eyes, they can probably see.
The call to eliminate another must be made while the accused has their eyes open. It’s too late to make the call after the person caught peeking closes their eyes.
On the rare occasion, you’ll get a couple of people who will resist the temptation to peek at all. If this strategy starts to creep in, either embrace one of the variations below (see Variations tab,) or announce that a winner must emerge within the next 20 seconds, otherwise the game is over.
Three Lives: To encourage lots of peeking, grant each person three lives.
Compulsory Peekin’: To prevent some sneaky people just sitting with their eyes closed the whole game, introduce the rule that everyone must open their eyes at least once every 10 to 15 seconds.
Open the Virtual Adaptation tab to learn how to present this activity online.
If you and your group have responsive and reliable internet connections, this game can easily be played online. Instruct your group to open the ‘Gallery’ view screen display on their devices, ie naturally, it is important for everyone to see each other. Then, with their faces glued close to the screen in front of them, play per the normal parameters. When an individual is named and eliminated, ask this person to stop their video so their screen will appear as black on the screens of everyone still in play.
As above, and ask those who are eliminated to remain in view with their hands on their heads.
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Useful Framing Ideas
Are you a people watcher? You know, the sort of person who delights in just watching the world pass them by. I admit, I’m one of those people. I marvel at how different every single person is, and how oblivious some people are to the fact that they are being watched – people do the most extraordinary things. Well, I invite you to become a people watcher in this game…
Have you ever watched another person watch another person? It’s fascinating. None of us like to get caught taking a peek at another person, but it is fun. This next exercise is all about this 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 simple, fun energiser:
Did you feel silly sitting in a group with your eyes closed? Why?
How did it feel to get caught by another person you weren’t looking at?
What was your response to being eliminated?
What skills are involved in this game? What about trust?
The inspiration for Caught Ya Peekin’, and many more fun energiser games, was sourced from the following publication: