Announce a particular grouping or category, eg the twelve zodiac signs.
Challenge each group to list every one of the items in the category.
The first group to list all items correctly wins.
How To Play Narrative
Looking to fill a bit of idle time? Maybe you need something productive for your group to do, lest they find something unproductive to do? Give this simple exercise a go.
In advance, prepare one or more established lists, such as the names of all eight reindeers that pull Santa’s sleigh, or the names of the five Great Lakes (of North America.)
Then, having gathered your group, divide them into smaller groups of two to five people to form teams. Equip each group with pen and paper.
When ready, explain that you will soon announce one or more categories to challenge every team to list every item that forms part of that category. For example, in the case of the Great Lakes, you expect to see the names of five lakes, ie Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario.
Your purpose will vary, of course. You may wish to simply test their knowledge of a particular topic, have fun or perhaps challenge each team to compile their list(s) as quickly as possible. Up to you.
Naturally, a winning list must be quick and accurate.
Start with one list of only 3, 4 or 5 items and then build up to much larger lists.
List of Lists
Here are a bunch of lists to get you started which follow a sequence of 2 to 12 items.
Dynamic Duo: Batman and Robin.
Three Musketeers: Athos, Porthos and Aramis.
Fantastic Four: Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Girl, The Human Torch and The Thing.
Five Great Lakes: Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario.
Six Senses: Sight, Hearing, Smell, Taste, Touch and Clairvoyance/ESP.
Seven Dwarfs: Dopey, Doc, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Bashful and Sneezy.
Nine Hands in Poker: Straight Flush, Four-of-a-Kind, Full House, Flush, Straight, Three-of-a-Kind, Two Pair, One Pair and High Card.
Decathlon Events: 100 Meter, 400 Meter, 1,500 Meter, 110 Meter Hurdles, High Jump, Long Jump, Javelin, Pole Vault, Shot Put and Discus Throw.
Eleven Adam Sandler Movies: Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer, The Waterboy, Big Daddy, Mr. Deeds, Punch-Drunk Love, Anger Management, 50 First Dates, Click, Bedtime Stories, Grown Ups 1 & 2 (there are many more.)
Twelve Signs of the Zodiac: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces.
Practical Leadership Tips
Ordinarily, I will not allow the use of digital devices to search for the answers. This makes the task way too easy, and certainly not any fun. For the tough lists, I award honours to the team which can list the most number of correct items.
Sometimes lists appear as a part of an organised trivia program. To this end, hang on to these quizzes for future reference to add to your list repertoire.
If you create your own lists (and I encourage you to do so,) be sure to verify any list you produce. Don’t rely on just one source of information, lest you leave yourself wide open to scrutiny.
Name That List works very well on a bus. Ask people sitting next to each other to work together on the lists as you announce them over the PA system.
Test Lists: Use this strategy to test the knowledge or understanding of a particular subject, such as the names of the four bones which form the human leg, the 118 elements of the Periodic table, Maslow’s five Hierarchy of Needs, etc.
Five Colours of the Olympic Rings: Yellow, Red, Blue, Green and Black.
Seven Wonders of the Ancient World: Great Pyramid of Gaza, Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Temple of Artemis, Statue of Zeus at Olympia, Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, Colossus of Rhodes and Lighthouse of Alexandria.
Seven Wonders of the World: Taj Mahal (India,) Great Wall of China, Chichen Itza (Mexico,) Machu Pichu (Peru,) Christ the Redeemer (Brazil,) Petra (Jordan) and Colosseum (Italy.)
Five Tracy Brothers in the Thunderbirds TV Show: Alan, Gordon, Virgil, Scott and John.
Seven Von Trapp Children (Sound of Music:) Liesl, Friedrich, Louisa, Kurt, Brigitta, Marta and Gretl.
Five Books of the Torah: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.
Three Primary Colours: red, green and blue.
Seven Oceans: North & South Atlantic, North & South Pacific, Indian, Arctic and Southern (Antarctic.)
Twelve Days of Christmas: a partridge in a pear tree, two turtle doves, three french hens, four calling birds, five gold rings, six geese a-laying, swans a-swimming, eight cows a-milking, nine ladies dancing, ten lords a-leaping, eleven pipers piping and twelve drummers drumming.
Thirteen Original Colonies of the USA: Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts Bay, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island & Providence Plantations.
Six States of Australia: New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania.
Five Stars of the Southern Cross Constellation: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and Epsilon.
Women’s Heptathlon Events: 100-metres hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200 metres, long jump, javelin throw and 800 metres.
Men’s Heptathlon Events: 60 metres, long jump, shot put, high jump, 60 metres hurdles, pole vault, 1000 metres.
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Useful Framing Ideas
How often have you tried to remember the full list of something, and come up short by one or two items? I’m not talking about your grocery list, rather I’m referring to lists of common knowledge…
Many people are fascinated by lists. If this sounds like you, then you’re going to love this next exercise…
What strategies do you employ to help you remember things? What about lists of things? Without the use of technology to jog our memories, I’m going to challenge you to write down as many items as you can recall belonging to a series of common lists…
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 memory-test game:
Can you recall what you thought to yourself when you realised your memory was going to be tested?
What strategies did you employ to help you recall all of the items?
How many did you need to remember correctly to feel successful? Why?
What other lists can you think of?
The inspiration for Name That List was sourced from Chris Cavert, an awesome group facilitator based in Colorado, USA. You can visit his blog for many more fun group activities.