Adrian and I are going to be holding this screen between each of your two groups. The key to this is that as we unfurl it between the two of us and we’re going to hold it up, it’s important that when you sit down at least two metres back from the screen you cannot see anyone on the other side.
So when you sit down, I don’t care where you are, hickledy-pickledy but you need to be in a place where you cannot see anyone on this side and vice versa. Go ahead. And if it’s possible with your other foot Adrian just place your foot on the bottom of one of them. That’s it.
Okay, go ahead and sit now. Beautiful. At least two metres back from the screen, at least two metres. Just make sure wherever you’re seated you can’t see anyone on the other side, they can’t see you.
Okay. Alright. You’re roughly even teams. Here’s what’s going to happen. I’m going to ask one volunteer from each side do not identify yourself and just sit facing the blue screen. Go ahead. Find yourself a volunteer on each side and sit directly in front of the blue screen, right in front of the screen.
(pair getting ready to play Peek A Who)
Okay? Okay. If it’s not already obvious what’s about to occur let me spell it out for you. In a moment Adrian and I on the count of three are going to quickly and rapidly drop this screen which will provide an opportunity for the two people closest to the screen to quickly name the person on the other side.
The person who names the other quicker than the other person wins that person for their side. The only people who can nominate the names are the ones closest to the screen. Even if you’ve known the answer you can’t do anything about that, at this point.
Okay, got the basic idea for the two closest to the screen? We’re going to drop it and the first person to name the other person wins. Are you ready? One. Two. Three.
Nicely played, Kerry. Good job. Rosa, you’re on this side.
Alright. You got an idea of what’s happening. Go ahead. Let’s grab ourselves a new volunteer. Sit directly in front of the screen. Who would like to go next on both sides? Okay. Make sure you’re not going to be seen. Okay.
All that effort we put in this morning to capturing names is now paying off, possibly for your team in an ultra-competitive environment. Alright. On the count of three each of you tries to name the other person quicker than the other. One. Two. Three.
I reckon you might have just got it. Would that be fair to say, Adrian?
(I don’t know.)
Not sure. Alright, so it evens. Dead heat. Okay. Scoot on back to your own teams. We’re not sure. So Adrian and I are going to be trying and listening for who gets it first. Alright, another person forward. You’ve got it. Okay. Okay. Alright. Same deal. One. Two. Three.
Oh! It’s another dead heat. We’ve obviously worked too hard on names with this group. This is very good. Alright.
(group getting ready to play Peek A Who)
This time it’s a team event, so long as each of your two… your team no matter who it is has named the other two people quicker than the other team, you win those two people for your side. You don’t have to give out both names. You could decide to have one each. It won’t matter as long as both names come out at some point.
I think we could all agree on that Belinda is not one of those people. Okay. Everybody ready? Okay. One. Two. Three.
(Vanessa and …. )
Got it. The boys got it. Thank you ladies. Over this side. Well done.
Okay. The two people closest to the screen you know who you are. You cannot turn around. However you’re going to focus on each of your two teams. Your teams without saying a word, non-verbally, are going to give you lots and lots of information to help describe who it is that’s seated behind you. As soon as you can guess the first and the correct name, you win that person for your team.
(Did you say non-verbally?)
Nonverbal, so no words. You can do all sorts of other… but you can’t say the name, you can’t mouth their name but you do other things. You might indicate things they do, how tall they are, what they look like, if they’ve got glasses on, blah blah blah, nonverbally. Okay? On the count of three. One. Two. Three.
(people making signs as part of Peek A Who)
Yeah, got you Thomas. Thomas, you’ve been got.
Alright, final round folks. One person come forward towards the screen. Final round. And you’re going to face the screen.
(Facing the screen?)
Facing the screen. New round, new variation. Okay. You’re going to need to come a lot closer. That’s fine. And you can come in a little bit closer as well.
This time the only two people like always that can actually nominate the other person are the two people closest to the screen. However this time the only thing that they can see is the palm of the other person because the screen stays up. First person to identify the other wins that person for their team.
Use your left palm now and place it underneath the screen, all the way so it’s possible so they can see your hand. Okay, go ahead and try and guess who it is. Push it past your wrist. Keep going past the wrist.
(Damn, that’s tough.)
Push your hand even further past. Okay, other members of your group can now come forward and you can offer your own suggestions.
( Peek A Who game continues)
How To Play Narrative
Randomly separate your group into two, roughly even teams. Take a look at Getting Into Teams for some fun, random ways to achieve this objective.
Ask for a volunteer to assist you to unfurl a large sheet or blanket (let’s call it a screen) in the middle of your playing space, so that it hangs length-wise and upright with the bottom edge touching the floor.
Now, ask each ‘team’ to sit on one side of the screen, in such a way that no one belonging to the opposing team can be seen. Also, ask anyone sitting close to the screen to scoot back at least two metres (7’) from it. This is your basic set-up – you’re now ready to play.
Without announcing what is about to happen, invite one person from each group to come forward and sit directly in front of and facing the screen.
Explain that on some agreed signal (“3, 2, 1” or “PEEK A WHO” works fine), the screen will be rapidly pulled to the floor between the two rivals, which is their cue to (correctly) name their opponent.
Whoever names the other person first ‘wins’ their opponent for their team, ie the opponent switches loyalty and joins the winner’s team before the round resumes.
Invite several individuals to compete for name supremacy, one at a time, and then ramp up the challenge – ask for two people per team to sit facing the screen. This time, the couple who manage to (correctly) name their opponents first (any order, any person) will win.
There are many versions of this basic theme, so, when ready, try one or more of the variations described below (see Variations tab.)
Practical Leadership Tips
A word of advice: ensure that one team is not advantaged by a strong backlight behind their opponents which casts a telling silhouette on the screen! Thick blankets work better for Peek A Who than sheer fabric screens.
Generally speaking, I never continue play until the losing team has no members remaining. To be honest, by the time a team has two or three members left, it’s pretty easy for the representative from the winning team to guess (in advance) who the other person will be. Better to even up the teams from time to time to keep the game interesting.
Strictly speaking, the only people entitled to call out names are those sitting closest to the screen. Invariably, this is hard to police, especially when the two representatives stare blank-faced at one another for 10 or more seconds, desperately trying to recall the other’s name.
Got more than sixty people? Designate two or more areas of play, each with about 30 people (2 teams of 15 people). After hearing your Peek A Who instructions, each group will operate independently of each other. Swap teams between different areas to add to the challenge.
As a baby, did your parents ever place their palms in front of their face, open them quickly to reveal their faces and say “PEEK A WHO!” This is where this game gets its name.
You could integrate Peek A Who as part of a well-designed SEL program to promote and maintain healthy and supportive relationships and to effectively navigate settings with diverse people.
Specifically, this activity offers opportunities to explore and practice the following social & interpersonal skills:
Demonstrating Self-Discipline & Self-Motivation
Use Planning & Organisational Skills
Communicate & Listen Effectively
Build Positive Relationships
Demonstrating Curiosity & Open-Mindedness
Making Reasoned Judgements
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 good laugh.
In a small way, you could argue that the focus required to successfully identify the other person may speak to the benefits of mindfulness insofar as being calm and unstressed would help one to think more clearly (and quickly.)
If you can think of more explicit ways in which Peek A Who could be purposefully integrated into a health and wellness program, please leave a comment at the base of this page.
Back to Back 1: Ask one person from each team to sit with their back to the screen, facing their team. This person is not permitted to turn around but will focus instead on his or her team’s efforts to communicate the identity of their opponent using non-verbal ‘language’ only once the screen has been dropped. In case you’re wondering, they cannot spell or mouth their opponent’s name in any way.
Back to Back 2: As above, but this time each team is permitted to speak. A team may describe anything about their opponent’s representative other than, of course, speak the name of their opponent.
Screen Up: The screen remains up at all times. One person from each team will face the screen and place their right arm under it so that their opponent can fully see their lower arm. The first to name the other person, wins. Oh, and pssst… this is my favourite winning strategy of all time – waiting for my opponent to proffer a suggestion first, recognise their voice and then respond. A cack!
Creative & numerical strategy to get to know people.
Names Stock Market
Highly interactive card game to learn names quickly.
Who Am I?
Highly interactive & fun community-building game.
Useful Framing Ideas
Have you ever found yourself in a situation introducing one or more people whom you have known for a long time, and have suddenly drawn a blank on their names? This next game will possibly stir a few of these memories…
This next game will challenge each of you to retrieve certain known information from your brains as quickly as possible, in a highly competitive environment. Many people crack under the pressure, even though they know the answer – they simply can’t recall it quickly enough. Let’s see how you fare…
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, name-learning game:
How did it feel to stare at the face of someone you knew, but could not recall the name quickly enough?
What strategies helped you to recall a name quickly?
What hindered you from accurately or rapidly recalling a name?
How does pressure and competition influence the results in other areas of your life?
The inspiration for Peek A Who, and many more fun and engaging name-games, was sourced from the following publication: