In advance, prepare a list of statements or questions which reflect particular characteristics and/or experiences of people.
Gather your group, and ask them to stand.
Announce that you will soon call a series of statements to the group from your list.
If the statement applies to an individual, instruct this person to sit down, ie they are eliminated from the game.
For example, you could ask ‘Sit down if… you sing in the shower, or … you have never ridden a horse.”
Continue to read from your list, item by item, until you have eliminated everyone in your group, or only one person remains.
Play a second round with a different set of questions, or try a variation.
How To Play Narrative
With your group standing in front of their chairs, or simply in an open space, explain that you are about to announce a series of statements that may or may not apply to each person.
Explain the idea is that for every statement that does apply to an individual, that person is asked to sit down.
Sometimes lots of people will find their seat, other times, only one or two will need to. As you will read from my examples, there are times when nobody will dare take their seat for fear of embarrassment!
Continue to read from your list of statements, until you have either eliminated everyone in your group, or there are one or more people remaining. The winners?
Here’s a sample list of statements (extracted from a bigger list you can download from the Resources tab,) in no particular order:
Sit down if you…
Did not apply deodorant today
Are wearing at least one sock with a hole in it
Sing in the shower
Believe that two people on a date should share expenses
Received a traffic infringement notice in the past year
Have never ridden a horse
As you can tell, these are not your common, garden-variety types of get-to-know-you questions.
Mix them up, throw in some fun ones, some revealing ones and above all, some quirky ones just because you can.
Practical Leadership Tips
To keep the game fun for everyone, do not attempt any questions or statements that would overly embarrass or ‘pick on’ one or more people. That would not be fun, only cruel. Click here to learn more about the difference between an ice-breaker and an ice-maker.
Further to the point above, be sure to honour Challenge by Choice. Do not force people to ‘fess up’ to anything – individuals should feel comfortable to make their own decisions.
As you compile your list, attempt to sequence your statements/questions so that they become progressively more refined or particular.
No proof is necessary, an honour system applies. If you have worked hard to develop trusting and healthy relationships in your group, then this urge to prove someone is lying is less likely to be an issue.
How might you describe the person or people left at the end? Either extraordinarily boring, or very, very interesting? You decide.
You could integrate Sit Down If… 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 ample opportunities to explore and practice the following social & interpersonal skills:
Linking Feelings, Values & Thoughts
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 engaging socially with others and enjoying a good laugh.
In a small way, you could argue that the focus and mindset required to interact and engage with others in a fun and positive way during this game 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 comfort within which individual members could choose to stand or sit throughout the activity without feeling influenced or coerced to respond in a manner contrary to their true thoughts and feelings, ie how safe do people feel in the group to be who they truly are.
If you can think of more explicit ways in which Sit Down If… could be purposefully integrated into a health and wellness program, please leave a comment at the base of this page.
On Topic: Develop a set of statements or categories that apply to a defined topic, such as school, work or a particular field of study.
Free Pass: Introduce the rule that anyone who sits down in the first two (or three) rounds is entitled to stand back up again if a later statement or question applies to them. Of course, they must sit down on the next one that applies to them, as per usual.
Stay Standing: Exactly the opposite – individuals remain standing when a particular attribute applies to them, while everyone else sits down. The winner will clearly have done, said and seen all of the statements, which makes for an interesting person.
Up & Down: Allow people to stand back up if a particular statement/question does not apply to them, effectively bringing them back into the game. With this variation, individuals may bob up and down several times, until the game comes to a conclusion.
Open the Virtual Adaptation tab to learn how to present this activity online.
Set up the challenge and ask each person to start with their hands on their head (or cross their arms on their chest) in full view of the camera. Then, when an individual hears a statement that applies to them, they drop their arms. Or vice versa.
Or, in advance, ask your participants to push back their chairs from their screens to prepare to move. This time, everyone starts by standing upright and sits down when a statement applies to them.
For a high-tech option, ensure everyone starts with their camera switched on. When an individual hears a statement that applies to them, they are invited to switch off their camera which means that only their avatar will remain on the screen. The exercise continues until one final person (still in view on screen) remains standing.
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Useful Framing Ideas
People are so interesting. How often do you discover something really interesting about people whom you thought you knew really well? This exact thing may happen in this next exercise…
It’s really easy to get away with stuff when no one is watching. But in reality, someone is always watching – you! Integrity is a very valuable commodity in relationships, and just as important to the individual themselves. There is no right or wrong in this next exercise, but observe what you tell yourself as the activity progresses…
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 entertaining, large group game:
How did it feel to drop out of the game early?
What sorts of feelings did you have towards others who remained in the game for a long time?
Without indicating the statement, was there a time when you lied (and should have sat down, but didn’t?)
How might this game reflect real life?
Interactive ‘Get-To-Know-You’ Session
What You Need:
8+ people, 40 mins, ‘Sit Down If… Questions’ (Print+Play), pen & paper, 2 x long ropes