Mark two ‘safe’ areas approx 30 metres apart, with a line situated in the middle of these two zones.
Divide your group into two teams.
Ask your group to mimic your actions as you establish three distinct physical characters:
– Giants: Arms held high above your head, calling ‘ROOOAAARRR.’
– Wizards: Arms and fingers extended forward as if casting a spell, saying “ZZZZZZZ.”
– Elves: Bent knees and hold your ears, squeaking “ELF, ELF ELF.”
Explain that Giants chase Wizards, Wizards chase Elves and Elves chase Giants.
Each team huddles in their safe area to agree on Plan A character and Plan B character.
After 30 seconds, ask both teams to stand facing one another about 2 metres apart from the middle line.
On your count of “1, 2, 3” each team reveals their (Plan A) character.
If two different characters are revealed, one team will chase the other back to their safe zone.
If a person is tagged before they reach their safe zone, they switch teams.
If each team reveals the same character, ask them to prepare to reveal their Plan B character.
Play several rounds until one team wins everyone on their side.
Video Transcript for Giants Wizards Elves
presented by Mark Collard
It is the standard Giants Wizards Elves. But can I invite you, if you’re in a space where you’re going “well I have no idea what that is.” Then step a little bit closer. So stay in your groups but come a little bit closer.
Creating a story of perhaps how this area was first established, it’s very easy to see the main character of the story, because they’re so big. And they are the giants. The giants were easy to pick because they’re so big. Put their hands above their heads and they made a very large guttural sound. So can I ask you to copy this as you go “Blarrrrrggghhh”
Now do it to they other team. Do it towards the other.
Alright got it. If you looked a little bit closer. Often sometimes hiding between the legs of the giants were the wizards. They were the folks, while smaller were very crafty and could actually wend spells on the group. And they would look possibly with one foot in front of the other with their hands going. Very good. Let’s see giants again.
Alright there’s one left. These are the sneakiest of the forest. Often the most difficult to find because they are so small. So they often have to bend their knees. But they’re rather unique. If you have ever watched the trilogy of Lord of the Rings. These little elfish little characters have such big ears their lobes drag on the ground. They need to be carried by their hands so they don’t drag on the ground.
And at this point they make a little impish sound that goes “Elf elf elf elf elf elf.” Try that, they are our elves. Go.
(Elf elf elf elf elf elf)
Brilliant. Let’s just do all three again. Giants!
(Elf elf elf elf elf elf)
Alright. Here’s how it’s going to happen.
In a moment I’m going to ask each of you to move off to your sides of the field. Let’s say that’s that side and there’s this side over here. In a moment. And when you get there, bunch up together and identify which one of the three characters all of your group is going to be.
For example this group might get together and say (whispers) “Okay, we’re all going to be giants.” Okay and this group, these folk might choose to be Elves, for example. Neither of you will know what the other is going to do until you come in. You’ll form two very straight lines all facing each other. About a meter apart. Which the subtitle would say “about three to four feet.”
When you get to that point I will then call the standard one, two, three. And when I get to three each of your teams will portray your characters. So, actually it’s a bit like rock, paper, scissors. One always beats another.
Think of it in terms of height. If you are a giant, you chase wizards. Wizards chase elves. And because we need to have a full circle, elves chase giants.
Alright so think of it in terms of height. Giants chase wizards. Wizards chase elves. Elves chase giants. So if it was giants over here, and elves over here. Elves are going to chase giants, back to their safe area.
Again, I’m not going to use boundaries, but it’s somewhere over there. Probably a bit short of the actual trees. And see where that noodle is over there? I might set up noodles so it’s a bit clearer where the boundary is going to be.
You’ve got the basic idea, I’m going to give you about ten to fifteen seconds on each of your groups before I invite you back. Off you go.
Alright, spread yourselves out, you’re about a meter or so apart from each other in two straight lines. Somewhere between me and that water bottle is about the halfway point.
Alright, first of all just cross against the divide and just shake hands with those people. Say “good luck.”
Alright, to remind you. All this team on my right will all do the same character. All the team on this side will do the same character. When you see it.
Giants will chase wizards. Wizards will chase elves. Elves will chase giants. Got the basic idea?
A tag is simply, look a bit like that or on the back of their back. It’s not a rugby tackle drag to the ground. Simple tag. If they happen to tag you, you are won for that team.
Let me just step back. Ready for the count. One. Two. Three!
(Teams makes their noise playing Giants Wizards Elves)
Everyone’s a giant. So, on that occasion when you return now; You’re going to have a plan A, and a plan B. When you come back I’ll go through plan A. It’ll be one ,two, three. If what we just saw occurs, I’m going to give you the second count and you will do the second character, whatever that might be.
So off go and chats. I need a plan A and a plan B now. Go. Take ten or fifteen seconds.
Alright lets try it. Spread yourselves out. No double parking. Everyone’s on plan. Alright step forward. Shake the hands of the opposing team.
Alright. Will we see a break?
Remember it’s plan A then plan B. Wait for the count for each of them. Plan A, one two three!
(Teams make their characters noise in Giants Wizards Elves…)
If you got tagged you are now on this team.
How To Play Narrative
First up, identify two ‘safe’ areas approximately 30 metres apart, and a line which represents the mid-point between the two areas. Then divide your group randomly into roughly two even teams using a fun method described in Getting Into Teams.
With both teams gathered around you, share any story you care to spin about three shadowy figures called the Giants Wizards Elves. For each character, demonstrate three distinct physical representations, for example:
Giants: Arms held high above your head, you give a loud scary ‘ROOOAAARRR.’
Wizards: One foot in front of the other and arms extended forward with fingers held in spell-like twitches, you say “ZZZZZZZ” as if casting a hex.
Elves: Bend your knees slightly and hold the lobes of your floppy ears with your fingers while squeaking “ELF, ELF ELF.”
As you perform these actions, it’s a good idea to invite your group to mimic your actions – not only will it foster enthusiasm, but you’ll look pretty silly doing them on your own.
Now, explain the order of things – much like Rock-Paper-Scissors – every character is ranked higher than one but lower than another. If you describe the ranking in terms of the relative size of the characters – giants chase wizards, wizards chase elves and elves are sneaky enough to chase giants – the ol’ grey matter will appreciate it.
Each group is then instructed to huddle in their respective safe areas, and agree on which one character their team would like to ‘be’ in the first round. This will be Plan A, and for the just-in-case, ask them to also agree on a Plan B, ie if their first chosen character is the same as the other team.
Okay, now we’re getting to the exciting part.
After 30 seconds of huddle-time, each team gathers (often spread out side by side) to face the other team about half-a-metre back from the mid-point line. On your count of “1, 2, 3” each team simultaneously reveals their character.
Unless both teams chose the same character (in which case, you quell the anxious giggles, and call for Plan B,) one team will quickly discover to their horror that they are about to be chased.
Each member of the chasing team attempts to tag a retreating team member, before the latter enters their safe area. If a successful tag is made, the tagee is obliged to switch teams.
The object is to win as many members of the other team as possible.
Play continues through the cycle of huddle-reveal-chase for as many rounds as you choose, or until one team ‘wins.’
Practical Leadership Tips
The most useful spot (for you) to stand is at one end of the middle line. Use your outside voice to ensure that those standing at the end of the two facing lines can hear you.
Owing to the excitement of revealing their Plan A, you may need to remind both teams to wait until you call Plan B before they reveal their reserve character. Otherwise, it gets a bit messy when some people reveal Plan B before others are ready.
Resist the temptation to lay rope to identify the two safe zones of the middle lines lest it become a trip hazard. Use gym-spots or cones instead.
It’s highly unusual, but if one team only lasts a round or two before everyone is tagged by the other team, either move on, or start over with two new teams.
You could integrate Giants, Wizards & Elves as part of a well-designed SEL program to promote and maintain healthy and supportive relationships, not to mention, invite your group to enjoy a fun time together.
Specifically, this activity offers opportunities to explore and practice the following social & interpersonal skills:
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
The manner in which individual group members participate in this fun team-based tag game may open opportunities for your group to reflect on certain behavioural norms, not to mention social and interpersonal skills. For example, and in addition to those described in the Reflection Tips tab, here are a few questions you could invite your group to reflect upon:
Describe the level of safety consciousness demonstrated by the group during the chasing scenes.
Was compassion or empathy expressed or demonstrated during the game?
In what ways were the needs of certain individuals accommodated, if at all?
Did you observe any behaviours that concerned you? How?
Can you reconcile these behaviours with your group’s full value agreement?
How important was it to successfully tag someone?
In what ways did we cooperate with others?
Create Your Own Characters: Have a problem with giants wizards elves? Create three different characters representing what and who ever you like, eg fox, chicken and human-being!
Elimination Rounds: If a person is tagged before they reach their safe zone, they are eliminated from the game. One team wins if they eliminate all of the members of their opponent first.
RPS: Replace the three characters with the standard actions of Rock, Paper and Scissors.
Take a look at Lemonade to enjoy a similar team-based charade-and-tag game.
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Useful Framing Ideas
Many years ago, long before this area was colonised, three spooky characters inhabited the nearby forest. The scariest of them all were the Giants [demonstrate a Giant’s look and sound…] But the cleverest were the Wizards who spent most of their time casting spells [demonstrate a Wizard’s look and sound…] And the hardest to find characters were the Elves because they were so small, but they had a distinctive sound that could be heard anytime they were discovered [demonstrate look and sound of Elves…] Research has shown that a distinct hierarchy existed between these characters – Giants didn’t like the Wizards, so they chased them out of the forest. The Wizards didn’t like the Elves because they were so small, so they chased them out of the forest. And finally, the Elves were so sneaky, they managed to scare the Giants much like a mouse scares an elephant, so they were often seen chasing the Giants out of the forest…
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 dynamic, large group tag game:
What process did your team adopt to decide which character it would play in each round?
Was it possible to guarantee a win? Why?
How did it feel to suddenly join another team?
Generally speaking, how difficult is it for you to accept change? Why?
The inspiration for Giants, Wizards & Elves, and many more large group tag games, was sourced from the following publication: