Here’s your objective. Is that, as an individual I’m going to ask you in a moment to move from this side of the rom, to the middle side of the room. Okay? And to get there you’re just going to simply walk.
However, the kicker to this exercise is that you can’t walk as you normally would. You need, in fact I encourage you, to consider the most zaniest, craziest, out of this world, never been seen before walk to get from here to there.
Now you do it on your own. And you may do it all at the same time. It doesn’t matter, but it’s just for yourself. And it can be nothing you’ve ever walked before, to get from here to there. For example, in case you’re going “what the he is he talking about?”
Here’s an example. I have to go think of something, because I’ve done this way too often. Um. Okay.
(That you’ve never done before)
That I’ve never done before. Of course, you’re never going to know, but it’s my challenge, so I’ve got to think of something. Okay.
Okay, as I’m pretty sure, not even in the Kangaroo Valley, do they walk like this.
Alright, and of course I ask you to commit all of the walk. So once you start you’re getting from there to here. Now of course you can’t do that, because it’s now been seen. So you need to do something completely unique, creative, zany, out of this world, never been seen before to get from here to here. GO.
(group performing a Funny Walk)
Ah nice, beautiful. Might just move this chair. Ah lovely work there. Graeme nice.
You’ve all got familiar now. It’s a it of a case of you know, the grass is always greener on the other side. It’s not true, it’s actually just as green as where you’ve come from. So I’m going to invite you to go back.
But this time you need to join physically, have some physical contact with a partner to get from here back to the other side. And again, everything we’ve just done can’t be repeated. And between the two of you, you’re now identifying a new, completely never been seen before technique to walk from here to the other side.
To have a group you were just a part of now joins with another group. Again some form of physical contact between you and the rest of the group. And again something completely never been seen before, crazy, out of this world, to get from here back to there.
(group performing the Funny Walk)
That’s right, the whole team whatever that number is, eighteen, nineteen, twenty people somehow will be physically connected to each other and find a way that all of you can be involved and connected.
So think perhaps just jump together find out a way that you’re all going to be able to be familiar with, understand and then when you’re ready, move your way across to the other side for the final time.
(Laughter at actions of Funny Walk)
How To Play Narrative
Designate one area from which your group will start, and another to which your group will move. Starting from behind the first line, gather your group and explain that you would like each person to walk independently from here to the other side, but with a twist.
Explain that each person’s objective is to walk in a manner that no one else has ever walked before. The more creative, innovative, zany the better.
If you get a lot of blank looks at first, you may consider crossing the area first playing absolutely full-out, to spark your group’s imagination. Then, upon arriving at your destination (having soaked up all the titters along the way,) invite your group to follow you over.
Also, to quell any ‘people-will-look-at-me’ concerns, encourage everyone to choose to walk across the area at the same time, or whenever they are ready to go.
Once everyone has crossed, step up the challenge.
Ask each person to find a partner, and cross back to the other side together, but this time with some form of physical contact with the other. Again, this pair must walk in a fashion that has never been seen before.
Upon this second crossing, two pairs join forces to form a quad, and repeat the process, each time inventing an all-together-never-been-seen-before walk.
As you can guess, the ever-expanding walks culminate in the entire group crossing together in one final celebratory walk to the finish line. Be sure to clap their arrival.
Practical Leadership Tips
Notice the instructions “making some form of physical contact with your partner” does not necessarily mean holding hands. Invite your group to think creatively.
Does it matter that some folks choose to adopt a similar funny walk? In a word, nah! This is not (necessarily) the point. Inviting people to mix, trust, solve problems, and laugh together is.
You could integrate Funny Walk as part of a well-designed SEL program to help your group make caring and constructive choices about personal behaviour and social interactions across different situations.
Specifically, this activity offers ample 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
There are ample opportunities in this simple group activity to invite your group to explore a range of positive behavioural norms such as responsible decision-making and caring for self and others. For example, cooperating with others and working effectively as a part of increasingly bigger teams are all skills that can be developed with practice and patience. In addition to those described in the Reflection Tips tab, you could invite your group to reflect on the following questions to explore these competencies more deeply:
Can you describe the process you used to select your partners? Was it random or deliberate?
How did you and your partners make decisions?
In what ways did you or your group(s) demonstrate empathy or compassion?
How did your group resolve conflicts or disagreements?
As the groups got larger, how did your individual role change?
Did you observe any behaviours that concerned you?
Do you feel that you and/or your group achieved the state goal? Why or why not?
One Direction: Adopt this silliness to move a group a long distance, progressing forward about 10 to 20 metres (30 – 60’) with each round, until you arrive at your destination.
Count Thy Ways: Remain in small groups of 2 to 4 people, and challenge them to invent as many unique methods to ‘walk’ from one side of the space to the other.
Take a look at Negotiation and Izzat You? to explore two more innovative group initiatives which work well to build trust and empathy in a group.
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Useful Framing Ideas
We all know that two brains are better than one. In this exercise, we will see the true cognitive power of the whole group coming to the fore, bit by bit. You will surely be challenged to think outside your comfort zone, which is just another word for what you know and can do. If you sense, during the course of this exercise, that you want to take the easy way out, or give up, hang on a little longer and seek the ideas of others from your group…
Truly, what is normal anyway? If you’re a people-watcher, you’d swear that if someone on stage was to mimic the unique way a real person on the street walks, you would argue that they were making it up, and it didn’t look real. Today, I give you permission to be inventive. Imagine the wildest way someone could possibly walk from one spot to another. Truth be said, you are more than likely going to manufacture the way a real person walks…
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 hilarious, trust and team-building exercise:
How did you feel as you walked on the first crossing? Why?
Was it easy or difficult to invent progressively new ways to walk?
In small groups, can you describe your decision-making process? Was it effective?
What do you think was the primary objective for an exercise like this?
Fun Interactive Team Session
What You Need:
8+ people, 45 mins, set of Acronym cards (Print+Play)
Acronyms – fun, non-threatening small & large group puzzles