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Group Size: 10 to 15 participants (can go to 20 but challenging)
Time Needed: 15 to 20 minutes
Goal: To learn each other’s names and experience the difference between chaos and becoming intentional
Audience: Couples, Parents, Teens, Children, Singles
Special Considerations: Can be loud. Arrange for adequate space to comfortably complete activity.
Resources Needed: A variety of objects that can be tossed and caught easily. Objects can include various size balls, beanie babies, squeeze ball, rubber chickens and so on. Balls should include one strobe ball, if possible.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Have participants form a circle. The facilitator should be part of the circle.
  2. Inform participants that the group will be throwing some balls/objects around as a way to get to know each other. Explain to them that the one thing they have to do is to remember who threw the ball/object to them.
  3. Facilitator begins by taking one ball or object and tossing it gently to one participant. Facilitator should say "here (name), as he or she is tossing the ball/object. Inform participants that when they throw it, they too should always say the name of who they are throwing to. Remind them that if they don’t know someone’s name it is okay to ask.
  4. Inform participants that when they receive a ball they should always say "Thank you" and the name of the person who threw it to them. Have the first participant practice this.
  5. Have participants continue throwing just one ball or object around the group. Each person should get the ball just once.
  6. After everyone has received the ball just once ask them to reverse the order by throwing the ball to the person who threw it to them. People will often forget. This is a great place to have a mini discussion (see below).
  7. After order has been figured out, ask group to keep the original order, while you make things more challenging. After this, start adding more and more balls or objects in random intervals. This is a great place to add a strobe ball and direct them to keep it lit the whole time. This means if someone receives it and it is not lit they will need to bounce it before they send it on to the next person.
  8. Remind participants that the goal is for all objects to remain in air and be caught. This game will generally become very chaotic, with objects flying all over the place.
  9. Facilitator steps in, calls "stop action" and begins discussion about acting with intention and adopting a "win-win" attitude. Game then proceeds again and should be more calm, intentional and run smoothly.

Tips for Discussion and Processing

This activity can be used as a simple name game icebreaker or can be used in many different ways. One way is to discuss how chaotic life can be if we are not intentional. Discuss that although game was simple, and instructions were simple, many people allowed it to become chaotic. Talk with participants about how easy it can be to get distracted (step 6). It can also be used to discuss teamwork, success for one another and “win-win” attitude.

With two facilitators, one can be a part of the circle. He or she can add an extra level of learning to this activity by mixing up the order or dropping the ball. The group can then discuss what happens when someone does not do their part in a group, family or marriage.

Note: These activities can be modified to reflect a variety of skills.