25. Red Alert
Is half a right better than no right at all?
||General human rights
|Level of complexity
||8 – 13 years
||60 minutes (less for a larger group)
||At least 10+ children and 3 facilitators
|Type of activity
||Active outdoor group game
||Children try to find the missing half of a right before it is stolen.
||• To promote group dynamics
• To create opportunities for discussion of human rights
||• Go over the game instructions and role cards thoroughly so that you understand how the activity works. This is a complicated game with complex roles for all the players. Note that this activity requires a number of facilitators: 10 playing children require a minimum of 3 facilitators (1 coordinator, 1 central post, and 1 hunter) plus 2 Card People, who can be played by children as well.
• Copy role cards for facilitators and any children who will play roles.
• Brief facilitators and any children who will play roles.
• Copy or write the 10 Rights Cards on different pieces of coloured paper in order you have some 50 cards altogether, this is what you need for a group of 10-15 children. For each additional 5 children, add another colour (e.g. for 25 children you need 70 cards in seven colours).
• Cut the Rights Cards into strips of individual rights.
• Cut Rights Cards in half. Divide the half-cards into two stacks. Give one stack to the Central Post and divide the other at random among the Card People.
• Check the location for the game, and define the borders of the playing area. Establish locations for Central Post and the different Card People.
||• 50-70 strips of Rights Cards cut in half in different colour copies
• Sticky tape to glue the cards together
• Drawing pins or sticky tape to put up completed Rights Cards
• Noisemaker to signal ‘hunting season’ and end of game (e.g. a whistle)
• Signs, hats or other distinguishing clothing for Hunters
• Recommended: first aid kit, bottled water
- Gather the children at Central Post and introduce the activity: A Red Alert has been given and they have been asked to take action. Ten children’s rights have disappeared and seem to be lost forever. However, half of the missing ten rights have been recovered. It will be their challenge to find the missing half and restore the full right. If they can collect all the Rights Cards in a given time they win against the Hunters, who endanger Children Rights.
- Establish the length of the game (30 minutes for a small group; 20 minutes for groups of 20 or more). Explain the boundaries of the game and agree on an audible sign to indicate the beginning and the end of the game. Explain that you will be outside the game making sure that everyone is safe and follows the rules.
- The facilitator playing the Central Post gives every child a half-card and keeps the rest of them. Explain to the children that the goal of the game is find the other half of their card in order to make a complete Rights Card. The other half cards can be collected from the Card People. It must match in both the number of the right and colour of the card.
- When you have both halves of the card, they should bring them to Central Post.
- Introduce and explain the role of the Central Post to the children:
Introduce and explain the role of the Card People to the children:
- The activity begins and ends at Central Post.
- When you have both halves of a Rights Card, you bring it to Central Post. The person there will stick the two halves together and hang up the completed Rights Card.
- You will be offered the choice of another card.
Introduce and explain the role of the Hunters and the system of ‘hunting seasons’:
- The Card People have the missing half cards.
- They will be located in different parts of the playing area where players can find them. Most Card People will stay in one place; however, at least one Card Person will walk around.
- You will go up to a Card Person and show them your half card. If the Card Person has the other half of that card, he or she will give it to you. You will then take the completed card to Central Post, take another half card and begin again.
- If a Card Person doesn’t have the other half card, you have to contact another Card Person.
- During Hunting Seasons the only safe place is within arms length of the Card People. If you can touch a Card Person, the Hunters cannot catch you.The Card People will now go out and take their positions.
Start the game. The children start running around in the playing area, looking for the Card People in order to complete the half-card they have.
End the game when all the cards have been completed or the time is up.
- During hunting seasons Hunters try to catch you and take your rights away.
- Each time they catch you, Hunters rip your half-card into two pieces. They give one of the torn pieces back to you and keep the other torn piece to give to the Card People. This means that every time they catch you, it becomes harder to complete your card because it is in smaller pieces.
- You will know it is hunting season when you hear a whistle or horn sound once. When hunting season is over, it will be blown twice.
- Remember: the only place where the Hunters cannot catch you is within arms length of a Card Person.
Debriefing and evaluation
- Debrief the activity by asking questions such as these:
Relate the activity to human rights by asking questions such as these:
- What happened during the game?
- What were the most exciting moments?
- Did you have a certain strategy?
- If you played this game again, would you do anything different?
- What do you think of this activity?
- When we say we have “the Right to ...”, what does this mean?
- Do you think that these Rights are ‘universal’? Are they respected all over the world?
- In real life, who could the ‘hunters’ and the ‘card-people’ be?
- What can we do in our daily life to make sure that everybody has the same rights?
Suggestions for follow-up
- The activity ‘Rights Mobile’, p. 148, focuses on the same ten rights and links them to gender. It is a calm and creative activity.
- The activities ‘Most Important for Whom?’, p. 118, and ‘Sailing to a New Land’, p. 152, ask children to prioritize among rights, stressing the importance of having the full range of rights.
Ideas for action
Discuss with the children about which rights they have in their daily life and decide on concrete actions to promote them in their own community.
Tips for the facilitator
- Note that this activity requires a number of facilitators. At least one facilitator should be outside the game as coordinator. Card People may be facilitators or children, but only facilitators should be Central Post or Hunters. The more children there are in the game, the more facilitators you need to play the game safely and smoothly.
- Minimum facilitators needed for a small group of children: 3 facilitators (1 coordinator, 1 central post, and 1 hunter) plus 2 Card People
- Minimum for a group up to twenty players: 4 facilitators (1 coordinator, 1 central post, and 2 hunters) plus 3-4 Card People
- Minimum for a group up to twenty-five players: 5 facilitators (1 coordinator, 1 central post, and 3 hunters) plus 4-5 Card People
- This activity is best run outdoors (e.g. playground, sports field, park, forest). It can also be adapted to a large indoor space.
- Although this activity is quite safe, a first aid kit and bottled water are always advisable for outdoor games away from your school or centre.
ROLE OF COORDINATING FACILITATOR (1 facilitator)
At the beginning you will explain the game and establish the boundaries. You will also make clear what your signal is to stop the game at the end or in case of emergency, which should be quite different from the signal for the ‘hunting season’.
Make sure both children and facilitators understand and maintain their roles. During the activity you will keep watch to see that no-one is playing roughly or doing anything that might endanger a child. Intervene or stop the game if necessary. You will keep the first aid kit and supply of bottled water for use if necessary.
At the end of the time, you will end the game and run the debriefing.
ROLE OF CENTRAL POST (1 facilitator)
As the name already implies, this should be a central, fixed location. The activity begins and ends here.
You provide half cards to children and keep the rest of the half-cards that have not been given to the players. The Card-People hold the other halves of all the cards.
- A child who has both halves of a Rights Card will bring it to you. You then let the child choose a new half card from you.
- Stick the completed halves of the Rights Card together. Hang the completed cards on a wall or tree so that the children can easily see their progress.
- Note that as children start choosing new half-cards, they will start developing their own strategy for completing full colour-sets, instead of randomly completing cards. You should encourage but not initiate this strategy building.
- As children withdraw from the game, get them to help you with the tasks at the Central Post.
ROLE OF THE CARD-PEOPLE (2+ children or facilitators)
Divide a full set of half-cards among yourselves.
- Find yourselves a position in the playing area. You should not be hidden but spread out. The children should be able to find you.
- All but one Card Person remain in one place. One Card Person walks around during the game, allowing this facilitator to keep an extra eye on the whole game.
- Players will come to you and show you half a card. If you have the other half of this card, give it to the player.
- During Hunting Seasons, there is a safety zone around you as far as you can reach. Within this zone, Hunters cannot catch the players.
- Even when you have no more half cards to give away, stay at your place until the final sound indicates the end of the game. Then go back to Central Post, gathering children along way who may not have heard this sound.
HUNTERS (1+ facilitators)
- You role is to catch players and take rights away during hunting seasons. Each time you manage to catch a player, rip the half-card of this player into two pieces. Give one torn piece back to the player and give other torn piece to one of the Card People. This means it becomes harder for the player to complete this card.
- Hunting Season is a very exciting moment for the children. Do it regularly but for short periods. Blow the horn or whistle once when the hunting season starts; twice to announce its ending.
- Hunters should dress alike (e.g. with a sign, hat, coat, or scarf) and be very visible. Make noises during Hunting Season to increase the excitement of the children.
- When ‘hunting’ children, it is more the purpose to increase excitement than it is to catch them. If you catch too many or the same players, the children may get discouraged.
After copying the following grid on different coloured papers, cut each right out. When all the rights are cut out, cut them in 2 halves. Each of the rights will then have 2 parts, similar in colour and number. After distributing the half cards to the children the rest of all the rights stay at the Central Post, while the other half are divided amongst the Card People. For a group of 10-15 children copy Rights Cards below on 5 different colours for a total of 50 cards. For each additional 5 children, add another colour (e.g. for 25 children you need 70 cards in seven colours). If it is hard to copy these rights, write them out by hand.
||Every child has the Right to protection.
||Every child has the Right to education.
||Every child has the Right to healthcare.
||Every child has the Right to free time activities and playing.
||Every child has the Right to a name and a nationality.
||Every child has the Right to choose his/her own religion.
||Every child has the Right to information.
||Every child has the Right to form an association.
||Every child has the Right to live in a house with his/her family.
||Every child has the Right to a fair trial