Compasito - Manual on Human Rights Education for Children
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Human Rights calendar

31. The Invisibles are Coming

Run for your rights!

Themes Discrimination

Level of complexity Level 2

Age 8-13 years

Duration 120 minutes – half-day

Group size 30+ children with at least 6 facilitators

Type of activity Active group competition

Overview Teams work together against a common ‘enemy’

Objectives • To promote cooperation and solidarity

Preparation • Review the whole activity carefully including the roles of the facilitators and the tips.
• Find an appropriate outdoor or large indoor space.
• Decide which rights to use.
• Gather materials.
• Copy the ‘passports’ for each child that is provided as a handout.
• Make copies of the Roles Handout for the facilitators and Invisible(s).
• Make signs stating the right each Rights Person represents.
• Make signs identifying the Invisible(s).
• Before beginning, decide who will be the Invisible(s), ideally adults or older children. There should be a minimum of 1 Invisible, but ideally three for 30 children.
• Before the game begins, ask the facilitators to dress up according to their roles: 4 facilitators to put on the 4 team colours (Rights Persons); 1 facilitator puts on all 4 colours (Right to Colours Person); and the 6th (or more) facilitator(s) dress himself/themselves in a neutral way such as white sheets wrapped around, (Invisible(s)).

Materials • Bottles of juices or yoghurt in 4 colours
• 1 unbreakable cup for each child
• 1 big pot to collect the Colour Potion
• 1 ladle to help serve the Colour Potion
• Face paint or other objects in the 4 colours of your juices
• Passports for each child plus some extras (handout)
• Signs for the Invisibles and Rights People
• Markers or pens: 4 black for Invisibles, 4 team colours for Rights People
• A first-aid kit in case of accidents
• A whistle and horn or other loud noise maker to announce hunting periods and begin and end the game.

Source: Originally developed for 'Intercultural Week with Children' in Brittany, France, 2005.


  1. Have the facilitators brief the Rights People and the Invisible(s) on their roles and put on their signs and colours. The Invisibles should remain out of sight until the game begins.
  2. Introduce the activity to the children with a dramatic description like this:
    • Life is colourful and that is good. However, a great danger threatens our colourful world. Every 100 years, the Invisibles invade from outer space for a whole day. The Invisibles hate colours. They want to get rid of all the colours in the world and make us all colourless and invisible like themselves.
    • We must stop them before it is too late! The only way is to repeat an ancient ritual. We must create and drink the powerful ‘Colour Potion’. If we can succeed in doing this, the world will be saved again and the Invisibles will disappear for another 100 years. The fight for the Right to Colours has begun.
  3. Divide the children into four teams and assign each a colour to match their team’s juice. Give each team face paint or other objects (e.g. hats, fabrics) in their colour and some time to ‘decorate’ themselves in team colours.
  4. Explain how the game works. These are the roles in the game:
    • 4 Rights People, who are wearing the colours of their team
    • ‘Invisible(s)’ who hate colours
    • 4 teams of children who wear the colours of their team.
  5. To make the Colour Potion, you must fill a pot with juices of four different colours. (Give everyone a cup.)
  6. To do this, you need to get cupfuls of juice of your own colour, which you can only get from the Rights Person of your colour. Each of them represents a particular human right. (Introduce the four Rights Persons and ask them to explain the right they represent. Then let them leave to establish their hiding places.)
    • However, before you can get a cupful of juice, you must first get the signatures of all four Rights People. Before filling your cup, your Rights Person will check your passport to see that you have the four required signatures. (Give everyone a passport.)
    • Once you have juice in your cup, go to the Right to Colours Person who stands at the centre of the space and pour your juice into the pot. (Introduce the Right to Colours Person.)
    • Then you can start collecting signatures to get a second cupful. This continues till the time is finished or till the minimum level marked on the pot is reached.
    • Remember: The Colour Potion is the only way to make the Invisibles go away for another hundred years!
    • Explain how the Invisible(s) attack:
    • Remember that the Invisible(s) want to prevent you from making the Colour Potion! They can attack suddenly and try to catch you. You will know they are out hunting colours when you hear many short blows on a whistle.
    • If the Invisible(s) touch you, two things can happen:
    • They cross out all the signatures you have gathered.
    • They drink the cup of juice you are carrying.
    • However, you can protect yourself from the Invisible(s). They can only catch colours who are alone. If four players from different colours walk together and hold hands, the Invisible(s) are powerless to catch those players.
  7. Establish rules for the game:
    • Announce how long the game will last (e.g. a certain time or when they reach a certain amount of Colour Potion).
    • Explain the signal to start and stop the game (e.g. 1 long blow on the whistle is the start; 3 long blows announce the end).
    • Clarify the borders of the play area.
  8. Start the game with all the teams standing near the neutral facilitator in the middle of the play space.
    • Give the signal to end the game and gather all the children at the central post.
    • Announce victory over the Invisibles: “The battle was hard but together we have succeeded in protecting our right to colours! Together we stand strong!”
    • Explain that we will celebrate our victory by drinking the Colour Potion we have made together and talking about the battle in small groups.
    • Divide the children into four groups, combining the four teams. Assign a facilitator and location to each group.
    • Invite everyone to fill their cups from the pot and join their group. The Rights to Colour Person can help by ladling juice into cups.

Debriefing and Evaluation

  1. Debrief the activity, emphasizing cooperation and asking question such as these:
    • What happened during the game?
    • What were the most exciting moments?
    • Did you have a certain strategy?
    • If you would play this again, would you do something different?
    • Did you work together with other teams? When did the cooperation start? Why was cooperation a good idea?
    • ‘Cooperation’ and ‘solidarity’: ask if someone can explain these words.
  2. Link the activity to discrimination, asking question such as these:
    • In real life, who could the Invisibles be? What about the Rights People?
    • Does the right to colours really exist? What could it mean?
    • What rights did the Rights People represent? Do we need these rights? Do we have others? What if one of these were missing?
    • Do we have the right to protection? If so, what does this mean?
    • What can we do in our daily life to make sure that everybody has the same rights?

Suggestions for follow-up

  • Choose a calmer activity as a follow up, for example ‘Boys Don’t Cry’, p. 78.

Ideas for action

The children can research and document diversity in their community (e.g. what languages are spoken at home, what religions are practised, where members of the community or the older generation were born). This research can be the basis of discussion or action based on the benefits of diversity and/or efforts to discourage xenophobia.

Tips for the facilitator

  • Because their concrete actions have an abstract, representational meaning, the debrief section is crucial for the children to get more from this activity than just an exciting game. Some young children may not be able to grasp the game’s intended relationship to tolerance and rights, but older children should be challenged to articulate this link in their own words.
  • This activity has these roles:
  • At least 5 adults who act as the Rights People
  • At least 1 (ideally 3) Invisibles, ideally played by adults. However, if fewer adults are available, older children can be the Invisibles if they are carefully briefed about their roles. They must know the rules clearly and understand that only a light touch is needed to make a ‘catch’.
  • The rest of the participants are children divided into four teams identified by colours. The larger your group, the more Invisibles you need: up to five or six.
  • Link the game activity to local customs and traditions (e.g. druids, trolls, vampires, ghosts).
  • If possible have different kinds of whistles or noise-makers to differentiate the whistle that begins and ends the game from the sound that signals the attacks of the Invisible(s).

handout: passport

HANDOUT: role cards

Role of the Rights People (4 adults)

  • You represent the Right to __________. Your colour is ______.
  • Establish your post in a far corner of the game area and stay there for the whole game. Your post is safe from the Invisibles.
  • You have two jobs:

1. Each player will ask you to write your signature in their passport. When they have a signature from each of the four Rights People, they can obtain a cup of juice for making the Colour Potion from the Rights Person with their own team colour.

2. Only when someone from your team comes to you with four signatures, can you cross off the signatures and pour out a cupful of juice.

  • At your post you need the following: a marker pen in the colour of your team, bottles of juice.

Role of the Right to Colours Person (1 adult)

  • You represent all human rights. You wear all four colours.
  • Establish your post in the centre of the game area and stay there for the whole game. Your post is safe from the Invisibles.
  • You have three jobs:

1. To oversee the collection of juice in the pot.

2. To encourage the players.

3. To serve everyone the mixed juices at the end of the game.

  • At your post you need the following: a big pot, a ladle.

Role of the Invisible(s) (1-3 adults or older children

  • You are the evil force in the game, representing intolerance and racism. You do not like the diversity of colours in the world and want to make everything colourless.
  • Your job is to prevent the teams from making the Colour Potion. However, you can only catch children when they are alone. If four children of different colours hold hands, you are powerless.
  • To make a catch, you need only to touch a child lightly.
  • Wear a sign showing you are one of the Invisibles.
  • When you touch a child you can do one of three things:

1. Cross out one of the signatures in this child’s passport.

2. Drink the juice the child has collected.

3. If the child has neither juice nor any signature on the passport, just let this child go.

  • All Invisible(s) go hunting for colours at the same time every five minutes or so. Announce a hunting period by blowing a whistle. If possible each Invisible should have a whistle and continue blowing during the hunt to raise excitement. You can also say threatening things like “I hate blue!” or “No more colours!”
  • Your purpose is more to bring excitement to the game than to catch as many children as possible.
  • You can also encourage children to cooperate by saying things such as, “Aha, I’m happy you’re not walking together because then I wouldn’t be able to catch you!”
  • For you role you need the following: a whistle, a black marker