Level 2
Theme G

Do you know dominoes?
Let's play dominoes with our bodies.

Issues addressed

• Any that you wish to work on


• To encourage physical contact

• To help people to get to know each other

• To raise awareness that in a group there are differences between individuals as well as things which are held in common.

Time: 10 minutes

Group size: Any


• No special materials

• A list of possible features to suggest if the players can't think of any themselves

• A large space


1. Ask one person in the group to start by thinking of two personal characteristics which they then announce to the group, such as: "On my left side I am a girl, on my right side I have two brothers"

2. Then call for someone else in the group who shares one of those characteristics to hold the first person's right or left hand (according to the characteristic they have in common) and then add a characteristic of their own on the free side. For example: "On my right I am a girl, on my left I have brown eyes."

3. Get all the members of the group to take a turn so that in the end you have a circle in which everybody is linked to everybody else.

4. If a stated characteristic is not shared by someone else in the group and the domino can not be matched ask players to negotiate another feature so that the chain is continued.

Tips for the facilitator

The characteristics given above are only examples, any person can choose or start with any feature they like, whether it is visible or not.

It is important that the members of the group actually establish physical contact, this encourages a stronger group feeling. The way the contact is made can be to touch heads, to put arms round each other, to put feet together, etc. Players can stand up or lie down.

If the suggested characteristics tend to be repetitive, you may encourage the partici­pants to come up with new ones. It is also best if the characteristics are not very simple. You could encourage the group to say visible characteristics (colour of clothes or of hair), invisible or personal ones (hobbies, favourite food, favourite song to sing in the shower...), or others related to a topic (I think ...I feel.... about minorities, men, women, Roma people (Gypsies and travellers), Jews etc.).

This game must be played quickly so people don't get bored while they are waiting to match up.

Creating a circle reinforces the group feeling. One can, however, imagine other forms of playing it.

If the activity is used as at the beginning of a session or as an icebreaker we suggest that you join in and take the opportunity to participate fully with the group. This can help to breakdown barriers.

Suggestions for follow up

Having made personal links, the group may like to move on to looking at the links between citizens, the media, NGOs and government in a civil society. The activity, 'Making links' in Compass involves negotiation about rights and responsibilities in a democracy.

Dominoes will have shown you that there's a lot more to people than first meets the eye. Nonetheless, when we do first meet people we often make judgements about them based on what we can see. Use 'First impressions' to explore what we see and to find out if we all see the same thing.

< previous page