Do you know dominoes?
Let's play dominoes with our bodies.
• Any that you wish to work on
• To encourage physical contact
• To help people to get to know each
• To raise awareness that in a group
there are differences between individuals as well as things
which are held in common.
• 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
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,
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.