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A group or society must preserve its collective resources.
Environment has a relationship to feelings.
Decision-making skills can be learned.
People have many kinds of fears.


Students will further develop interpersonal relationships by participating in physical activities.


Rope, and plastic or paper bags.


Teacher discretion.


In addition to the affective development you are encouraging in your classroom, there are many physical activities which enhance camaraderie and group cohesiveness. These activities can be done just for fun and psychomotor development without the competition of many traditional physical education activities. These activities help students become less self-conscious about their own bodies. They also legitimize the acceptability of appropriate physical contact with others.

Feel free to modify these activities on the basis of your class mood, activity space or maturity level. An excellent resource from which some of these activities were drawn is THE NEW GAMES BOOK, The Headlands Press, Inc., San Francisco, 1976.


1.  Number Tag

The leader calls out any number between 2 and 8. The players then have until the leader counts slowly to 5 to arrange themselves into groups consisting of the number called. When the leader calls "time," all players not in a group of the correct number must retire to the sidelines.

Players in the groups of the correct number must be touching each other (hugging or holding hands) so they don't have members spirited away or added. When those eliminated in the first round have moved to the sidelines, play resumes by the leader calling out another number and counting again to 56. This process continues until only 2 students are left. It's more fun if everyone runs wildly around, getting into the groups. After you've played this once, have a student be the leader, and participate yourself.

2. Elephant and Giraffe Game

This game is used as an introductory warm-up exercise to get people moving, thinking, and cooperating. The person who is IT stands in the center of the circle, points to any person in the circle, and says either, "Elephant-one, two, three, four, five, six," or "Giraffe-one, two..." If you are pointed to and called "elephant," you bend from the waist and make a trunk wit your arms. The people on either side of you put their hands to your head to make ears. If you are pointed to and called "giraffe," you put your arms together above your head and the people on either side of you place their hands on your waist to form legs. whoever fails to do his/her part before the end of the count becomes IT. This is fun, fast-paced game that can go on for as long as the participants are interested in playing.

3. Snake-in-the-Grass

The starter snake lies down on the ground on his stomach. Everybody else gathers fearlessly around to tough him. (One finger will suffice--you don't want to get too close to a snake.) When the Referee shouts, "Snake-in-the-Grass!" everybody runs, staying within the bounds of the snake area, while the snake, moving on his belly, tries to tag as many as he can. Those touched become snakes, too.

Non-snakes run bravely around in the snake-invested area, trying to avoid being caught. (For your own sake and the snake's sake, take off your shoes and watch out for snake-fingers.) The atmosphere gets even better if all the snakes are hissing. The last person caught is the start snake in the next game.

A field full of writhing, hissing serpents can be a scene of horror or wonder, depending upon whether you're a dualist or a herpetologist. Either way, a game that starts with one snake and ends up with all snakes must be a social community of some sort.

4. Amoeba Race

Here's your chance to experience consciousness at the cellular level. To begin, you'll need a lot of protoplasm, a cell wall, and a nucleus. Protoplasmic people should be those who don't mind being close. Those who like to contain themselves (and others) would make a good cell wall.  They should surround the protoplasm, facing outward, and link elbows. Someone with good eyesight and agility should be the nucleus. Now you are an amoeba!

Try a trip down the field or around the playground. A rhythmic chant might be helpful for coordinating movement. (What sort of sound does a one-celled creature make?) Now try a little dell division. Pull yourself in two, get a second nucleus, and see which amoeba gets to the other end of the field first. Whether you make it or not, you're sure to develop some real appreciation for single-mindedness.

5. The Lap Game

After a strenuous stretch of whopping, boffing clenching, and tugging, how about sitting down for a rest--New Games style?

Everyone available stand in a circle, shoulder-to-shoulder. Now turn to the right. Then, very gently, everybody sit down on the lap of the person behind them.

There are two ways you can get yourselves into this position. The "Slow and Easy" method is to have one person lie on his back with his knees bent. The next person sits down, forming a nice chair for the next person to sit on, and on and on until the whole circle is seated. The crucial moment comes when the person on his back is hoisted up onto the lap of the person behind him, and there you have it--a sitting circle.

The "Fast and Reckless" method is for everyone to sit on their neighbor's lap at precisely the same moment. this is very impressive when it works and a spectacular flop when it doesn't. Actually the circle is far more stable, if less exciting, when you sit on your neighbor's knees. (Somehow, "The knee Game" just doesn't have the same ring to it.)

Once you're comfortably seated, you might all wave your arms, or give the person in front of you a back rub, or even try a caterpillar merry-go-round. Next to tickling, the last suggestion is the surest way to end the game.

We're told this game was originally called "Empress Eugenie's Circle," after the Austrian Empress's account of how her soldiers kept dry while resting in a wet field. It's just too bad they didn't try playing it with the Prussians.

6. Tug of War

This is probably the oldest New Game. And absolutely everyone can play--including the neighborhood mongrel champing at the frayed end. Just get a long fat rope, divide it into two teams, and pull like crazy. When your side begins losing ground, rally passers-by to your rescue. Who could resist joining a nearly defeated tug team, knowing that her efforts might turn the tide? Why, it's even been known for players from one team to joyfully become turncoats, just to prolong the tug. It's the old "the0more-you-give-the-more-you-get" principle.

7. The Human Pretzel

Ask for someone in the class who likes to solve puzzles. Send that person out of the room or into a corner with his eyes closed for a minute. The rest of the class joins hands in a circle. Then, without breaking the hand contact, they tangle themselves up by going under, over, in, and out of each other's arms. When the class is thoroughly entangled, asked the detective to return and try to untangle the group by giving verbal instructions to different people as to how they should move.

8. Statues

Ask the students to choose partners, and have them designated themselves A and B. A's are to be sculptors and B's are to be clay. A's job is to mold B into a statue that expresses how he (A) is feeling right now. When this is done (allow a few minutes), ask the B's to tell the A's how they imagine they must be feeling. Give them a few minutes for sharing then reverse the process.