A fun way to start working together. Can be used to learn names or develop a sense of interconnectedness, group responsibility, collaboration, problem solving.
You will need:
6-8 small, hollow plastic balls (approximately 4″ in diameter) per group
Set up and instructions
Arrange 8-12 participants in a circle, standing a bit less than arms length apart
Include yourself in the circle
1st round of juggling
Explain that you are going to throw a ball to someone – pick someone out & ask their name, then say, “Hi Freddy, my name is James…here you go!” (underarm throw a ball to Freddy)
Freddy then says, “Thank you James,” picks someone else and says, “Hi X, my name is Freddy…here you go!”
The new receiver says, “Thank you, Freddy,” and on we go.
• If you’re not trying to learn names, skip the naming part & just throw!
• The challenge from here is simply to get the ball thrown around to everyone in the circle with no repeats, and finally back to the trainer.
2nd round of group juggling
Then say, “Right, well done, now let’s see if we can do that again – making sure we use the same order, and using each other’s names. Remember to say the name of the person you are throwing to, and thank the person, by name, for throwing it to you, OK?”
On the second round, most people will be challenged to remember who to throw it to, and the two names! Take it slow, help the group out, so that each person has a successful second round.
3rd round of group juggling
Then say, “Good, so how about we do it again, but this time, let’s let’s see how fast we can do it, OK? Here we go…Hi Freddy, my name is James….” [throw]
It will go pretty fast this time, and the group will probably feel quite pleased with themselves.
4th round of group juggling – introducing more balls
I then say, “That’s great, but I think you can do faster than that. Come on, let’s see how we can really go…” [I then throw and say the name with super fast enthusiasm to set the tone!
After the first ball has passed through a few hands, I take a 2nd ball out of my pocket (surprise!), and casually, but earnestly say “Hi Freddy….” [throw].
By now everyone is so well trained, the 2nd ball will automatically keep going, and there will be a detectable sense of challenge/excitement.
After a bit, introduce a 3rd and 4th ball, up to about 6 balls.
A group of 12 adults can usually handle 4 to 6 quite well. It builds a sense of achievement and group cohesiveness.
Once the group is competent, gradually then introduce more balls, or maybe a few unexpected objects (e.g., kids soft toys).
See “WARP SPEED” for the next level of Group Juggle.