Exploding Atoms

It’s been awhile since I’ve talked about a movement-based activity so I wanted to share this little piece. It’s a fairly simple game and while it’s important not to do it for too long, it’s a great way to get individuals moving and interacting with one another. Which means that yes, this activity is for a group of people, and while one or two people can play, it’s more fun with 4 or more participants. It’s also a wonderful ice-breaker for many different occasions like camps or support groups.

The goal of the activity is to find similarities and differences in the group as well as realize that there aren’t absolute “yes’s” and “no’s” when it comes to opinions. Start by explaining to the group that they will hear a statement and decide how much they agree or disagree with it. For example: “I am a shy person.” or “I love to hang out at the mall.”

Tell the participants that they will answer each statement according to where they choose to stand in the room. The absolute center of the room is an absolute yes to the statement. The walls of the room is an absolute no to the statement. Everything in between is a spectrum from yes to no.

Here’s an example of a statement and how individuals would answer. “I love to text my friends” One person might absolutely love texting, so she stands in the center. Another really hates texting and stands against a wall. A third may be indifferent to texting so he stands between the center and one of the walls. Finally, a fourth person may enjoy texting, but not always, so she stands close to the center, but not in the center.

Demonstrate different places in the room that players can stand according to their answers. Then start with some statements that are not too inquisitive, such as the ones suggested above. As participants get used to the game, ask more deep questions, or topic specific questions. For example, if you have a group of teens in the hospital, you can say things like “I like to be alone in the hospital” or “I find lots of things to do in the hospital.” Depending on their answers, encourage them to discuss and discover commonalities or techniques to make things easier. It also gives them a voice about topics they may feel excluded or not heard from.

I really like this activity because not only does it get participants up and moving, but it also gives them a visual to see where other people fall in their opinions. Depending on the statements you give them, it’s also a great way to get a discussion going or gauge interest in a topic. You can also modify it for different groups. For example, if your group is not easily mobile, you can have them raise their hands with a high hand meaning yes and a low hand meaning no, with the middle being the spectrum.

Try it out and tell me what you think! Leave thoughts in the comments section below!

Exploding Atoms Activity Notes

Ages: 6 and up

Materials: Large space to move around

Therapeutic Value:
Expression
Control
Empathy
Team Building

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