The Wetfoot Blog

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Mark's Activity of the Month

Playing Card Shuffle

Purpose: This is a fun activity for dividing a larger group into groups of 4 (or more). It can also be used as a set-up activity for discussions on group interaction styles and comfort zones

Materials: A set of playing cards (or multiple sets if it is a much larger group). The great BIG playing cards work best and are available in many stores or on-line (Training Wheels).

Set-up: Divide your cards up in advance by suit and (especially if you know the group size in advance) count out even numbers of cards, in order for each suit, making sure you have a total number of cards roughly equal to the total group size. Each participant gets a card with instruction to keep the card face down.

The Activity: The first thing a group does is “shuffle the deck.” The group shuffles by having each group member exchange cards with 3 people, keeping the cards face down. Next, instruct the group that this is a silent activity and on the count of 3 they are going to place their card on their forehead (face away) and get into suits. It is usually best to ask if everyone knows what a suit is and demonstrate the card to forehead action with your own card (never assume). If there are no questions, instruct the group to go silent and then count to 3.

Variations: Once a group has divided into suits, you have several options:
• Have the entire group reshuffle and retry (with other instructions if necessary)
• Have each small group shuffle their respective “decks” and line up in order—low card to high card (you may want to clarify this—is Ace high or low, etc.)
• OR have each small group accomplish a task of some sort first before moving on (a name activity, partner interviews, find 2-4 things they have in common, etc.).
• Introduce the concept of interaction styles and comfort zones and do a follow up with that (example: were you an “organizer” during that activity or “someone being organized”—why and what does that mean)

Have fun!

Mark Zanoni

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