Activity time: 5 minutes
Description of Activity
This game strengthens community by helping children remember each other's names.
Gather children in a circle. Going around the circle, ask each child to think of a gesture they can do while saying their first name. Say, in your own words:
The gesture you make with your name can be any kind of movement, and it can make noise. It has to match the syllables or beats in your name.
Demonstrate by saying your own name with a simple gesture, such as clapping your hands on each syllable. As you move around the circle, you may need to help some children calculate the number of syllables or beats by clapping out their names with them. Be prepared to suggest gestures such as stomping feet, nodding the head from side to side, or hopping on one foot. If children seem reluctant, allow them to pass.
After the first child says their name and performs a gesture, ask everyone to say and do it together. Then, after the second child presents a name and gesture, ask the group to repeat both children's names and gestures. Keep building upon each name in this way until the last child has offered their name and gesture. Finally, lead participants in repeating the names and gestures of everyone, as a group. If a child volunteers to repeat all the names and gestures of the entire group on their own, let them try it, and help them as needed.
This game can be played again in later Creating Home sessions, if ever you need an activity to fill the time. You can also use it when the group is particularly rowdy and you feel the need to engage them in a physical activity. You can play the game to help the group learn visitors' names. The better children remember one another's names, the stronger the group identity they will build. The game is flexible and simple enough to adapt to other individual contributions than first names. Children might offer a gesture or movement with "something we do at our faith home" or words from the Word Wall.