Tapestry of Faith: Gather the Spirit : A Multigenerational Program about Stewardship
Main Content

Alternate Activity 3: Making Machines

Activity time: 15 minutes

Preparation for Activity

  • Decide whether to make one large group machine or several small group (of at least four members) machines.
  • Prepare a space large enough to allow the group(s) plenty of room to form and observe "machines."

Description of Activity

This classic theater game reinforces the idea that everyone can be an important contributing member of a creative community. Each participant pretends to be a different piece in an imagined machine. Ask if anyone is already familiar with this activity. Invite that person to help you explain the process. Explain that when the group has decided on its machine, one member will start the machine with a sound and movement they can repeat for the machine's "life." Once the first person has established their sound and movement, others in the group will join the machine, one at a time. Encourage them to make large movements, involving all or a big part of their bodies. Encourage them to connect not just side to side but also in front of or behind one another and to achieve different levels, for example with some standing, or on all fours, or sitting. Invite each new participant to connect to the other(s) and contribute their own sound and motion, until everyone in the group is part of the machine.

Give the group(s) a few minutes to decide what kind of machine to portray. You might suggest a category such as "real machines", "imaginary machines", or "machines to protect a part of the interdependent web." Or you may leave it completely open-ended.

Add a dimension of cooperation by asking the machine to speed up. Changing speed makes it difficult for participants to synchronize their motions. The machine goes faster and faster until it collapses on the floor (or pieces fly off!).


Another way to play this game is to invite participants, one at a time, to join a machine in any way they wish, with no prior discussion about the machine's purpose. To conclude, ask participants what they think the machine's purpose was and what specifically their role was as part of the machine.

Including All Participants

If any participant cannot move or make sounds easily, allow them to participate as they wish. Perhaps they could suggest what type of machine they would like to be part of.