Once the group is built, you can invite them to some relaxing activity such as massage.
This one includes some dancing also, so you will need some music and a comfortable place where the students can lie down.
This activity is especially effective when the work has been too focused on the mind.
Split the group in to threes. One of them should lie down, face up, while the other two follow your instructions. Suggest that they start massaging, one to each foot, just moving it gently and softly with the rhythm of nice music. Then the two massagers should move the whole leg, taking care of the knee, not letting it fall or forcing it. Once both legs have been ‘danced’, the massagers should softly leave the leg on the ground and move to the hands. They can do the same with the whole body (arms and head), leaving their mate to rest and recover. When the person on the floor is ready, they can change places with one of the other two in the group and dance again (and repeat).
Secret friend (also known as Angel)
Every participant takes a piece of paper on which the name of his/her secret friend is written. You keep this in secret as your secret friend does. You can use the time of the course to make nice things for this person like prepare a hand-made present, write something nice and hide it under the pillow, and so on.
Variation: Every person could write his/her name on a postcard slip and attach it to a wall. Throughout the whole period of the course you could receive surprises from the other participants in it or you can do the same for others.
Create a spider’s web between two trees or posts using a rope. All the people need to pass to the other side without touching the rope with their bodies. After one hole is used it cannot be entered again. The game ends when everybody is on the other side.
Conduct a treasure hunt around the town/farm/village/center where the course is held. Hide various objects in important locations such as the closest shop, post office, bank, pharmacy, toilets, showers, swimming pool… use a map of the area to plan this.
There are lots of different ways of doing this, here is one example:
Raw vegan candies race:
In this type of treasure hunt the task is to make raw vegan candies.
A bowl and a box of dates is handed out and the people take out their stones on the way to the next location
A package of nuts is handed out and the participants are asked to chop and mix them with the dates while they walk to the next location
A plate and a package of coconut flakes is handed out in the third location and the people are asked to start forming small balls from the sweet-nutty dough and roll them in the flakes
A fresh juice is given to the hunters
Once everybody is home again they could start gifting candies and juice to one other.
Aims: getting to know each other from the first day and remember the names of everybody
Length: 10-30 minutes depending on group size/s
Alphabetical name game
Place two parallel strips of tape on the floor, one foot apart (or use a nature pattern like the wave). The participants are then asked to stand between the two strips without leaving any space between them. Then they are told to stand in alphabetical order. People are asked to try and stay between the strips; therefore they have to help each other. At the end of the game they are standing in alphabetical order, e.g. first those whose names begins with an “A”, then with “B”, and etc. You can also do it according to other differences or similarities – age, size of foot, height, gender, country or whatever you might want to determine, but the first day it’s always the best to start with names.
Variation: Introduce a silence rule (no talking) or replace the strips of tape with a row of chairs. Get creative.
Catch the Ball
Simple name game where you need to remember the name of the other participant by saying it when you throw him/her the ball or vice versa (say your name when you are throwing the ball). Everybody stay in a circle. It can get more complicated when you start repeating the same pattern – people throwing the ball in the same sequence, but speeding it up, then you introduce a second and a third ball that follow the first one. At some point people can change the direction or you can add a fourth ball cycling around from right to left and a fifth – from left to right.