9 years and older
A silent game ideal for starting or ending a session calmly, or for refo- cusing a group that is scattered.
The players line up one behind the other in groups of four or five with their hands on the shoulders of the person in front. The one at the back, the engine, keeps their eyes open, the others, the carriages, have their eyes closed (or perhaps blindfolded).
The last player drives the train by giving non-verbal instructions through touch:
- to go straight on, he presses with both hands at once on the shoulders of the player in f ront,who repeats the message he received, until the one at the front gets the message and starts moving;
- to go right he presses on the right shoulder;
- to go left he presses on the left shoulder;
- to stop he lifts both hands off the shoulders (breaking contact).
The aim of the game is to walk around in a predefined space without any of the trains colliding with each other.
Progression: to make the game more difficult, it is possible to make an obstacle course whereby each little train has to go around the obstacles without touching them. The same game can also be done at jogging speed or with longer trains with more players.
Psychosocial: to develop both trust and non-verbal communication. The players who have their eyes closed have to concentrate and trust those with their eyes open who are responsible for the group. Honesty is also important for those who have eyes closed (without blindfold).
Physical: nothing in particular. The representation of the body in space is important because the players are blinded.
The animator should insist on concentration, precision of the messages and softness of the contact. To compensate the lack of vision, the tendency is to harden the contact.
The difficulty is in the delay between giving the order and the movement being carried out. The tendency is to receive the message, understand and carry it out before even transmitting it. The pressure should not be continuous, but pass as quickly and clearly as possible from the last to the first player, who obeys it.
Often, the first time the game is played, the trains crash into each other on purpose, although the aim is to avoid it. It is useful to remind children that this is a game for learning to trust (the carriages) and to be worthy of trust (the engine). Insist on the need to anticipate changes in direction (the engine).
Since the roles are quite different (middle, front and back) it is important to change positions so that everyone tries out the different roles.
- Which was your favourite role? Can you explain?
- Which position was the easiest? Can you explain?
- Was it difficult to trust with your eyes closed?
- Were there differences between the engines? Can you explain?
- What was the best way to avoid the other trains?