This energiser works well as an opening "welcome" activity. Participants start to learn each other's names and where they come from without speaking too much. It is also a good starter for discussion about diversity and respect for diversity.

Preparation      

Write each letter of the alphabet on a separate piece of A4 paper.

Instructions

1.     Spread the letters out randomly over the floor and ask participants to form a circle around them.
2.     Explain you are going to ask some questions, for example: What is your name? Then, as quickly as they can, participants must find the first letter of their name and stand with their toe touching the piece of paper. For example, Laure stands on the letter L, Rui stands on the letter R, and so on.
3.     When everyone has found their letter, do a round, letter by letter, and ask people to quickly say their name.
4.     Repeat with other questions.

Tips for facilitatorsGoto top

Spread the letters out so that there is plenty of space around each one because it is very likely that more than one person will need to stand on a particular letter. In fact, the fun comes if more that 3 people try to stand on one letter, as they then have to cling onto each other.
Spreading the letters randomly means participants help each other find the letters.
If the group is international be careful about the choice of alphabets and be sure that all the letters are easy to understand and read. In fact, having the equivalent letters in different alphabets written on the same piece of paper arouses curiosity.

Depending on the size of the group you can do more or fewer rounds. Don't let it drag. Some suggestions for questions include:

  •    What's your name?
  •    Which country do you live in?
  •    Which country were you born in?
  •    What is your favourite food / drink?
  •    What is your favourite colour?
  •    What is your favourite book / type of music?
  •    What is your motto in life?
COMPASS

Manual for Human Rights Education
with Young People