Seven of Eight
Duration: 2 - 5 minutes
Age: 5 to adult
Players: the whole group or class
This game is suitable for all ages and most levels of ability. It develops coordination and timing skills and promotes both group cohesion and self-reliance.
- The leader demonstrates the sequence. In strict tempo, eight beats to a cycle, do the following: stamp your feet once each, left then right; slap left thigh with left hand, right thigh with right hand; beat chest once with left hand, once with right hand; clap hands above your head once and leave the eighth beat as a rest. If you feel more comfortable beginning with the right foot then that’s fine.
- Begin, repeating the cycle over and over, and invite your group members to join in. Some will take a while to get this error-free. Keep going and more will master the sequence.
- Once you are satisfied that your group is comfortable with the exercise, tell them that if you call out one of the body parts used, namely feet, thighs, chest and hands, they are to leave that part out of the sequence and leave a space of the same length instead.
- You can make the omissions as challenging as you feel fit. Players will tend to listen and watch each other for visual clues. It is interesting to introduce a rule against audible counting. Asking the group to play the game with closed eyes can, if players are able and confident, lead to some interesting rhythmic drift.
Tips: For very young children you may need to break the sequence down into its constituents. Getting the group to stamp their collective feet in time with each other may be a challenge at first, but if doing that is adding value then so be it. Whatever you do, donít rush the exercise or reveal more than you need to before the group is ready to receive it. Allow yourself as many sessions as necessary. If you still havenít transmitted the sequence by the end of the course (unlikely!) it will because your group wasnít ready. They will have learned other things instead.