The Small Stone Activity
Small Stone is a fascinating group game for group development because it creates real connections and also improves observation skills.
Start with your group standing in a circle, all facing into the centre. Ask them to close their eyes, and place both of their hands clenched behind their backs.
If someone is willing to receive the small stone, they should open one of their hands in a receiving position. The stone should be small enough to hide inside someone’s hand, but large enough that it can be touched.
Walk around the group and secretly deposit a small stone into one person’s open hand.
Next, everyone brings their clenched hands in front of them, opens their eyes, and quietly and comfortably sits down with their hands visible to all. Everyone starts observing others in the group, silently, with the aim to identify the person who is holding the stone.
There is absolutely no talking, just looking and being open to what is so. After 20 seconds of silent observation, invite one or more people to raise their hands, and nominate who they think is holding the rock.
Each person gets one chance to make a nomination. If the guess is correct, the game is over.
Play as many rounds as your group has interest. Make time between rounds to review how some people manage to identify the holder of the stone really quickly or successfully.
This activity teaches people to trust their instincts or, put another way, they already “know” the answer, they just have to trust themselves. If the connection within your group is real, then you can expect many people to quickly develop an ability to guess who is holding the stone.
Moment of Reflection
Observe and note the ‘connection’ that will become very evident within the group at the end of the activity. Invite your group to enquire why this is so, and what impact this sense of the group can have on their performance.
- What were you thinking in the first few moments of silence?
- Did you notice that there was laughter at times? What might this mean?
- What sorts of changes did you observe that may suggest someone was holding the rock?
- Did your senses sharpen as each round progressed? How?
- What difference can you feel in the group at the end of the game, compared to the beginning?
- Do you normally trust your ‘gut feeling’ or not? Why?
- What’s an example of where your gut instinct was correct?
- What might this exercise teach us about our connections to others?