Game “Totem” (practicing teamwork, concentration, control of the body impulse, mindfulness)


The game shall be played in an area where participants may have sits on a chair of bench in two rows in front of each other. The more players the more engaging game. To play the game a coin and a plastic bottle empty of filled are needed. The game shall be played in a silent room or outside.

Purpose of use

This activity helps to practise attention through different ways of body perception: hearing, touching. It is also a good tool to test how teams are united, to reflect difficulties in communication and understanding of each other. It fits perfectly to a wide range of students starting form 7 years old and up to any adult age.

Mixed aged groups may also take place. Game help train concentration skills, forces members to pay attention to each other’s needs, learn flexibility and control of one’s emotions and impulses.

How to implement

There are always two teams. There must be equal number of players in each team. There shall be one moderator, who will have only one role – to throw the coin and hide it’s view under his palms.

Both teams sit in a row in front of each other. The moderator sits in middle between two first players. The TOTEM – the Bottle – is put on the plain surface (chair or table) in the middle between the two last players in a row.

All participants of each team must take both hands of each other from the right and from the left (the first takes only one hand of the second player-neighbour, the last player in a row has only one hand of his mate too. Another hand of the last player must be free and ready to catch the bottle in the middle.

The best option when the connected hands are hidden under the table. But, it’s not a must. All players, except the ones in the beginning, who sit near the moderator with coin, and the ones who sit at the back of the row near the Totem (bottle), have to close their eyes and concentrate on the feeling of their hands. Moderator explains to the first players near him, that he will shake the coin inside his palms and stop shaking, letting coin lay one way or another. Moderator must explain which way (face or back) of the coin is a signal to start and which is not. Most commonly it is agreed that when coin shows a figure (for instance 1 or 2 euros), it is a signal to start. If it’s not a figure, but the back of the coin with herb or similar, no action has to be taken by the first players. Moderator shakes coin in his closed palms and stops doing it pushing coin to fall inside moderator’s palms. Then, he opens his palms slowly, assuring, that both first players have similar clear view of the coin position.

Ones, the coin shows figure, first players must squeeze his only neighbours palm, giving the impulse for further chain reaction. The next neighbour in the row must do the same until the last player gets the signal. As soon as the last player gets the signal from his neighbour, he can catch the bottle which stands between him and another last player of the other team. The one, who catches first the bottle, gets point. Point means that the last player may abandon his sit and take a sit of the first player near the moderator. All other players in a row, move to the end by one sit. The game starts again. Now, former last player of the team winner is a first player and is obliges to give the right signal to start in a right time. The game ends when all team members change their places and come to their primary place around.

In case a mistake done first players, when coin shows its back, but the signal is sent to the team, it means that sits must be exchange back to one former position. One place back.

A short video demonstrates a part of the process by third grade students (please watch Video No.1 below).