Youth buy in and games

In America most teenagers would consider themselves WAY too cool for many of the activities that we use to engage with, here in Morocco.  One of the amazing parts of working with kids of all ages (even into their late teens and early 20s) is that they are willing and excited, for the most part, to play games and do activities.  Silly campy games and icebreaker-ish activities have everyone participating, laughing and thoroughly enjoying themselves.  It’s really something, getting to watch a 17 year old playing musical chairs next to a 10 year old.

Several favorites involved everyone sitting in chairs round the outside of the room, in a circle.  In one of these, the “it” person went around and labeled everyone alternating orange, apple, or banana (limun, tfaH, banan).  Then, the it person proceeded to tell some sort of small story (hard to tell, though, as it was in darija) culminating in saying one of the three fruits.  For example, if they say banana, all of the bananas jump up and move to an empty seat.  The it person, however, also takes a seat, so that there’s always someone left standing to be it.  Chaotic hilarity.
Another game had the “it” person going one by one giving the direction to either fly, or something else totally different.  If the “it” person tells you to fly, flap your arms like a bird; if they say anything else, you do nothing.  Those that flapped when not instructed were pulled aside to be used in the next game.  Oh that next game…
The next (and last, as it turned out) game was one of surprise.  The people selected from the previous game were led outside of the room to wait in the hall.  Two chairs were set up in the middle of the room, with the “leader” sitting in one of them.  One by one the selected were brought back into the room to play a game of “mirror” while sitting in the chair opposite the leader.  The leader raises his hand, the mirror raises his hand.  The leader lifts a leg, the mirror lifts a leg.  The leader stands up, the mirror stands up.  The leader sits down, the mirror begins to sit… Meanwhile, though, someone has snuck up behind the mirror and pulled their chair away, leaving the mirror falling flat on their rear on a hard tile floor.  In the United States this game would likely have led to countless lawsuits.  In Morocco it left 90% of the room laughing.  After 2 rounds of this our language teacher ran in to help catch the mirror before any real injuries occurred.
After all this excitement, everyone wrapped up the afternoon by a nice group sing.  Yes, the entire group (from 7 to 20 years old) was involved in and enjoying a sing along.  Amazing but I’m not sure it would ever succeed in the United States, outside of a church camp (no offense meant to church camps, I went to quite a few when I was younger).
I think I’m going to like this place!

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