Are you interested in play-testing? Here we share two aspects of a play-test at a primary school: contacting the teachers involved and analyzing the results. Documented evidence: a letter from an educator, pictures, results, conclusions.

The proposal to La Sínia School explained by the teacher Roser Solà

In mid-April, Rosa Pons, a friend of high school at the time, asked me if I could play test a group game in the school where I teach. Lost Sense was introduced to me as a game about touching that shows that if we cannot see each other or hear our voices, we don’t acknowledge each other.

The game had been tested already in several cities in Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands and they wanted to try it in schools. Coincidence or not, we were just preparing a new activity for the month of May, to end the school year 2016-2017. The activity consisted of playing games mixing children of different groups from nine to twelve years.

I proposed it to the coordinator that approved the test for the first Friday of May. The result was unexpected: the children wanted to continue playing after ninety minutes and they were praising me to bring the game again to the next session. The impression the game had caused ran like wildfire through the halls and when leaving the school, a couple of girls stopped us begging in the children’s style to play the game. Surprised, Rosa, asked me who they were. Those two girls were unfamiliar to her because they had not been playing with us.

Once at home I asked myself  “what happened today”? The activity was so good that I started doing the math: obviously with an hour played on average, children do not change attitudes, but if each round of Lost Prince can last 10 to 15 minutes it’s easy to implement it in class.

Next Monday, I shared my conclusion with the team of teachers: that I find it an interesting,  valid tool because it changes ideas through the skin and not the intellect, going directly to the emotions. The team decided to include the game in the activity for the whole month, and we asked Rosa to send us a prototype.

Roser Solà Vila

Primary School Educator

The test at La Sínia School

Vic, 5th May 2017

Introduction

The game is about touching, feeling and acknowledging without seeing.

The cards represent original creatures that are half animal, half human, half child, half adult, half female, half male. One of them is lost, and the creatures that live in the forest help to locate a compass.

The creatures can’t speak, they act through touch, each with a special stroke. The lost one has to guess the name of the player by the stroke, who then gives a hint about the compass.

Results of play

  • The game provoked laughter, surprise, expectation, disbelief, excitement.
  • The players who had the role of being lost found the game much more difficult than it seemed, they were wrong even in guessing their best friends.
  • Everybody wanted to be lost to experience how it felt.
  • The players acting as creatures were asking how to perform, as if they needed permission.
  • The game allowed to touch in experimental ways because every child applied a different intensity, duration, care.
  • The ethnic, gender or age barriers diffused. We saw a momentary stop of judgmental attitudes.
  • The children ended happier than they began.
  • After 90 minutes they still wanted to play. The children that didn’t want to play too.

Conclusion

The game works well in big groups that know each other. Can be used in schools in many different ways. It serves to undo fixed ideas, to let go of prejudice, as tool for disinhibition, to stimulate body awareness and acceptance of the other. It can be used to provoke questions and conversations. It can diminish group tensions and change dynamics.

And touching is something special at any age. Who does not need a hug occasionally?

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