G.33. Skin The Snake

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Resource Type: Game in: English
Age: 10-18
Group Size: 10-58
Estimated Time: 45 minutes

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G.33. Skin the Snake

You can play this game as a cooperative exercise, but it’s also a great game to play competitively, as a race between two teams (boys/girls…).
The more the players discover about the fine points of the game, the faster they’ll get, and vice versa ad infinitum – or at least ad Olympium.

Each team should have about 20 to 25 players, lined up one behind the other. Members then reach between their legs with their left hands and grab the right hand of the person behind them. Meanwhile, the person in front of them is reaching back to grab their right hand (which they should offer). Once the chain is formed, they're set to go.
At the starting signal, the last person in line lies down on his/her back. The person in front of him/her backs up, straddling his/her body, and lies down on his/her back right behind him/her. (Everyone is all still holding hands, of course.) This continues as the whole team waddles backwards down the growing line of prone bodies and slips into place.
When the last person to lie down has touched his/her head to the ground, s/he gets up and starts forward again, pulling everyone else up and along. What just got done gets quickly undone as everyone “Skins the Snake.”
When the last person is back on her/his feet and everyone is in the original chain, still holding hands, get set to run. The winner is the first team that gets all its members across the point where the head of the line started.
If anyone breaks hands during any part of this process, you must stop, go back to that point, and reconnect before proceeding.

Here are some initial pointers:
Players will be less likely to trip over their team-mates if they all take off their shoes.
When the line is backing up to lie down, they should bunch close together so they’re all touching.
To lie down, they should get as close as they can to the person in front and put their feet close to his/her side with toes pointed in. (Some people think it’s better to hook one's feet around and on top of the person in front - check this out, first.)
In the split-second timing, the players at both ends of the line become all important. The last person to lie down should touch his/her head to the ground for just an instant, roll back up, and start pulling, being careful not to break the chain. The last person to get up has to be fast and agile and have a really good grip.
Should the lightest players be at the ends, or in the middle? Let the group to experiment with this…

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