Friday Lesson: Mix & Match Activity

Courtesy of Chris Cavert |

Mix & Match
Thanks to Andy via Melanie via Mark

Needs: You will need one envelope for every two participants in your group and a bunch of Mix-and-Match sentences. (See Procedure.)

Procedure: There is a little preparation involved in this one. You will want to choose some sentences to work with. These sentences can be anything from funny to serious. If you just want to break the ice with your group, make up some silly ones. If you want to talk about certain issues, make up some questions that will help you initiate your goal. Along with your thought process keep this in mind: each word of the sentence will need to be on a separate piece of paper that will fit within an envelope along with some other words. So, you can write sentences out, one word at a time, on note cards or type out the sentences, enlarge them a bit so they are easier to work with, then cut the words out. I have found when working this activity with partners, five or six words per envelope is a good number.

Now—how to play. Let’s say you have 12 participants in your group. You chose six sentences to use (one sentence for each pair) – 30 words in all. You cut all the words out and mixed them up, then place a mixture of words in six different envelopes with five words in each one. When your group is together and you are all ready to play, pair up participants. Hand each pair an envelope. The small group objective of each pair is to end up with a sentence, that makes sense, laid out in front of them. The large group objective is for all teams to have sentences that make sense with no words left over. You may also impose the objective that all sentences must match the sentences that you started with. (We never impose objectives on our groups do we?) To make this all work, the pairs will have to communicate and trade words with each other, as they mix and match to make sentences.

Once you have reached any or all of the goals you can discuss the process, discuss the sentences, or both.

Possible Objectives:
•Communicating needs.
•Negotiational cooperation.
•Partner and group interaction.

Note: There is an assumption made that your group members will know how to create a proper sentence. This is one of the reasons I like to do this one in pairs. There are better odds that one out of the two should be able to create a sentence. Not much else you need to know for this one. I can say this activity is one of my all-time favorites to watch.

•Who is most involved? Who is not? Why?
•What sort of communication is being used? Positive? Negative?
•Does any leadership emerge?
•What is negotiation? How can it be helpful to us?
•How are the partners interacting with each other? With the group?
•Did anyone ask for help in any way?
•Did the group pool words together or did partners keep words to themselves?
•Who was successful?
•Is there a way to be more successful in the future?

•Check out the Metaphors section for some enlightening sentences—a great deal of interesting topics to choose from.
•If you have more time, make up an envelope for each participant in your group.
•What if you had eight small groups and only six sentences. You can change the rules around a bit to see what happens.
•I like to do silly sentences one session, then play again later down the road with the more serious ones.
•Try cutting out lines of a poem and having the entire group put the poem back together. My favorite is Foster W. Cline’s, Rules for Being Human.

This lesson is compliments of Chris Cavert, from his book “Games (& other stuff) for Group, Book 2: More Activities to Initiate Group Discussion“.

To find more information and to contact the author, please visit:

Join us every week in November for Friday Lessons with Chris Cavert. Chris has written twelve books including Affordable Portables, Games for Group, Books 1 & 2, Games for Teachers, and If Anybody Asks Me.

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