Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Idea-Starters for Dynamic Activities for Our Meetings

Hello all.  I went to seek out some team-building exercises that we can consider using for future meetings.  Here are a few examples of what I found.  I've done a few of these through various work trainings and they're pretty good for the group to do and won't take too much time.  Likely may need to break down the overall group into more age appropriate groups depending on the activity.

See you all on the 22nd.  Have a blessed week.

Electric Fence
You will need at least two people for this activity. A slightly larger group is better. Tie a rope between two objects at about waist height; two trees will work well. Ask participants to stand on one side of this "fence." Challenge them to get everyone over the fence without touching it. Consider planting something nearby that could be used as a step, but do not make it obvious. This game requires planning and collaboration. Before beginning, check the area for dangerous items such as broken glass or poison ivy. If participants try risky maneuvers, make sure to spot them. This game could also be played in the water.
Antique Can
For this exercise, you will need at least five people. You will also need a large can and a ball, rock or other object to place inside the can. Tell a story about the object inside the can to establish its great importance or value. Assign constraints to each person or on the entire group by placing limitations on hands, arms, legs, sight or speech. Direct the group to stand in a circle and pass the can around clockwise or counterclockwise until it passes completely around the circle. If the can or the item in the can drops to the ground, the group must start over. If the group completes the task quickly, assign greater limitations. Ask participants to discuss how they worked around the constraints imposed on them and how these compare to the obstacles they face in their lives.
Tarp Flip
For this game you will need at least two people and a tarp or blanket. The tarp should be folded such that it provides enough space for everyone to stand on it. The smaller the tarp, the more difficult the activity. Ask participants to stand on the tarp, then challenge them to flip half the tarp over without stepping off it onto the ground. At the end, each participant should be on top of the underside of the tarp, which will be approximately half the size it was at the start. You should use this activity with people who will not be uncomfortable in close proximity to each other in an effort to promote communication and collaboration in problem solving.

Back-to-Back Drawing
You will need at least two people for this activity. Break your group into pairs. Ask each pair to decide who will be the director and who will be the illustrator. Hand a simple drawing to the director. Instruct her to conceal the drawing from her partner. The illustrator gets a blank sheet of paper and a pencil. He, too, must conceal his paper from his partner. Next, directors tell their illustrators how to replicate the drawing, using only verbal instructions. To make this more challenging, do not allow the illustrators to ask questions. Alternatively, you may choose to allow illustrators to ask only questions with yes or no answers. When all pairs are finished, bring the group back together to compare drawings and discuss how they handled the assignment. Invite participants to discuss the process of giving and receiving instructions.

Criss Cross
Perform this game in a medium-size room. Divide the group into four teams of relatively equal size. Send each team into a corner of the room. When you give the command, each team's goal is to get to the opposite side of the room, moving diagonally across the space. Before the game starts, think of several active commands that you can communicate. You could say hop, run, walk backward, barrel roll or any other active movement. When you give the command, all four groups begin performing that command to cross the room. Inevitably, a bottleneck will form at the center of the room as all teams attempt to cross. The first team to cross completely receives a point. The first team to get five points chooses the next game.
Knowledge Ball
Write get-to-know-you questions on pieces of masking tape and affix them to a large, blown-up beach ball. With kids, ask questions such as "What's your favorite breakfast meal?", "If you could be an animal, what animal would you be?" or any other question that could provide an insightful but innocent answer. Sit the players in a circle and toss the ball to any player. When she catches the ball, ask her to answer the question closest to her right thumb. For very young children, have volunteers nearby read the question to the child. When she answers, have her toss the ball to any other player of her choosing, continuing the game.

Tangled Up
Tangled up works best in groups of eight to 15, so if you have a large group, split them up into several smaller groups. Stand each group in a circle and instruct them to reach both hands into the middle of the circle, grabbing the hands of any two players. The result is a mess of tangled hands. Without breaking grips with any other player, instruct the team to now untangle themselves completely. This may require them to twist, turn, and step under or over other teammate's arms. If you have several groups playing at once, see which group can untangle the fastest.

Get the Bag
Using a large empty room or half of a basketball court, split the teams up into equal groups, sitting each group against the wall on opposite sides of the space. Have each group number off, so that each player on a single team has a different number, but they have a number matching one of the players from the opposite team. Place a beanbag in the center of the room. To start the game, call out any number. Both players from opposing teams with that number, jump up and run to the center, trying to capture the bean bag. Whichever player gets the bag must try to return the bag where she was sitting. The other team's player tries to tag the player who has the bag before they can return it. If the player gets tagged, she must drop the bean bag and the tagger can then retrieve it and try to return it to her team. The player who successfully returns it to her spot without getting tagged earns a point for her team.

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