The best thing about these activities is that you can customize each of them to fit the needs of the group with which you are working. A few reminders:
1. Be sure to use these activities in a safe, supervised environment!
2. Let the group make mistakes and figure out their problems together. You become a guide if needed.
3. Don’t forget to debrief when the activity is over. Get the group talking about what they did to make it meaningful to them!
Story: Everybody has been captured by aliens and they will be released if they
help the alien to drop their eggs on Mars without breaking them. The alien has
made some of their group members speechless, while the others are either totally
paralyzed or deaf (just in case they try to escape or call for help)…
Play with multiple groups
Each group will be separated into 3 categories (noisiest, quietest, blindfolded
– with the ratio of 4:4:2)
The noisiest people are not allowed to talk throughout the game. They are also
not allowed to physically help with the egg. They can, however, give their ideas
on how to protect the egg only through body languages
The quietest people are not allowed to move, they are only allowed to talk.
The rest will be blindfolded but they are allowed to talk and move.
Physically separate the noisiest, quietest and the blindfolded so they are
out of arms reach. Although they can’t touch, they can communicate with each
The noisiest people in the group will have the most ideas, but are not allowed
to talk or help with the egg, so the only way to present their idea to the quietest
people is through body language.
The quietest people in the group will have their chance to speak a lot, they
are not allowed to help with the egg but they can tell those who is doing the
wrapping of the egg what to do
The blindfolded people will do all the wrapping of the egg, they can’t see
what they are doing but they can listen to instructions given by the quietest
The quietest people will tell the blindfolded people where are all the items
are, and how to wrap the egg
Allow 5-10 minuites for briefing, 30-35 minutes for egg preparation, 5-10 minutes
to drop egg carrier from a the top of a ladder, porch, etc.
Use 10-15 minutes debriefing the activity- what they learned from this game,
how they worked together, etc.
Equipment given to wrap the egg: drinking straws, scotch tape and scissors
This might be one of the best games of all times! FFEACH is a charades race
and the categories are Fast Foods, Electrical Appliances, and Cartoon Heroes.
Teams compete against each other to complete a predetermined list of items.
We use the term “compete” loosely, as it is a charades race, afterall…
Divide the group into 2 or more teams.
Have the group spread out so that they can’t overhear the next team’s answers.
Ask one member from each team to come to the you.
Whisper the first word into the ears of the volunteers, and release them to
their groups at the same time.
Once a member of the group guesses the word correctly, someone new runs to the
instructor for the next word. Advise the group when you are giving instructions
that no one can come up for a word twice until everyone has gone up once. This
helps ensure that everyone participates.
The team members must tell the instructor what word their team just guessed,
and the instructor tells the new volunteer the next word on the list.
The object of the game is to complete the entire list without cheating.
Here is a sample list – you can change the list as you see fit, based on participant
age, interests, etc.
2. Curly Fries
3. Spongebob Square Pants
4. Curling Iron
5. Remote Control
6. Pepperoni Pizza
7. Incredible Hulk
10. McNuggets 11. Fruit Juicer
12. Scooby Doo
14. Portable CD Player
15. Bacon Double Cheeseburger
17. Pappa Smurf
19. Wonder Woman
20. Onion Rings
Ask the group to stand on an 8’x8′ “magic carpet” (tarp or paper).
The entire group must be on the tarp completely.
Once everyone is settled, advise the group that they are going on a magic carpet
ride. Tell them that they have rised 100 feet in the air and are ready to go.
Unfortunately, the instructions on how to steer and land the carpet are on
the other side of the carpet. So, they must flip the carpet over while standing
Very fun and challenging!
one sheet of paper measuring 8’/8′
1. Have each person line up and stand on a poly spot, place the extra spot in
the middle of the line
2. The goal of the game is to get side A to side B and Side B to side A, all
3. The rules are as follows:
åá No moving backwards
åá A person can only move forward to an empty space
åá A person can not ÛÏjump overÛ their own team mate
åá Only one person may move at a time
åá One spot per person, no sharing
åá If any of these rules are broken, the group must begin again
1. Was your group successful in their task?
2. Were you successful as a group?
3. Did everyone participate?
4. Did you communicate effectively?
5. In what ways did you act together as a group to solve the challenge?
6. Did anyone feel frustrated during the activity? How did you deal with this?
7. Think about these Keys to success of problem solving in groups:
Poly Spots, one per person plus one. Any type of marker that one can stand
on is fine.
Split the group into half, and place a line that separates them from each other.
Then place a rope perpendicular to that line with one half on either side. The
challenge for the group is to have their side of the rope all the way on the
other side and vice versa, at the end of a given time. After a while of trying
to throw the rope back and forth, they might figure out that they can simply
hand their side to the other while trading with the other team, but that becomes
the challenge so let them figure it out.
We use the Helium Stick to teach a powerful lesson about organizational mission
statements and group work in general.
Organizations create mission statements to be a guiding force. A good mission
statement focuses everyone’s attention on the core essence of a business or
organization, and enables them to make decisions and take action that are directly
aligned with their core values.
For our next challenge, your group will have a simple mission: To lower this
stick to the ground better than ANYONE in the world.
Have the group repeat the mission a couple of times…
Have the group of 8-12 divide into two lines and face each other.
Explain the technical rules to the group (very important): everyone’s index
fingers MUST remain in contatc with the stick at all times, and the stick must
rest on top of their fingers at all times (no grabbing, finger curling, etc.)
Have the group extend their index fingers at waist level.
Lay the stick across the group’s fingers.
At that time, the group must work together to lower the stick to the ground.
Inevitably, the stick rises almost instantly – causing laughter, frustration,
or confusion. The rise is caused by the small ripples of upward pressure as
individuals each try to remain in contact with the stick.
After refocusing, the group will be able to lower the stick.
Ask the group if everyone understood the mission and technical lowering rules.
Ask if anyone was intentionally trying to sabotage the group’s mission by lifting
Ask if everyone sincerely wanted to accomplish the mission or thought that
it could be done.
If everyone understood the mission, and was committed to succeeding, why did
the group get so far off track right away? Try to elicit answers that are related
to the group process, not the technical explanation of the challenge. For example,
“we didn’t plan well” more so than “we weren’t holding our fingers
Ask the group to share example of groups that they have participated in “the
real world” that seemed to be comprised of committed folks, but were not
Discuss what types of actions are important to keep a group focused on the
Many times during this activity, people become frustrated with others who aren’t
lowering the stick, and often choose one person as the culprit. Also, some people
give up and let the stick come off their fingers. If either happens, be prepared
to discuss how blame or giving up affects groups.
Tip for success: When you place the stick on the group’s fingers, apply slight
downward pressure before letting them begin. This helps create the initial upward
pressure that creates the “helium stick.”
1/2 inch pvc pipe, or broomstick handle, tent-pole, or even a hula hoop.
Place objects numbered 1-20 in a circle made from rope (or on a table, etc)
to make your calculator.
Have the group stand “on base” in a different area 15-20 feet away
from the calculator.
Explain to the group that they must start and finish on base. Once you say,”Go,”
the group must run to the calculator and take turns pressing and saying aloud
numbers 1-20 in order. Once they’ve reached 20, they must return to base. The
timer starts when they leave base, and stops when the whole group has returned.
The group must work together to create an initial plan, and continue to refine
their plan to improve their time.
The group must start and finish on base.
Everyone in the group must touch a number.
Only one person can touch each number
Everyone must remain on the outside of the calculator, and can only reach in
to touch their number (ie, no stepping across, or standing inside)
Was the challenge more or less difficult than you originally thought?
How did refining your plan help you improve your time?
Who took a leadership role?
What things did you do as a team to accomplish this task?
20 items (coffee lids, rug squares, pieces of paper, etc) numbered 1-20.
A large rope that can make a circle large enough to surround all items snugly.
A stop watch