There are times as a facilitator when you need a go-to activity that will let your group let out some noise and energy and Human Javelin is a perfect energizer for the times. It is perfect for all sizes of groups and all ages of participants. There is something to be said about the power of yelling. Check out the videos below for instruction on how to do this easy and loud activity.
I hope this activity helps you on your quest to create a fun and engaging atmosphere for growth with your group. Have you ever attempted this activity? Do you have a Human Javelin world record?
I first learned this great activity from Ryan McCormick at Project Adventure in Boston. It is now one of my “go-to” activities with groups of all sizes. My friend from Australia, Mark Collard, demonstrates this classically fun icebreaker that helps groups break down physical barriers and creates a huge sense of FUNN (Functional Understanding Not Necessary).
For more activities just like this one, check out Mark’s great work on playmeo, the largest online database of group games & activities in the world. You can also buy his two awesome books, No Props and Count Me In, two books that should be in every facilitator’s game bag.
Below you will find my explanation on how to lead this activity with your group:
Thumb Wrestling in Stereo
Number of Participants: 2-200
Time: 5-10 minutes
Activity Level: Moderate
Objective: To become the Thumb Wrestling Champion of the world.
I love this old school activity with a new twist. Use a creative way to form partners and ask them to place their left hand behind their back. Instruct them to extend their right arms, curl their fingers into each other’s fingers, and stick their thumbs into the air. Their goal is to now pin their partner’s thumb down. That’s right, old school Thumb Wrestling. Play three rounds and declare a winner very loudly.
After round one, invite the participants to challenge each other with a two-person, two-handed thumb wrestle. Do this by clasping right hands together, just as in round one, and clasp left hands together underneath or above the right hands. Play both hands simultaneously.
For round three, group the participants into groups of three and ask them to place their left hands behind their back. All three members of the group will then extend their right hands, curl their fingers inside the palms of the other participants, creating a three-handed thumb-wrestling match.
In round four, invite the participants to play three-person, two-handed thumb wrestling by combining their right hands like before, and mimicking the action with their left hands.
If you would like help implementing this activity or any other activities into your curriculum, don’t hesitate to contact us at Paradigm Shift.
I love a good icebreaker, and the best icebreakers are group-generated ones! Use Who, What, Where, When, and Why? To create conversations amongst participants and encourage group presentation skills.
Number of Participants: 4-25
Time: 10-25 minutes
Activity Level: Low
Objective: To get to know another participant better.
Description: Group the participants in twos, threes, or sevens (depends on the size of your group, obviously). Ask the groups to find their own space, get comfortable, and ask their partner(s) five questions:
Leave the instructions open-ended and vague, encouraging the participants to answers those questions anyway they see fit.
After a moderate amount of time has passed, ask the participants to come back to the group, circle or square up, and introduce their partner to the group by telling everyone their partner’s answers to the questions. Allow the participant who is being introduced to clarify any statements made by the participant.
- Ask the participants to create a secret handshake to share with the group.
- Have participants switch their position in the circle or their seat after each introduction. This keeps participants engaged.
Have you facilitated this activity? What suggestions do you have to encourage conversation amongst participants?
Bear, Ninja, Cowboy is a perfect partner icebreaker that will get your group energized and laughing. It can be used as a name game, a competitive icebreaker, or as a ridiculously fun activity. It is a fun alternative to Rock, Paper, Scissor.
Bear, Ninja, Cowboy
Number of Participants: 2-unlimited
Time: 5-15 minutes
Activity Level: Moderate
Objective: To have the most winning actions at the end of three rounds.
Description: Pair up the participants in as fun a manner as possible and teach the group three new actions:
- Cowboy – This action is made by placing your hands on your holster and then shooting your hand pistol while making your best gun noises.
- Bear – While standing on your hind legs, raise your arms in true bear fashion. Growl as loud as possible to intimidate your partner.
- Ninja – A ninja will obviously be sly and intense as they kick, punch, or throw their ninja star.
Obviously, a Cowboy would shoot and defeat a Bear, a Bear would maul a Ninja, and a Ninja would defeat a Cowboy with their Ninja star.
Ask the partners to stand back to back and then walk off three paces. After three paces the participants will immediately turn around and act out one of the three actions. Depending on what they choose, one participant will become the winner. If both participants choose the same action, then they both immediately choose a new action. Play three rounds to see who will be the win the best out of three.
- This can be played as a competitive activity, where the winners of each game move on to play winners of other games until there is only one champion.
- You can play this in a Rock, Paper, Scissor Olympics style where the winner of each round gains the following of the participants they just defeated. Play until there are only two players left, with half of the room rooting for one player, and the other half cheering for the other.
- After each game, ask the partners to pair and share with each other an interesting fact, name, etc.
Questions for Discussion:
- Did you have any strategies during the activity? What were they?
- Did you play to compete or for fun?
- What are the differences between playing for fun or competition?
Have you played this fun activity? Do you have any variations I should add to this list? Please comment below!
Not all tag games are equal, and Eyeball Tag is my all-time favorite. This game does not need athletic prowess and quick hands to be successful, but rather great timing mixed with courage and bravery.
Number of Participants: 5-25
Time: 5-10 minutes
Activity Level: Moderate
Objective: To make eye contact with another seated participant and then switch seats without the person in the middle sitting in your chair.
Each participant gets a chair and the group arranges the chairs in a circle. The facilitator or a volunteer does not have a chair and stands in the middle of the circle.
The object of this activity is to switch chairs with another participant after making eye contact with them. If two participants make eye contact, they stand up and move to each other’s chairs as quickly as possible. If the facilitator in the middle sees the participants moving, they will try to sit in an open chair. If successful, the participant in the middle assumes their role and tries to find an open chair. Play this as quickly as possible with as many people switching chairs as they dare.
- Make sure your chairs are solid and secure. This game gets lively, and you do not want your chairs to break.
- Be sure to let your participants know that safety is the number one priority.
- It is often best to make this game a “walking” activity if your group is a little on the dangerous side.
Have you tried eyeball tag before? What is your favorite tag game?
Let me know if you have any questions on how to implement this into your program.
Founder, Paradigm Shift
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I first learned Tweener with Jerrod Murr at a Project Adventure training with Nate Folan. I instantly moved this activity towards the top of favorite activities list. Tweener is a fun, active, and versatile activity that can be used as a name game, icebreaker, energizer, a debrief, or for just plain FUNN (Fundamental Understanding Not Necessary!).
Number of Participants: 5-25
Time: 5-15 minutes
Activity Level: Moderate
Props: A soft throwable that is about the size of a soccer ball. (Make sure it is soft…it can often hit participants in the head)
Objective: To hit the throwable through the legs of another participant.
Set Up: Arrange the group into a circle and instruct the participants to touch feet with those on both sides of them. Make sure they spread their legs a little, but at a comfortable width.
Description: The objective of this activity is to open-palm slap a soft ball (really soft, like a yarn ball or thumb-ball) between the legs of another participant. Start with the ball on the ground at the beginning of each game. If the ball goes between someone’s legs, it is a goal, and all participants will loudly cheer this accomplishment by imitating their favorite soccer announcer. If the ball goes into the gap created between the legs of two participants, it is a tweener, and the entire group will meekly and softly say “tweener!” Continue play in this manner until all are tired or too much blood has rushed to the heads of the tweener superstars.
- If a participant hits the ball between another person’s legs, the goal scorer gets to share their name, an interesting fact, or any other intriguing detail.
- A debriefing variation is to ask the participants to share something when either a goal is scored or there is a tweener. Use this after an activity or initiative. When a goal is scored, encourage the participants to share their viewpoint of the day or of an activity. When there is a tweener, both participants whose legs split the tweener use one word to describe the activity.
- An active variation can be played by placing two Tweener groups on opposite sides of a gym or field. When a goal is scored, the person who was scored upon runs to the other group and joins their circle. If there is a tweener, the person who hit the tweener runs to the other group. This variation will have people crisscrossing the field or gym.
I encourage you to play this one…use it as an icebreaker and then follow it up with as a processing activity later. In my experience groups will share more when they are active and familiar with the debriefing process.
Let me know if you have any questions on how to implement this into your programs!
Founder, Paradigm Shift
Not The Same Name Book is an essential piece of every facilitator’s book collection! This hands-on book is perfect for any group wanting to get to know each other better.
Add it to your digital library by clicking the “Add to Cart button below!”
Name games are not limited to the ropes course, classroom or birthday parties. Use these simple name games in any situation where a group will be together for an extended period of time.
Use a name game to:
- Introduce students to their new teacher and classmates
- Present new members to a team or organization
- Open up participants in group counseling
- Have fun at a birthday party
- Generate camaraderie within a family or team
- Open up sequencing activities on a ropes course
- Start a meeting or workshop
- Energize participants after lunch or during a long day
- Develop similar interests within a committee
- Create opportunities to meet new people at a conference
- Introduce new students to your youth group
This is not an all-encompassing list; there are so many options that will best fit your group’s needs and size. The best way to use these name games is to try them out! Use them early and often to get a group excited to learn about each other.
Learning and remembering someone’s name is absolutely vital and important to the success of your leadership. We have seen firsthand the results of taking time to allow a group to learn names. The more quickly group members learn the names of other group members the more quickly they will bond and work together.
This will lead to a higher level of success regardless of the type of group you are leading. It is most unlikely that a leader would ever think, “I wish my group knew each other less. I wish they did not know one another’s names.” This idea is, of course, preposterous. So too, is the lack of a strategic plan to encourage stronger group interaction.
Not the Same Name Game will aid that strategic plan. This book will encourage stronger group interaction. We have facilitated these games all across the country and in our international leadership camps. In our realms of leadership, we have seen these name games proven.
We have chosen to use name games early and often in our roles as camp director, small group facilitator, youth pastor, TRiO personnel, and many more. This is a choice we have never regretted. Neither will you.
I hope you enjoy this book as much as we enjoyed writing it, but more importantly, we hope you enjoy facilitating these activities as much as we have. Try out new variations, put your own personality and influence on the activities, and create new stories on how you learned these name games. If you have fun during these name games, your participants will have fun too, regardless of age, gender, position or location. These activities have been tested and approved all across the world, and I hope they bring you the same joy and camaraderie they have brought us!
Ryan & Jerrod
“And so with all things: names were vital and important.” - Algernon H. Blackwood
This is a fun activity used as an energizer for the group. Ask the group to find a partner to challenge in an alphabet race. When the facilitator yells “sparkles” (isn’t sparkles much more fun to say than go?), the partners will trace out each letter of the alphabet with their index finger. The first participant to trace the alphabet (A-Z) will win and then move on to play another member of the group.
After a few rounds, feel free to ask the participants to cooperatively spell out the alphabet in unison. It is challenging and creates a paradigm shift within the activity.
This activity is very similar to the one Mark Collard explains in this video:
Keep playing until the group wears out their arms (usually a couple of rounds will do).
Founder, Paradigm Shift
The last couple days have been incredibly fun for me as I traveled to several different high schools to facilitate workshops on a multitude of topics: social media awareness, goal setting, decision-making, group personalities, and even scholarships! Each group session started off generally the same…a tired group of high school students meandered into the room burnt out due to end-of-the-semester testing and Christmas-itis (you know…when you are itching to start Christmas activities). I decided to turn to one of my favorite energizer activities that lightens the mood and get the participants in the right frame of mind (a fun one) for the upcoming workshop…I played Wooshball with them!
If you are not familiar with Wooshball, it is a classic sequential activity that allows participants to warm up to the idea that they are playing a game with an imaginary ball. It is fun, enthusiastic, almost always full of laughter, regardless or their level of Christmas-itis.
I have two examples of Wooshball for different types of learners. I have a great video from the guys at campishere.com, and a written version that you can print out and share with your staff or team.
Circle up. The facilitator pulls an invisible Wooshball from their pocket or game bag. They explain that the Wooshball is very light and it just sort of floats there in their hand. When passing the Wooshball it actually makes the noise “Woosh.” So when passing, either to the right or left, it makes the Woosh sound. The person receiving the Wooshball has many options. I prefer to explain these options in sequential rounds, playing each for a minute or so, to allow the group to get the hang of Wooshball.
- Round 1: The Wooshball can travel right or left around the circle, as long as the participants enthusiastically say Woosh as it goes right or left.
- Round 2: The group can now say “Whoa” and put their hands up to refuse the Woosh. The person trying to pass the Wooshball turns to their other side to pass it. If there is a “Double Whoa,” which happens when a person gets “Whoa’d” on both sides, the group passes the Wooshball around the circle as quickly as possible.
- Round 3: Sometimes, a participant wants to skip the Whooshball across the circle to another participant. When this happens, a group member will point straight across the circle and “Zing” the Wooshball to another participant. (It is important to make good eye contact and point the Zing directly at the other participant so the Wooshball doesn’t float into outer space. I also like adding Zing followed by another participant’s name to reinforce names.) Also note that you cannot “Whoa” a Zing, of course.
- Round 4: If a participant catches the Wooshball they can now add a “boingee.” When a participant boingees, they put their hands together above their head and bend at the knees and say, “boingee!” During a boing-ee, all of the other participants will mimic the boingee-er. After a boingee, the boingee-er will woosh or zing the boingee to another group member.
- Round 5: If a participant wants to move to another spot in the circle while Wooshballing, they can “Mega-Boingee.” When Mega-Boingee-ing, a participant will yell, Mega-Boingee – pogo stick style. Then the entire group will hop on their imaginary pogo stick to another point in the circle (use any variation of the Mega-Boingee you desire – examples are: slow motion style, giraffe style, or even the popular Gangham Style).
- This activity is best when the facilitator (this means you!) gets as silly and as fun as anyone in the group. They will follow your example, I promise.
- Be patient with participants as they learn the game. It is not life or death if they get it wrong. You can play this game where participants are removed from the group if they mess up, but I think this activity is best suited when everyone is involved and engaged.
- If it is not working, and the participants are either not understanding the game or have somehow disengaged, feel free to stop the game short. You can always resume when the time is right.
- If you want to have some craziness, add another Wooshball to the group.
- This game is generally just for FUNN…you know when Functional Understanding (is) Not Necessary! Have FUNN, play around and enjoy that you get to play games like this with participants who love them.
I hope you enjoy Wooshball as much as I do, and let me know if you have any questions about this activity or how to implement it into your program’s curriculum.
Founder, Paradigm Shift
As a TRiO professional, I work with students everyday who need guidance in the tricky area of financial literacy (really…who doesn’t need guidance in that area). I often find it so hard to explain budgeting, foolish spending, and even savings to participants who are usually disengaged and disinterested. I like to use this sequence of activities to more easily explain financial literacy in a fun and interactive way. I first play Pit, one of my all-time favorites, to lighten the mood and encourage group cohesiveness and laughter.
This wonderful game is based off of the classic card game Pit. Pit emulates the trading floor on the New York Stock Exchange, and is ridiculously fun and full of energy.
I have used several things as Pit cards, basically you need cards, papers, or play money that is only printed on one side. I like to play Pit with leadership words on the printed side of the cards, however put whatever you want on the front of the cards. There needs to be enough cards for each participant to have nine cards, and each participant has a different word on the front of their nine cards.
To “corner” the market and collect nine of the same cards.
- Shuffle or mix the cards, and deal them to all of the participants.
- Open the market by ringing the market bell, or just yelling market is open as loudly as possible.
- Start trading cards.
- A participant can only trade cards by holding out one, two, three or four cards of the same type (or word) face down.
- While holding out the cards, they will yell the number of cards they are trying to trade.
- They will then trade cards with someone else who is trying to trade the same number of cards.
- Once the player has collected all nine of the same cards, they yell “Pit,” and the game is stopped.
- Collect cards, shuffle, and play again.
After a few rounds of Pit, I ask the participants to share a financial goal with the group. It doesn’t matter what goal either, it could be a goal to go on vacation, save $10,000, or even when to retire. After we have set our goals, I like to ask everyone to grab a tennis ball that will now represent their financial goal during the next activity…Pitfall.
Number of Participants: 8-40
Time: 20 – 25 minutes
Activity Level: Low – Moderate
Props: Tarp with holes cut in it, 15-20 Tennis Balls, Bucket
Objective: To transport the tennis balls to the bucket via the tarp.
Set Up: Set the tarp on the ground about 15-20 feet from the bucket.
- The participants must keep ahold of the tarp with both hands throughout the activity.
- If a tennis ball falls through a hole, and not into the bucket, the group must start over from behind the start line.
- A group can not move to the next round unless all tennis balls from the current round are placed into the bucket at the same time.
- The group has 15 minutes to complete this activity.
- The group has a mandatory 2-minute planning period before the 15-minute timed period starts.
- The tennis balls must start from the corner of the tarp.
The group picks up the tarp, holding only the edges as the facilitator places one tennis ball on any corner of the tarp. The group must then transport the tennis ball to the bucket via the tarp. If the team can drop the tennis ball into the bucket before it falls through to the floor the team will get one point. After each successful round, the facilitator will add a tennis ball to the tarp, thus increasing the team’s chances of scoring points.
I explain to the participants that the tarp is like the road of life, and sometimes our financial goal will make it to fruition, and sometimes it will fall by the wayside. Either way, if we work as a team and openly discuss our goals and communicate them effectively, we will have a much higher chance of achieving them.
I follow up the initiative by asking the participants to relate their observations during the activities to their own financial successes and failures. It is during these times that powerful stories and revelations are discovered.
Try this out, I think it will work with your group. Contact me if you would like more instructions or tips on how to smoothly transition from activities to debriefing and processing discussions.
Founder & President, Paradigm Shift
I have just finished reading Karl Rohnke’s little known book, On The Edge Games for Youth Ministry, and I loved it! The title may be deceiving, so don’t think these activities are just for Youth Ministry, because this book is packed full of activities perfect for any facilitator, regardless of group type.
My favorite activity in the book was Foot to Foot Pass, a fun and interactive game that will get your group laughing and meeting each other in a fun way. In this activity, the group members take off their shoes, sit in a circle, and pass a beach ball around the circle with their feet. When they pass the ball to the person next to them, the passer says the name of the person receiving the ball. If your group already knows each other well, they can say something else, like their favorite color or the place they want to vacation.
Karl Rohnke is the king of experiential education, and has written over 20 books full of great games, initiatives, activities, and ropes course instruction. His most famous books are The Bottomless Bag and Silver Bullets. His activities are so well-known and well spread that you probably have done 100s of them, but do not know he created them. He also helped found Project Adventure and High Five Adventure. He is a legend.
At the end of the description of each activity there was a “Learning Option.” The Learning Options tied each activity to a scripture and lessons applicable to youth ministers. These were always informative, interactive and had questions available for the facilitator to ask the group for group communication.
I strongly encourage all facilitators to add this book to their library. I have found that you have to scan through most icebreaker and interactive activities books to find the good activities, but this is not the case for On The Edge Games for Youth Ministry. I thumb marked nearly activity as one that I will try to learn and use with my groups.
Welcome back to the Labor Day Challenge…I hope you are having as great a day as I am! I stayed up way too late last night (not what I have set out to do during the 6 weeks), ate too much food, but got to spend some great time with some great friends. Today I got up super early and ran with the great H1, and then headed to RSU in Claremore to facilitate at the Hilltop Challenge Course.
I love going to the ropes course, both as a participant and as an instructor. Today I was an instructor, leading activities for the Rogers County Leadership Group. I love being able to work on the course so I can practice my facilitating skills and hone my debriefing techniques. I am very passionate about experiential education, and a ropes course gives me an opportunity to pursue my passion.
We started out with activities on the ground, trying out some name games, icebreakers, initiatives and team building exercises. Our sequence was as follows:
Milk the Cow
Thumbwrestling in Stereo
Rock, Paper, Scissor Olympics
Fast Finger Olympics
After having a great time on the ground, we graduated to the low ropes course, were we completed Wild Woozy and dominated Islands. After lunch we moved to the high ropes course, where the group moved quickly through the course, pushing themselves outside of their comfort zone. I belayed the incline log, and watched as participants fought through fear, physical exhaustion, and preconceived notions of their ability to climb the course.
I literally got to see people live up to mantras I have set forth for myself throughout my Labor Day Challenge. It inspired me to keep going strong, especially since I have been struggling in a couple of areas of the challenge. If these people can push through to build confidence, self-esteem and leadership, I can do it too. I hope to become an excellent ropes course facilitator, I would even like to someday have my own course. I am doing the things now to make those dreams a reality, that is what my Labor Day Challenge is all about.
This post is a little late, OK, a lot late, but as the old motto says “better late than never,” and this is certainly better than “never.” Diane Walker, Shelia Fritts and myself traveled to Muskogee to the Indian Capital Technology Center for a Leadership Workshop with their top students, “The A Team” from their multiple campuses.
This workshop focused on communication, teamwork and vision, and we had tons of fun. The day started with some icebreaker activities, including One-Minute Frenzy, Gotchya, Change Train, and Fast Fingers.
The group was separated into three teams, and they rotated between Diane who led them through “Number Line Up,” Shelia who led them through “Play-doh-nary,” and I led them through “Zoom.”
Each group dominated their activity and were able to meet our objectives and their goals. Thanks for allowing us to be there!
The Learning & Leadership Summit hosted by NSU Educational Talent Search is always one of the highlights of my year, and this year was no different. The Summit was attended by 26 “rising sophomores” from all across Northeastern Oklahoma and nine different high schools were represented. The students spent two rigorous but fun days learning about their college potential and personal leadership character through fun, innovative initiatives and experienced presenters.
We started the day with fun icebreakers, name games and energizers that really got the group laughing and out of their shell .
After getting to know each other a little better, we discussed our personal leadership traits and strengths as a group. The group delved deep into what leadership meant to them, and what characteristics of leader was the most important to them. This was done on “Fred Lee Jones” the ETS Leadership man…check out all the great traits and words they came up with to describe a leader.
After discussing what traits each individual thought they displayed and the traits they wish they had, we moved on to a campus wide scavenger hunt at the beautiful Northeastern State University. The students learned what the different offices and colleges on campus had to offer, and where to eat, sleep and play while living at a university.
The students completed a great initiative, Lizzles, and learned about teamwork, patience and focus.
At the end of a long fun day the Summit participants spent the evening and night at the Arrowhead Resort on the Illinois River where we played lots of fun games and activities. The group completed the initiative the Magic Swinging Door where they had to develop a strategy and plan ahead to accomplish their goal, and also Fill the Basket where the group was rewarded as they set goals and accomplished them. To top off the end of the day we even had an ice cream sundae party!
Day 2 started off with an informative session with current college students on involvement and leadership, and then the group tackled the initiative Lego Man, a challenging activity that stresses the importance of clear and concise communication, both verbal and non verbal.
The group also completed Mass Pass, a complicated activity that encourages all the participants to become involved and forces the team to work as a whole unit to accomplish a task.
The Learning and Leadership Summit ended with a parent’s session and an awards banquet. This event was amazing, and allowed the students to see their potential and gave them hope about their future. It gave me an opportunity to sharpen my skills and I had a blast!
This week we took out ETS Seniors to the ropes course at Rogers State University and had an amazing time! We take our students to the course as freshmen and as seniors to bridge them through the transitions the are soon to encounter. Many of the seniors on the course this week had went as freshmen, and we hope that their transition into college will be as seamless and fun as their time on the course!
We started off facilitating stretches, warm ups, icebreakers, tag games, energizers, and name games!
The students then broke into two groups and dominated Flip the Whale, and then show extreme communication and determination while completing Rescue Ralph.
Once the group had “graduated” from the ground activities and proven that they could work well as a team, we moved on to learning spotting techniques, trust falls, and Willows in the Wind. The group learned the importance of trusting each other, communicating with confidence, and how to be encouraging to those who need a little guidance.
The groups then split up into three groups, and rotated through three low ropes initiatives…”Wild Woozy,” “Swinging Log,” and “Islands.” The low ropes initiatives challenged the group to work together as a team to solve a common problem, and they used the tools and techniques learned earlier in the day to complete even the hardest of tasks.
After a delicious lunch, the group reconvened to the high ropes section of the course and climbed the course up the zig zags and across the grapevines, over the swinging log and the suspension bridge and made it to the coup de grace of the course, the zip line, where their jump off the platform symbolized their transition into the next phase of their life. They may not know where they are headed in the future, but they know that if they work hard, depend on others, remain confident and secure….they will reach their goals.
I am so proud of our seniors. They pushed themselves out of their comfort zone, and are ready for whatever life throws their way!
This Saturday I traveled to the “Little Town with a Big Welcome”…Morris, OK to Morris First Assembly of God to do a leadership training and goals seminar with Experiential Adventure staffer Jerrod Murr. This workshop was centered on goals and vision, and the principles of SMART goals. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) The group was challenged from the first initiative until the last initiative to develop, culture, progress and define their goals, as individuals, as a group of leaders and as a church.
The sequencing for the group was as follows:
One Minute Frenzy
Bumpity, Bump, Bump, Bump
Number Line Up
Watch a Member
One Word Whip
I Am About Cards
Count the Beans
High and Low Cards
Watch a Member Recap
Dream Catcher Revisited
What a great group…thanks for allowing us to come!
At the end of last month, I was fortunate enough to attend the Oklahoma Division of Student Assistance Programs‘ Annual Conference in Tulsa, and presented a breakout session titled “Teamplay Tubes.” ODSA is the state organization for all of Oklahoma’s TRiO programs, and the conference is an awesome way to learn new information about legislation and regulations within the grant-funded community, but also a great place to share and disseminate information amongst peers. The breakout sessions give us an opportunity to share our newest techniques and information in a fun and informative way.
This year, I decided to use a new initiative, Teamplay Tubes, which we bought from the fine folks at Training Wheels. According to Training Wheels, Teamplay Tubes are a collection of PVC tubing and connectors that can be used for nearly 2 dozen activities that promote teamwork, creativity, communication, problem solving, decision-making, and skill building. This is a very versatile training tool that will challenge any group.
This was how I sequenced the workshop, with everything leading up to Teamplay Tubes and ended with the Feelings Marketplace Debrief.
Bumpity, Bump, Bump
Change Train (Change/Reverse/Switch)
Feelings Marketplace Debrief
Teamplay Tubes has several initiatives you can use with a group, and I decided that “Network” would be the best for our participants. With Network, your goal is to create a closed off network of tubes that has no openings left exposed. Therefore, all pipes and connectors were connected to the “Network.”
It is hard to find a more outgoing and persistent group than the TRiO counselors, so we had an absolute blast! They are an easy group to lead and facilitate, and they dominated Teamplay Tubes.
Rookie Bridge Camp. It is one of my favorite things that Northeastern State University has to offer…a volunteer driven two-day camp for incoming students that helps acclimate freshmen to campus life through games, skongs, small groups, and of course, a great float down the beautiful Illinois River.
I experienced RBC as an incoming freshmen in 2001, and was fortunate enough to volunteer in 2002-2004. It was one of the first places where I participated in experiential learning, and it was influential in my college success.
I am fortunate enough to still be involved with the program, and even got to facilitate activities and initiatives with the RBC Emeritus at the base of the Rockies last summer.
This year, I helped the volunteers learn new initiatives, icebreakers and games, and we had an absolute blast! The sequencing lineup included:
a. Point Around
c. Kung Fu
d. Arm Locked Stretch
3. Fast Fingers
4. Everyone’s It (three rounds)
5. Hospital Tag
6. Midget Bump Tag
7. Just Like Me Tag
9. Thumb Wrestling
10. Bumpity, Bump, Bump
11. Change Train
12. Cowboy, Bear, Ninja
13. Human Geography
15. Rubber Band Challenge
16. Group Row, Row, Row Your Boat
This was a great training. Of course, the volunteers are the perfect group to facilitate! They are fun, lively and full of energy. I look forward to working with them again. Rush RBC!
Thanks to Sarah Johnson Photography for the pictures.
A group line up is a must-have in a facilitator’s “bag of activities.” When used properly it is an effective and powerful way to build cohesiveness within a group, an excellent time-filler, and a unique way to work on a groups’ verbal and non-verbal communication. A facilitator can use many different ways to line up a group (see below), and can have the participants line up in a multitude of varieties, such as with full communication, no verbal communication, no hands (hands in pocket), no verbal and no hands, blind-folded, etc,. You can also make the participants split into two groups and make it competitive, first team to line up correctly wins. Also, have the group line up in order, and the first person in line gets to decide how to line up next and in what order!
This can be done propless or with props, it just depends on your time, room size and resources. A few good, cheap props to have on hand are decks of cards, pieces of paper with numbers on them, or Project Adventure Keypunch (actually not too cheap, but has many other applications!).
Ways to line up a group propless:
1. In alphabetical order by last name
2. In alphabetical order by first name
3. In alphabetical order by middle name
4. By birthdate in chronological order
5. In birthday order, Jan. 1st – Dec. 31st (I have found this is the best way if the age discrepancies are wide within the group)
6. By height
7. By smile width
8. By geography (Who lives furthest from the location of the room)
9. Longest term of employment within their company
10. How happy you were during your childhood on a scale of 1-10
11. How much you fear death (Kind of morbid, but for sure a conversation starter!)
12. Line up on how much you liked this activity on a scale of 1-10 (a great debrief technique)
13. Shoe size
14. Length of hair
15. Height you can jump (tons of fun to watch)
16. Length of nose (also fun to watch)
17. Line up by numerically by street address number
18. Line up numerically by phone number
19. Line up numerically by area code
20. Line up numerically by zip code
25. Line up alphabetically by city born
26. Line up by length of commute time
27. Line up alphabetically by Grandmother’s first name
28. Line up by shirt color in the order of a rainbow’s colors (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet)
29. Line up by hair color, lightest to darkest
30. Line up by size of graduating class
31. Line up by thumb size
32. Line up straightest hair to curliest hair
33. Line up numerically by the number of letters in their full name
34. Line up by year they graduate/will graduate high school
35. Line up numerically by the number of letters in their first name
Ways to line up a group with props:
1. Line up numerically
2. Line up odd numbers in one line and the even numbers in another line (can become competitive)
3. Line up numerically alphabetically (sounds confusing, but have the groups line up depending on how their number is spelled…for example: eight, eighteen, eleven, nine, one, ten, two)
4. Give the group a large number, and the group must line up in an order that would mathematically create an equation that would combine their numbers to your large number (for example, you have a group of 10, and your number is 25…10*9/1+3*2-8+4/7+5-6=25)
5. Line up from highest number to lowest number
6. Give the group a sequence and have them line up (such as alternating higher and lower numbers)
7. Line up numerically with a deck of cards (jack is worth 10, queen 11, King 12, Ace 1 or 13)
8. Line up by suit order with a deck of cards
9. Line up alphabetically with a deck of cards (same concept as above, but with a deck of cards, this time, however, they have to be in alphabetical order by deck too)
10. Line up with no suit being next a card of the same suit or same number
Be creative! Have fun! Mix up the line-ups, and try some of these without verbal communication, and some with your eyes closed…Let me know if there are any line-ups I left off the list that you have come up with!
P.S. – Props to Ben Ellis for helping me on this list…