Juggle en Masse
A group stand together in a circle facing one another. They are asked to throw juggling balls amongst the group in a specific order. For example, pass it to the left, pass it to the person two down from you on the left; pass it the person four down from you on the left. As the activity develops more juggling balls are introduced and the pressure to work well as a group increases. Tip: If the group is an even number of people, use odd numbered instructions; if the group is an odd number of people use even numbered instructions.
Working in pairs, one person must describe a shape without naming it, nor can they name any commonly used parts of the shape. Saying 'draw four legs' is not allowed. Saying draw four long, lean, rectangles is ok. Shapes and attributes of the shapes only. The partner must try to draw what is being described and try and get as close the original shape as possible.
On Deck is an easy to run and effective team based challenge, a group has to fit inside a defined space (requires a rope). Once the group has fit inside the diameter of the rope, the facilitator decreases the size of area, becoming smaller and smaller over time.
Teams must create balloon sculptures that reflect how they view the team or a current project they are working on. This activity works well with participants that are of different job levels and allows everyone to show creativity and make connections. Requires '260 Balloons' (260 balloons are the type of balloon commonly used when twisting balloon animals). Facilitators should look for contained shapes as an indicator of in-control/cohesion.
The Birthday Line-Up
Without talking participants line up in a straight line facing the facilitator. Without talking they are must line up in order of birthday within a calendar year.
The Gopher Hole
The objective of the Gopher Hole is for a team to work together to navigate a beach ball around a tarp for as long as possible without the ball falling through the centre hole, or off the tarp completely. Requires a tarp with a hole cut in centre (wide enough for a beach ball to fall through it), and a beach ball.
The Blindfolded Artists
There are two variations on this activity. A team can instruct their “artist” to draw an item (people, place, thing) and then coach them as a team. They must describe their item without revealing what it is and they are not able to see what the “artist” is drawing. The other variation sees a facilitator instruct a group or blindfolded artists. Requires enough blindfolds for the number of artists, paper, pencils/sharpies.
All Knotted Up
Beginning in an inward facing circle, participants must connect their hands with two other people in their group and form a 'human knot'. Working together they must then try to unravel the “human knot” and untangle themselves without breaking the chain of hands.
Working together a group has to use their bodies to form letters, and words. It's best to do this lying down.
Loop de Jour
The group stands in an inward facing circle and holds hands. Start with one hula-hoop hanging over one pair of joined hands. Each person in the circle must pass the hoop/loop over him/herself and on to the next person whilst staying connected at all times. Facilitators can add a hula hoop once it gets going. Requires at least one hula hoop.
The Tennis Ball Challenge
Using a spoon only, teams race against the clock to move as many tennis balls from one bucket to another. Facilitators set up the pails at least 5-10 metres apart. Requires 2 pails per team, and at least 2-3 tennis balls per team member.
Pairs sit back-to-back, arms linked and have to stand up together without breaking contact. When successful make a foursome, sitting North, South, East, and West, and try to do it again.
The Leaning Tower of Shooza
Using the all the shoes available to their team, they must construct the tallest tower. The team with the tallest tower at the end of the time wins the challenge.
As the Wind Blows
One person in the team is selected to be ‘the willow’ and stands in an upright and rigid position in the centre of a circle. On your instruction, the person in the centre of the circle (the willow) is gently passed around the circle in any direction by the spotters. The willow must keep their feet absolutely still at all times and put their trust in the rest of the team.
Picture this: While on a boating in the Caribbean, an accident in the engine room causes the boat to catch fire, with just enough time to grab a few items at hand – the team has to decide which items are top priority. Working together the team have to use their decision making skills and cooperation to prioritize the ten items listed. The group must explain why they chose what they did.
Requires a selection of cutlery, office supplies, small tools, non-perishable food, string/rope, etc. If you have multiple team mix up what they get in their initial allotment. You should probably have 30-40 starting items per team.
Photo Credit: Sam Bailey Leadership