Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Take your team from ‘Forming’ and ‘Storming’  to ‘Norming’ and ‘Performing’ with these activities... 

all you need is yourself, or someone else willing to lead the group, and a tarp or old sheet... 

Name Game: 

Ask participants to share your name' and ‘show us your best dance move’!


Icebreaker: Quick Draw (Tarp drop)

After participants have played an initial name game, separate the group in half. Have two leaders/facilitators hold up a tarp or sheet, then each group will send one member up. The goal is to say the name of the person on the other side of the sheet first. Count to 3 and drop the sheet. You can just enjoy playing or keep score. Mix up the teams and play again!

Building Comfort and Communication: The Tarp Flip

Gather your group on top of tarp or sheet, preferably with two visually distinct sides. Instruct them to try and flip it over without stepping off of the tarp. Identify a consequence for teammates stepping off, such as having the entire team restart or continue on with out being able to speak to one another. You could time the group and then challenge them to set a goal to beat. For another variation, start blindfolding one participant at a time at random as the group works together to beat the challenge. By blindfolding a participant after each minute that passes, the group will develop a grater sense of urgency to complete the challenge, and it adds to the fun for older groups. For an even more advanced version, instruct participants that they may not use their hands during the challenge. Be sure to celebrate your success after flipping the tarp completely over, and discuss how teammates worked together to achieve their goal.


Building Communication, Problem Solving, Personal Accountability to the Community, and Observational Skills: Maze of life

As demonstrated on the tarp, create a grid with whatever (safe) means you have. For example, use chalk on blacktop or duct tape on a tarp to make a 6’x8’ grid with around 4-8 rows and columns. (Depending on desired length and complexity, given age, time parameters and group size. The smaller the easier.) On  separate sheet of paper, draw the grid as it appears on your “maze” (grid). On your paper (prepare before group arrives) draw a path going from a designated entrance to a designated exit.  Participants can move forward and backward, side-to-side, but not diagonally, so draw your path accordingly. It is best to be as clear in your drawing as possible, try walking the path yourself. Consider creating a path that would require unanticipated movements, such as stepping backwards. (This leads to valuable material in debriefing time!)

When participants arrive: “Welcome to the maze of life, this is a silent activity during which your mouths are frozen shut and tongues frozen too, so there is no verbal communication between participants.” Each facilitator has a unique way of indicating nonverbal communication is allowed, like hand signals and facial expressions. This activity is best for older groups, 7th grade to adult, and you presentation will vary depending on the age.  Explain directions of movement and goal to get the entire team from the entrance to the exit of the maze. Let participants know how they will know if they are ‘on the right path’ or ‘hit  a wall’ (I use a bell and make an ‘ugh’ sound). Instruct the team each person must make it thought the maze once before a teammate can enter a second time, and each person must go through (who has not already made it through) each round.

Activity is complete when everyone is through the maze. This activity, as with the others, should be debriefed. Please talk to your participants about what they were feeling and what their successes were as individuals and as a team.

Culmination Activity, Putting it all together: Sea of Discontent

This will be provided in email format to workshop participants. 

*This is a follow-up to the Discoveries Workshop, ‘Teambuilding on a Dime’. If you are interested in learning more about the content of this workshop, or to schedule a workshop tailored to meet your needs, please email

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