Team Building Excersises: Problem Solving Activities

problem_solving2.jpgToday we present you Problem Solving Activities, that are often used in team building process.

ALL ABOARD: The object of the game is to get all of the people in the group onto the board. (Can either use a poster board or a wood board, etc.) Everyone must have at least one foot on the board. HINT: Try not to give solutions, but tell them to listen to other’s ideas. You may enlarge or decrease the size of the board, depending on degree of challenge you would like.

SCISSORS: Split the group into small groups of any number you would like and have each group sit in a circle. The first person starts by turning to the person to his/her right and saying, “I am passing these scissors to you….” (And they fill in either “crossed” or “open.” The phrase they choose to end with depends on whether their legs are crossed or open. They can do whatever they want with the scissors in terms of how they pass them to the person next to them. The person who is receiving the scissors must say, “I am receiving these scissors…” (The ending should reflect how the person before had his/her legs positioned – NOT how they passed the scissors.) Game continues around circle…play until everyone has figured out the game. NOTE: Participants can get easily frustrated if they can not figure out the game…be patient and encouraging.

 BANG! BANG!: This game is similar to “Scissors.” One person starts by saying (in a rather dramatic way and in any version of these words he/she would like), “Bang, click, click, click, bang, click, bang! Who’s dead?” (The person can pretend to shoot an individual or individuals if they would like.) The group must figure out who is dead. The person who is dead is the FIRST person who speaks following the “dramatic” act. It may take the group some time to figure out how the game works….be patient and encouraging. Game continues until everyone figures it out.

BIRTHDAY LINE: Explain to the group that this is a nonverbal exercise. The group is to form a single straight line, according to birthdays. For example, persons with January birthdays will be at the beginning of the line, earliest January dates first followed in order by later dates. The line progresses by months and days with December birthdays at the end. Persons with the same birthday share the same place in line. You must communicate nonverbally (no lip-reading or spelling in the dirt allowed). When the line is completed, each person will shout out his/her birthday, beginnining in January.

BLINDFOLD LINE-UP: Ask the group to close their eyes and keep them closed for the remainder of the game (if they feel comfortable). You may also use blindfolds. In the bumpers position for protection, ask the group to mill around without talking. After 10-15 seconds, ask them to put stop and put their hands down. Assign each person a number by tapping them on the shoulder and saying the number at the same time. Then tell them to line themselves up by number without talking or opening their eyes.

BLIND POLYGON: The object of the game is for the group to form a perfect square and a triangle (and other shapes if desired) using the given length of rope. Ask participants to put on blindfolds. All participants must have at least one hand on the rope at all times. All participants must remain blindfolded until the task is completed. When the group believes the task is finished, ask them to remain their blindfolds, without moving from their current places. Using the same procedure, ask them to form any geometric shape you think is possible for the group.

BRAIN BENDERS: Creatively divide the group into the desired number of small groups. Explain to the group that they will be asked to think creatively while encouraging full participation to accomplish the group challenge. Pass out one copy of the brain benders (face down) to each group. Give the groups 4-5 minutes to complete the brain benders to the best of their ability. After the alloted time is up, the groups can share their answers. A sample of brainbenders is in the back of this section.

CHICKEN, CHICKEN: This game is very similar to “Bang! Bang!” One person starts by saying (dramatically), “(Clear throat) Chicken, chicken, who’s got the chicken?” Players must guess who has “got” the chicken. In order to have the chicken, player must say phrase STARTING WITH A CLEAR OF THE THROAT. This can be done rather inconspicuously at first and much more dramatic as people begin to get frustrated from not being able to figure out the game. Players can make whatever motions they want and say the phrase how ever they want.

COUNT OFF: Ask the group to count to 20 without pre-planning who is going to say each number. There is a catch….there are no verbals or signals allowed, and the group must do it without any two people saying the number simultaneously. See how fast they can do it!

HEIGHT LINE: Ask participants to close their eyes (if they feel comfortable). Without opening their eyes, the group is asked to arrange themselves by height in a straight line. They may choose to arrange by feeling height or some say their height out loud. The only restriction is that they may not open their eyes.

HOW’RE YA DOIN’? JUST FINE, THANKS: Ask the group to close their eyes and get into a circle (shoulder to shoulder). Have them count off and remember their numbers. Ask each person to shake hands with the person to their immediate left and ask them, “How’re ya doin’?” The person should answer, “Just fine, thanks.” Continue to do this between each pair three or four times. Then ask the group (eyes still closed) to mill around in the “bumpers up” position until they are thoroughly scrambled. Ask them to stop and return to their sequential order – with their eyes still closed. The only thing they can say is, “How’re ya doin’? Just fine, thanks.”

LISTENING SKILLS DRAWINGS: You will need a piece of paper and a writing utensil for each particpant. You also will need two different diagrams for each pair. Have partners sit back to back and decide who will be the “listener” and who will be the “talker” first. Each will eventually have a chance to play both roles. Give each “talker” a copy of a diagram. The Listener must sketch what they hear described, and in this round 1, is not allowed to speak or ask questions. This pair is using “one-way communication.” There will be 1-2 minutes allotted for this round, or longer if time permits. Partners compare drawings when finished to see how close they came to the original. The second round can begin and partners switch roles, still sitting back to back. The dyad together must try to improve results. In this round 2, the talker gets different diagram, and the listener can speak and ask questions. After the alloted time has passed, partners should compare results again. Then bring the two groups together to talk about the benifits of both types of communication.

PASS THE PEBBLE: All players stand about while one goes around pretending to drop a pebble into the hands of each of the players, who hold their palms together. When the pebble has been completey around the group and has been left in one player’s hands, the one who has it slyly slips away and runs for the goal previously determined by the group, and all try to catch him/her. The one who succeeds passes the pebble in the next round. If no one succeeds in catching the player, that player passes the pebble in the next round. HINT: Ask players to spread out so no one knows who holds the pebble.

SHOE SORT: Creatively divide the groups into two smaller groups. Then tell a space sotry while handing out the blindfolds. They then need to describe that everyone has been left speechless from some sort of space disaster. The leader continues to tell the group that they need to be fitted for space boots before they can go on their voyage to return to earth. The group must line up in order of shoe size from smallest to largest – without the use of sight or sound! Have group use bumpers. Once the group has completed the task, process what happened.

 TRAFFIC JAM: Divide the group depending on how many people there are. The groups need to be of even numbers of six, eight, etc. If there is an odd number of people have them help facilitate the activity and them switch off. To set up the game, place marked squares (one more than the number of people in the group) on the floor. The boxes need to be placed in a straight line. Have each person stand on a marked box, leaving the center open. The challenge is for the groups on either side of the center unmarked box to completely change to the other side, by moving one at a time, like in a game of Checkers. Players may move into the vacant spot next to them, or they may jump another player on the opposite side, but they can NOT jump a player from their own side. Players may not move backwards, and two people can not move at once. After the group has figured out a solution to the traffic jam, have them show the leader.

WARP SPEED: The group starts in a circle formation Warp Speed has the same beginning as Group Juggling. Instead of adding objects, the group must comprise a way of moving the object in the same name pattern under time constraints. Let the group come up with the time constraint. The object is to move the ball (or whatever) through EVERYONE’S hands as fast as possible. One person can not hold onto the object at all times.