The Video Initially I was going to cut my footage down enough to simply understand the game. As I was editing it occurred to me that keeping all the footage would allow for more analysis of the way I worked with these middle schoolers. So, if you want to watch enough to get the idea, you only need to stay in through my introduction. Otherwise, catch as much of the 17 minutes as you can - lots of interesting interactions (you might need to turn up the volume to pick up some go the voices).
NOTE: The only part I cut out was dealing the cards. To save time, I dealt out three cards to each person, then single cards around (to the right of me) to finish up the deck.
LIGHTNING 156 As this activity unfolded for me, my first mental model was for groups to play all the cards in 156 seconds (this is what I tried with my conference captive audience). I found this task to be pretty challenging - out of six groups trying it, one got within four cards after 156 seconds. Possible? I believe so. Now I'm thinking, Connections will be a good way to lead into Lightning 156. Once a group has time to practice the game and work out some of the cooperative behaviors they will need, they should be able to beat the Lightning clock. (I'll be working towards getting some video of this level in the future.)
Keep me posted my friends.
Chris Cavert, Ed.D.
Recently I was preparing for a conference presentation on processing. I needed to collect a handful of activities that didn't take too long and involved enough interaction so we could practice processing the experiences. I was traveling, so my props needed to be small and light weight - easy to carry around. One of my favorite props is a set of 25 numbered tags. As I was considering some of my old favorites with the tags, I came up with something new for me. I call it, Your Numbers Up. I brought the idea with me to the conference - I didn't try it out before my presentation.
I had 18 participants in my workshop. We were all seated in chairs in a big circle after a fun game of Have You Ever...?. As the energy from the game's processing practice was winding down, I scattered around 12 numbered spots on the floor inside our circle of chairs for all to see. (Numbers were about two feet away from each other so there was room for people to walk through and around them.) After sitting back down in my spot in the circle I presented the challenge like this:
The following task involves touching all 12 numbers once, and only once. If you choose to complete the task you are required to touch the numbers in some sort of logical way - you must be able to prove you touched all 12 numbers once, and only once. After you've touched all the numbers, once, and only once, please sit back down in your chair. The task will start when I say, 'GO', and end when I say, 'The task is over.' I will call the task over when I see that everyone is sitting in their seats. Are there any questions?
Here are the two questions I remember my group asking: 1) "So, do we touch the numbers one through 12 in order?" My response was, "That is one way. As long as you can state some sort of logical way you have touched all the numbers, once and only once, you are good." 2) "Must we touch the numbers with our hand?" My response was, "That is one way to touch the numbers. I'll leave that choice up to you - as long as you make contact with each number, once and only once, you are good."
After I said, "GO", most of the participants stood up and moved through the numbers. Some people chose not to stand up and touch the numbers. The group completed the task in under three minutes. The following are some of the discussion questions I remember from our practice processing session:
This last question was one of mine. And it turned out to be an interesting conversation (processing discussion) about how much goes into even simple tasks - there is always something we can reflect upon in order to consider how and why we make the choices we do.
I'm thinking Your Numbers Up might be a nice activity during the beginning of a program in order to model some of the dynamics of team building activities. Especially the expectation of, activity followed be some discussion about possible learnings.
Help me out with this one. Try it. Let me know how it goes.
All the best,
Chris Cavert, Ed.D.
Grand Prix Racing is an activity found in, The Revised & Expanded Book of Raccoon Circles by Jim Cain & Tom Smith (pick up your copy from Training Wheels). If you don't know, a Raccoon Circle (in the Adventure Ed biz) is a length of tubular webbing around 15 feet long (see picture below) that can be used for dozens of community building exercises and discussion activities. I first learned Grand Prix Racing from Jim Cain (and he attributes his knowledge of the game to Tom Heck). I really like this one as a large group energizer. In most cases it's set up as a competitive experience, but each of the rounds are fast and fun so the competition part seems to take a back seat (and it's always something good to talk about).
A NOTE ABOUT WEBBING Tubular Webbing is recommended for Raccoon Circle activities. Flat webbing can be found as well, the kind of webbing used for belts and straps on packs and such. Flat webbing is not as friendly on the hands as tubular webbing. Yes, tubular webbing does cost more per/foot, but for team building activity use, it lasts forever (unless you expose it to toxic chemicals!). You can pick up Raccoon Circle webbing precut from Training Wheels, or at sporting goods stores that sell rock climbing gear - they can cut the webbing off the spool for you. (I'm guessing you can also find tubular webbing online.)
At the most recent National Challenge Course Symposium (NCCPS) in Boulder, Colorado, my good friend Cindy led Grand Prix during a Raccoon Circles activity workshop. With permission from the crowd (and Cindy) I was able to capture the fun.
Needs & Numbers: You'll need a little room for this one. Each small group will need enough space to form a circle around their (15-foot length) tied webbing circle. So, if you have a lot of groups, you'll need a lot of space. (You will notice spacing needs in the video.)
Set Up: Ask 6 to 8 players to stand around one of the webbing circles you've placed on the ground in the activity area (indoors or out). Then, have them pick up their circle holding it with both hands about waste level.
WARNING 1: If your group is new to webbing (or rope) circles, you might have to frontload some safety points before picking up the rope (e.g., please be mindful of others on the webbing/rope - we're not going to be pulling or tugging on the webbing/rope just yet.)
WARNING 2: Make sure your webbing pieces are all the same length - a 12 inch difference can influence race results. (Sorry Yellow team!!)
Process: Cindy does a great job preparing the group for the races - so, refer to the video for more details. I do want to add a couple more option I like to use (not in the video).
The Pit Stop: Races are a sequence of Left, Right, Left, Right patterns (which you will see). After a few races, I add the Pit Stop. For example, Left, Left, Right, Right, Pit Stop, Right, Right, Left, Left - CHEER! When a group gets to their Pit Stop, the webbing circle is set down on the ground, all the players in the group turn in place 360 degrees then pick up the circle again to complete the remainder of the race.
The Figure Eight: (The idea is credited to Tim Borton.) Add one or two races into the mix with the webbing configured into a figure eight. Consider a slow warm-up lap or two to get the dynamics of the webbing.
BE MINDFUL: Don't make the race sequences too long, it's easy to forget the requirements if there is a lot to remember.
For me, five or six races meets my energizing objective. Then, if you know a couple other webbing activities you can transition right to them.
Have FUN out there my friends, Keep me posted.
Chris Cavert, Ed.D.
(NOTE: Pressure Play Too, was written up for the first time in my book, Portable Teambuilding Activities. In the original version I use a few props, as shown in the diagram above - I needed some sort of image to catch your eye. In this version I want to let you know how to play using only playing cards.)
Here's why I really like this activity. Using only a deck of playing cards (of any size), I can run this one with 16 to 56 players (However, I have yet to have 56 players to try this with.) It's also a very adaptable activity. I can play it with an even or odd number of participants in a small (or large) space. I can have two, three or four small groups playing at one time - all interacting with each other. This versatility leads to (Facilitated Objective) discussions around focus, planning, resource management, anticipation, collaboration, mental models and innovation.
Card Set Up: First you need to prep your cards. Order them from Aces to Kings - it doesn't matter how you order the suits. Aces will be on top of your deck.
Play Set Up: Ask four volunteers to stand in the center of your playing area and touch right shoes together - four sets of toes touching each other. Now, deal out the cards (Aces first), to all the other players - one card each. (The toe-touching players do not get a card.) Ask the players not to look at the face of their card until you direct them to do so.
Let's Play: (For this description there will be four suits in play and 24 players)
The Let's Play rules above are for one round of play. After a round you can share the time the whole group achieved and then lead some discussion over the topics related to your group's program objectives (some Facilitated Objectives are listed above). Consider talking about how the group defines success. Will they want a better "time" (product), a better process, or both?
Another reason I really like this activity. You are already set to start the next round. After your processing discussions you have your four toe-touching players in the center from the last round (if they have untouched, have them re-touch their toes). The players with cards hold the card faces down towards the ground and begin the Blind Shuffle (exchanges). After five exchanges with five different players they stop moving. Ready to play!
Facilitation Note: Your group is free to plan their process before each round if they ask you for time. Keep an open mind with possible processes. If they are playing "by the rules" I let them run with their ideas. For me, three or four rounds have led to some great discussions.
Adaptations: If I have 16 to 18 players I use two suits. If I have 19 to 23 players I use three suits.
Let me know how this one goes for you. Leave a Comment below.
All the best,
Chris Cavert, Ed.D.
My friend Barry and I put out the book, Cup It Up: Teambuilding With Cups in 2017 (paperback and digital versions) - and we're not done coming up with more. My Crew friends helped me work through my thoughts and get some video (below) on this activity, so a BIG THANKS goes out to them!!
FYI: If you haven't seen it yet, there is another cup activity (not found in the Cup It Up book), Flip Flop Tower (with Video) I posted here on the FUNdoing blog back in 2016.
Over the Top can be played indoors or out - as long as you have a stable surface to place the 9-Grid set of cups. I developed this activity with the mind-set (facilitated objective) of focusing discussions around "roles and responsibilities". Of course, there can be other objectives planned. I also wanted to see what would happen with limited directions (listed below). Also, of course, you can add more directions to make the expectations clearer. (One of my mantras: More directions, less creative freedom.) Okay, let's go!
Needs: For every small group of 5 to 7 players, you need 1 Small Bowl, 9 Ping Pong Balls, 12 Cups and a timing device.
Set Up: Divide your bigger group into smaller groups of 5 to 7 players. Give each small group the needed equipment.
At this time, these are the only directions I provide (what I consider to be the fewest directions needed). You are (as always) free to add, subtract and change things to meet the needs of your groups.
Notes: I give myself enough time on this activity for groups to make at least three attempts in order to improve their process (i.e., get a better time). I will start each attempt so each group begins at the same time - each group's timer starts their time when I say "GO". Then, they are responsible for stopping their time when there is one ping pong ball in each of the nine cups in the 3 by 3 grid.
After each attempt, I lead a discussion about the different roles and responsibilities taking place in each group and what's important to know about each of the roles. We also talk more about the responsibilities of each person (in their role) and how they are able to manage their time - what can save time and what they focus on in order to save time. In general, we also talk about what's been working for the group and what they might want to do differently before the next attempt.
When appropriate, I also will graph the times for each group so that we can collect data from the process. This data could lead to some collaborative sharing of ideas.
Finally, before each attempt, I will encourage players to change roles if people want to experiment with other responsibilities.
Things to Consider:
Let me know how it goes out there my friends. How do we make it better?
All the best,
Chris Cavert, Ed.D.
Recently I attended the ACCT Conference (Association for Challenge Course Technology) in Fort Worth Texas. I stepped into an activity workshop lead by Matthew Broda and Trevor Dunlop - their theme was, Doing A Lot with a little. (As many of you know, I like versatile props and equipment.) Matt and Trevor shared a wide variety of activities using a pack of 184 letter cards they call CrowdWords.
Another thing you might know about me is that I love word building activities, especially ones you can play with Jumbo Banangrams. Here's Word Building and 3 Down, two of my posts with the jumbo plastic letter set. Needless to say, I was excited about learning more to do with letters.
Mini Reflective Puzzle is just that, an activity we can use to reflect upon (or even frontload) an activity. This one, and several other activities Matt and Trevor presented, were new and FUN for me, so of course I have to share a little.
Note: Your whole group just participated in a team building problem solving activity and you're ready to move into some processing over what just happened. You have the Mini Reflective Puzzle activity ready to go.
Set Up: Place all 184 CrowdWords letters, face up, on the floor or on top of a couple tables (like below) in an open area within your playing space - in the center of the room is a really good spot, but anywhere can do. Divide your larger group into smaller groups of 3 to 5 participants.
If you have the space to do so, set each small group around the playing area in a circle pattern (with the letter pool in the middle) - like numbers on a clock, each small group positions themselves at a different number. If you don't have the space, find a nice spot for every small group and then number off each group.
Part 1: Two Words (Caveat: This is my rendition. Matt and Trevor have other nuances in their description found in their book, CROWDWORDS: Doing A Lot with a little.)
I will ask each small group to brainstorm (eventually two) words they would use to describe the activity they just completed as a whole group. You might even want to get more specific in order to focus your discussion (and being more specific might make word selection a little easier too). You might say, "Think of words related to leadership and what we just did," or "Choose words related to what was needed for you to complete the challenge you just did."
Here's part of the challenge for each small group. The two words they choose must fit together into a small crossword puzzle (or Scrabble-type if you prefer) formation (see pictures above with three words connected) - all words must be connected together, reading top to bottom or left to right.
As I would play it, when a small group decides together on a word, someone from the group can go to the "letter pool" and pick the letters needed for that word and bring them back to his/her group. I will ask my groups not to form the word on the floor. Simply keep the letters together in a pile after spell checking.
Then, knowing the letters the group has, they will choose another word that will share one letter with the first word they picked so the two words will connect together in a puzzle formation. When the second word is chosen, someone can go up to the letter pool for the letters needed.
Now, as Matt and Trevor note: "Depending on group size, it will almost be a guarantee that there will not be enough of the "right" letters to spell the words they selected. Prompt the individuals to start thinking creatively to find a way to represent their thoughts as closely as possible."
Once each small team has the letters they need (after spell checking) to make two words connected together, sharing one letter, they can shuffle up all the letters and place them in one pile on the floor. Be sure to give a little reminder to each group - remember the two words you chose in case other groups need an answer.
Note: Each small group has just spent some time "processing" their experience.
Part 2: Solve the Two Puzzle
Each group is now asked to move one spot to the right, gathering around a new pile of letter cards. (If you've numbered groups, each group moves up one number and the highest numbered group goes to the number one group pile of letters.)
The Challenge With this new set of letters, each group is challenged to figure out the two words that go together in the puzzle formation - two words sharing one letter - within five minutes. Remind the groups that the words are related to...(whatever the prompt was for picking the words). This reminder can reestablish the focus of the processing and thinking.
If a group can figure out the puzzle words before the five minutes is up, they can have a discussion about the meaning of the words in relation to the previous activity. If some groups are not able to come up with the solution to the puzzle, the group that created the puzzle can share the answer. Then, as Matt and Trevor suggest, "...take a moment to conduct a gallery walk so that all groups can see the work of their peers."
After a few minutes of roaming the gallery, you could take some time to discuss some of the words that came up for the small groups as a way to explore some of the key learnings they recognized.
Part 3: Three Words If there is time, and it seems appropriate, go through the same process asking each small group to now choose three words that can be connected into a crossword puzzle formation. (Or, conduct another team building activity and go through this Mini Reflective Puzzle in this way.)
First, have someone from each group return the letters from one of the two-word puzzles to the letter pool - face up - then return to his/her small group. Then, ask a prompt that will relate to something about the activity you (also) want to explore. Groups brainstorm and bring back their words, shuffle their small deck and place the pile on the floor.
Part 4: Solve the Three Puzzle As before, groups rotate, maybe to the left this time, and then attempt to solve the puzzle in five minutes. After five minutes solutions can be shared, if needed, and the gallery walk opens up. Follow up with some discussion about some of the key words that were noticed.
Here's what I like about this processing activity (or Reflect, as named in the book):
The one downside I see is that, as the facilitator, you will most likely not hear all the discussions going on when words are being considered and talked about. you'll have to "trust the process."
Playable Note: If you have a set of Jumbo Bananagrams (and you're not ready to invest in CrowdWords just yet), you can lead Mini Reflective Puzzle with a smaller group - maybe three or four groups of 3 to 5 players. There might be a bit more rethinking over word selection, because of less letters to choose from, but certainly doable.
Review in a nutshell:
Thanks Trevor and Matt! I'm looking forward to my new activities.
All the best,
Chris Cavert, Ed.D.
I'm a big fan of Trolleys. The earliest description of this team coordination activity that I could find is in The Bottomless Bag by Karl Rohnke (1988). Classic Trolleys are built with 4 inch by 4 inch boards and rope (my favorite type is retired 11 mm climbing rope). Three quarter inch holes are drilled into the boards about 12 inches apart and counter sunk on the bottom side so when the rope, knotted on one end, is pulled through the holes (up from the bottom) the knot becomes lodged up inside the counter sunk hole. With the knot up out of the way the Trolley will remain flat on the bottom for easy maneuvering.
I've seen Trolleys made for three and on up to 12 participants. No matter how long you make them, be sure you have a place to store them. Here's a picture of "The Trolley Tree" - a solution for storing 12 participant Trolleys (somewhat) out of the way - near the open field where they are most often used.
When I first started using Trolleys the idea was to move your Trolley team from point A to point B as safely and efficiently as possible. In many instances there were multiple Trolleys moving across to the final destination at the same time. Now, when I program Trolleys I never tell my multiple Trolley teams they are racing, but we all know how this ends up! Nowadays, more often than not, I like to add some challenging obstacles to the Trolley travels.
Using colorful game spots (or any other flat prop - please don't use three-three-dimentional obstacles. Trolley boards will be unstable if set down upon the 3-D object), I can place them in a random or straight pattern. If the Trolley touches a spot during the crossing the team is required to stop all movement. Then, each person on the team must circumnavigate their Trolley boards, get back on and continue their movement. (If a participant touches the floor/ground during this Trolley obstacle variation I only require the team to stop until everyone is on the boards - all feet must be on the boards for them to work.)
Placing the spots in more-or-less of a straight line is very similar to Trolleying The Line (below). If you place the spots close together the best (safest) way to avoid the spots is to turn sideways and then lift one Trolley board at a time to clear the spots (you'll see this strategy in the video below). (Consider this: If a Trolley team decides to walk right over the spots (a viable option), every time a Trolley board is lifted and then set on a spot, participants must make their 360 trek around their Trolleys. It's one way to do it, but it takes a while.)
Trolleying The Line (video below):
This is my most recent favorite Trolley challenge - clean and simple. Start the Trolley teams about 20 feet from a long line laid down on the floor/ground (use tape on the floor and a rope outside in the grass - you want to avoid a line the Trolleys could "roll" on. This could cause some added speed to the Trolleys you might want to avoid).
Once the teams know the objective, "Get your team across to the finish area without the Trolley boards touching the line that is in your path" (more rules below), they can orientate their starting position any way. (You will see in the video that two teams decided to start sideways and one starting in the perpendicular position - this is the team that made it to the finish area the fastest. Both strategies are worthy of study.)
Trolleying The Line Set-Up:
The "Journey Area" is 40 feet wide. Set down your tape (indoors) or rope (outdoors in the grass), 20 feet from the starting line. Clearly mark the starting and finishing lines with cones on either end of the invisible line (between the cones).
Trolleying The Line Rules:
Below is a picture of the Trolley Team's start and a video of how it plays out. (Note: Before the first journey across the expanse, I had the teams practice moving the Trolleys together for about 10 minutes. I did not tell them about the Trolleying The Line challenge until they were done practicing - this is when two teams decided to start sideways, even though they did not practice going sideways - good stuff to talk about!)
Have FUN out their my friends. Keep me posted.
Chris Cavert, Ed.D.
Before I explain The Cotton Ball Machine, I have to give a shout out to Kathy, Mia and some savvy kids for sharing with me. I love to share and I love it when others share so I can share that!! One share can lead to so much FUN! Thanks friends!
What's interesting about this sharing is the initial link - from Advanced Dental Care, Activities to Make Kids Smile. (I really like Game 2 on this first page). How many of you would go to a Dental site to find team building ideas? Right!
Okay. now I'm digging into the links on the initial page. I go to ZOOM Games (a PBS Kids show). I dig around here a bit (at this point I'm having too much fun!!) I get down to the Physical Challenges section and click on One-Handed, Blind-Folded Cotton Ball Transfer (the title catches my eye because I like easy-to-find resources). I think, "So how can we turn this into a team building activity?" We can find cotton balls most anywhere and plastic spoons, no problem. You don't even need blindfolds, you can ask players to close their eyes. Okay, what can we do? Here's what I'm thinking at this point:
The Cotton Ball Machine
(Many of you will see this one as an alternative to Pipeline.)
Here's what you need:
Here's how to play:
Objective: Given five minutes, move as many cotton balls as possible to the Finishing point.
After working The Cotton Ball Machine for the first time you can lead a processing session to find out what worked well and what didn't. Then, if you have time, you could offer the group another attempt to see if they can improve their score. How will their planning session go with the knowledge they shared during the processing session?
Okay! Have at it my friends. Let me know how it goes. And do let me know if you adapt the rules in order to meet the needs of your group. Especially the Transportation Rule. I really want to find out how groups work within this parameter.
Have FUN out there. Keep me posted!
One final SHOUT! Thanks for the share my friends. You are awesome!
Chris Cavert, Ed.D.
The Obstacle Field is my name for Mine Field - Mine Field is the traditional name for the unsighted-guide-someone-through-an-area-with-stuff-in-the-way activity. I like using "obstacle" (instead of mine) so I can ask my participants what obstacles they face in their lives and then talk about the skills, abilities, and behaviors they will need to overcome those obstacles. (Getting "help" from others is one of those behaviors, and verbal help is essential for Obstacle/Mine Field.)
For CUP IT UP fans and those interested in a great versatile prop - Check Out This Video of Obstacle Field using red cups - an unsighted player is guided through a field of cups. The overall objective is to avoid touching the cups. (Want more team building activities using cups - without alcohol? Pick up your copy of CUP IT UP - over a dozen team building activities using cups - and a few other things. Click on the link in the left sidebar of this blog for more details and purchase options. Or, just go to the FUNdoing Store and buy your copy right now!)
After presenting Obstacle Field to my adventure education students, one of them came up with this "Got It" version. (NOTE: I found many of my college-aged students to be very competitive - especially being physical education majors. So, they liked making and playing versions of team building activities that were competitive. This is not a bad thing. There is a lot to learn through competitive experiences, especially how we treat our opponents.)
How We Play, Got It (Competitive & Cooperative)
Competitive: The first boundary area that I saw for Got It was the back rectangular portion of a volleyball court - from the 10-foot line to the baseline. We had a lot of cones available so the boundary area was filled with them (of course you can use any type of obstacle but you will need something to elevate the small ball). One tall cone was placed in the center of the boundary area with a small ball atop this cone (see picture).
Teams of 5 or 6 players were grouped at each corner of the boundary area. Each team had one blindfold (optional of course - closing eyes is another option). One player from each team was blindfolded (eyes closed). On "GO!" each team, staying outside the boundary area, verbally guided their unsighted player into the cone area and towards the small ball. The first player to hold the ball up and say, "Got It" earned a point for his/her team.
After a "Got It!" was called, all blindfolded players could be sighted (take off blindfolds or open their eyes) and walk back to their teams to prepare for the next round. If an unsigned player touched a cone along the way s/he had to clap before moving on - 10 claps for the first touch, 20 claps for the second touch, and if a player touched a third time, s/he was "out" of the round - s/he had to stand quietly in the boundary area until "Got It!" was called.
In this competitive version, the first team to 5 points won the game. After each round of play (a round ends with someone saying, "Got It!", my student gave the teams 90 seconds to talk strategy before the next round began.
Overall, the students really liked this version - again, they were all relatively competitive and liked the challenge. After playing Got It, we talked about how it could be adjusted to be more collaborative. (I always presented this question after a competitive team building activity.) Here was the adjustment that was most popular...
Cooperative: The entire group, all four teams, had 8 minutes to collect as many points as possible - so, play is continuous. When time starts, an unsighted player from each team is guided into and through the boundary area in order to "touch" the small ball atop the center cone. After a touch, the player can remove his/her blindfold (or open eyes) and walk back to his/her team so another unsighted player can go for a touch.
If an unsighted player touches a cone s/he must return (sighted) to his/her team and either start again or the team can send in another unsighted player. If the ball falls off the cone it must be placed back atop the center cone, by an unsighted player, before it can be touched again for points. Play at least two games, with some good processing in-between, to see if the "group" can improve upon their first score.
Have FUN out there my friends. Keep me posted!
Chris Cavert, Ed.D.
I shared this challenging communication activity with my FUNdoing Fridays followers in May of 2016 (Join the FUN by filling out any one of my "Sign Me Up" forms at any page here at FUNdoing and receive a handful of team building activities and ideas every Friday - FREE to you.)
My hope with this new activity (at the time) was to gather feedback about how it "works" to bring out useful communication skills and problem solving behaviors. I didn't hear from anyone. So I ended up sharing my set of Number Squares (and the directions) with a few friends to let them try it out. They told me the preparation information for the activity was not very clear. Let me fix that. I'm using some space here to share more about the set up of the number cards in the hopes of eliminating one of the main barriers to using this activity.
Below (in PDF form) you will find the full detailed write up I have for Number Squares and the print-n-play number cards. There are three different challenge levels for this one. There is a 16-card version that I consider to be the easiest. There is a 25-card version with a "hollow" numbered center card - a moderate difficulty level. Then, there is a 25-card version with a "solid" numbered center card which I consider to be the most difficult version. (All three puzzle layouts are below.) BONUS VARIATION: A friend of mine suggested that you can also play any of the three variations where players can show - but not give away - their card(s) to others. As a nice progression, I intend to try the 16-card puzzle first giving my group the option to show others their card(s) and then play the 25-card puzzle where they can only describe what they are holding. This might make the 25-card puzzle a bit easier to solve once the group learns about the number cards for their first attempt.
Playing the Game: In a nutshell, each player has one or two number cards and can only verbally share what is on his/her card(s) to other players (this is a ZOOM-style activity, if you know that one). In the end the group places the cards down on a table (or floor) in the correct 4by4 or 5by5 pattern. (Again, there is a fully-detailed PDF of the activity below.)
Included in the set of number cards are the answer cards for each of the two puzzles - the 16-card puzzle and the 25-card puzzles.
Each number card in this activity has a letter designation (see the cards below). The letters are used to identify each card in relation to the answer of each puzzle. This letter designation also helps when pulling out the number cards you want to use with a group. Again, there is one 16-card puzzle (easiest), and two 25-card puzzles - one with a hollow numbered center card (card C) being the moderate challenge, and a solid numbered center card (the other card C) being the most challenging variation of the three.
Here is the part that can be confusing:
There are two of the following cards: X, H, W, A, G, E, I - one set for the 16-card puzzle and one set for the 25-card puzzle. Look at the puzzle solutions below. Notice that the numbers on the outside edges of each puzzle are comprised with "hollow" numbers - this designation is a fact that groups will (hopefully) come to realize after communicating with clear details. This fact can help groups piece the puzzles together. When you use the 25-card puzzle you need to replace the right and bottom edge cards of the 16-card puzzle with the other set of numbered X, H, W, A, G, E, I cards. Then add the D, Q, Y, N, V, F, K, R & O cards for the right and bottom edges.
16-Card Puzzle Solution
25-Card Solution (with hollow numbered center card)
25-Card Solution (with solid numbered center card)
I hope this information is helpful. First and foremost, you need to decide which puzzle set of cards you're going to use. Then, pick them out of your set - put any extras out of sight. Be sure you have the appropriate answer card for the puzzle you are using and have some, or all, of the Help Cards available as resources for your group. (Help Cards are described in the full write up of directions below.)
Okay, please let me know how Number Squares plays for you. Any feedback is welcome!
All the best,
Chris Cavert, Ed.D.
On Sale Now!
Dr. Chris Cavert is an internationally known author, speaker, and trainer in the area of adventure-based activity programming and its relation to community and pro-social behavior development.
This blog is a space for hands-on programable fun - energetic activities and ideas that can be used as a means to bring people together; activities and ideas we as educators can add to our social development curriculums.