In The Chiji Guidebook: A Collection of Experiential Activities and Ideas for Using Chiji Cards (I co-authored with Steve Simpson), there is an object lesson activity called Relationships. In this activity you spread the deck of image cards out on the floor or table and ask your participants to scan the cards and look for "relationships" between two or three cards. When they find cards that relate they call out "RELATIONSHIP" and then pull out the two or three cards and share what relationship they see. After the share, the cards are placed back into the mix and more relationships are called.
For example, looking at the cards above, I see an eagle and an ostrich. They are both birds. (I cannot say they both fly since the ostrich is a flightless bird.) Or, I could pick out the lamp and the fire - the lamp can hold a flame, or they both provide light.
The facilitated objective behind the Relationships activity is to open up a conversation with participants about relationships. After you "play the game" for a while you can present questions like: What is important to you in a relationship? What do you bring to a relationship? What strains a relationship? What sorts of relationships are there? How can we fix relationships when they seem broken? An so on.
Recently I came up with Relationships Too. I wanted the interaction with the cards to be more random, a bit more challenging. I wanted to force more creative thinking sooner in the activity process (since, when I used this activity for the first time with a small group of corporate adults, I had little time to reach the "innovative thinking" objective I was asked to cover).
Here's the idea. Shuffle the deck of Chiji Cards and set the deck on the table. Then, place two cards (drawn from the top of the deck) to one side of the deck (see pictures above). Ask the group, "What relationships can you make between the two cards showing?" After an answer I ask, "Is there another relationship?" And again, "Is there another relationship?" I go on with this question until someone (or more than someone) tells me there are no more relationships they can see (Note: There is often some frustration that surfaces in the first round or two over my "incessant" question - good stuff to talk about!). After determining there are no more relationships between the two cars, someone in the group can flip over another card and place it on top of either of the two cards showing. Then, play continues. "What relationships can you make between the two cards showing?" "Is there another relationship?"
In both versions of Relationships (for me), the "easy" connections are identified right away. Then, over time, more complex relationships emerge. How many relationships can you make between the Farm card and the Rainbow card? How about the Farm and the Rabbit cards? (Is it only a Rabbit?) Again, both versions allow me to explore the complexities of relationships AND they help me emphasize that after we get past the "easy" answers, more complex and innovative ideas can emerge.
Find your copy of The Chiji Guidebook and Cards HERE.
Change up Relationships with Climer Cards. Find them HERE.
Go to Wood 'N' Barnes Publishing for a FREE Chiji Card Processing Activity HERE.
Have FUN out there my friends. Keep me posted.
Chris Cavert, Ed.D.
I do like the Bull Ring activity, popularized by my friend Dr. Jim Cain. There are lots of fun adaptations of the Bull Ring contraption (including the 3-D version SHOWN HERE). And, there are lots of challenges that can be presented with any of the Bull Rings. One of my favorites is, "Hole in the Wall".
Here are my rules and the three-part progression to this challenge. (The participants in the video below are college students in a management-related masters degree program.):
PART 1: The group is challenged to move the Ball, using the Bull Ring contraption, from one pedestal to the other.
PART 2: The group is challenged to move the Ball, using the Bull Ring contraption, from one pedestal to the other. Before placing the Ball on the second pedestal, all the participants and the Bull Ring contraption must pass through a hula-hoop being held up vertically by the facilitator.
PART 3: The group is challenged to move the Ball, using the Bull Ring contraption, from one pedestal to the other. Before placing the Ball on the second pedestal, all the participants and the Bull Ring contraption must pass through a hula-hoop. This time the group must figure out how to manage the hula-hoop without the facilitators help. (This Part is shown in the video below.)
I describe the hula-hoop to the group as a hole in a wall. A hole in a wall is in a vertical orientation and our hole in the wall has special powers - it can move around within the imaginary wall but it must stay in the vertical position.
When I am holding the hoop for the group (in Part 2), each participant can tell me how high they would like me to hold it and if they want it moved at any point during their passage through it. The hoop works the same way in Part 3, but the group members have to figure out how to manipulate the hoop following the Rules of play.
In the video below the group is (obviously) attempting Part 3. Noticed they have figured out a way, following the rules, to get through the hoop together after loosening the strings - remember, when the Ball is in motion the strings must be tight. (Now, does the Ball "move" during the loosening of the strings? We did talk about this during the processing session.)
NOTE: I've titled the "Part 3" video below, Bull Ring Hooped since it's also on my YouTube channel by itself without a description. I didn't add any music to this video so you could listen to the participants work their plan.
What's your favorite Bull Ring challenge? Leave us a Comment below.
Have FUN out there!
Chris Cavert, Ed.D.
To this day I remember my first Project Adventure workshop - 1990. Turnstile was one of the first activities our group attempted. I remember this activity because I wasn't very good at it. Now, I knew how to jump a rope by myself, but I never picked up the skill of jumping "into" a rope being turned by others - I truly remember being uncomfortable. What I liked about the process was that the facilitator had two ropes going. One for the challenge and one off to the side for practicing - those of use not ready for the challenge could practice as much as we wanted and then join the challenge when we were ready - or never join in at all. We could just keep practicing. (I'm sure this had something to do with Challenge by Choice!)
I couldn't find the earliest entry for The Turnstile, but here are the directions from the 1994 Second Edition of The Empty Bag Again by Karl Rohnke:
The added challenge to my first experience with The Turnstile was to see how many consecutive jumps we could perform, as a group, without missing "a beat". That meant once you got through to the other side after jumping you ran back to the starting side, got into line again so that you could keep the jumps going. So, as the challenge jumpers were working on the consecutive jumps, a number of use continued to practice until we felt ready to join into the count. Everyone was engaged and everyone was participating in a way that was comfortable to them at the time. And yes, I did eventually join into the jump count and logged in some points for the group - it was a heartfelt accomplishment I still remember! (Certainly I'm still part of the World Record team!)
Recently I was reintroduced to turnstile done in a new way (by my friends at Group Dynamix). The facilitator has a wide variety of challenges he/she can present to a group based on their readiness. In other words the range of challenges spans from easy to more difficult. Before I share my every-growing list of challenges with you there are several things you need to know: .
The Group Jump Challenge List
As noted above. You can start anywhere in the progression of challenges based on where you believe your group will initially find success. Then move them through as many as they can tackle within the time you have. Now, you can end with a success or not. What will your group need the most? (Failure is a powerful motivator and makes us think!!)
HERE'S WHERE YOU FIT IN
Okay, over the next week or so let's add to this list of challenges. Include your challenge in the Comments below or direct email me and I'll put them into this "ever-growing" list.
Have fun out there!
Chris Cavert, Ed.D.
Tube Switch (1.0) made it's debut back in November of 2014. (HERE is the original post.) The equipment was easy to make using toilet paper rolls and index cards. It's been so fun for me to see this activity grow into the new 2.0 version.
Tom Gardner was the first to show off his new kit. He used 2 inch diameter PVC tubing, cutting the tubes about 4 inches high then adding numbered stickers - 1 to 28. For his number spots he picked up some yellow floor matting and cut out 4 x 4 inch squares before adding the numbers using a marker. (Construction Note: Each number should be small enough so it can be completely covered by a tube when placed over it.)
Recently I found out there were a couple sets made near me in Texas. My good friend and colleague Jennifer used (what I'm calling) the Double Play (Texas) Kit - shown in the video below. One Tube Switch set was made with numbers and the other set with letters. The number/letter spots were made with index cards which were laminated after the numbers/letters were added.
The tubes for this Texas (Double) set are made from 1.5 inch PVC tubing, cut 4 inches long. The numbers and letters were printed on copy paper, cut out and then taped on the tubes with packaging tape - they look nice and clean. There are 26 letters (of course) and 26 numbers.
Tube Switch: Double Play
Set up two separate Tube Switch areas. Use a 50 foot (or longer) activity rope to make a nice big circle for each area - have the rope circle areas about 20 feet apart. In this (Texas) version, one circle has the letter set and one circle has the number set.
Place down a set of number/letter spots in each area (see video). For a more challenging version of the activity, don't place any of the number/letter spots too close to the edge - far enough away so a player cannot lean over, while standing outside the rope circle, and look down through a tube to see the number.
After all the number/letter spots are placed set down the tubes over the numbers/letters - the tube numbers/letters SHOULD NOT match the numbers/letters on the cards. Be sure the tubes are completely hiding the numbers/letters.
After running this activity a number of times, I've found a good range of participants per Tube Switch area to be 8 to 12. With Double Play you get more action and there is now the potential to collaborate if you set it up that way. When you have enough people for Double Play, divide them into two groups. Assign one group to each area.
Here's the collaborative idea:
Move all the tubes to their matching numbers/letters.
*One interesting consideration in this activity - it is not a requirement to set a tube back down on a number/letter spot with the number/letter upright. If someone thinks of this, flipping over a tube that is going down on it's matching number/letter will help the group(s) know which pairs are matched up - thus saving time to validate matches at the end.
Let the groups try at least twice (even three times) to see if they can improve their overall time. Better yet, after each attempt, have groups "switch" (get it?) Tube Switch areas.
Be sure to check out the video to get a glimpse of the action.
Have FUN out their my friends! Let me know (pictures!!) if you build a set of your own and how it works out for you. Leave a comment below.
All the best,
Chris Cavert, Ed.D
There are lots of Key Punch variations out there - let's add another - why not. We already have the numbers! (If you haven't done so yet, check out Key Punch: The Overlap recently posted at the FDblog.) A colleague of mine (Thanks Kevin!) recently presented this version of the activity to a group during a "Points Challenge" program. This was one of the stations. Any number of different teams could play. A team needed to have 6 to 8 players to make an attempt - multiple attempts could be made by any one team and that team would then record there best score (see Scoring below.) .
Set Up: Numbered spots from 1 to 30 are scattered out on top of one or two table(s) (easier access to the spots). One Rubber Chicken and one stop watch is provided - left out on top of the table(s). (See photo above.)
Upon observation of a number of teams, the activity was energizing and exciting for them. And yes, under 60 seconds is possible! Of course, with good "teamwork!"
Have FUN out there!
Chris Cavert, Ed.D.
Change! As team builders we have a lot of opportunity to work with groups dealing with change - one of the constants in todays world. Recently I was given the chance to experience change in the moment. (My new internal response/reaction is to breathe, then say, "okay, let's see what I can do!" I still need to work on my facial expressions though - the lead facilitator that asked me to 'change' thought I was mad - no, just thinking. I'll do better next time.)
Okay, back to the change. Our team was about to host 150 middle school students. The plan was to divide the large group into five different smaller groups - the expectation was about 30 players per small group. I was (t)asked to run a Key Punch activity and assigned a pretty generous space to lead it. I was ready to set up Key Pad Express (Full G.E.M. write-up HERE) when the change occurred. The lead facilitator wanted me to move to a conference room area - okay, "let's do it!" The space was a little bit more than half the size I was planning on. So, time to change Key Pad Express to Key Punch: The Overlap.
I set up the room like the diagram above. (The diagram is not to scale - it's more for the visual.) There are two sets of numbered spots from 1 to 30 in each of the play areas - so, 60 spots are in each area. The two sets of numbered spots in each area were different. One set I used has black numbers, the other set has yellow numbers (see the picture below). (If you don't have the poly-numbered spots it's easy to make your own sets with small paper plates or index cards.) Each of the two sets of numbers were scattered randomly around each play area before starting. (In the diagram above notice the gray spots scattered around among the white spots.) I also placed one bucket (not in the diagram) on each of the masking tape lines. This Bucket is the final destination for the animals - when both animals from one area make it into the designated bucket the time stops. And yes, the buckets can be moved to any place on the masking tape line before the time starts. (If you set this one up outside you can use an activity rope instead of masking tape.)
To finish the set up I placed a small stuffed animal on each of the number ones - four stuffed animals, two in each play area. We used a cat and a dog in one play area, and a lion and giraffe in the other area.
Here's what I like about this activity and overall set up:
Here's the context in which we were working. There were 150 middle school students in total. They were organized into five different groups based on a particular fine arts class they were in at there school (as noted above) - they were classmates (some classes crossed graded levels). Their "team building" program started off with some large/all group (everyone) ice-breakers and warm-up activities. After that each group moved to and started off at one of five activity stations set up for them (some team building activities, some recreational). Each station ran for 20 minutes with two minutes for moving between stations. So, we had 20 minutes with each of the five groups. I was the lead at the station and I had a co-facilitator. Once the directions were given each of us worked one of the play areas.
The smallest group from the school included 16 participants, the largest group had 40. With the first group we had at our station we divided them in half - as they entered the Key Punch room we asked them to place one foot on one of the masking tape lines on the floor. We also asked them to have an equal number of people (plus or minus one) on each of the masking tape lines). Once this was done we gave the directions:
Information & Directions:
After I presented the information and directions to the entire group, each play area group then consulted with their facilitator. This is where questions were addressed [smaller groups made this process a bit more efficient]. Again, considering the limited time and the dynamics of each group I offered more or less information (from initial observations I could see some of the groups could handle some problem solving together, other groups had limited skills in the problem solving area - but were great workers when provided with an idea or two).
Since we had white boards and markers in the room we were able to write down the times for each attempt. I wrote down the time when the first animal from my area made it into the bucket and then the overall time when the second animal made it into the bucket. This provided some good information to discuss. For example, "Could we get both animals in the bucket as fast as the first one made it in?" This question from me was meant to get them thinking about sharing ideas - collaborating.
In most cases there was enough time for each play area group (during each rotation) to get in three attempts (some got in four). Since we knew, and told each group, that we would be rotating stations when the 20 minutes was up, my co-facilitator and I did a little processing between each attempt. Just enough to spark a little adjustment to their plan so they had some chance at recording better times.
The last point I want to share is related to the motivation factor. We challenged each group to "beat the time for the 'conference room' challenge" (this is what we called it). We kept the top two lowest times on the white boards and built up the challenge to beat one of the two times. In this way we did not encounter any competitive behaviors between the two play area groups in the room. We also encouraged and congratulated them on improving their own times. I thought these motivational approaches worked well for this middle school program.
Thoughts? Additions? Other ways to Key Punch? Leave us a comment below!! Thanks.
Have FUN out there!
Chris Cavert, Ed.D
(Be sure to scroll down to watch the in-action video.)
I've been wanting to start posting some BIG activities for those of you who work with challenge course programs (and those looking to start one), so here we go. I learned Double Whale Watch years ago from my Dallas/Fort Worth friends at Group Dynamix. I like the versatility of the small (somewhat) portable construction and the wonderful opportunity to provide a collaborative experience for a small or larger group.
If you've ever used a Whale Watch you know the basic challenge is to get everyone from your group onto the element and balance it for a certain amount of time. Then of course there are a number of additional challenges that can be presented. (More on the way, I'm sure, at this FUNdoing blog.)
Whale Watch Set Up You want to place the Whale Watch platforms about 12 to 24 inches apart from each other in a linier formation. (For additional challenge, you can work with offset and angles as well, but they will require a bit more physical effort and/or coordination to solve - a nice upper-level challenge. It's also important to know that the fulcrums "tip" a lot easier when used inside on a solid floor, as opposed to when they are set up outside on the ground - there is a little more friction on the fulcrums outside, making it a bit easier to balance on the Whale Watches.
The Double Whale Watch Challenge Ask your group to divide themselves in half (or close to it). Each half will be asked to carefully step onto their assigned Whale Watch platform (I always have everyone enter at the center area of the Watch). Then, when everyone is aboard, the challenge is to balance both Whale Watches, at the same time, for 10 seconds.
Whale Watch Safety Points As you may know, or can see from the picture and video action below, there is some fair potential for participants to lose their balance and fall of off the structure. I like to have as many facilitators spotting as I can get - two minimum, one at each of the far ends of the platforms. I also tell my participants that as soon as there are two people on a platform everyone must be connected to someone on their platform. This most often looks like hand-holding, but hands on shoulders can work for them as well. As with any challenge course element, inform your group of the potential risk and ask them to keep each other safe during the action. AND, always stop the action if needed.
Two other safety notes. Ask your participants to never walk through the gap between the two platforms. And, I always require everyone to exit their platform the way they entered, off the sides at the center of the platforms. SUPER PRETTY PLEASE, "do not jump off the ends of the platforms - you know this will cause problems for people at the other ends."
I will assume you will add additional safety instructions related to your program operating procedures. For this post I wanted to make sure I covered the basics.
Why I like the Double Whale Watch As mentioned above, I like the (somewhat) portable aspect of this construction (however, it does take a bit of effort, from at least two people, to move one). I like the smaller surface area of the platforms because the micro-movements of each person have more impact on the balance. It also takes less time for everyone to access two separate platforms and get to the action part.
But mostly, I love to watch attempt after attempt as each group of Whale Watchers tries to balance out their platform on their own - it's not impossible for one of the two groups to balance for 10 seconds, but I've yet to see both balance at the same time for 10 seconds without "crossing the gap" for support from the other group. I've seen a few groups bridge the gap quickly, but more often than not it takes some time for that "shift" in thinking to realize they can help each other. Good stuff.
Again, thanks to my incredibly creative friends at Group Dynamix for sharing this activity with us. If you venture to build yourself a set, let us know how it goes - leave a comment below.
Have fun out there.
Chris Cavert, Ed.D.
I've been reconnected to the ZOOM activity since I've been working for an outings company here in Texas (Group Dynamix - Carrollton Texas). ZOOM is a "straight up" verbal communication challenge - the only way to succeed is to share information through talking. (A while back I posted What's Missing? using the Qwirkle Game pieces - same behaviors needed for this one.) I want to share the basics here at my blog for easy access to those who want to get started. There are at least a half-dozen ways I know of to lead ZOOM. (Michelle Cummings and I co-wrote the ZOOM activity for my most recent book, Portable Teambuilding Activities - there are several presentation variations included.)
The Basic ZOOM Lead Once you know how many participants you will have for the activity - let's say 18. Choose 18 sequential pages from the set (choosing 18 random pages from the set can make it a bit more challenging). Hand out a page to every person in your group and ask them not to show their picture to anyone else. In other words, when I get my picture/page I am the only one that can see it. Then, I say something like this:
The pictures you are all holding connect together in a linear order - there is a beginning and an end to the sequence. Your challenge is to arrange the pictures into the correct order by only verbally describing the picture you have in your hand. You must keep your picture in hand and you are not allowed to trade your picture with anyone. In the end, you all need to position yourselfs in a circle formation. One person will ultimately be holding the first picture of the set and someone will be holding the last picture in the set. The rest of you will be in sequential order in between the two. When you all believe you are in the correct sequential order we will reveal (turn around) all the pictures to see how you did.
There you have it. The basics. Players can move around and they can use any words to describe the picure they have. I don't let my groups use outside resources (e.g., smart phones "I didn't show them MY picture"). When you play with up to 24 (or more people) it can take a good 45 minutes - so, be ready. This one's very challenging.
Note: There is also a second helping - Re-Zoom. This (book) sequence of pictures is MUCH tougher to solve with only verbal communication. When I want to give a group some "help" before presenting ZOOM in the traditional way, I start with Re-Zoom. However, the players are able to show their pictures to each other and then get into sequential order. This "practice" gives the group an idea of how pictues fit together and the complexity involved. This step takes about 5 to 10 minutes depending on the number of pictures. But, what I've found is that it cuts the solution time to ZOOM in half.
A ZOOM Variation My Friend Scott Goldsmith recently shared a presentation to ZOOM (that he told me he learned from Steve Ockerbloom) that I have yet to try - but looking forward to.
Each person can look at his/her picture/page then put it face down somewhere in the area. Then, players go out and discuss what they remember about their picture with other people in the group for a predetermined period of time (say 5 minutes - could be more if you think it's needed). After the 5 minutes, everyone can go look at his/her picture/page again for 1 minutes. Then, they all go back out to talk again (for another 5 minutes).
Finally, everyone can look at their picture a 3rd time (for 1 mimute). After this third look players keep hold of their page but cannot look at it again. Participants come back together to openly discuss one more time then put the pictures/pages face down in the order they believe is correct - there will be a first and last picture/page and all the rest in between. The reveal is one card (starting with the first card) at at a time. "It's awesome!!! Best variation I have seen," says Scott.
I'm sure more versions of ZOOM will find there way to FUNdoing. So, go get your ZOOM, give it a try, and be ready for more. Let us know how it goes. Leave a comment below.
All the best,
Chris Cavert, Ed.D.
At the most recent AEE conference someone asked if I've ever created a Word Circle Puzzle set using only pictures. I had to say no, but acepted the challenge! (I can't remember who asked the quesiton, but I do want to say THANK YOU for the idea).
So, here it is friends. As far as I know, this (PDF Print-N-Play below) is the first Picture Word Circle Puzzle Set. Now, you will notice some pictures are pretty straight forward (like the ones in the header picture above), others will lend themselves to more subjectivitiy. I'm assuming the picture versions of WC Puzzles will have a bit more challenge to them. With this in mind you will find eight Help Cards included with the set your group can use for assistance if needed.
Full disclosure. I have yet to try out the set with a group (I intended to the other day but my group wasn't ready for the challenge). Let's test them out together.
If you have no idea what I'm talking about (new to Wird Circle Puzzels?) you'll need to do a little homework. Here are two blog posts - one HERE and another HERE - that should give you the idea. The puzzles in these posts are traditionally made up of words that connect together to form a circle.
Here it is. The first Picture Word Circle Puzzle Set:
Let us know how it goes. Leave a comment below.
Have FUN out there!
Chris Cavert, Ed. D.
Back in April (2016) I sent my FUN Followers a G.E.M. variation of Key Punch (Quicksilver, Rohnke & Butler, 1995) called Key Pad Express. (I've included the download below for those of you not on the FUN-Elist just yet!) I made up Key Pad Express to fit into a Team Olympix (Group Dynamix speak) as a way to change up the original version of touching the numbers (on the floor) in order.
Well, as we know in adventure education, it didn't stop there. My good friend Barry Thompson (co-author with me on CUP IT UP! Teambuilding Activities with Cups - out this Fall), placed an expandable trade show display wall (minus the display) between the odd and even numbers on the floor and required his participants to toss a rubber chicken through the large squares in the wall through the series of number - 1 to 2, 2 to 3 and so on. A handful of us working at Group Dynamix (GroupDynamix.com) took to this version right away loving the "drama" that ensued and the "obstacles" (talking point) that get in the way of our progress.
Again, it didn't stop there. One day I wanted to use the activity with a program but the "wall" was not available. What could I use to toss the object through? A hula-hoop held by one of the participants (pictured above) was the resulting idea. At this point it's my newest Key Pad Express favorite.
Why do I like it? It's a nice timed activity that requires a group to collaborate on a plan of action. Holding the hula-hoop adds another "role" to the activity. The group can time themselves over a number of attempts to fill the allotted program time they have for the activity (it can be an "infinite" activity - fitting into different time frames, as opposed to "finite" activities, like the Human Knot, where the group is ready to move on once completed or is forced to move on even if it wasn't completed). There are also some nice talking points about planning and practice, obstacles, improvement, peak performance, and innovation. Here's how it works:
Set Up Set out your Key Pad numbers (numbered index cards, livestock tags, or poly spots) in a pattern similar to the diagram above - odd numbers on one side of center and evens on the other. The wider the number placement the more challenging the task. Between the odds and evens is something for the hoop-holder to stand on or in (I have access to a large carpet square that works great, but you could use a big hula-hoop or tape a square on the floor). The person assigned to be the hoop-holder will also need a hula-hoop. The smaller the hoop the more challenging the task. Then you will need a tossable object. In the picture above we used a small dodgeball, but a rubber animal is fun too (or other safe tossable of course).
Objective: The tossable object must be thrown through the sequence of numbers in order from 1 to 24 (or 30, or??).
As noted above, allow your group multiple attempts to see what improvements they can make. When I have the time I like to let my groups make as many attempts as they want and stop when they believe they have accomplished their "best" time. I like to ask, "Is this the best this group can do?" It's interesting to see how groups determine what their best can be.
Also noted above, if you have multiple teams participating in some respectful friendly competition, use Thread the Needle as an event. In a 25-minute window have teams plan and practice (after the directions are shared) for five minutes and then give them the next 15 minutes to achieve their best time. I like to chart all times on a white board or flip chart paper so the data is available for everyone to see. I circle the best times for all teams and then assign places.
Let me know how it goes for you! Leave a comment below.
All the best,
Chris Cavert, Ed.D.
On Sale Now!
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.
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.