Pick up the new NO PROP ACTIVITIES book from Jim Cain - another great resource from my good friend and award winning author. Find it at the Training Wheels Online Store. (At the time of this post, the book is On Sale Now at Training Wheels.) Jim has packed "123 Powerful & Practical Activities with No Equipment Required" in a 5 by 6 inch travel size goldmine. Here are a few of my favorites so far:
The Story Of Your Name: Sit with a small group of people and share with them the origin or significance of your name - first, middle or last, or any combination of the three. I like to add that if there is no "historical" connection to a name share a story from the past related to the name.
Longest Line: Simply put, "using only the resources currently available to the members of each small group (I create groups of 6 to 8 people), construct the longest continuous line from one location towards another." As Jim says, this activity "encourages problem solving, resource management, and team commitment." (In some cases I have actually had to limit the "commitment" in order to keep people appropriately clothed!!)
The Four Minute Team: Jim includes this one in the "Reviewing Techniques & Closing Activities" section. However, I've been using it throughout my current semester-long University Adventure Education course in hopes that the metaphor, and active shift, is understood before the end of the semester. I've tried it twice so far with these directions: "Find your own personal space within the room. The challenge is for everyone to hold his or her arms up in this position [I show my arms straight out to the side so I look like a large T] for as long as possible. When it comes to at least three people putting their arms down I will stop the time. This time will be your group record. We will try this several times during the semester to see if we can improve on our time." (So far our group time is 3:20.) With this variation there has been some incredible encouragement going on within the group, but no "helping" yet. On the second try, a group of five students negotiated with each other to put their hands down together at the same time (their best, 3:20). I found out from them that this was a way to not let anyone be the first person to put his or her arms down. Good stuff!! Jim sets this one up another way - lots of great opportunities!
(FYI: If you haven't yet, get over to Jim's website for tons of FREE resources.)
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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.