Keep an eye out for a soft tossable that looks like a small soccer ball - I've seen simple black and white colors and the multi-colored (pictured) versions. It's a little bigger than a standard softball. I've seen them in the "dollar" stores, and other big-box stores.
Pull out a couple permanent markers (one silver and one black marker have worked well for me) and mark each panel of the tossable with a different number (1, 2 or 3), or a different letter (I stay away from the Q, X & Z), or mix and match numbers and letters - again each panel only has one symbol.
Now, besides having a great tossable for a wide variety of toss-and-catch activities, you have an icebreaker and debriefing tool.
Icebreakers: Toss the ball to someone willing to share. After a two-handed catch there will be a number (or letter) under each thumb. The person gets to choose one of the numbers (or letters) and use it to share something or some things about him or herself. Say I choose the number 3 under my left thumb - I then share three things about myself. If it happens to be the letter C I would choose a descriptive word related to my personality that starts with the letter C. These, of course, are only two possibilities of endless, well......possibilities.
Debriefing Tool: Use the Number (or Letter) Ball to talk about an experience that just occurred. For example, tell the group one (or 2 or 3) things you found important about the last activity (depending on what's under a thumb. Or, think of a word that starts with a C (or the letter under a thumb) that describes something about your last experience.
When you are ready for the deluxe version of this activity idea, check out the wide variety of Thumballs at the Training Wheels online store - you'll find them under the Icebreakers tab and Training Wheels originals. My favorites - Ice Breaker Thumball and the Debriefing Thumball
Others: Leadership Thumball, Conflict Resolution Thumball, Meet & Greet Thumball, and more.
What else could we do with this idea? Comment below.
All the best,
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.