I'm fairly certain I'm not the only one who has use playground equipment for team building activities. Recently I helped a friend come up with over a dozen activities utilizing the public playground structure near his inner-city school. Teaching in a big city often comes with limited outdoor space, but local parks can serve as a useful alternative to staying inside on those beautiful days. Here's a brief summary of some of the ideas we put together. (All these ideas come with the blanket understanding that proper safety precautions will always be covered and followed - be super sure that structures are safe before you use them. If in doubt, don't do it!!):
Sherpa (Trust) Walk: Two group members lead a small group of un-sighted players safely around/up/over different areas of the equipment. (The sherpas, in Rohnke-esk fashion, do not speak a known language. They communicate in sounds that the group must eventually figure out. The safe easy Walk is to use a language that works for everyone - or mostly everyone.)
All Aboard: There are always a wide variety of platform spaces for the group to occupy. Start out with a large platform area and ask everyone to stand on it together (be sure the structure you are using is strong enough for the entire group). The idea is to eventually find the smallest (safe) platform area that everyone in the group can stand/balance upon from at least three full seconds.
Stepping Stones: One of my favorites for the playground. I bring along my 1-foot round spot markers, each player gets a spot, and the group has to use them to step on in order to get from one side of the playground structure to the other. So, if a player is stepping down a spot must be under his or her foot. I love the three-dimensional aspect of the trip. (And, going through a tube is really interesting! Or up a slide??!!)
TP Shuffle: Using an elevated curb, beam, or even some chalk on the side walk for the path, two small groups facing each other (each group in a line) have to switch places without stepping off the curb, beam, or chalked path. (I always like to start with a sidewalk version and then progress to a more elevated challenge.)
Tunnel Pass: Divide a group in half - one half at each entrance to the playground tunnel. Players can only go through and exit the tunnel if they have passed someone inside of it. Get everyone from both sides through the tube. (Careful with this one - there are some space body contact issues in there. The right group at the right time.)
Spider Web: There are lots of openings on playground equipment. After going through a progression of spotting and lifting activities set up a plan for everyone to go through some sort of opening in the equipment. Lots of room for planning and discussion. You could also assign points for the different openings and the group does it's best to get the most points possible.
Up and Over: Like a team wall, groups can also work together to get everyone up-and-over a stable bar located on the playground. The bar should be at a height where everyone will be able to spot others safely while maneuvering over the top. Spotting! Spotting! Spotting!
Other Playground Team Building ideas out there. Share in the comments below!
All the best,
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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.