I hope you had some FUN over 2021 (despite our world-wide adventure). Think about it. We've probably learned more about team building and group work in the last 20 months than we might have ever imagined. It's a good thing we're in the business of problem solving.
Here are my Top 5 Most Promising Team Building Activities of 2021
Number Flips - You can use your Key Punch numbered spots for this one (I consider Number Flips a variation of Key Punch). What makes this one promising (and has already made it to my current Top 10 activities to program), is the concepts of unity and collaboration. For example, if someone in the group makes a mistake, who's responsible? The person or the group?
A New Way Through the Mountain Tops - YOU NEED THIS LOW ROPES COURSE ELEMENT. I had tremendous success with the Mountain Tops low challenge course element during the summer of 2021 - learning with over 500 college students with this one. The three stages of challenge involve both the physical and cognitive functions of the participants. And, there are a number of slight adjustments you can make during the process in order to simplify things or add to the challenge for a group depending on how they progress.
Obstacle Reflection Cards - I made a set of downloadable quote cards I gleaned from the book, The Obstacle is the Way, by Ryan Holiday (I would say my most memorable non-activity book read of 2021). Since making the card set, I've used them over a dozen times with the pair everyone up activity Back-to-Back (I learned from Jim Cain). Instead of asking all the pairs to answer a question, I give them a quote to ponder. I say, "What does this quote mean to you?" (Then, I'll share, for example:) "Sometimes the longest way around is the shortest way home." We all share the challenge of dealing with obstacles in our lives - the quote cards can help us open the conversations and what we might do to overcome them.
Collaboration with Picture Word Circle Puzzles - (Print-N-Play) This 2021 post (reprise of a 2016 post) is the newest way that I use Picture Word Circle Puzzles to emphasize collaboration with groups. It's a powerful small group and 'any-size' group split up into small groups activity (you just need enough puzzles). The powerful learning is about combining resources to be more successful. If we are willing to share what we have, we can meet our objectives faster and build upon the trust within the group. "You are all working on the same puzzle," is a great metaphorical lesson in this one.
(If you don't have a Mountain Tops element, I didn't want to jip you out of your fifth, so here's another one - and bonus sixth for those who have an MT element:)
26 Word Builder - (Planned for an in-the-dark team building program, but you can also play in the light.) This one just came out in November, but I'm really liking how it plays out in my head (as I note in the post, I had it planned for a group, but didn't get to try it). You just need the 26 letters of the American Alphabet - on letter tiles, small paper plates or index cards. This is definitely another collaboration activity with a powerful 'planning' focus. If groups do not pre-plan well, they are going to have to undo work that's been done. (A limiting factor with this one: Plays well with 12 to 24 with one set of 26 alphabet tiles.)
Be well my friend.
Chris Cavert, Ed.D.