Class Builders/Team Builders/Brain Breaks
Material: 1 ball
Play: The group is divided into two committees: the fielding committee and the running committee. One person on the running committee is chosen as the runner and another is chosen as the thrower. The running committee’s thrower throws the ball toward the fielding committee, and the fielding committee must make sure that each of its members touches the ball; the first person throws it backwards over his/her head to another member, the second person throws the ball backwards between his/her legs, the third person backwards over the head and so on. After everyone on the fielding committee has gotten the ball, the committee yells, “I’m so cold.” Meanwhile, immediately after the ball has been thrown by the running committee’s thrower, the running committee forms a circle and the runner runs around the circle. Each time around counts as one run. After“I’m so cold” has been yelled, roles switch and the fielding committee becomes therunning committee. This continues for several rounds, and each time a new person is the thrower or runner.
Animal Name Tag
Materials: Pillow and Name Tags
Play: Everyone picks an animal that they want to be. No two people should be the same animal. The group sits in a circle. One person is ‘it’ and sits in the center of the circle with the pillow. One person in the circle (ex. dog) starts by saying “dog likes ______ (ex. pig).” ‘It’ then tries to tag the pig on the legs with the pillow before pig can say “pig likes______(another animal).” The statement must be a correct one. That means they must start it out with themselves liking someone, and they must correctly name their own animal; if an antelope said “horse likes ______”, the statement wouldn’t be correct. Similarly, if they name an animal that is not in the group, it does not count. If ‘it’ tags them before they say a correct statement, they become ‘it’. If they do not get tagged then the person that was named must quickly make a correct statement and so on (ex. dog: “dog likes pig” pig: “pig likes horse” horse: “horse likes elephant”…). ‘It’ continues trying to tag the latest animal that was named, before that animal can say they like someone else.
Materials: Several balloons Play: Pairs of players try to keep a balloon up in the air by hitting it with their hands in alternating turns. The goal is to hit the balloon up as many times as possible without it hitting the ground. Variations: More than two players can be used to alternate hitting the balloon. Other body parts can be used to keep the balloon in the air. Other objects such as water guns or straws can be used to keep the balloon in the air. Feathers can also be used in place of balloons.
Materials: One chair for each participant. Play: One person is the ‘chef’ and everyone else is divided into pairs. Each pair chooses a vegetable; no two pairs should choose the same vegetable. The group should make a circle, with partners as far from each other as possible. Each person forming the circle should be sitting on a chair. The ‘chef’ should stand in the center. The ‘chef’ calls out the name of vegetable. The people who have chosen that vegetable have to try to switch places. The chef tries to grab one of their places while they are switching. The person who is left without a chair becomes the ‘chef’. The chef now becomes the vegetable of the place she/he took. The ‘chef’ also has the ability to call out “chef salad”. When this is done, everyone changes places at once. The person without a square becomes the ‘chef’ and the former ‘chef’ takes the new ‘chefs’ vegetable name.
Play: The entire group sits in a circle. Everyone must look down at his or her feet. Instruct them that when they look up, they must look at one (and only one) person. They must copy whatever that person does. Count to three; then, everyone should look up and start copying. Continue until everyone gets too silly.
Dragon Eating Tag
Uses: This is a great game for teamwork and communication because all members of the dragon must work together.Play: Three group members are designated to be the following parts: dragon head, dragon body, and dragon tail. The dragon parts must always remain in contact by holding hands in a line. All other players are some sort of dragon food or jewels that the dragon is trying to capture. The dragon chases the jewels and captures them by surrounding them in a circle (holding hands). Once a player is captured, they become part of the dragon’s body and join the chain. The game is over once the dragon has captured all the other players. Note: Make sure to emphasis safety rules such as not “busting” through the arms of the dragon.
Materials: One pencil and one card of paper for each participant.
Play: Pass the cards out to the students and have them each write their name on the cards they receive. Gather the cards and shuffle them. Pass the cards out again without letting people know who has which card. Do not let anyone have a card with their own name on it. Now instruct the group to write something on the card that makes the person named on it a good friend. Have the group pass the card to the left three times before returning the card to its owner. Read and discuss the cards.
Materials: Index cards and pencilsPlay: The group sits in a circle. Every player is given an index card and a pencil. The facilitator instructs everyone in the group to write down something interesting and/or odd that they have done. When everyone has written something, the facilitator collects the cards, shuffles them, and distributes them randomly, one to each player. The first player then reads the deed that is written on the card they now hold, and the group tries to guess which player actually did this deed. After a bunch of guessing and discussion, the player whose deed is being guessed reveals themselves. Play continues until all the cards have been read and everyone has admitted to what they wrote down.
Materials: Blindfolds (half as many as there are group members), an area with several trees Play: The group is divided into pairs. One member of each pair is blindfolded. Their partner then leads them to a tree. The blindfolded person uses any sense except sight to learn as much about the tree as possible. Once they feel they can identify the tree, they are led back to the spot where they began. Once all pairs are done, the blindfolded partners take off their blindfolds and set off to try to identify the tree their partner had taken them to. The partners can switch roles when they are done.
Play: All players stand in a small circle and reach into the center with their right hand and grasp the hand of another player. They then reach in with their left hand and grasp the hand of someone other than who they already are holding hands with. Players should avoid holding hands with the person right next to them. The players then try to untangle themselves by moving over and under each other’s arms. When you are done, one circle or occasionally more than one circle, will result.
Variations: Group members can be mute. All but one can be blindfolded. Instead of holding hands in a random manner, they can take hands in a certain pattern; for example, the first person can name something about themselves and then take the hand of another person who also has the same characteristic. That person would then do the same thing, and so on. Make sure that they still take two different peoples’ hands.
Needle and Thread Tag
Play: All but two of the group members get in a circle (close enough to hold hands). One of the two not in the circle is ‘it’, and the other is ‘not it’. ‘Not it’ gets to pick if theywant to start in or out of the circle, and ‘it’ starts in the opposite place. Whenever ‘not it’ runs between two people, the two join hands, making a barrier that ‘it’ can’t break. ‘It’ starts play by yelling “chicken noodle soup”. ‘It’ tires to tag ‘not it’ and ‘not it’ tires to sew up the circle before he gets tagged. When play is over, get two new players to be ‘it’and ‘not it’.
Person to Person
Play: The group is paired up with the pairs standing in a circle, facing the center. One person is in the center. The center person gets a beat going for the group, and then names two body parts in relation to each other (for example, “hand to foot”). The same or different body parts can be named. The group repeats out loud the two body parts named to the beat. Then, each pair assumes the position named by the person in the center (for example, if “hand to foot” was called by the center person, a member of each pair would place their hand on their partner’s foot). The center person will call out several different pairs of body parts, and the pairs will respond and assume each new position. After several of these, the center person calls out “person to person”, which means that each person (including the center person) must quickly find a new partner. The one person left without a partner becomes the new center person and starts the process again.
Puzzles Notebook File
Smile, Clap, Hooray Notebook File
Play: There needs to be an even number of members in the group. The group stands in a circle holding hands. Explain to the group that they need to balance themselves. Every other person (you can count off by 1’s and 2’s) leans all the way into the center of the circle. Everyone else leans all the way away from the center of the circle. Each group member needs to lean far enough so that if they were alone they would not be able to stay balanced.
All On One Side
Material: 1-2 large balls (beach ball, volleyball…), volleyball netPlay: Four or five group members play the game by getting on one side of the volleyball net; no one is on the other side of the net. One player begins the game by volleying the ball into the air on the same side of the net that all of the players are on. Once the ball is in the air, the first player scoots under the net to the other side. Another player then volleys the ball into the air again and also scoots under the net. This is continued until only one player is left on the original side of the net; this player volleys the ball to the other side of the net and then scoots under the net. Play is then continued by the person who volleys the ball next scooting back to the original side of the net. Play continues in this manner with the goal being to get the entire team back and forth across the net as many times as possible.Variation: As the team gets better you can add a second ball into play. More than five people can play at a time.
Materials: 2 sturdy blankets or sheets, one or more beach balls Play: Two teams of eight to ten students are made and each team is given one blanket. The teams spread out the blankets and grasp the edges of them; group members should be fairly evenly spaced around the blanket. A ball is placed in the center of one of the blankets. That team tries to toss the ball in the air using the blanket so that the other team can catch it. The second team then returns the ball to the first in a similar manner. Play continues by the ball being tossed from one team to the other until the facilitator ends the game. Variations: The team can try to toss the ball directly up in the air and dash out of the way so the other team can run under the ball to catch it. Each team can be given a ball to exchange simultaneously. Juggling can be attempted by trying to keep two more balls in the air at a time.
Materials: One large blanket
Play: Divide the group into 2 even groups. Have the groups face each other. Hold a blanket up between the two groups so they can’t see each other (1 person holds each end of the blanket). Each group picks one person to move up right next to the blanket (facing the other group). The facilitator says “1-2-3-drop”, then drop the blanket so the groups can see each other. The object is to be the first group to guess the name of the front person of the other group. The first group to successfully name the front person has the person join their group. You can continue for several rounds.
Variations: If the group already knows each other’s names, you can have them guess non-physical characteristics or preferences of the front person (ex. shy, friendly, likes chocolate).
Video Phone-21st Century Telephone
Play: The group stands in a circle with one person in the center. Everyone is facing away from the center of the circle (it is very important that they don’t watch the center). The person in the center comes up with a series of movements (about 5, such as bend over, then touch nose, and then hop). The center person then chooses one person in the circle to look at them. They then act out their movements for the person in the circle (once and once only). Then, they trade places so that the person from the circle is now in the center. They then choose another person from the circle to face the center, and the center person then does the same series of movements that the first center person did. These two trade places, and the new center person chooses someone from the circle to watch them do the movements. This same pattern is continued until everyone has had a chance in the center. When the last person is in the center, they stand back to back with the original center person. These two then do the movements simultaneously; the group then compares how the movements have changed.
Materials: 1 large and 1 small ball
Participants sit cross-legged in a circle. The large ball represents a cat, sneaking around the edge of the circle by passing the ball in either direction from lap-to-lap, changing directions to keep the other group members on their toes. Add the small ball as the bird. The bird can bounce around or across the circle. The point is to not let the cat and the bird to be with the same person at the same time.
Cross the Great Divide
Play: Have all of the students line up shoulder to shoulder with each student’s feet
touching the feet on either side of them. During the activity, the feet must remain in
contact the entire time. The group must then cross the room while attached. If their feet become detached, they must start over again. You can also set up a small obstacle course for the group to cross.
Play: Group members form a circle. One person is selected to begin play. This person then turns to the person on one side of them and says, “This is my elbow” while pointing to their nose. The second person then responds to the first person by pointing to their nose and saying “This is my elbow”, and then pointing to their elbow and saying “This is my nose.” The second person then turns to the third person and repeats this while adding on another part, such as pointing to their knee and saying “This is my big toe.” The third person repeats this list back to the second person while responding “This is my knee” as they point to their big toe. This person then turns to number four, repeats all parts, and adds on another part. This cycle continues with each person repeating the list and responding to the person in front of them, then repeating the list with an addition to the person after them. The group tries to continue this all the way around the circle, but it gets very confusing. As the group gets better they can try to speed it up to add to the excitement.
Group Name Sing
Play: The group stands in a circle. Play goes around the circle with each person singing
their own name accompanied by some sort of body motion. The group should try to be very loud and animated, as well as trying to go around the circle quickly, creating a sort of name opera.
Hoop the Group
Materials: 1 or more hula hoops
Play: The group forms a circle holding hands. Have two members drop hands and place a hula hoop around one of their arms; have them link hands again. The group is then to try to move the hula hoop all the way around the circle without letting go of each other’s hands.
Variations: Two hula hoops can be used in opposite directions.
Play: Group members stand in a circle shoulder-to-shoulder. Each member places their right hand on the knee to the right of them (the left knee of the person to the right of them). Each member then places their left hand on the knee to the left of them (the right knee of the person to the left of them.) No one will have their hand on their own knee. One person begins the play by tapping with their hand one knee that they are touching. The purpose is for the group to tap each knee in consecutive order all the way around the circle (each knee is only tapped once). The challenge is to remember not to tap when it is your knees turn, but rather when it is the turn of the knee your hand is on. This is done several times in either direction.
Materials: 1000 legos
Play: The facilitator needs to make a sample lego house, using about half of the legos (before the group arrives). The group is divided into four (or more) smaller groups. It is explained to the group that they are “one group”. You can compare this to a real life situation, such as being different departments in the same company. Although they might be in separate departments (groups), the whole company is working toward a common goal. You then explain that the company needs to make an exact replica of the lego house. Another group does, however, have those missing pieces. No single department could replicate the lego house, but the company together can. The group is not told about this minor complication. Once the departments work together and replicate the lego house, debrief. Discuss the difficulties of departments working together.
Materials: Small Slips of Paper-Scads of them, Pencils
Play: This game is absolutely silent!! Each group member starts with one slip of paper. Other stacks of paper are in areas around the room for easy accessibility. Members write the To: and From: on one side of the slip of paper, and a note to the recipient on the SAME SIDE of the paper. Delivery is performed by the note writer by WALKING the note to the seat of the person it is TO. The recipient of the note reads it, turns the paper over and then writes back and returns the note to the original writer. If a note does not have a to or a from, OR it is hard to read, it needs to go to the "dead letter" office. (The facilitator.) Talking instead of writing a conversation puts the group member in a timeout. Players keep getting slips of paper or writing responses until the group is thoroughly bored with the game or you run out of paper.
Simon Says Oops
Play: The group is divided in two. Each group begins with a leader (“Simon”). Each group plays Simon Says with the usual rules, but rather than being out of the game when you do something Simon doesn’t say, you simply holler “OOOPS!” and move to the other group playing. Players will end up moving back and forth between groups but never eliminated from the game. You can periodically stop the game and select new “Simons” for the two groups.