Create a happy, successful group with these fun cooperative games

Whether you are a classroom teacher, an after school program leader or a coach, you have probably watched your group of students go through a series of stages this school year. Group dynamics are tricky, and it likely took several months to get your students working together successfully.

In the last weeks of the school year, it may be time to re-evaulate your team dynamics. Take a look and see which students are stepping up and back. Are any students being left out? Which student needs more time to be heard by his/her peers?

To strengthen your group dynamics, introduce fun team building games. Games are a great way to create a safe space for kids to learn together. Here are six games to get your group playing together cooperatively:

  • Hula Hoop Challenge is a fun, simple game played in a circle. Everyone stands holding hands. Two members of the circle must link hands in the center of a hula hoop. The entire group must now get the hula hoop around the circle over each of their bodies without releasing their hands as quickly as possible.

  • Ball Toss Race is played in a circle with a small ball. The first person calls out another person in the circle and tosses them the ball. That person then calls another person, tosses them the ball and crosses their arms to show they have already gotten the ball. This continues until the last player to get the ball tosses it back to the first person. Every player must remember who passed them the ball and who they passed it to. Now the group attempts to repeat the pattern as quickly as possible. For an additional challenge, add more balls.

  • Over Under Relay is played in a line and also challenges the group to move quickly together. Have the group stand in a line facing a cone 10 feet away. The first person in line begins with a medium size ball and passes it backward over their head. The second person then pass the ball backward under their legs. The group continues passing over then under until the last person gets that ball. This person runs to the front of the line and begins the process again. The game continues until the group reaches the cone.

  • Ants on a Log is also played in a line. The group must remain completely silent and communicate only with their hands and facial expressions (no mouthing words). Have the students line up in order of their birthdays or alphabetical by first name or another fun challenge. To add a physical challenge, only allow the students to touch the line they are standing on.

  • In Blindfold Building, the group must form a shape while blindfolded. First make sure every player is holding onto a long rope and blindfolded. Call out a shape (start simple). The group forms that shape while everyone’s hands remain on the rope. For help, the group may pick one representative to ask you three questions while making the shape.

  • Alligator Swamp takes a lot of group problem solving. Give the students a four to eight pieces of cardboard (depending on the size of the space) and the goal to get the entire group to the other side of an open room or basketball court without touching the ground (the alligator swamp.) If they make a mistake, the whole group must start over. To make the game more challenging, make some students remain silent, blindfold students and/or don’t let the cardboard touch the ground without touching a player.

What are you favorite team building games?


 

 

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