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Communication Activities

Communication is a key ingredient in any team environment.  Here are some of our most popular activities that emphasize communication between participants.  For more communication activities and games, please see our book Growing Together.  For a PDF version of the following games, please click here.

 

TITLE: A What?

IMPACT: Communication, icebreaker, fun

RISK: Low

GROUP SIZE: Unlimited; 12 - 15 is a good size

TIME REQUIRED: 10 minutes

 

DIRECTIONS:

  • The objective of the activity is to pass a message forward and back in a circle.
  • Ask the group to stand in a circle, facing the center.
  • The facilitator begins the action bytaking a ball (any object will do) and handing it to the person on his right, saying, "This is a banana."
  • The person who now holds the ball is evidently already confused, because she inquires, "A what?!" The first player repeats, "A banana!”
  • Person number two, her confusion temporarily cleared up, hands the ball to the person on her right and says, "This is a banana." 
  • Now person number three is confused. "A what???" he asks of number two. Read more

 

Spirit of Play, used with permission. Besides the playful personal story of Dale Le Fevre, there is a wealth of information about what makes cooperative New Games so special, how to lead the games and adapt them for any group, and more, including a spiritual aspect of play! Forty games presented, 158 pages. You can learn more at www.inewgames.com, or order the book at www.inewgames.com/spiritofplay.htm

 

 

 

TITLE: Alphabet Game

IMPACT: Listening, communication, focus and fun.

RISK: Low

GROUP SIZE: Kept to groups of about 10 members or people lose interest while they are waiting for a turn

TIME REQUIRED: 10 – 15 minutes

 

DIRECTIONS: 

  • Gather group members in a circle and decide who the head of the circle will be.
  • The head of the circle then says one word that begins with the letter "A." 
  • The person to the head’s right then states the word previously given and adds word starting with the letter "B."  
  • This routine of repeating the previous words then adding a new word that begins with the following alphabetical letter continues around the circle. Read more

 

 

 

 

TITLE: Balloon Trolleys

IMPACT: Trust building, building allies, group identities, ability, and cooperation

RISK: Moderate to high 

GROUP SIZE: The more the better

TIME REQUIRED: 15 to 30 minutes

 

DIRECTIONS: 

  • Play a song that talks about the “ties that bind us.” Then, tell the group these balloons represent things that connect us and how fragile connections can be.
  • Blow up enough balloons so that you have one to fit between every two people if they stand in a single-file line. For example, if X is a person and O is a balloon. The line would look like this: XOXOXOXOXOX.
  • The challenge is to move the entire group across an area without allowing any if the balloons to hit the floor. Read more

 

Diversity in Action, Project Adventure, used by permission.

 

 

 

 

TITLE: Captain Video

IMPACT: Communication, team building, fun

RISK: Low

GROUP SIZE: 10 - 30, can divide into groups of 10

TIME REQUIRED: 10 – 15 minutes

 

DIRECTIONS: 

  • The objective isto pass a motion (sometimes with e-motion) around a circle from one person to the next with each person only able to see the motion presented by the person preceding him.
  • Ask players to gather in a circle. After demonstrating the game, have them face away from the center. Ask for a volunteer to be the first Captain Video. 
  • The Captain starts the game by tapping a Space Ranger (second player) on the shoulder, which is the signal for the Ranger to run around the outside of the circle.
  • While the Space Ranger is running, Captain Video stands in the center of the circle and performs a simple movement, for instance, doing one deep knee bend while winking. The Space Ranger must pay close attention to detail because s/he must later duplicate this exact motion to the next Space Ranger. Read more

 

Spirit of Play, used with permission. Besides the playful personal story of Dale Le Fevre, there is a wealth of information about what makes cooperative New Games so special, how to lead the games and adapt them for any group, and more, including a spiritual aspect of play! Forty games presented, 158 pages. You can learn more at www.inewgames.com, or order the book at www.inewgames.com/spiritofplay.htm

 

 

 

 

TITLE: Card Vote

IMPACT: For a quick evaluation or to “take the temperature” of a group. It can also be used to start a longer conversation.

RISK: Low

GROUP SIZE: Any size

TIME REQUIRED: 2 to 10 minutes

 

DIRECTIONS:

  • Start by distributing note cards to people, one for each response option (ex. Red, yellow, and green note cards for disagree, undecided, agree, or didn’t meet, somewhat met, and met). 
  • Set up a flipchart with your goals (or questions) written on it, and one note card of each color taped under each question.
  • Explain that you’re going to ask people to evaluate how well you’ve done at meeting your goals, and you’re going to do it by having them hold up the note cards. Read more

 

 

 

TITLE: Frozen Ts

IMPACT: Gets people loose, laughing and wet

RISK: Low

GROUP SIZE: 4 to any size

TIME REQUIRED: 10-20minutes

 

DIRECTIONS: This game is literally an icebreaker! Split the group into even teams.

  • The night before, submerge t-shirts in a tray or container full of water and freeze overnight. Can be frozen in a block of ice or just frozen wet (depends on the challenge level you wish).
  • Tell the group they'll be playing an icebreaker game, then bring out the t-shirts.  Give one to each team, and explain the first team to have a team member put on the t-shirt wins.  Depending on how frozen the shirts are, it can take a while for them to bash out the ice.  Let them be creative in the way they thaw it out (pouring water over it works well!)
  • The team to come back with someone wearing the t-shirt is the winner.

 

 

 

TITLE: Conveyor Belt

IMPACT: Icebreaker, get the room buzzing, gives everyone a chance to meet everyone else and find out a little information about each person

RISK: Low

GROUP SIZE: 10 or more

TIME REQUIRED: 1 minute for everyone in the group plus 5-10 minutes for instructions and confusion

 

DIRECTIONS:

  • Ask everyone to stand in two lines, facing each other along the tape. Everyone should place his hands on the shoulders off the person across from him. The facilitator should NOT get in the line. This is a complicated activity to lead, and timing and talking is really challenging.
  • If there is:
    •  An odd number of people, ask the person without a partner to stand next to the facilitator.
    • An even number of people, ask one pair to step out of the line and stand next to the facilitator. More about these people later.
  • Ask the partners to introduce themselves to one another.
  • Now explain that you are going to read a series of questions. The person on the side of the line to the left of the facilitator will always answer the question first. When you yell “switch” the person to the right of the line will have a chance to answer.

 

 

 

 

TITLE: Equally Frantic

IMPACT: Problem solving, listening, communicating, validating feelings, building allies, group identities or any other subject you choose

RISK: High

GROUP SIZE: 10 or more

TIME REQUIRED: About 15 to 20 minutes   

 

DIRECTIONS:

  • Start by asking the group what are some of the things we need to keep in mind as we learn to treat individuals fairly and with respect?
  • Give everyone in the group a blown-up balloon. Have each person label their balloon with something that to them represents fair and respectful treatment. As they proceed through the activity, remind them that this is what they want to be practicing.
  • When you say GO! Everyone hits their balloon up into the air. The goal is for the group to keep all their balloons up in the air by hitting them with their hands or heads (no feet, someone might get kicked). Since it’s a group activity, let them know that they don’t have to hit their own balloon, but all the balloons have to be hit, not held.
  • When you give the GO! signal, start your stopwatch. Now all the group has to do is keep the balloons in the air. There’s a catch to this, however. Every 15 seconds or so, add another balloon to the game. The group must keep the new balloon from hitting the floor just like all the others. Read more

 

Diversity in Action, Project Adventure, used by permission.

 

 

 

 

TITLE: Getting It Right

IMPACT: Public speaking practice. In addition this exercise asks participants to practice really listening and to discuss and disagree without getting to a personal or damaging level.

RISK: Low - medium

GROUP SIZE: 3 or more

 

TIME REQUIRED:

Small groups: 10 minutes per question

Whole group: 10 minutes to discuss questions

 

DIRECTIONS:

  • Divide the large group into smaller groups of three.
  • The facilitator should choose one of the topics on the list and present it to the groups. Sample questions include:
    1. What do you think about mandatory community service for young people?
    2. How do you feel about marriages between people under the age of 19?
    3. How do you feel about capital punishment?
    4. How do you feel about the equal rights movement?
  • One person states his/her views on this subject for three minutes.
  • The second person listens, then has two minutes to summarizes what was said. Read more

 

 

 

TITLE: Misunderstanding

IMPACT: Illustrates the importance of good communication.

RISK: Low - medium

GROUP SIZE: 2 or more

TIME REQUIRED: 20-30 minutes

 

DIRECTIONS:

  • Have the group divide into pairs. Ask the pairs to sit back to back and designate themselves Person A and Person B. 
  • Give each Person A one paper bag with an object in it, and give Person B a paper, pencil and hard surface to draw on.
  • Person A must verbally describe the object to Person B who has to draw it. Person B has no idea what the object is and must rely solely on how Person A describes it. Person A must use words that are descriptive as to shape, size and texture but not specific enough to give away the object.

 
 
 
 

TITLE: Snowball Fight

IMPACT: Icebreaker, get to know you

RISK: Medium

GROUP SIZE: 6 to 40

TIME REQUIRED: 10 to 30 minutes depending on group size

 

DIRECTIONS:         

  • Distribute paper and pens to participant, one each per participant.
  • Read three questions aloud, and ask participants to write their answers to the three questions on their piece of paper. They should not write their names on their paper. Select engaging questions that will appeal to participants, like “What is your favorite food?” or more challenging questions like, “What are your career goals?”
  • Tell participants to crumple their pieces of paper into “snowballs.”
  • Yell, “snowball fight” and have participants throw the crumpled pieces of paper at one another.  Read more

 

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