Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Team Building Fun

Over the years I have participated in many team meetings. I have also been involved in other types of group activities and classes that have focused on Improv and TEAM BUILDING. I love these events. I make them outrageous, enthralling, dynamic, delightful and often the highlights of my week. A unique time to laugh, bond, feel inspired, be creative and celebrate. I am excited to share some ideas and suggestions for your team meetings and for team building in general. These are a sure way to PUMP up the MOTIVATION of each team member and deepen the bond and commitment of your group.

Game and Activity Ideas for your TEAM:

Energy Ball: Stand in a circle. One person starts off by 'holding' an imaginary ball of energy. Allow this person time to hold onto this ball of energy as it moves and takes shape into something that the person then acts out. For example, the energy ball might transform into a bicycle that the person begins to ride around the room on. This person then 'throws' the ball of energy to someone else in the circle.

You can easily use this type of creativity in the playroom by transforming an ordinary item that your child wants (e.g. food, puzzle pieces, balls etc.) into something a little unusual. Can you imagine how your child would respond if all the sudden the piece of banana that you are bringing to him turned into a bicycle that you then proceeded to give him a ride on?

Wizard: This is a fun one to do while in your playroom with your child or your team. Take turns being the wizard and the demonstrators of the wizards magic! The wizard calls out ridiculous instructions (e.g. "I command you to be ice cream with a cherry on top" or "I turn you into the head of a monkey and the body of a whale" etc.). I've never laughed so hard then when playing this game! Be outrageous. Once I heard someone instructing people to be dogs. One dad, Patch, was the craziest and most real-life like spastic happy Labrador dog I've ever seen a human be! Wow, even the simplest of instructions can be made into a wonderfully hilarious life-long memory.

A great and simple way to play wizard with your child is to use eye power. Every time your child looks at you turn into something magical!

Wind in the Willows: The group stands in a close circle (no gaps!) with one person in the middle. The person in the middle of the circle, crosses arms over chest, with eyes closed or open, he or she falls in any direction while maintaining a straight body and trusting the spotters to catch him / her. Afterward you can talk about how it felt for each person to trust. Did they believe they would be caught? Were they relaxed and comfortable as they fell?

Don't Stop Moving: Ask someone in your team to make a Team Grooving CD with your teams favorite songs. A mix of genre's and tempos works very well. The idea of this activity is to play the CD and to simply keep moving. Move in whatever way the music inspires you to move and express your emotions through movement. This is a great way to inspire your team members to use their bodies more and in more dynamic ways in the playroom.

Silent Communication: On slips of paper, write down some instructions related to the room that you will be holding your meeting in (e.g. "Smell the flower", "Get a glass of water and drink it" "Jump on the trampoline and sing"). One person silently communicates the instruction that is written using his or her head only (use eyes to 'point' to things, nodding yes and shaking head for no are allowed, but do not talk. Some people may want to sit on their hands as a reminder to not use them). Another person tries to figure out the instruction and do it by paying close attention to the communicators head gestures and by asking lots of questions / trial and error.

This is an amazing game and can really help people become more comfortable (even ecstatic) trying things out / experimenting when faced with a non-verbal request! And you will quickly figure out that just as in the playroom, it works best when we are very responsive to the communicators cues and when we are in doubt just try anything out.

PLAY: One of the most fun times I've ever had was playing with and watching my other autism professional friends play in the playroom. I HIGHLY recommend this as a team bonding activity. Pair up members of your team and have each pair go in your playroom for fifteen minutes while everyone else watches them. The only rule is: HAVE FUN!!! It is so awesome to see each person's personality come out. When we did this, there was the "teacher", the "controller" and the "dangerous ones" just to name a few.

Find a way to try out these fun activities with family members, friends, or coworkers. And for all you  parents with children on the spectrum, I know you have many other responsibilities as it is already so DELEGATE. Elect one person from your team to lead a team building game.

I have other types of ideas for team building for my next post. Please let me know if these are helpful and what it was like to try them. Thanks and Happy September.


  1. Jeannene, What a wonderful blog with great ideas.

    I love how you made it inclusive of those who might not be conducting a Son-Rise Program. You're absolutely right; these ideas could be used in any number of situations.

    Thank you for taking the time to pull all this together!

  2. "Jump on the trampoline and sing"). One person silently communicates the instruction that is written using his or her head only (use eyes to 'point' to things, nodding yes and shaking head for no are allowed, www.accoladecorporateevents.co.uk


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