Teambuilding through Play

By VOBS Staff from Voyageur Outward Bound Schools

A group initiative that focuses on teamwork, collaboration, trust and risk. Ideally have a group size of 6 people or more. You will need a space at least 20 feet by 10 feet, ideally outside on the grass.

Description: Block out a space 20 feet long and ten feet wide or more. Have the group start on one side of the area. For younger groups you can use story to gain engagement. For example, tell them that the field is cursed with old magic (or something creative), and that if they step into the field they will have a spell cast on them and will turn into a toad. The only way for the group to cross the cursed field is to transform into a monster. To create the requirements of “the monster.” The monster must have a certain number of hands and feet. To figure out the correct number of hands and feet is to take the number of people in the group, divide by 2 and add 1. Feet are defined as anything allowed to touch the ground and hands are defined as anything that extends from the torso of the monster that is not a foot (touching the ground). All group member must be connected to the monster to be considered part of the monster.

Advice for Novice Practitioners For the easiest set up, allow the monster to have the same number of hands and feet touching the ground as there are group members. So if you have a group of 6 people, the monster can have 6 feet and 6 hands touching the ground. This monster typically looks like half the group linking arms while the other half get in the wheel barrow position and the “Monster” moves across the field.

Advice for Experienced Practitioners To make it harder limit the amount of feet and hands that can touch the ground. While there is no magic formula to make it harder use the novice number as the most hands and feet that can touch the ground. With a group of six, you could allow 4 feet to touch the ground and 4 hands.

Assessing Impact: Consider your goals for doing this activity. There are many debriefing methods for an activity like this. To integrate different learning styles, you could have team members get together in groups of 3 with a piece of butcher block paper. Ask them to bring their monster to life by drawing it and identifying “characteristics” of the monster, as determined by the qualities of their group. For example, if the group laughed throughout the activity because it was so silly, the monster could have a “humor” characteristic. You could also ask them to do things like identify what holds the monster back, or scares the monster? Again it depends on your goals of the activity. Once the group is done with their drawing, they share it with the group along with the characteristics “their monster” has. This becomes a great source of further conversation.

This initiative allows you to assess how comfortable the group is with each other. Is the group willing to support each other by carrying or touching each other? When making a plan who are the leading voices within the group? Is everyone participating, and is everyone’s voice being heard?

You can process the questions with the group whether they worked well together or not. This is a great initiative to do before the group is about to complete something together.

Further Reading


Teambuilding Exercise: Helium Pole

From VOBS Staff, Voyageur Outward Bound Schools

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