Leadership and teamwork are important skills for teenagers to master. As many teens are geared to look to their peer group for guidance and acceptance, it is therefore important for teens to become comfortable with practicing leadership rather than always assuming a follower's position. Leadership skills will also benefit teenagers in their future careers and education. Group games are useful mechanisms for building leadership skills in teens.
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A facilitator creates an obstacle course, or mine field, with various objects. Foam noodles, cones, and balls are all useful objects for a mine field. Teens are divided into pairs for this activity. One partner is blindfolded and unable to speak. The other partner cannot touch the person or enter the mine field; he can only guide his blindfolded partner through the obstacles with his voice. The facilitator may want to have the teen pair start the activity over if they hit an obstacle, or simply deduct points for hitting objects. When the blindfolded partner completes the activity, she trades places with the "sighted" partner.
For this game, four hula hoops are arranged as if they were the corners of a 25-ft. square. A fifth hoop is put in the middle. Sixty tennis balls are placed inside the central hoop and the students are divided into four teams. The object is for each team to gather all of the tennis balls into its hoop. Whichever team gets all of the balls wins. The rules of the game are that no one can toss or throw balls, no one is allowed to defend the hoops, and all balls must be removed from the central hoop before teams can "steal" them from the other hoops. This game is great for building team strategies. However, in the end, the teams will figure out that no one team can win. The only winning strategy is to combine the hoops so that all of the teams win.
The entire group is blindfolded for this activity and participants are given a 50- to 100-ft. length of rope. The group must locate the rope and create a shape indicated by the facilitator. Possible shapes include a house, a square, a triangle or hexagon. The group can speak to each other, but may not take off their blindfolds. Facilitators may wish to videotape this activity for a later discussion of group dynamics.
This group game can be played with small or large groups. Each person in the group is blindfolded and given a secret number. The facilitator will want to make sure that the numbers given correspond to the total number of participants. The participants must communicate with each other to line themselves up in numerical order without talking or removing their blindfolds.
For this activity, participants each have a short length of half-pipe. The objective is to move marbles, balls or water from one point to another using only the pipe. The teams will be given five minutes to plan a strategy. The game can incorporate an obstacle course or require that the groups carry marbles down the stairs. Additionally, the facilitator may want to add rules, such as each member of the team must carry the marble at least once.
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