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Group Challenge Activities


Maze Walk
Submitted by Brittany George of Highlands Behavioal Health on 4-19-15

Size of Group: 5-20

Equipment/Supplies Needed: 60 pieces of printer paper (I use recycled paper that has a blank back)
Open space like a gym

Activity/Treatment Objective or Expected Outcome: 
Identify negative self-talk statements
Identify importance of asking for help and the importance of who you are asking
Effective communication
Identifying the difference in negative thinking and looking at a situation in a positive way
Learning from mistakes

Description of the Activity: You take the 60 sheets of paper and set them up into four columns of 15. The grid you come up with is the 'maze' that the patients have to navigate. You draw up a copy of this maze and decide which steps will be the correct ones in the path to wellness before the patients begin the activity.

I have everyone introduce themselves and identify why they are here in the hospital or a goal they want to accomplish in the time they are here. Examples of these goals are usually "stop self harm" or "decrease depression". Whenever they make goals like "work on anxiety" I have them clarify that they are working on decreasing or managing anxiety, and not just working on it. I tell the patients that I want them to imagine a the future where they met these goals, where they manage anger, anxiety, and depression in healthy ways. I also tell them to imagine the finish line of the maze as that future. What stands in their way of accomplishing their goal? Unhealthy relationships? Dangerous habits? etc.

The goal is to get across the maze to the future and to do so they must take a step. Steps can be forward, diagonal or to their immediate left or right. They line up and the first patient goes. If they take a correct step (that is already planned out by me) then I say 'Yes', if it not the correct step I made an annoying buzzing sound. If it is the right step they continue and if it is wrong they get in the back of the line and the next person goes.

If they are having a hard time I remind them that the pattern is the same for everyone so they should pay attention to their peers, I also remind them that they can ask their peers for help. I also ask that no one shouts out the answer before the person asks for help. I also asks them if they ever feel like they are all alone in their treatment and have to remember everything independently. Eventually they realize that they can fold the paper in half, or mark it with a pen to help them remember the correct path.

Once the first person makes it I have everyone, one at a time, go through the maze. Sometimes they are moving so quickly that they skip a step and I make them start over. This makes a great processing point-- Are you ever moving too quickly that you forget to take care of yourself?

Processing Points
1. Was the buzzer sound a signal of the end of the world? No, it meant they learned where they should not go next.
2. Were they asking for help from people who weren't paying attention, or who have not taken a step yet? Could they have asked the facilitator for help? Making sure that they are asking for help from people who are able to help them like therapist and not friends who might want to help but can't.
3. Did you put yourself down when you took a wrong step? did you encourage your peers?
4. How did it feel to get to where you wanted to go?
5. Why couldn't we get rid of the papers that were not on the correct path? because those negative influences will always be there, but we need to learn to say no.
6. Were you helping everyone else but didn't ask for help when it was your turn? Or did you assume people would help you?

You can also create road blocks where at a certain step you have to answer a question.


 

Mind-bending Maze
submitted by brigette siegel on Monday, July 28, 2003

Size: works best with 16 or more

Equipment: wooded area (or around campsite) and two lengths of rope, each 50' or longer.
-two flags for end of maze, two blindfolds

Objective: participants will experience the confusion of hearing many conflicting directions at once
-participants will work together in constructing a maze
-participants will experience healthy competition between two groups
-participants will recognize the importance of short, specific directions
-participants will have fun

Description: First have each team construct a maze either by arranging desks throughout the room or by using the rope and a stand of trees.

The best mazes have lots of turns and dead-ends; they also have several directional choices (such as an area where the maze maneuver could take either a right or a left. After building the maze, each team places their flag at the end-point or goal area of their maze. Both teams then select a maze maneuverer. This person is blindfolded.

Now, the fun part. You deal with one maze at a time.

Both teams stand together in a spot designated as an area where there will be no contact with the maze maneuverer. Team A's maze maneuverer stands blindfolded in Team B's maze. Both Team A and all of Team B stand together off to the side. Now, Team A's job is to shout commands (forward, turn right, turn back, etc..) to their maze maneuver in order to reach the flag. Team B's job is to shout the opposite commands to try to get the Maze Maneuvered off track.

This is a loud and fun initiative.


Have A Seat

Target population: any

Skills prerequisite: understand directions, ability to stand and sit

Min/max # of participants: 10min, but probably 150 max

Total number of sessions: periodically, may have to be tried several times to complete the goal

Staff requirements: recreation leader

Facility requirements: space large enough for group to hold hands in a circle

Supplies required: none

Program objectives: to emphasize that even though we are all individuals we all need each other and that it is ok to depend on others --- this activity also stresses teamwork, as it will take everyone efforts to see the intended effect of this activity

Methods:

  1. Have everyone get into a circle and join hands
  2. Have everyone make their best effort to make the circle as round And uniform as possible
  3. Have everyone while still holding hands, step into the circle until their shoulders are touching very closely
  4. Now have everyone drop hands and very slowly turn to the right
  5. Have everyone gently slide 1/2 a foot or maybe a little more until they are directly behind the person in front of them
  6. When this is all finally accomplished have everyone on the count of three slowly bend their knees until they are actually sitting on the person directly behind them - the person in front of them will be sitting on their lap
  7. If this works you can generally hold the group position for about 20 seconds until everyone sort of collapse on top of everyone else - this is usually followed by laughter and just the amazement that this was able to work

MAKE SURE THAT EVERYONE FOCUSES ON SAFETY AND PREVENT EACH OTHER FROM GETTING HURT AS THE CIRCLE COLLAPSES.

Activity idea submitted during an activities sharing workshop at the 1995 WVTRA Conference.


Space Ball

Group Size: 8 to 30

Equipment: a beach ball or a soft ball

Focus: group challenge, energizer, frustration tolerance

Description: Participants either form a circle or place themselves equal distance from each other around the gym. The object of the activity is to keep the ball afloat without letting it hit the ground. Challenge the group to set a goal and try to set their personal best or "world" record.

Discussion: Groups and individuals sometimes become frustrated. Discuss what people do when they become frustrated (escape, sabotage, anger, etc.). Have participants suggest specific behaviors they can do to prevent frustration and its subsequent behaviors. Continue the game and encourage everyone to act on the + actions suggested by the group.

Ways to Improve as a Group: invite the group to suggest ways they can improve and obtain higher scores.

Expected Outcome: group cohesion, understanding of frustration and reactions to frustration, laughter, physical exercise

Concerns: encourage participants not to dive for the ball if playing on a rough surface


Round and Round

Group Size: 8 to 30

Equipment: a piece of cloth to use as a marker

Focus: group challenge, building self-esteem

Description: Participants hold hands in a circle. On signal, the group quickly rotate 360 degrees in one direction and then turn 360 degrees back to their original spot. After few practices, time the groups attempt and encourage the group to set a goal and to meet or break their goal.

Developing Group Pride: Be sure to record the number of participants in the group and post their record on the gym wall for all to see.

Discussion: Give the group opportunity to discuss how they can improve on their time. Discuss feelings associated with giving up, trying, failing, and succeeding.

Concerns: participants must be careful not to be thrown as they run around the circle. Group members must help each other not to be thrown out of the circle.

Expected Outcome: group cohesion, physical exercise, feelings of success


The Creature
submitted by Robert F. Benedict, YMCA of Greater Rochester

Size: 10min to 20max

Equipment: none

Objective: teamwork and creative thinking.

Description:

1. Tell the group that they need to get from where they are standing to a point about 10 feet in the distance.

2. They group needs to move as one large group (everyone connected) on a certain number of points of contact with the ground.

3. Explain that a point of contact with the ground is this "I HAVE TWO FEET THEY ARE IN MY SHOES, MY SHOES ARE CONNECTED TO MY FEET HENCE I HAVE TWO POINTS OF CONTACT WITH THE GROUND."

4. The facilitator gages the group and decides how many points of contact with the ground the group may have.

HINT!!! THE EASIEST WAY TO SOLVE THIS ACTIVITY IS FOR THE GROUP TO REMOVE THEIR SHOES AND WALK ON TOP OF THEIR SHOE, OR THROW SHIRTS OR JACKETS ON THE GROUND AND WALK ON THEM.

Note: GIVE THE GROUP A LOT OF ROOM FOR DISCUSSION AND EXPERIMENTATION IN THIS ACTIVITY.

Concerns: Safety is a primary concern and participants must be given responsibility for safety in this and similar activities.  If group members feel a task they are about to perform is unsafe, they must be encouraged to speak up.  Task leaders must also be ready to step in to make sure activities and ideas attempted by the clients are within safety parameters.


Mind-bending Maze
submitted by Rob Patton of Odyssey MS/High School

Size: works best with 16 or more

Equipment:

-Two large room with desks and chairs or a wooded area and two lengths of rope, each 50' or longer.
-two flags for end of maze, two blindfolds

Objective:

-participants will experience the confusion of hearing many conflicting directions at once
-participants will work together in constructing a maze
-participants will experience healthy competition between two groups
-participants will recognize the importance of short, specific directions
-participants will have fun

Description:

First have each team construct a maze. either by arranging desks throughout the room or by using the rope and a stand of trees.

The best mazes have lots of turns and dead-ends; they also have several directional choices (such as an area where the maze maneuver could take either a right or a left. After building the maze, each team places their flag at the end-point or goal area of their maze. Both teams then select a maze maneuver.  This person is blindfolded.

Now, the fun part.  You deal with one maze at a time.

Both teams stand together in a spot designated as an area where there will be no contact with the maze maneuver. Team A's maze maneuver. stands blindfolded in Team B's maze. Both Team A and all of Team B stand together off to the side. Now, Team A's job is to shout commands (forward, turn right, turn back, etc..) to their maze maneuver. in order to reach the flag.  Team B's job is to shout the opposite commands to try to get the Maze Maneuver. off track.

This is a loud and fun initiative.

PROCESSING:

Focus could be on communication of directions (from the two teams) and also on frustration and the feeling the blindfolded person (maze maneuver.) experienced. A good metaphor in this situation is the classroom or parent situation:  How does a person feel when everyone is talking at once?  How do people feel when they aren't getting good directions?

This is great for a class with lots of interrupters!


Send additional activities to be posted here.

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