I have seven kids, and usually those seven kids spend their days learning together, making messes together, cleaning messes together, going on adventures together and having fun together. Occasionally those seven kids don’t think it is much fun being “together” :). This is not cool for Mama Bear. I don’t mind mess (usually), noise (usually) or chaos (usually) as long as it is happy mess, noise and chaos. I DO mind arguing and bickering one with another. It drives me CRAZY!!! Gratefully there are few days when the bickering gets out of hand and we seem to be more grumpy than happy.
Recently we were having one of those days. Tears were flowing, insults were flying, and things were starting to look UGLY!!!
I was at my wits end trying to help my kids understand that we are all on the same team together and it was way better to work together instead of working against each other. Nothing was sticking. Finally I had an idea. I called all my kids together and said this to them:
I want you guys to imagine that you are all in the middle of a huge scary war. People are dying, countries are falling and things are looking bad. Finally the Prime Minister of you country calls everyone together and tells you that there is a special mission that needs to be completed. If this mission is successful, the enemy will fall, the war will end and everyone will be saved. If it is not successful, all will be lost and everyone will die. Now think for a moment, if the Prime Minister were to look at you in the eye, calling you by name and said “I want you (insert name) to be the leader of the team that is going to perform this mission and I need you to pick your team members” how would you feel? Each one of us would be honored. Now how would you go about picking your team members? Would you look for someone you liked, trusted or someone you thought was a rotten person? (I let the kids discuss what they would look for in a team member before continuing-it was an interesting conversation) Of corse we would try and pick the strongest, brightest, most trustworthy, and closest people that we could find right?
What would happen if once you started on your journey and your team members started being disrespectful to each other? What would happen if they refused to do their part or started calling each other names? Would you get very far? Would you be able to accomplish the task you were supposed to? Probably not.
Now let me tell you a secret. This war did happen, this meeting happened as well, and the Leader of us all Heavenly Father did call us all to go on a special mission that would help the war against Satan end. He did give you a choice on who you would like to come to earth with. Chances are you picked your very best friends to become part of your family, and join your team here on earth. I want you guys to try and figure out WHY you choose the people you choose to be on your team.
In this activity your team (7-12 people) are supposed to figure out how to transfer a bucket of “toxic waste” into a neutralizer bucket. There are many restrictions and few materials allowed to be used for this activity-which is what makes it such a good teambuilding exercise.
This activity usually takes 30-45 minutes to figure out. As a facilitator, do not give the team too much help.
Put an empty can in the middle of an eight foot circle (or larger). Put another can full of water if outside, or full of ping pong balls if you are inside, just outside that eight foot circle.
-Give the team a rubber tube (from the inside of a bicycle) and some rope. Tell the group that they must work out
how to transport a can of “toxic waste” to the neutralizing container without spilling it AND making sure that they stay 4 feet away from the toxic wastes at all times. If any one gets too close then they must lose a limb (duct tape their limbs down-great fun to watch)
-As soon as the waste is dumped into the neutralizing container, the activity has been accomplished.
-If the waste spills entirely, refill it for them, but this is not encouraged (spilling the water ). If someone breaches the
4ft zone (often there are creeping hands), give a warning, then start enforcing loss of limbs
(hand behind back) or function (e.g., blindness if a head enters the zone) that lasts for the rest of