By Susan Ragsdale and Ann Saylor, coauthors of Brain Boosters for Groups In a Jar®
Like many other writers, one particular part of the editing process makes us wince—the deletion of material! Gasp! Horror! Not just any material, mind you, but content that came from our guts, heart, and soul.
This fact of life is no less true for our latest creation, Brain Boosters for Groups In a Jar®. We narrowed down our brain boosters, with the help of our editor, to 101 high-energy games that fit with music, challenge, movement, and wild card categories that allowed us to sneak in three other brain boosters: novelty, conversations, and humor. When we were finished, there were some activities that (alas!) did not make the cut.
Sometimes when this happens, we cut and paste said activities into a special file labeled “next book.” This time, however, we have decided to share a few of the “deleted scenes” on our blog, and we are sharing them here, too. We want to give the activities a chance to have their day, go out into the world, and do their thing.
Like the activities that made it into the jar, these activities were designed to create play with purpose. On the one hand, they are all about fun, team-building, bonding, and stress relief, but on the other, they are built with key brain boosters that aid brain function and health. Groups can grab a card, play, and have fun while at the same time be doing something good for their brains, good for the group, and good for them as individuals.
Roll the die to see how many people should compete in this 20-second challenge: Build a finger-toe pyramid with each team member using two fingers and 1 toe for the challenge.
Which team can stretch the farthest? Divide into teams of 4–6. Each team stands behind a start line. Give teams 45 seconds to stretch out while maintaining body contact with team members. One person must always touch the start line, and each teammate must maintain contact with another player.
Divide into teams of 3–4 players and give each team a stack of recycled paper. Give the group 10 minutes to construct a transformer. Will it be a car? A boat? Let judges give creative awards to the various transformers.
Give two well-known areas of your country, such as New York City and Portland. Roll a die and give the group 20 seconds to think of that number of places that an airplane would fly over going from point A to B. Too easy? Double the places.
As we close our special file folder, we hope these “deleted scenes” will fulfill their purpose within your group: Build the group and build the brain. Additionally, we hope you’ll see how easy it is to add simple moments throughout the day that can increase your impact on the well-being of teens. Keep your eyes open for these opportunities. Better yet, let students help you do it. Then you’re adding another layer: building their leadership.
Susan Ragsdale and Ann Saylor are the best-selling authors of Great Group Games: 175 Boredom-Busting, Zero-Prep Team Builders for All Ages and seven other books for educators and youth workers. Nationally recognized trainers in positive youth development, service learning, and play with purpose, they partner with schools and after-school programs for professional development. Learn more through their website and blog and follow them on Twitter @TheAssetEdge.
Susan Ragsdale and Ann Saylor are coauthors of Brain Boosters for Groups In a Jar®.
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