In this team building activity, the group has to devise a way to move as many “flying” cotton balls as possible into the “landing zone” indicated in front of them, using only the materials provided.
- Masking tape (to mark out the start line and a “landing zone” that is 50cm by 50cm)
- 1 bag of cotton balls
- 1 index card
- 1 sheet of newspaper
- 1 recycled plastic lid (e.g. from yoghurt container)
- 2 sheets of paper
- 2 paper cups
- 2 binder clips
- 4 rubber bands
- 4 sheets of newspaper
- 4 straws
- 5 rubber bands
- 5 paper clips
- Piece of masking tape (20cm)
Space Required: Medium, ideally indoors.
Group Size: 6 – 12 is ideal. If you have a bigger group, you may want to split them into smaller teams of 4 – 6 people to make it more competitive.
Total Time: 30 minutes
- 10 minutes to brief and setup
- 10 minutes for the activity
- 10 minutes to review and debrief
- Use the masking tape to mark out a start line on the ground.
- Measure out 4 meters from the start line and create a “landing zone” (50cm by 50cm) using the masking tape.
- The materials for the challenge should be placed behind the start line.
Running the Activity
- Explain the activity: The team has to move as many cottons balls as possible from behind the start line to the “landing zone” indicated in front of them. Using only the materials provided, they have to devise a way for the cotton balls to “fly” and land in the “landing zone”.
- Once they are ready, start the timer. Participants get 3 minutes of planning time and 5 minutes for the actual challenge.
- The team with the most cotton balls in the “landing zone” at the end of the activity wins the game.
- Only the provided materials can be used during the challenge.
- Participants are not allowed to directly throw the cotton balls into the “landing zone” using their hands.
- Participants are not allowed to step across the start line at any time during the challenge.
- The team is given 3 minutes to plan and 5 minutes to complete the challenge.
- Only cotton balls that land within the boundaries of the “landing zone” will count towards the team’s final score.
Suggested Learning Outcomes
- Problem solving
- Creative thinking
- You can run this activity without any planning time allocated to see how teams perform under pressure.
- You can adjust the distance between the start line and the “landing zone” to vary the difficulty level of the activity.
- Instead of setting a time limit, the game can be based on which team is the first to “land” a set number of cotton balls (for example, 20 cotton balls) in the “landing zone”.
- You can run this activity in two rounds to give teams the opportunity to refine their plans and shoot for a higher goal in the second round.
Suggested questions to ask:
- Why was it important you planned before attempting the challenge?
- How did you discuss different ideas? Did everyone have opportunity to share their ideas?
- How did you decide on the method of making the cotton balls “fly”?
- Did your plan work? If not, how did the team respond or change strategies?
- Did you identify a leader? If yes, how did having a leader help?
- How well do you feel you worked as a team? What did you do well? What could you improve?
- What did you learn from the challenge?