Hold Up Papers Team Building Activity

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This team building activity challenges participants to be creative in solving a simple problem: how many sheets of paper can two people hold up? The catch: the papers should be held up (somehow, creatively!) between their bodies.

Resources: Sheets of paper — to be environmentally-friendly, please use recycled/used sheets of paper!

Space Required: Medium. Ideally indoors.


Group Size: Minimum 12 participants — ideally the group should be an odd number as they will be divided into smaller teams of 3.

Total Time: 30 minutes

  •    5 minutes to brief and setup
  •    15 minutes for the activity
  •    10 minutes to review and debrief

Running the Activity

  •    Explain the activity: In this activity, the group will be divided into smaller teams of 3. In each trio, one person will be assigned as the leader for that round. He/She will instruct the other 2 members of the team on how to hold up as many pieces of paper as possible between their bodies. The 3 team members are able to communicate with each other during the round, although the leader is not able to physically help them complete the task.
  •    Each round is 3 minutes long. After the end of the round, the team will log how many pieces of papers were successfully held up.
  •    Then, the other 2 team members will take turns to be leader for rounds 2 and 3.
  •    The activity ends when all 3 members of the team have taken a turn as leader.

Rules

  •    The sheets of paper cannot be folded.
  •    You cannot use any other resources to hold up the paper (e.g. adhesives, items of clothing)
  •    Each sheet of paper must be in contact with both team members at the end of the round in order to count towards the score.
  •    The leader can only instruct the team members and cannot physically help position or place the sheets of paper.

Activity Notes

This activity allows participants to experience the same task both as a leader and as a team player. It highlights the importance of communication skills, and how both leading and following are essential for success.

Due to the close physical nature of this activity, it may be better suited for participants who already know each other or as an activity that is conducted later in the programme once the group has become comfortable with each other.

To increase difficulty, you can use smaller pieces of paper or even fabric.

Suggested Learning Outcomes

  •    Leadership
  •    Cooperation
  •    Communication
  •    Creativity

Review

Suggested questions to ask:

  •    How well did your team communicate?
  •    What were the differences between being in a leadership role versus being in the team? Which role did you enjoy more?
  •    What challenges did you encounter as a leader and as a team player?
  •    What was the process of giving feedback as a team member like? Did you feel as though the leader took your feedback on board?
  •    What did you learn from the activity?
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