This outdoor team building activity has the group working together to form the longest shadow they can, using only their bodies.
Space Required: Large. Outdoors. This activity works best if conducted in an open field on a bright, sunny day.
Group Size: 10 – 20 participants.
Total Time: 30 minutes
- 5 minutes to brief and setup
- 5 minutes for planning/strategy
- 10 minutes for the activity
- 10 minutes to review and debrief
Running the Activity
- Explain the activity: In this activity, the team is tasked with forming shadows in order to create the longest one they can. The team shadow must be continuous and created only by positioning themselves to create the longest shadow they can using only their bodies.
- The team receives 5 minutes of planning time. During this time, they cannot test out their plan but can only have a verbal discussion.
- Once the planning time is over, they have 10 minutes to test and execute their plan to create the longest shadow.
- At the end of the allotted 10 minutes, the facilitator will measure/check their shadow.
- If there is more time, you can try the variations on this activity (listed below).
- The shadow that is created by the team must be unbroken – e.g. the individual shadows must connect or overlap with each other.
- The shadow must be created only using people, not props – e.g. the team has to position themselves to create longer shadows, and other items such as clothing, shoes etc cannot be used.
- Challenge the group to form the largest/longest perimeter of a shape (e.g. star, rectangle or circle)
- This activity can also be done in pairs to find the longest shadow created by two people.
This may seem like a fairly simple activity, but it can have a strong impact as it highlights how powerful planning and teamwork can be.
Using shadows as a metaphor, this activity can be used a starting point for a team discussion on what legacy or impact they’d like to leave in the organization.
Suggested Learning Outcome
- Problem solving
Suggested questions to ask:
- How well did the team communicate?
- Did everyone agree on the plan? If not, how did you compromise?
- How useful was the planning time in creating your strategy?
- Did anyone step up as a leader? How did having a leader help?
- What did you learn from the challenge?
- Just as shadows are cast by the sun, how do you think your team will have an impact on the success of your organization?