The high cost of fuel this summer means that families may be sticking closer to home than usual. Some folks are even pledging not to drive one day a week. Those first few stay-at-home days might be novel enough to keep the kids entertained, but what happens when cost-conscious parents start to hear, “I’m bored”?
Team Challenges are a proven birthday party success, so why not invite a gaggle of kids over for some team building fun? And if you know enough of the neighborhood families, ask the adults to cooperate with you in offering the kids a full week – or one day a week – of fun. You’ll be able to take turns providing a camp-like atmosphere without leaving town.
You’ll need to acquire some materials. Check local grocery stores for boxes, gather cardboard tubes, and generally raid recycle bins for good stuff. It’s okay if you don’t have exactly what each activity calls for – they’re flexible!
If you have a large group, divide kids into teams of 4-5. Have these teams work together throughout the day. You’ll be surprised at how their cooperation skills improve over the course of the day.
Set the ground rules:
• Every idea is worth considering.
• Teasing will not be tolerated.
• Every participant is a valuable part of the team
If your group is new to the concept of working together, it’s a good idea to get them warmed up. A couple of brainstorming sessions will get their creative juices flowing and start working to build trust as kids come to realize that it’s safe to share out of the box ideas – because creativity counts. Give the teams two minutes to come up with as many answers as possible to the following questions:
• Name things that fly (birds, planes, baseballs)
• Name things that arrive (the mail, a movie star, trains)
• What could SLR stand for (Slow Lumpy Raisins)
• Name things that bounce (balls, trampolines, checks)
Once the kids seem to have warmed up, start with the paper clip challenge and the boxtop challenge. After that, it’s time to move on to bigger building challenges. If you have Team Challenges, terrific (and thanks!). Choose a variety of challenges to do and assemble the materials for each one in a different box. If you don’t have Team Challenges, why? I’m kidding! You’ll find a list of challenges that will work here (check the sidebar), and there are more in my ebook that’s also linked in the sidebar. Of course, if you’re creative, you’ll be able to invent some challenges of your own!
Instead of just feeding your bunch, break up the day with a tasty challenge. Give each team a can of whipped cream (outside!), a bowl of pretzel sticks, a package of graham crackers, and a bag of mini marshmallows. Challenge them to create a tower as tall as possible in five minutes – and then let them eat it.
Done? Finish off the day with a sprinkler building event. Provide all of the kids with lengths of PVC pipe, connectors, funnels, and hoses and let them invent crazy waterways.