“We don’t learn from experience. We learn from reflecting on experience.” -John Dewey
Reflection is an important part of team building. Reflection activities play an important role in helping groups understand, analyze, and gain meaning from the experiences. Here are 5 reflection oriented games you can play.
- Ship Drawing
Draw a picture of a ship and people in different roles on the ship: Captain, Lookout, People rowing in the lower part, and someone in a life raft. Then have people look at the poster and decide where on the poster they feel they are in terms of the group dynamics. Then, once everyone has silently written their name next to a role, have them discuss why they put themselves there. Ask them if the current situation is working, or if they would move someone from their place and why. Make sure the conversation stays constructive, with people using positive language. This is helpful in seeing where people really view themselves in terms of how the group functions.
2. Blindfolded Appreciation
This is a favorite of everyone. Someone even turned it into a weird kissing game. But hey, it IS a nice way of showing love. Everyone in the group comes to the activity with a sort of blindfold and sits with some space between them. Once everyone is settled, ask people to raise their hands if they haven’t gone yet, then pick a small number of the group. Then, tell them to “tap the shoulder of someone who….” And have a list of interesting things people could appreciate others for. For example, touch the shoulder of someone you consider a great leader, someone you can trust, someone who always makes you smile, etc. The activity should be silent except for facilitator. Each round, people should get about 5 or 6 questions. There are lots of fun opportunities for reflection here. How did it feel when someone touched your shoulder? How did it feel if you knew you had that quality and weren’t recognized for it? Did you realize that someone might have thought that about you, but it wasn’t their turn to tap? What things do you think you need to work on because of this? What topic surprised you when someone tapped you for. Fun, warm and fuzzy.
3. Cross the Line
If you have a bullying situation, this can be powerful, but its powerful anyway. Have a list of questions such as “Cross the Line if you like sports, if you have ever felt left out, if you have ever been on a boat, if you are etc.” The activity is silent and set up in a quiet area with a long line drawn in the center. After each round, ask people to cross back over the line. The questions can be whatever you want, and a way for people to express themselves without having to talk. I have never lead the debrief of this for adults. It can get really intense.
4. Star Moments
Give everyone a star and ask each person to share a star moment they saw in someone else, when their “gifts were shining through” and have them place the star on the person after they tell them. Make sure everyone gets a star.
5. Action Steps
Place footprints or markers on the ground. Ask the group what is one thing they personally commit to do in the next session to help the group function better. When they do, they take a step forward until everyone has gone.