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Leadership Games and Activities



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While working as interns, we were tasked with the project of collecting different leadership games to be used for a leadership camp of high school students.

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Leadership Games and Activities

  1. 1. By Katherine Beggs & Lacey Solheid Interns at Montana State University Billings Summer 2013
  2. 2.   Ask each person in the group to think of two true facts about themselves, and one lie.  Each person in the group takes a turn telling the group their three items.  The group then has to agree on which fact they think is a lie. Once the group announces their decision, the speaker tells the group the correct answer. The group then can talk about any of the interesting things they just learned about the new person.  Variation: Each person writes down their 2 truths and a lie on a piece of paper and hands it in anonymously. Read each card randomly one at a time. The group has to decide who the person on the card is, as well as the lie. Two Truths & A Lie University of South Carolina. University 101 Seminar Faculty Resource Manual.
  3. 3.   The leader has the group randomly pair up. Once introductions between partners are made, the leader gives the group a topic to discuss with their partner for 30 seconds or so.  At the end of the time, the leader will call for the group to switch partners and call out a new topic.  Try to choose topics that are both fun and insightful. Examples include:  If you could have lunch with anyone from history, who would it be?  If you could be granted one wish, what would it be?  If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?  If you could be any animal, what would you be?  Describe your perfect day.  If you could eat one type of food for the rest of your life, what would it be?  If you were stranded on a deserted island, who are three people you would want with you?  Where‟s the prettiest place you‟ve ever been? Speed Dating http://www.ultimatecampresource.com/site/camp-activity/face-to-face.html
  4. 4.   Students stand in a circle. Leader has a beach ball that has a bunch of different questions written on it. Someone starts by throwing the ball to a random person in the group. Whichever question your right thumb lands on the ball is the question you must answer. Student then throws ball to next random person until everyone has answered a question.  Examples of questions written on beach ball:  What is your favorite color?  What is your favorite beach or mountains?  First email address?  Horror or comedy movies? Beach Ball Game University of South Carolina. University 101 Seminar Faculty Resource Manual.
  5. 5.   Students sit in a circle. One starts by saying their name and a food that starts with the same letter as their first name that they would bring on a picnic (James would bring juice).  Each person next in the circle must say their name and picnic item, and the name and picnic item of each person before them. Picnic Name Game
  6. 6.   Students stand in a circle. One student in the circle says something about themselves (it can be anything; their favorite food, favorite tv show, etc.).  For any student who agrees with the statement, they step into the circle and yell “True that!”. For any student who really agrees with the statement, they step into the circle and yell “True that, double true!”.  Each student says something about themselves until everyone has participated. The more enthusiasm with the chanting of “True that, double true,” the better! True That, Double True University of South Carolina. University 101 Seminar Faculty Resource Manual.
  7. 7.   Students are standing and must form a straight line that is alphabetical by middle name without talking. They can make hand signals, but cannot say anything to one another. Once they‟ve formed the line, they each say their middle name in order to see if they‟ve gotten it correct.  Variations  Birthdays (by month or by oldest to youngest)  How far they have traveled  Place they were born Silent Line-Up
  8. 8.   A human scavenger hunt is just like a regular scavenger hunt, but the students are looking for others with various traits, all the while learning a bit about their classmates and getting out of their comfort zones a little. Tell the students they have 10 minutes to find someone who fits the following categories and each person can only sign your paper once. They cannot sign their own sheet. Source: http://smallstrokesbigoaks.com/2010/08/11/getting-to-know-you-human-scavenger-hunt-edition/ Human Scavenger Hunt
  9. 9. Likes broccoli ______________________________________________________ Ate breakfast before school this morning ________________________________ Likes to work out ___________________________________________________ Can recite the alphabet backwards (prove it!) ____________________________ Is a Sox fan _______________________________________________________ Is the oldest child ___________________________________________________ Is the youngest child ________________________________________________ Is a middle child ____________________________________________________ Is an only child _____________________________________________________ Has a pet (what kind?) ______________________________________________ Can speak another language other than English __________________________ Has been out of the country (where?) __________________________________ Has been out of the state (where?) ____________________________________ Is wearing socks that aren‟t white _____________________________________ Eats Hawaiian pizza _________________________________________________ Read more than one book over the summer _____________________________ Watches or reads the news every day __________________________________ Reads his/her horoscope every day ____________________________________ Plays a musical instrument (which one?) ________________________________ Plays a sport (which one?) ___________________________________________ Human Scavenger Hunt
  10. 10.   The group leader begins by stating that this learning experience is designed to explore the participants‟ thought processes. After giving each participant a pencil and a piece of paper, the trainer explains that the group members will be listening to a series of incomplete statements. The participants will be writing down the statement and then, using their own words, completing the thought. For example: “If I could be anyone, I would be ____.”  The leader then reads the first incomplete sentence to the participants. After giving the group members one minute to copy down and then complete the thought, the trainer proceeds to the second statement, continuing the aforementioned process until the participants have completed all 10 statements.  When the participants have finished, the trainer rereads the statements one at a time and asks each group member to share his or her responses with the group. At any interval, the group members may discuss or question the rationale for a participants‟ response.  The trainer may conclude the activity by discussing the similarities and differences among the group members‟ responses. Completed Thought
  11. 11.  Statements to be Completed List  Today I wish I were _____.  The main reason I am here is _____.  My dream vacation is _____.  I choose friends who are _____.  I think my best quality is my _____.  This week I am hoping to learn _____.  A pet peeve of mine is _____.  My favorite pastime is _____.  The rest of the summer I am _____.  If I could have any job, it would be _____. Completed Thought http://voices.yahoo.com/group-activities-ice-breakers-help-people-to-43517.html
  12. 12.  Students can be sitting or standing in a circle.  One person starts out holding the ball of string and a piece of the string. They say their name and two things they like or are passionate about. They then throw the ball of string (while still holding the string) to a new person.  That new person says the name of the previous person and their two interests, and then says their own name and their two interests. They hold onto a piece of string and throw the ball to a new person. Eventually, there is a web of string that shows that connects everyone We‟re All Connected University of South Carolina. University 101 Seminar Faculty Resource Manual.
  13. 13.   Give students a note card and tell them to write down three interesting facts (characteristics, significant events, accomplishments, etc.) about themselves.  They should not write their names on the cards. When they are finished, collect the cards. Have the students randomly choose one of the cards and have the group guess whose card it is based on the facts. Notecard Activity University of South Carolina. University 101 Seminar Faculty Resource Manual.
  14. 14.  Everyone starts out as an egg by squatting down low and waddling like an egg. "Eggs" find another egg and play a game of rock-paper- scissors. The winners turn into a chicken.  Chickens move on to find other chickens, and eggs continue to play against other eggs. The losers of each round go down one level (Chickens go back to being eggs, Dinosaurs go back to chickens, ultimate beings go back to being dinosaurs).  Each time a player wins a r-p-s bout, they transform into the next stage. The game can continue for as long as you would like it to.  The "transformations" and actions are:  Egg: squatting down low near ground  Chicken: putting thumbs under armpits and flapping elbows  Dinosaur/Raptor – arms out and walking like a raptor  Ultimate Being: Arms up in the air like you just won a race “Transformation” Rock, Paper Scissors Adapted from: http://www.ultimatecampresource.com/site/camp-activity/evolution-aka-ultimate-person-or-transformation.html
  15. 15.  Present clue to the group. They can only ask yes or no questions to solve the mystery.  Mystery 1  Clue: A man pushes his car in front of a hotel and says “I‟m broke and I‟m out!”. What happened?  Answer: He is playing monopoly  Mystery 2  Clue: A body is found in the middle of a field with a ring on his finger. How did he die?  Answer: The ring is a rip cord, but the parachute didn‟t open.  Mystery 3  Clue: Two men go to visit a female friend. She offers them soft drinks, which they accept. The drinks are identical in every way. One of the men dies after drinking his drink, but the other man does not. Why did one of the men die?  Answer: There was poison in the ice cubes of both drinks. One man chugged his drink, so the ice didn‟t get a chance to melt and release the poison. The other man sipped his drink and was poisoned. Minute Mysteries http://www.ultimatecampresource.com/site/camp-activity/minute-mysteries-i.html
  16. 16.  Present clue to the group. They can only ask yes or no questions to solve the mystery.  Mystery 4  Clue: Two bodies are lying in a puddle of water and there is broken glass all about. How did they die?  Answer: The bodies are two fish, whose tank has fell and broke.  Mystery 5  Clue: Fifty people are in a cabin having a snack. Now they are all dead. What happened?  Answer: It was an airplane cabin and the plane crashed. Minute Mysteries http://www.ultimatecampresource.com/site/camp-activity/minute-mysteries-i.html
  17. 17.  All players start by standing in a circle with their shoes off to mark their “place” in the circle. One person should be standing in the middle without his or her shoes in front of her.  The player in the middle states a sentence beginning with the words “Never have I ever…” For example they might say “Never have I ever been on a roller coaster.” This statement should be completely true and preferably something that other players do not know about the person.  The other players must listen carefully. If they HAVE done the action or sentence that the person in the middle has not done, they must run across the circle to another players spot that is open.  A player cannot step to the side to an open spot. The player must move at least two spots away. The game continues for as long as you would like. Never Have I Ever http://www.ehow.com/how_4450702_play-never-have-ever.html
  18. 18.   Everyone stands in a tight circle, with their heads down looking at their shoes.  When „Heads Up‟ is called, everyone looks up and stares at someone else in the circle.  If that person is staring right back at you, then you scream real loud and jump back out of the circle.  If the person you‟re looking at is not looking at you, put your head back down and wait for the next round.  Keep going until there are two players remaining. Scream Machine http://www.ultimatecampresource.com/site/camp-activity/scream-machine-or-screaming-toes.html
  19. 19.   Everyone must either lie on their stomachs with their hands in front of them or sit at table with their hands in front of them, in a circle. Either way, have your hands ready to slap a flat surface.  Once everyone places their hands directly on the table or ground in front of them, move your right hand in between the person to your right's hands. This create an alternating hand pattern. So, looking down onto the group the hands would look like this:  (From left to right) My LEFT hand, then the person on my left's RIGHT hand, then the person on my right's LEFT hand, then my RIGHT hand, and so on. Although it is hard to describe, it's a really simple set-up..  To start, one person calls out the tapping direction, either Left or Right, and starts slaps their hand once on the ground/table. The hand closest to the first slap, in the named direction, slaps the hand, then the next closest, and so on. Hand Game http://www.ultimatecampresource.com/site/camp-activity/the-hand-game.html
  20. 20.   If hand A slaps, hand B can either single slap or double slap. A single slap keeps the slap going in the correct direction, a double slap sends the slap in the opposite direction.  If someone slaps out of turn, they must remove that hand. All other hands stay where they are. When both hands are out, that person is out of the game.  The game is over when there are two people left.  Try and go faster as the game progresses. If you make a mistake, then you leave the circle. Hand Game http://www.ultimatecampresource.com/site/camp-activity/the-hand-game.html
  21. 21.   A pair faces each other, holding the other person‟s shoulder.  They then try to tap each other‟s toes, while simultaneously trying to avoid having their toes tapped.  Assure that players are equally armed, bare foot to bare foot, or shoe to shoe  Once a player has had their toes tapped three times, they trade partners with the losing player of another pair. Toe Fencing http://www.ultimatecampresource.com/site/camp-activity/toe-fencing.html
  22. 22.   Challenge each group to create a dance/performance and karaoke to a song. Each student takes on a role in the band (drummer, lead singer, guitarist, cowbell, etc.)  The lyrics can typically be found on YouTube. This exercise helps students to learn how to be fun and crazy and not to worry about what others may think of them. YouTube Karaoke Performance
  23. 23.   Split into small groups of students. Give each group a bunch of old newspapers and a roll of duct tape.  Have each group create a costume of some sort using just the materials they are given. The look must be on one of the members of the group.  Give each group 15 minutes to complete their look and have a fashion show at the end of the time. Newspaper Fashion Show
  24. 24.  Have the group make a large circle. (This game also works well as a race between several circles in larger groups.)  Have everyone put their left hand in the middle, and hold hands with someone in the circle, not directly next to them. Repeat with the right hand, and be sure to hold hands with a different person, who is not directly next to them. You can use 1-foot “buddy ropes” to reduce arm twisting if you like.  Then the group must use teamwork to unravel themselves into a circle again without coming disconnected. Human Knot http://www.ultimatecampresource.com/site/camp-activity/human-knot.html
  25. 25.   Have the group of 8-12 divide into two lines and face each other.  Explain the technical rules to the group (very important): everyone's index fingers MUST remain in contact with the stick at all times, and the stick must rest on top of their fingers at all times (no grabbing, finger curling, etc.)  Have the group extend their index fingers at waist level. Lay the stick across the group's fingers.  At that time, the group must work together to lower the stick to the ground.  Inevitably, the stick rises almost instantly - causing laughter, frustration, or confusion. The rise is caused by the small ripples of upward pressure as individuals each try to remain in contact with the stick.  After refocusing, the group will be able to lower the stick. Magic Stick http://www.ultimatecampresource.com/site/camp-activity/helium-stick.html
  26. 26.   Start with a small tarp or rug that allows all of the group members be able to stand on. Tell the group that they are now on a magic carpet and cannot step off.  The group must work as a team to flip the tarp or rug over without having anyone step off. If a group member falls off the carpet, the team must start over. Magic Carpet
  27. 27.   Post a variety of leadership quotes around a room. Have each student stand by one that speaks to them or shows their leadership values. Have them explain why it is relevant to their lives. Leadership Quotes http://www.collegegrazing.com/counselors/guidance-activities
  28. 28.   Purpose: Students are able to explore their own values and what is important to them. Additionally, through sharing students are able to see that others have different values.  Preparation: Cut up 8 ½ x 11 sheets of Blue, Pink, Purple, Green & Orange paper into approximately 3x3 inch squares. Each participant will receive four sheets of paper from each of the five different colored stacks.  Once the students have all of the materials have them sort them in rows by color. Set ground rules, and let participants know that this is a very personal activity. Ask them to try to keep talking to a minimum. Tell them to reflect personally and professionally on their values. Get Real
  29. 29.  Next you will guide the participants through the process.  Blue - Think about four material items/personal possessions that you value the most. Write down one answer per piece of paper.  Pink - Write down the four people that are the most important to you. They can be family members, friends, mentors, professors, etc. Only ONE person per paper (i.e. can‟t say “parents,” “friends,” etc… on each paper)  Green - Think about four memories that you always want to have and write them down. These memories can be good or they can be a tough memory that you have learned from. However you may want to define them. Things that have made you the person you are today.  Orange - Think about four goals that you find important to set for your future. Write them down.  Purple – Write down four places that are important to you. It could be your hometown, K- State, your residence hall, your high school, the home you grew up in; just any physical place.  Take a few minutes to look over these values that you have in front of you and think about why they are important to you. Think about the good times and the tough times that come along with some of these. Get Real
  30. 30.  Now that you have thought about these values, take six away. When you take these away, that means that they are no longer a part of your life (i.e. you never met that person, went to that place, have possession of that item, or are not working towards that goal). Take five more away. Take four more away. Take three more away. This should leave you with your top three values in life. The top three things that influence who you are on a day to day basis.  Debriefing Questions  What values are you left with?  Why are they important to you?  Did you find this exercise to be easy?  What values did you find to be the easiest to eliminate?  What did you learn from this activity? About yourself?  How will these values that you wrote down affect your life? Future?  Do you think in life, you may have to make such difficult choices  Do you think you will make the same choices as you did today?  What pressures in life could make you choose between things in your life?  How might you prepare to deal with such choices in your future?  Is what is important to you today going to be as important to you in 5, 10, 20 years? Get Real Melanie O‟Laughlin
  31. 31.  Leadership Values  Explain that it is important that leaders clarify their own sense of leadership values. Ask participants to reflect upon the values that define their role as a leader? Then ask participant to individually circle five values listed below that best complete the following sentence:  " _________________ is a „cornerstone‟ in my approach to leadership."  Have the group discuss how values drive leadership behavior. Ask them for specific examples.  Variation: You may want to pool participant responses to see if there are some common denominators in the group.  Leadership Values to include: ACHIEVEMENT ADVENTURE CHALLENGE CONTROL CREATIVITY ECONOMIC BALANCE FAIRNESS FREEDOM HAPPINESS HARD WORK HONESTY HARMONY INVOLVEMENT ORDER AFFECTION COMFORT CONFORMITY COOPERATION DIRECTNESS EXPERTNESS FLEXIBILITY FRIENDSHIP HELPFULNESS INDEPENDENCE INTEGRITY LEADERSHIP MORALITY/ETHICS LOYALTY PREDICTABILITY RESPONSIBILITY RESPONSIVENESS POWER RECOGNITION RISK SELF-RESPECT VARIETY SECURITY TRADITION TRUST WISDOM SERVICE AWARENESS PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT http://www.workshopexercises.com/Leadership.htm#L1
  32. 32.  Students may enjoy creating a “College Interview T- Shirt.” Ask students to imagine that they are going to interview at their top college choice.  Their task is to create an interview t-shirt that announces the one or two things that they want the interviewer to know about them. Students may add relevant or symbolic images.  You may want to enlarge a t-shirt graphic so students can write their messages on a t-shirt picture or, if you are really ambitious, you may actually provide t-shirts and magic markers for a hands-on activity.  Variation 1: Can also be done with pillowcases or other cloth- like materials  Variation 2: Have other students in the group write about things that they like about the owner of the pillowcase or t- shirt. My College Interview T- Shirt http://www.collegegrazing.com/counselors/guidance-activities
  33. 33.  In this exercise leaders think about their daily roles and then quickly write down key words that come to their mind when they think of those roles. These key words should reflect how they perceive of themselves performing each role. Complete the chart below and then use the key words to write a leadership statement that characterizes their approach to leadership.  Problem solver  Referee (settles interpersonal conflict)  Process Manager (ensures that goals are met)  Procurer (finds and manages resources)  Visionary  Crisis Manager (puts out everyday fires)  Motivator  Task Master  Counselor (helps reports with personal issues)  Risk Taker  Expert  Variations: You may want to give each participant a blank chart and have the group determine the everyday roles of the leader. Also, you may want the participants to talk about their personal observations rather than write them. This activity is a good springboard to discussing each of the leader roles in more depth. Key Words http://www.workshopexercises.com/Leadership_continued.htm
  34. 34.   What Are Good Leadership Skills:  http://www.what-are-good-leadership- skills.com/activities-for-leadership-workshops.html  10 Minute Leadership Lessons from 4-H:  http://4h.missouri.edu/projects/curriculum/10minu teleadershiplessons.pdf Other Resources