Sunday, January 17, 2010

Pass the Bottle – Team Building Activity

Pass the Bottle to your name

Props Needed:
  • Dry erase markers
  • Stop watch
  • One less water bottle than participants, If you have 8 participants you need 7 water bottles.
Group Size:
  • 8 - 12, you can have multiple circles going at one time
Ask the participants to stand in a circle. There should be one less water bottle that participants; i.e. 8 participants 7 water bottles.
Ask the participants, with a dry erase marker, to write their names on all the bottles within the circle (the dry erase marker will rub off and end up on the participant’s hands).

  • First Round:
Ask the participants to pass the bottles to their left one full time around the circle, the bottle that starts with you ends with you. While they pass the bottle from one person to the next they must say the name of the person they are passing the bottle too.
Have them pass the bottle several more times, until you feel that they are comfortable with all the participants’ names.

  • Second Round:

Ask them to now choose somebody across the circle from them, BUT do not let this person know you chose them. When you say “GO” the participant goes and stands in the place of the person they secretly chose.
“GO” once they are in place explain the instructions.

For the 2nd round the participants will physically walk and hand the bottle to the person who in the first round they passed it to, and then take that persons space.

For example in round 1 Mike passed to Sue, Sue passed to Frank, Frank passed to Leticia etc…

Round two follows the same passing formation as the 1st round, the difference is you must now walk the bottle to the person and hand it to them. After the participants hands off the bottle they take the spot of the person they handed to bottle to. For example Mike now stands in Sue’s place, Sue now stands in Frank’s place, Frank now stands in Leticia’s place etc…

Participants can only change their location when the bottles are exchanged. They cannot move people around between rounds.

Additionally tell the participants that you are timing them to see how fast this can be accomplished.
Have the participants go, keeping time of how quickly they complete the activity.

  • Third Round
Same guidelines as round two minus choosing a participant in secret and moving.
Give the participants 2-3 minutes to plan how they can accomplish the task faster.
Following the 2-3 minutes, yell “GO” and start your watch.
Once they are done announce their time.

  • Final Round

Same guidelines as round three.
This time ask the participants to set a goal of how fast they can accomplish the task as team. There must be a consensus on the goal time.

Give the participants 5-8 minutes to choose a goal and plan how to achieve it.
Following the 5-8 minutes, yell “GO” and start the watch

Once they are done announce their time.
*feel free to lead more rounds if you feel the team wants to. I have found that after 4 rounds they have had enough of Pass the Bottle to your name.

  • Processing:
- What strategies did the group use for an effective solution?
- What was the consequence(s) of change during the activity?
- How did the group develop solutions to the changes and exchanges within the activity?
- What strategies worked? what did not?
- What ideas does the group have for dealing with change when it happens?

  • Facilitator Notes:
This activity works effectively on two points; a) learning names in a hectic environment, b) working as a group to plan and adjust to changes.
While facilitating this activity observe how some team members are able to be “early adapters” - they are open and ready to take on any change. They do not care that change is happening they just want to do something.
The other mode that team members fall into is the “late adapter” - they do not and will not accept change until they fully understand what is going on. They freeze in chaos, observing these traits will aid the facilitator in processing and planning further actions with the group.

Idea From:
An activity called “Change up” that I learned at a Project Adventure Training I attended.

Michael Cardus is the founder of Create-Learning