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Team Building - Activity of the Month
March 2010 - Noodle Relay

This is another low-level initiative that can be done just about anywhere. This is a great activity to get a group moving. It does generate a real sense of competition. If you are not wanting the group to compete, you may not want this activity on your agenda. However, if you want to stimulate discussion about the pros and cons of competition, this will definitely set the stage by creating competition. 

The props are simple. Use swimming pool noodles that have been cut to half-length. You need approximately as many half-noodles as you have team members. 
Break the group into team of from five to ten members.
You have probably seen relays where the team members have to move/run together with a balloon sandwiched between every two members. This relay is similar. Rather than the balloon, you use the noodle. I like this for a couple of reasons:
  • Members are a little farther apart, which is safer. There is less chance of people stepping on each others heals and tripping.
  • Members are a little farther apart, which is more comfortable if you have both genders participating in the relay.
 Set up the relay with the following rules/instructions: 
  • The first member goes to the pylon and returns
  • The next leg involves the first member plus a second team member. They must go to the pylon and back while keeping a noodle held between their bodies lengthwise.
  •  No hands are allowed to keep the noodle in place.
  • Each additional leg adds a member and a noodle so that you have a chain of members that are moving with noodles held between their bodies. (Again, no hands are allowed.)
 Obviously, as the length of the chain of team members grows, so does the complexity.
This activity is a lot of fun, but is can also lead to some productive learning and discussion.
  • Pylons or similar markers for you start and finish lines
  • Half-length swimming pool noodles
  • Be concerned with groups trying to run to fast, creating a hazardous situatio
  • You can control group speed with a couple of additional rules if necessary
  • Walking fast is allowed. Running is not allowed.
  • You may not lift your feet from the floor/ground. (This forces team members to slide their feet, preventing running.)
  • Make sure your area is free of tripping hazards.
Teamwork is required
  • How did you organize?
  • How did teamwork evolve as you continued the exercise?
  • How was teamwork important to success?
Competition, both positive and negative, is a great processing topic
  • Describe the sense of competitiveness that occurred.
  • When is competition important in our work?
  • Does competition ever hurt our effort at work?  Describe how
Learning skills together is a great processing possibility
  • How did you learn together as a team?
  • When, in your real work, is learning together important?
  • How can you enhance learning within your team?
Cooperation and support for each other
  • How were your levels of cooperation as you went?
  • How do you build and nurtured cooperation and support in your team?
Communication and developing a successful process
  • Describe your communication processes.
  • How did success in communication help you to create a successful process in the relay?
  • What kinds of communication challenges to you face as a team at work?

This is a fun, yet powerful activity.  It can be done indoors or out. 


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