Leadership Notes #36 – More Games

(This series of “notes” first appeared in the YahooGroup “VenturingList” and are written by Michael Brown. I thought that they were worth sharing with the Commissioner Corps.)

So here we have one more (maybe final) Notes on games (cooperative, initiative, etc). This one, unlike the prior one, has LOTS of resources. I guess that makes up for the dearth of that one. Here I give a very high level overview of several resources and authors I have come across (not all I have used and read, but when I see the same peoples’ work available from several sources, I have to think it should be of value). So who are these people? In no particular order.

Sam Sikes- founder of Learning Unlimited (http://www.learningunlimited.com/) later left to form DoingWorks (http://www.doingworks.com/). He has authored/coauthored “Feeding the Zircon Gorilla”, “Executive Marbles”, “Raptor”, “50 Ways to Use your Noodle”, “50 More Ways to Use your Noodle”, and “The More the Merrier”. His website is still being setup, but there is some good information there.

Jim Cain- website is http://www.teamworkandteamplay.com/, part of The Adventure Group http://www.theadventuregroup.com/. One group within this is Adventure Hardware (http://www.adventurehardware.com) which is a great source of books and equipment, tho Jim points people to Training Wheels (see below) as the source for his books and props. Jim is the author/co-author of “Teamwork & Teamplay”, “Raccoon Circles”, “Teambuilding Puzzles”, “A Teachable Moment” and others. At his site is a free Raccoon Circle document: http://www.teamworkandteamplay.com/resources/new_rc_document_2011_final.pdf and there are more resources at his site.

Chris Cavert, founder of Fundoing (http://www.fundoing.com/index.html) and author/coauthor of “Ricochet”, “Games for Groups” Books 1 & 2, “Games for Teacher”, “Games for Change”, “Affordable Portables” , “Teambuilding Puzzles”, “50 Ways to Use your Noodle”, “50 More Ways to Use your Noodle”, “The More the Merrier”, “E.A.G.E.R Curriculum”, “The Empty Bag” and others. I should point out that his site isn’t very functional right now.

Michelle Cummings, founder of Training Wheels (http://www.training-wheels.com) and author/coauthor of “Playing with a Full Deck”, “A Teachable Moment” and others. Also offered is a free e-newsletter, “The Spokesperson” and a free downloadable sample from “Playing with a Full Deck” if you subscribe. Training Wheels has a webstore (most of the sites do) with lots of resources (probably the most of those noted here). It’s almost overwhelming.

Tom Heck- founder of Teachmeteamwork.com, which is now the International Association of Teamwork Facilitators (IATF), a membership organization. He is the author/coauthor of “Duck Tape Teambuilding Games”, “Teambuilding Puzzles”, “Teamwork Cards” and more. Also offered is a free newsletter, and they have a lot of resources on their website.

Tom Jackson- founder of Active Learning Foundation (www.activelearning.org). He is the author of “Activities That Teach”, “More Activities That Teach”, “Activities that Teach Family Values”, “Still More Activities that Teach”, and “Conducting Group Discussions with Kids”.

“Feeding the Zircon Gorilla”, “Executive Marbles”, and “Raptor” are Sam Sikes books of team building activities. They have some really neat and fun activities in them. Some need props, others not.

Noodles, for those not aware, are these closed cell foam `sticks’ used at pools and on the beach. But they can be used as part of various games and activities. Sam Sikes and Chris Calvert (with contributions from Jim Cain) have put together two books on them: “50 Ways to Use your Noodle”, “50 More Ways to Use your Noodle.” For these, you’ll need several ‘noodles’, and there are sources out there on-line to get them.

“Ricochet”, by Chris Cavert, is a book devoted to activities using a weird, multi-knobbed ball called an “odd ball”. You can get this ball from several of the sources above, and sometimes they will sell the book with the ball.

Chris Cavert has a series of four game books. “Games for Groups” Books 1 & 2 are collections of 5-10 minute activities to get groups discussing on a variety of topics. “Games for Change” is actually by Tim and Lisa Dodds, and has more games for groups. These have an added element that these games have a spiritual aspect, for use by faith-based organizations. “Games for Teachers” (written with Laurie Frank), the final book in the series, is a collection of games for teachers to use in a classroom settings to develop pro-social skills like listening, patience, and similar.

Many of the games and activities covered in this and previous Notes need many props or portables. Buying or making them can be costly. So the book, “Affordable Portables” (2nd edition, 1999), edited by Cavert, focuses on games that have inexpensive portables. Many of these activities are taken from a wide range of authors. It’s also recommend that one use this book as a supplement to others, as there is very scant information on the process or facilitation of these activities. “The Empty Bag” by Dick Hammond and Chris Cavert, is one of several books focusing on prop-less games and activities. I had mentioned Rohnke’s “Backpocket Adventures” in a previous Notes, and there is also the book “No Props” from Project Adventure. These are always good addition to your collection of game resources.

Dr. Jim Cain is known for a few major works in this area. The first is “Teamwork & Teamplay” (1998, with Barry Jolliff). This is a massive book, similar to Rohnke’s “Quicksilver” and “Funn n Games”. Most of the work is taken up by games and activities, but there is an interesting introductory section with recommended reading (something I’ve not seen in other works), and at the end of the book is a long section of recommended resources (books, orgs, and others). Be advised that due to the age of this work, some resources may no longer be valid. “Raccoon Circles” (2002, revised & expanded 2007, with Tom Smith) is devoted to a ton of activities using a “raccoon circle”, which is a 15 foot piece of tubular webbing tied in a circle. “Teambuilding Puzzles” (with Chris Cavert and Tom Heck) is another good resource of games and activities for teams. “A Teachable Moment” (with Michelle Cummings and Jennifer Stanchfield) is also a good resource, with good information on how to facilitate the games.

“Playing with a Full Deck” by Michelle Cummings, is a book focused on activities using a deck of cards. I’ve come across a few books like that, where the focus is activities that use a certain item (the “Ricochet” and “Raccoon Circles” books above). Others I’ve come across include “Duck Tape Teambuilding” by Tom Heck and “Beaucoup Bandanas” by Sara Shaw. These do give you a resource of games using inexpensive props to add to your mix. I have not used the works by Tom Jackson, “Activities That Teach”, “More Activities That Teach”, and “Still More Activities that Teach”, but have seen them listed at several sites and in several of the books. If it’s not clear, these books have activities to teach various things. There is a combined list of all the activities and their purpose at his site. Some of the activities deal with helping people with alcohol, drugs, and the like. But other activities are to teach time management, communication, decision making and more.

Here are some great videos with these authors. Sam Sikes on Trebuchet Teambuilding: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvaAQFJZOYw Chris Cavert on Word Circle Puzzles: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YeD2i4_WFt8 Dr. Jim Cain on the “Memory” game: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHU0Ht0UO7k

Finally, a word of warning when looking for books and other resources. In most cases, you can’t go wrong using Amazon for getting books (both new and used). However, for some of these works, I found that Amazon doesn’t carry them, so it’s usually other people selling them (new or used) thru Amazon at a much higher price than they should be (ex: asking $60 for a $20 book). You need to check out the various webstores at the above sites (also, check out the website for Wood n Barnes, http://www.woodnbarnes.com, which is a publisher that specializes in the area of experiential learning and published many of the above works and the website of Kendall-Hunt, http://www.kendallhunt.com/, which is an educational publisher who has published many of the above works). And you’ll need to compare, as I found in a few cases where prices were different (by as much as $10) between certain sites for certain items. Same goes for looking for props and equipment.