top of page




Any interactive engagement of participants that fit into one of the activity type categories. They are meant as a tool to build teams.

Activity TYPE:

  • Appreciation & Bonding Activities: Appreciation and bonding activities take icebreakers and getting to know you to the next level. They are designed to break down barriers between people and deepen relationships between group members.

  • Energizers: The goal of these activities are to change the energy in a group – either higher or lower; and should be used to shift the focus of the group based on what is next to come.

  • Experiential Activities: Experiential activities are at the heart of the active learning process. Use them to help a group learn a lesson, solve a problem, develop/refine skills, and more. These activities must be debriefed in order to elicit learning. Experiential activities can also be interactive curriculum, not just teambuilding type activities.

  • Games: You can win a game, but you can’t win an activity. These are typically used for fun, but can be used as experiential activities if desired. 

  • Getting to Know You Activities: Getting to know you activities are designed for participants to learn things about themselves and their group members.  

  • Icebreakers: Icebreakers provide a low risk way to warm a group up to each other. They should help set a conducive tone for the group to begin to feel comfortable engaging with one another on a surface level, and possibly start to get to know each other.  

  • Mixers: Mixers are used to mix up and introduce larger groups of people to each other.


Age: Activities+ are written for a specific age range that we derived from child psychologists Vygotsky and Piaget, who researched child cognitive development focusing on how development/learning is influenced by interaction with the environment, and socially and culturally. The age ranges considered are:

  • Grades K-2

  • Grades 3-4

  • Grades 5-6

  • Grades 7-12

  • Adult/Professional


Group Development Model: Created by Bruce Tuckman in the 1960's, the Group Development Model helps facilitators to determine fitting approaches for groups based on the stage they exist in. 

  • Forming Stage: In the forming stage, groups are just coming together and potentially meeting each other for the first time. Members are often motivated, but not familiar with the objectives or the potential challenges for the group. They may begin to create ground rules, set goals, discuss how to do things, and possibly even start to test the boundaries of what is and is not acceptable by the group. In this stage, facilitators should set up a safe environment for people to get involved. Encourage people to share only what they are comfortable with and also engage in the process with the group so they can get to know you as well!

  • Storming Stage: In the storming stage, the group starts to experience conflict. This conflict can be internal or external conflict, but mainly centers around uncertainty, lack of trust, personality differences, fear, anxiety and even suspicion. This stage is extremely beneficial for groups to experience if they are able to navigate through it with tolerance and patience. When groups are able to do this, the struggle can make members and the group stronger, resulting in an appreciation for differences and the ability to more readily work through future conflicts. It is in this stage that facilitators can make really amazing strides with a group, but also must be careful to not allow the group to get out of control and become destructive. 

  • Norming Stage: When a group is able to navigate through the storming phase, their experience with resolving conflict leads to a more cooperative working environment. They may revisit ground rules, goals and processes set before and revise to better reflect their group now that they know each other better. Because of this, members tend to take more responsibility and want to work together towards the common goal. As a facilitator, this is where you want to help the group to discuss and establish norms that will encourage members to remain open and honest with each other as the danger in coming together as a group is that members may become too focused on preventing external conflict that they hold back feedback that may help the group progress in order to keep the peace. Inevitably this will lead to internal and potential external conflict anyway, so facilitators should pay close attention to the dynamics of a group in the norming phase. 

  • Performing Stage: In the performing stage, members are knowledgeable about what they need to do and how to work with others. They are autonomous and any conflict is handled efficiently and effectively. This stage is where groups have higher levels of success. Facilitators should challenge groups in the performing stage with more complex, higher risk tasks and exercises, but also find ways to allow the group to have fun and continue to build relationships with one another.

  • Adjourning Stage: The adjourning stage, the group is concluding it’s time together. Here is where the group spends time evaluating and celebrating their time together. Facilitators should ensure that groups in this stage do BOTH of these things. Many jump to celebration or just move on, not engaging in an evaluation process to document their journey, provide feedback, and pass on any information needed. 

Group Dynamics:

  • Asynchronous: Activity can be completed individually and/or collaboratively online using shared documents. Participants will not need to be together in a space, online or in person, and can schedule their own time to complete.

  • Virtual Only: These activities are ONLY designed to facilitate online. 

  • Virtual Option: These activities can be modified to facilitate online.

Group Size:

  • Small Group: [4-9] In general, small groups will take less time to complete an activity, but can also jump from low to medium to high risk more quickly.

  • Medium Group: [10-24] In most cases, activities are written to work for a medium size group and are logistically the most feasible to use for collaboration and debriefing due to the flexibility the numbers provide. 

  • Large Group: [25-34] Large groups can be more difficult to manage, take more time to facilitate processes, and create group cohesion. This is particularly notable for getting to know you and experiential activities. Large groups can be ideal for icebreakers, energizers, and mixers.

  • Extra Large Group: [35+] The same challenges for large groups should be considered for extra large groups as well. Once a group starts to get larger than 35, additional facilitators can be very helpful for crowd management and allowing participants to feel connected to the process. Some icebreakers, energizers can be ideal or easily modified for an extra large group; and most mixers will work as well.



  • No Materials Needed: Activity requires no materials.

  • Minimals Materials Required: Activity can be done utilizing writing utensils and recording surface (eg. pens and paper)

  • Multiple Materials Required: The activity requires additional materials that may not be as readily available (eg. coloring utensils, worksheets, team building supplies, etc.) and may take some time to prepare beforehand. 

OutcomeS: All of the content on this site is focused on developing 21st Century Skills and the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Career Readiness Competencies. The definition of each skill/competency is listed below.

  • Career & Self Development (NACE): Proactively develop oneself and one’s career through continual personal and professional learning, awareness of one’s strengths and weaknesses, navigation of career opportunities, and networking to build relationships within and without one’s organization.

Sample Behaviors

  • Show an awareness of own strengths and areas for development.

  • Identify areas for continual growth while pursuing and applying feedback.

  • Develop plans and goals for one’s future career.

  • Professionally advocate for oneself and others.

  • Display curiosity; seek out opportunities to learn.

  • Assume duties or positions that will help one progress professionally.

  • Establish, maintain, and/or leverage relationships with people who can help one professionally.

  • Seek and embrace development opportunities.

  • Voluntarily participate in further education, training, or other events to support one’s career.


  • Communication (NACE): Clearly and effectively exchange information, ideas, facts, and perspectives with persons inside and outside of an organization.

Sample Behaviors

  • Understand the importance of and demonstrate verbal, written, and non-verbal/body language, abilities.

  • Employ active listening, persuasion, and influencing skills.

  • Communicate in a clear and organized manner so that others can effectively understand.

  • Frame communication with respect to diversity of learning styles, varied individual communication abilities, and cultural differences.

  • Ask appropriate questions for specific information from supervisors, specialists, and others.

  • Promptly inform relevant others when needing guidance with assigned tasks.

  • Critical Thinking (NACE): Identify and respond to needs based upon an understanding of situational context and logical analysis of relevant information.

Sample Behaviors

  • Make decisions and solve problems using sound, inclusive reasoning and judgment.

  • Gather and analyze information from a diverse set of sources and individuals to fully understand a problem.

  • Proactively anticipate needs and prioritize action steps.

  • Accurately summarize and interpret data with an awareness of personal biases that may impact outcomes.

  • Effectively communicate actions and rationale, recognizing the diverse perspectives and lived experiences of stakeholders.

  • Multi-task well in a fast-paced environment.

  • Equity & Inclusion (NACE): Demonstrate the awareness, attitude, knowledge, and skills required to equitably engage and include people from different local and global cultures. Engage in anti-racist practices that actively challenge the systems, structures, and policies of racism.

Sample Behaviors

  • Solicit and use feedback from multiple cultural perspectives to make inclusive and equity-minded decisions.

  • Actively contribute to inclusive and equitable practices that influence individual and systemic change.

  • Advocate for inclusion, equitable practices, justice, and empowerment for historically marginalized communities.

  • Seek global cross-cultural interactions and experiences that enhance one’s understanding of people from different demographic groups and that leads to personal growth.

  • Keep an open mind to diverse ideas and new ways of thinking.

  • Identify resources and eliminate barriers resulting from individual and systemic racism, inequities, and biases.

  • Address systems of privilege that limit opportunities for members of historically marginalized communities.


  • Flexibility & Adaptability (21st Century): 

Adapt to Change

  • Adapt to varied roles, jobs responsibilities, schedules and context

  • Work effectively in a climate of ambiguity and changing priorities


Be Flexible

  • Incorporate feedback effectively

  • Deal positively with praise, setbacks and criticism

  • Understand, negotiate and balance diverse views and beliefs to reach workable solutions, particularly in multi-cultural environments


Initiative & Self Direction (21st Century):

Manage Goals and Time

  • Set goals with tangible and intangible success criteria

  • Balance tactical (short-term) and strategic (long-term) goals

  • Utilize time and manage workload efficiently


Work Independently

  • Monitor, define, prioritize and complete tasks without direct oversight


Be Self-directed Learners

  • Go beyond basic mastery of skills and/or curriculum to explore and expand one’s own learning and opportunities to gain expertise

  • Demonstrate initiative to advance skill levels towards a professional level

  • Demonstrate commitment to learning as a lifelong process

  • Reflect critically on past experiences in order to inform future progress


  • Leadership (NACE): Recognize and capitalize on personal and team strengths to achieve organizational goals.

Sample Behaviors

  • Inspire, persuade, and motivate self and others under a shared vision.

  • Seek out and leverage diverse resources and feedback from others to inform direction.

  • Use innovative thinking to go beyond traditional methods.

  • Serve as a role model to others by approaching tasks with confidence and a positive attitude.

  • Motivate and inspire others by encouraging them and by building mutual trust.

  • Plan, initiate, manage, complete, and evaluate projects.


  • Leadership & Responsibility (21st Century):

Guide and Lead Others

  • Use interpersonal and problem-solving skills to influence and guide others toward a goal

  • Leverage strengths of others to accomplish a common goal

  • Inspire others to reach their very best via example and selflessness

  • Demonstrate integrity and ethical behavior in using influence and power


Be Responsible to Others

  • Act responsibly with the interests of the larger community in mind


Think Creatively

  • Use a wide range of idea creation techniques (such as brainstorming)

  • Create new and worthwhile ideas (both incremental and radical concepts)

  • Elaborate, refine, analyze and evaluate their own ideas in order to improve and maximize creative efforts


Work Creatively with Others

  • Develop, implement and communicate new ideas to others effectively

  • Be open and responsive to new and diverse perspectives; incorporate group input and feedback into the work

  • Demonstrate originality and inventiveness in work and understand the real world limits to adopting new ideas

  • View failure as an opportunity to learn; understand that creativity and innovation is a long-term, cyclical process of small successes and frequent mistakes


Implement Innovations

  • Act on creative ideas to make a tangible and useful contribution to the field in which the innovation will occur


Reason Effectively

  • Use various types of reasoning (inductive, deductive, etc.) as appropriate to the situation

Use Systems Thinking

  • Analyze how parts of a whole interact with each other to produce overall outcomes in complex systems

Make Judgments and Decisions

  • Effectively analyze and evaluate evidence, arguments, claims and beliefs

  • Analyze and evaluate major alternative points of view

  • Synthesize and make connections between information and arguments

  • Interpret information and draw conclusions based on the best analysis

  • Reflect critically on learning experiences and processes


Solve Problems

  • Solve different kinds of non-familiar problems in both conventional and innovative ways

  • Identify and ask significant questions that clarify various points of view and lead to better solutions


Communicate Clearly

  • Articulate thoughts and ideas effectively using oral, written and nonverbal communication skills in a variety of forms and contexts

  • Listen effectively to decipher meaning, including knowledge, values, attitudes and intentions

  • Use communication for a range of purposes (e.g. to inform, instruct, motivate and persuade)

  • Utilize multiple media and technologies, and know how to judge their effectiveness a priori as well as assess their impact

  • Communicate effectively in diverse environments (including multi-lingual)


Collaborate with Others

  • Demonstrate ability to work effectively and respectfully with diverse teams

  • Exercise flexibility and willingness to be helpful in making necessary compromises to accomplish a common goal

  • Assume shared responsibility for collaborative work, and value the individual contributions made by each team member


  • Productivity & Accountability (21st Century):

Manage Projects

  • Set and meet goals, even in the face of obstacles and competing pressure

  • Prioritize, plan and manage work to achieve the intended result


Produce Results

  • Demonstrate additional attributes associated with producing high quality products including the abilities to:

    • Work positively and ethically

    • Manage time and projects effectively

    • Multi-task

    • Participate actively, as well as be reliable and punctual

    • Present oneself professionally and with proper etiquette

    • Collaborate and cooperate effectively with teams

    • Respect and appreciate team diversity

    • Be accountable for results


  • Professionalism (NACE): Knowing work environments differ greatly, understand and demonstrate effective work habits, and act in the interest of the larger community and workplace.


Sample Behaviors

  • Act equitably with integrity and accountability to self, others, and the organization.

  • Maintain a positive personal brand in alignment with organization and personal career values.

  • Be present and prepared.

  • Demonstrate dependability (e.g., report consistently for work or meetings).

  • Prioritize and complete tasks to accomplish organizational goals.

  • Consistently meet or exceed goals and expectations.

  • Have an attention to detail, resulting in few if any errors in their work.

  • Show a high level of dedication toward doing a good job.


  • Social & Cross-Cultural Skills (21st Century):

Interact Effectively with Others

  • Know when it is appropriate to listen and when to speak

  • Conduct themselves in a respectable, professional manner


Work Effectively in Diverse Teams

  • Respect cultural differences and work effectively with people from a range of social and cultural backgrounds

  • Respond open-mindedly to different ideas and values

  • Leverage social and cultural differences to create new ideas and increase both innovation and quality of work

  • Teamwork (NACE): Build and maintain collaborative relationships to work effectively toward common goals, while appreciating diverse viewpoints and shared responsibilities.

Sample Behaviors

  • Listen carefully to others, taking time to understand and ask appropriate questions without interrupting.

  • Effectively manage conflict, interact with and respect diverse personalities, and meet ambiguity with resilience.

  • Be accountable for individual and team responsibilities and deliverables.

  • Employ personal strengths, knowledge, and talents to complement those of others.

  • Exercise the ability to compromise and be agile.

  • Collaborate with others to achieve common goals.

  • Build strong, positive working relationships with supervisor and team members/coworkers.


  • Technology (NACE): Understand and leverage technologies ethically to enhance efficiencies, complete tasks, and accomplish goals.

Sample Behaviors

  • Navigate change and be open to learning new technologies.

  • Use technology to improve efficiency and productivity of their work.

  • Identify appropriate technology for completing specific tasks.

  • Manage technology to integrate information to support relevant, effective, and timely decision-making.

  • Quickly adapt to new or unfamiliar technologies.

  • Manipulate information, construct ideas, and use technology to achieve strategic goals.


Risk Level

If you work with minors and/or are a mandated reporter, be aware that certain activities can possibly open up an opportunity for participants to bring up sensitive issues such as abuse or suspected abuse, suicide or self harm, neglect, etc. Remind participants at the start of any activity if you are a mandated reporter and that they should only share what they are comfortable sharing. Strongly consider the risk level of your prompts and the examples you use as they will set the tone for what participants share. If you are not comfortable with the possible depth of vulnerability, alter the activity to be low risk or choose a different one. By using our activities, you accept these terms and conditions in full.

  • Low Risk: Low risk activities ask participants to engage only on a surface level. The goal is to allow participants to gain comfort and develop the initial connections needed to begin to explore concepts, dynamics, and relationships in more depth. Low risk often refers to a mental and emotional level, but can also refer to a level of physical comfort. Low risk activities will very minimally, if at all, engage participants’ five senses in any way that may cause discomfort (touch, sound, smell, sight, taste).

  • Medium Risk: Medium risk activities ask participants to start to engage a bit more out of their comfort zone. The goal is to challenge participants to begin to reflect more deeply about themselves, attempt tasks or experiences they may not have tried before, collaborate and problem solve with others, and more. Medium risk activities will begin to engage participants’ five senses (touch, sound, smell, sight, taste), which may cause minor discomfort such as hand holding or being blindfolded. These activities will ask participants to explore this discomfort and how they can positively overcome it. 

  • High Risk: High risk activities challenge participants to step out, potentially far out, of their comfort zones. The goal is to have participants engage in something they don’t consistently experience. These activities can elicit strong emotional, mental, and physical reactions, which allows groups to often have new realizations, deeper, more vulnerable discussions, and breakthroughs. Facilitators should consider their group, and individual, readiness before asking them to participate and we strongly suggest providing a disclaimer* at the start of many high risk activities. 

Time: Time frames are an estimation and can be affected by many factors such as group size, risk level, and more. Keep in mind that if your time is restricted, an activity can end whether or not your group has “finished”. There are valuable lessons and takeaways in success and in failure to complete a task. The following time frames are used for all activities and as a general guide, are estimated with consideration for a medium sized group and low to medium risk involved. 

  • 10-20 min

  • 20-30 min

  • 30-45 min

  • 45+ min

bottom of page