There was this one chapter in Tuesdays with Morrie that struck a chord with me. It was mainly this test that was described to measure trust. A simple test where one person stands up on a higher ground, for example on a table, facing away from the crowd and letting oneself fall backwards trusting the friends behind to catch the person before they fall. Letting students experience firsthand the importance of being a team player in such activities makes them personally appreciate the value of trust.

Now we’re not encouraging that you try the same activity, because honestly, it can be a little dangerous, but we did look around for some team building activities or games that you can put into action with your group of middle school students. You can try these whether you’re on a camping trip or even during your next Physical Ed. lesson:

1. The Toxic River – This is a group activity. Get everyone to group up at one side of a space – a hall or a field would be fine. Measure a strip of 5 feet next to your line of students and name it “the toxic river”.

The objective is to get the whole group to cross the river as fast as they can – you can set a time period based on the number of students in the group. The catch is that they are not allowed to cross the river without wearing a pair of magic boots. Each person can only wear the pair of boots once and the boots can’t be tossed over the river once a person has crossed over. If they do step on the toxic river without the magic boots, the whole team must start all over again. Hint : Carrying people over is the key. To avoid the same person having to carry the group, you can set a rule that no single person may cross the river more than 2 times.

2. Human Letters – Divide your students into groups of 4 to 5 people. This is a game of speed. The teacher calls out a letter in the alphabet and each group has to quickly form the required letter. They can do this lying on the ground or even while standing. The group that forms the letter fastest wins the game. This game requires students to quickly communicate which part of the letter they’ll be & therefore promotes clear communication as well as clear leaders in the group.

3. Minefield – This is quite an entertaining game and it’s best played in a big field. Form 2 or more teams and get each team to select a single person who will be blindfolded.  Each team then gets an obstacle course through which they need to navigate their blindfolded team-mate through. The objective for each team is to get their team mate to the finish line without stepping on any of the mines. If the blind folded team mate does bump into or step on one, the team has to start all over again. To make this game safe, it’s best to use soft toys and hoops as ‘mines’.