Extraordinary Team Blog

Team Building Activity: Soda Can Carry

Posted by Kristin Arnold on May 21, 2015

The objective of this team activity is to creatively demonstrate the importance of teamwork. Group teams of 4 to 8 people are optimal and the exercise will take 30 minutes.

 

For each team you will need the following materials:

  • One full soda can
  • Four pencils
  • Two thick rubber bands (strong enough to go around can and be lifted)
  • Fifteen-inch piece of string for each person
  • Prepared easel paper or whiteboard to “score” the activity

Assemble in a space large enough to break the team into smaller groups as well as long enough to carry the soda can from one side of the room to another. Clearly mark point A and point B (with masking tape on the floor)

This exercise energizes a team while demonstrating the importance of teamwork.

Divide the group into teams of four to eight people. Hand out the materials for each team and give them the task: To carry the soda can (or other soda can) from one side of the room to the other side using the following rules:

  • Each team that successfully carries the soda can from one side of the room to the other side earns 200 points.
  • The soda can is contaminated; therefore no one can come within six inches of the can. If they do, then the team will be fined 10 points for each violation.
  • You cannot upset or turn the can upside down at any time during the exercise. If it is, then the team will be fined 20 points for each violation.
  • You cannot use any other materials than those provided to complete the task. If you do, then the team will be fined 30 points for each violation.
  • Finally, every member of the team must be involved in the carry.

If possible, provide a “starting and finish line” by putting tape on the floor or providing visual points of reference.

Ask if there are any questions and clarify if necessary. Let them know this is not a timed task (no extra points for speed), but you will stop the activity in 20 minutes.

Debrief and Summarize
After all have successfully carried their soda cans to the finish line, debrief the activity:

  • What did you like most about this activity?
  • What made the team successful?
  • How did individual team members help each other?
  • How did you make decisions?
  • What would you have done differently?
  • What did you learn from this activity?
  • How might you apply these lessons to our team’s work?

Variation
Perform this activity in two rounds:

  1. Round One: identify one person per group as the “team leader” and the rest are “team members.” Have the team leader “direct” all the activities. (Even more fun, blindfold all the team members!)
  2. Round Two: Allow the team to fully participate in solving the problem.

If you like this activity, check out my book, Team Energizers, for 49 other team activities!