Are you arranging a party, getaway, or other social gathering where the attendees don't really know each other yet? It's important that you take steps, from the very beginning, to begin fostering relationships between these people. One of the best ways to get them better acquainted and encourage them to be comfortable around one another is to start off your event with a few team building exercises, much like the ones you might play during an orientation at a new job or school. Here are three team building exercises that work well for groups of strangers in a fun, social environment.
The True/False Run
If you're playing this game inside, place a piece of paper that reads "true" on one wall and another that reads "false" on the opposite wall. If you're playing it outside, put a cone labeled "true" on one side of the yard and another that reads "false" on the other side.
Next, have all of your participants stand in the middle of the two walls or cones. Have one participant say something about himself or herself. This "fact" can be true or it can be false. The other participants have to run to the wall/cone that they believe represents that statement. (If they think the statement is true, they should run to the true cone. If they think it is false, they should run to the false cone.)
After this first run, eliminate everyone who chose the wrong side. Then, gather the remaining people back into the middle, and have another person state a "fact." Repeat the process until nobody is left. If everyone has not had a turn to state a fact at this point, re-gather everyone in the middle and start again.
This is a quieter team building game that may work well if you don't have a lot of space or if some attendees are not very mobile. Have everyone sit in a circle and put all of the change they have with them in a pile in the center of the circle. Then, have your first participant draw a coin out of a pile and read the year on the coin. Go around the circle, having each participant recall a memory of something they did that year or something that happened to them that year.
You can keep drawing new coins until everyone has chosen one. If someone draws a very old coin from a year nobody can recall, have them set it aside and draw again for a newer coin.
This is a good game to start off with since it allows people to get comfortable around one another without having to talk. In fact, they can't talk in order to play the game properly. Explain to your participants that you will be holding up a series of signs. When they see the sign, they need to silently organize themselves according to that factor. They cannot speak!
Start with a sign that says "height" as this is an easy one. Then, move onto "age" as they should be able to guess reasonably as to who is older. Then, it's time to make things harder and get them guessing. Hold up a sign that says "birthday", and then one that says "number of children." You'll get a kick out of watching the hand gestures the participants create to communicate effectively.
Team building activities like these may be more common in the workplace than in social settings, but they serve a valuable purpose when used to start off a party where the guests don't know one another. Once your guests have bonded and formed a sense of companionship, you'll be set for a good evening ahead.
For more ideas on team-building activities, contact companies like CoCo Events.