I was contacted by a friend who is the director of an outdoor education camp. The staff have a 7-day training, and she was looking for an experiential way to illustrate that they have all the knowledge needed, they just have to develop ways to share what they know. We came up with the team building activity below.

Create-Learning team building

Our Bottles Floweth Over

The goal of this team building activity is to show that by giving and sharing abundance is created.

  • One water bottle per person
  • Large bucket full of  water or a large container of water
  • If you are inside or do not want to use water, other materials may be dried beans, rice, marbles, dirt, rocks, pine cones.
Group Size:
  • Any
  • Before the activity begins, create an area that is marked off that overlaps or encompasses the excess water or resources.
  • Using a rope form a circle that is only large enough for 2 people to stand in enclosing the excess resource – This area is called the “abundance zone”

The goal of this initiative is to show that by giving and sharing abundance is created.

  • Each person begins with a water bottle ½ full
  • The overall goal is to have EVERYONE’s bottle full to the top with the resource
  • With your bottle, you want to empty it and share your resources with another person as soon as possible.
  • You may share as much or as little as you please, with anyone you want to share with.
  • Only when your bottle is empty can you enter the “Abundance Zone.”
  • There must be a minimum of 2 people in the “Abundance Zone”. Meaning that if one person enters that is a violation, if 2 people are in the “Abundance Zone” and one leaves that is a violation.
  • There can NEVER be more that 2 people in the abundance zone. Meaning that if 3,4,5,6,7,etc.. people are in the “Abundance Zone” that is a violation.
  • Any violations will result in all people having to return the resources in their bottles back to the original ½ full mark.
  • Once everyone’s bottle is full to the top with the resource, you must create a line of shortest person to tallest person, showing that the task is complete.

Once the task is complete and everyone has lined up according to height, the second part of the challenge is to move all the resource in the bottles down the line and return it to the “Abundance Zone.”

Guidelines for part 2 of the activity;
  • We must now return the resources to the “Abundance Zone” without spilling any resources.
  • Once your bottle is empty, you may choose to stay with the group and assist, or you may leave the group and observe.
  • If you stay with the group, you can speak and communicate with the group all you want.
  • If you leave the group, you must leave and remain silent, until everyone’s bottle is empty.
  • The challenge is done when everyone’s bottle is empty
Learning and Application

This activity creates many areas of focus, from serving others, to sharing, to realizing that there exists a resource rich area, to planning, to communication and many others.

  1. What part did you as an individual contributor play in the success of this activity?
  2. Who did you form alliances with? Who did you compete with?
  3. How do you feel about what happened?
  4. Did teamwork exist in this?
  5. In what ways did you hold yourself accountable for filling your bottle?
  6. In what ways did you hold yourself accountable for filling others bottles?
  7. Did any of the resource spill?
  8. Did the team follow all the rules?
  9. In which areas was confusion prominent?
  10. Does your team ever have “enough” of what it needs for success?
  11. When does that happen?
  12. How are resources when sufficient for success allocated to the group?
  13. Can we apply the same principles back to our lives?
Facilitator Notes:

The second part of this activity is focused on the group realizing how much it now has.

When working with larger teams, cliques within the group are created watch and take note of how the cliques either choose to include, to exclude the rest of the team…Take some time and question that behavior in the processing.

What do you think?

Try the activity let me know what happens.

 HIRE Mike Cardus

Team Building & Team Development Programs;

Our programs result in;
  • Increased retention of staff talent
  • Increased satisfaction with work
  • Greater collaboration and information sharing within and between departments
  • Increased accountability for success and failure
  • Increased knowledge transfer
  • Increased trust and speed of project completion and decision making as a team.

The programs develop both individuals and teams, connecting behaviors, actions, and processes and aligning them with your organizational goals, culture, mission, and values.

Your team will learn about, experience, reflect and practice being a high functioning team; they are empowered to create new habits, behaviors, practices and processes that can be used immediately. Together we create high functioning teams where all individuals are committed in word and action to the team: purpose, decision-making, expectations, resources and process.