Getting to know teammates through holiday games

In Leaders UNITE at the International Preschool of Raleigh before Christmas time, students participated in an activity about teamwork and leadership. We first reviewed some of the important characteristics of a leader, which students felt very comfortable addressing after discussing this topic a few weeks ago. Then, we took this a step further and talked about how a leader should treat his/her team members. Students did a great job of explaining how someone could be a leader in a team situation, such as helping their teammates if they have problems, and being supportive towards them. We then took this a step further, discussing how important it is for a leader to get to know his/her team and appreciate their values and uniqueness- not just while they are working on something together, but all of the time.
To delve into this idea in a more hands-on manner, we played a game about students’ favorite things, where students got to learn more about their other teammates in a fun way. This game had to do with Christmas, where students first had to whispered to me what they wanted for Christmas. I then wrote down what everyone wanted for Christmas on individual pieces of paper and shuffled the cards in the middle. One by one, students picked up a random piece of paper and had to guess which person wanted which Christmas gift. If they could not guess the correct person after three turns, then we would tell them who wrote that particular Christmas gift. After each person’s Christmas gift was revealed, I asked the student to say why he/she wanted that particular gift for Christmas. I then asked the other students what they learned about this student by learning about what they wanted for Christmas.
This worked out great, and students got to learn more about their teammates through this activity. For example, one student wanted a suitcase for Christmas. After a bit of discussion, some of her classmates learned that this student likes to travel, has family she would like to visit in India, and has always wanted to visit this country. Students also learned about some things they had in common with their teammates, which was another important topic we highlighted in our discussion: even though you might seem very different from someone else in your team, you can always work to find similarities or similar interests between yourself and others.
Finally, I asked students what they would buy from other people in their class for Christmas if they could actually buy them a gift. I was so happy to see that the student who wrote “makeup” wanted to buy makeup for her friends who mentioned, “Woah cool- I want makeup too!” during our game. It was really great to see students learning new information about their friends and taking the time to truly value their teammates interests, experiences, and similarities through this activity.

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