Whether you are team mom for your child's sports team or you lead his youth group, you probably already know that getting the kids to work together requires trust -- both in one another and in the group as a whole. Trust-building exercises can help children bond and learn to trust one another more, so plan exercises that are age-appropriate for your group of kids and allow them to laugh together and have fun while learning to trust.
Backwards Minefield Walk
Put the kids into pairs. One person will be the walker and the other person will give directions. Set up a "minefield" with a variety of obstacles that the kids must avoid. You can use chairs, tables, toys, cones or any other objects you have available. The walker must walk backwards through the minefield without stepping on or bumping into anything. They must also avoid bumping into other kids walking through the mine field. They must trust their partner to guide them safely through the minefield telling them how many steps and in which direction. If a walker gets nervous and turns around, the pair has to start over. When a team successfully makes it through, have them switch places and repeat the exercise.
For this exercise, partner the kids up, with one person on each team blindfolded. Their partner stands behind them with their hands on their shoulders. One team is "it." When the games starts, the "it" team tries to tag the other teams. The blindfolded person can only follow the directions of his partner to walk, run and grab. Likewise, the others must avoid being tagged with the blindfolded child taking commands from their partner. Any team that is tagged also becomes "it" and helps tag other teams. Have the partners switch places after the first round.
Trust the Leader
Divide the kids into two groups for this exercise. Have each team assign a leader, with everyone standing in a line behind them, arms on shoulders. Everyone but the leader is blindfolded. Set up cones for each team, from one end of the room or outdoor area to the other, to create a path with lots of turns. The leaders must take their team through the path without anyone touching or knocking down a cone. This requires sharp attention and making sure the each person turns at the right time and in the right direction. Have the teams race to see who can make it to the other side first. Repeat the game several times, switching leaders so everyone can practice leading and trusting.
Place a foot of tape on the ground and have the kids stand on either side of the tape, leaving no gaps. To start, one person stands at one end of the tape and spins around 10 times, while everyone counts his turns. The person must then attempt to run down the length of the line as straight as they can. The kids on the side stand with their arms out ready to catch and protect the person from falling. The point is for the kids to know that their friends or teammates won't let them fall.
- BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images