Re-Creative Resources
By Kimberly Grandal, BA, CTRS, ACC, Executive Director
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Executive Director
Re-Creative Resources
About Kim

Kimberly Grandal, Founder
and Executive Director of Re-
Creative Resources, Inc., is a
strong advocate for the field of
Therapeutic Recreation and
Activities, with over fifteen
years of experience working
with the elderly in numerous
management and consultant
positions.  She is an Activity
Consultant Certified and a
Certified Therapeutic
Recreation Specialist. Kim is a
member of the New Jersey
Activity Professionals
Association and the New
Jersey/Eastern Pennsylvania
Therapeutic Recreation

In 1990, Kim graduated from
William Paterson University
with a BA in Sociology and
later studied gerontology
courses at Union County
College and Therapeutic
Recreation courses at Kean
University. Throughout her
career, Kim has been the
Director of Therapeutic
Recreation for several long-
term care facilities, including
one of NJ’s largest.

In 2006, Kim founded Re-
Creative Resources Inc. She is
a speaker for various state and
local activity associations such
as NJAPA, MOCAP, and
NJACA, as well as the Society
of Licensed Nursing Home
Administrators of NJ. She also
offers lectures for Re-Creative
Resources Inc., local colleges,
and community groups, and
provides consultation and
support to numerous facilities
in the state.

Kim is the editor and writer for
the “The Rec-Room", a
monthly newsletter published
by her company. In addition,
she writes monthly articles for
the Activity Directors Office
newsletter, and has contributed
articles to Creative Forecasting
Magazine, and The
Continuing Care Insite

Kim is a recipient of the
Kessler Institute of
Rehabilitation 1997 Triumph
of the Human Spirit Award.  
Her passion is to promote the
field of Therapeutic
Recreation and Activities and
to unite Recreation Therapists
and Activity Professionals. Kim
currently serves on the NJAPA
board as the Chairperson for
the Legislation Committee.
Resources Inc.

Re-Creative Resources, Inc. is
committed to enhancing the
lives of long-term care
residents through the use of
Therapeutic Recreation. We
provide a variety of services
such as Therapeutic
Recreation seminars,
in-services, resources, form
development, program analysis
and development,
consultation, and support for
activity professionals and
recreational therapists. A
selection of downloadable
training materials and forms
are available for your
convenience as well as a free
job posting site.
Subscribe to Kimberly's Newsletter
See Kim's You-Tube video "Activity Professionals in Action"  (Click Here)
Facilitating Successful Team Building Activities
By Kimberly Grandal, CTRS,ACC
Executive Director of Re-Creative Resources Inc.

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is
success.” Henry Ford

Creating a strong, cohesive team is a crucial element to providing quality of life to
residents and patients in any health care facility. Activity Directors often find it difficult to
gain support of the facility staff and feel like they are the lone department. Teamwork
increases employee morale and motivation as well as the quality of life of the residents.

Teambuilding is a process that motivates individuals to work together toward a
common goal. Before doing so, identify what the goal is, stay committed to the goal,
and remove any barriers. Teambuilding activities allow opportunity for participants to
gain trust, to communicate and get to know each other and are a great source of fun
and education.

Before facilitating team building activities, Larry Lipman (2006) suggests the following:

  • Be flexible        
  • Be prepared
  • Go with the flow       
  • Tell personal stories
  • Pause often        
  • Take breaks
  • Get up and move        
  • Anticipate resistance
  • Take risks       
  • Involve whole group
  • Have sub groups       
  • Have fun!

Here are some great teambuilding activities the Activity Director can do with the
Activity staff or other facility staff to build strong teams. Have fun!

Goody Goody Gumdrops
There are many variations for gumdrop activities. Divide the teams into groups of 2-4.
Give each group 20 gumdrops and 12 toothpicks. Instruct each group to build a dome,
bridge, tower or whatever they want to build. If teams join together, they can build bigger

Hang Ups
From:  Our Top Ten Team Building Exercises by Amy Linley

Hand each person a wire coat hanger. Tell the group they may work individually or
create their own groups. Instruct them to make something useful from their coat
hanger. Set a time limit of 5 to 15 minutes. Ask each person/group to describe his "tool"
and its use. This exercise will indicate which of your team members natural leaders are
or born socialites as well as which are more shy and may need to be drawn out when
working with the group.

Play Dough Processing
From: Create Learning

Supply each person with a lump of play dough. Ask each person to make a sculpture
that is representative of what they have learned during the program. Talk about
metaphors and how a sculpture of play dough could be a metaphor representing the
issue or learning that each person had. After everyone is finished, they can share their
sculpture and explain what they sculpted and what it represents to them. You can also
use the play dough as an opening activity in which participants sculpt what they hope to
gain from the team building program.

Cup Stacker
From: Above and Beyond

Prior to the activity cut 6 pieces of string per team, into 1-2 meter lengths. It doesn’t have
to be exact. Tie each piece to a rubber band as evenly spaced as possible. The rubber
band must fit around a cup and thick elastic bands work best. Divide the group up into 6
or smaller (minimum 3). Give each team a rubber band and string and 10 paper/plastic
cups. Place the cups on a table, spread out upside down. Challenge the group to build
a pyramid out of the cups (4 on the bottom, 3 on the next row, 2, then 1 on the top).
Group members may not touch the cups with their hands or any part of their bodies.
You are only allowed the equipment provided.

Team Building Quotes
In small groups, set the challenge of creating the most inspirational team building
quote in a set amount of time, e.g., 10 minutes. Each team reads their quotes and the
teams vote on the best quote. You can hand out other teambuilding quotes at the end
for further discussion.

Paper Tower

Supply each team of 2-4 people with two sheets of paper (8.5 x 11 inches or
equivalent), one pair of scissors, and a large coin (quarter).The objective is to build the
tallest free standing structure using only the supplied materials.
T.E.A.M Acronym
Divide participants into small groups or pairs. Instruct the teams to develop an acronym
for the word TEAM. Have each group share their acronym and discuss the meaning.
Example: T.E.A.M= Together Everyone Achieves More

Straws and Paperclip Tower
Instruct participants to build the tallest tower possible using only paper clips and
straws. It’s important that the paper clips fit securely in the straws. Set a time limit and
be sure to measure the towers to see whose is the tallest.

Tallest Tower
From: Teampedia
  • Paper Cups, plates, bowls
  • Popsicle Sticks or coffee stirrers
  • Cheap pens or pencils
  • Construction Paper or cardboard
  • Tape (masking tape works best)
  • Bag of candy or another similar prize with enough for everyone

Before the activity, you need to make a packet of supplies for each group. You should
aim for at least 3 groups with about 4 people in each group. If you have less than 12
people, this is probably not the right activity for you. The key here is to divide the
supplies unevenly, but put them in a closed bag or box, so that participants can't see
that each group is getting a different set of supplies. Each group should have a lot of
one supply, and only some of the other supplies. For example:

The participants work to build the tallest free-standing tower they can with the supplies

Begin by randomly dividing participants into small groups and organizing the groups in
different areas of the room. Ask for a representative from each group to come to a
separate space (center of the room or a separate room) to receive instructions and
materials. Pass out one bag of supplies to each group representative. Set a time limit.

Newspaper Building Activities
From Business Balls

Split group into pairs or threes (four or more will create 'passengers', who don't get
involved). Issue each group an equal given amount of newspaper sheets (the fewer the
more difficult, 20-30 sheets is fine for a 10-15 minute exercise), and a roll of Scotch
tape or masking tape. Task is to construct the tallest free-standing tower made only of
newspaper and tape in allotted time. The point of the exercise is to demonstrate the
importance of planning (time, method of construction, creativity), and the motivational
effect of a team task. Facilitator will need tape measure. Instructions need to be very
clear (for instance does the tower have to be free standing at completion of time, or can
it be measured before - it doesn't matter which, it matters only that any issues affecting
a clear result are clarified. There are many different variations to newspaper building
activities including building bridges (longest, supports the most weight) or towers
(tallest, longest, most original, most sturdy, etc.)

Toe to Toe
In pairs, ask participants to sit holding hands, toe to toe. The object is for the pair to
stand up simultaneously and connected with toes touching. Once the pair has
mastered the activity, ask the group to try with 4 people and then six, etc. still touching
toes. Safety Check: All Trust Activities require the facilitator to pay extra close attention to
physical and emotional safety. Introduce safety before starting any activities in this
series. Challenge by Choice is especially important for Trust Activities: Each participant
has the right to decide his or her own level of participation.

Group Scrabble
From Teampedia

Materials needed include index cards with letters of the alphabet on them and a hat,
basket or bowl.

Each person picks a letter card out of the hat (if you have a big group, you will need
more letter cards, and it is probably good to include a few extra vowels (A,E,I,O,U) and
consider removing the X, Q and Z from the hat. Tell the group their task is to arrange
themselves into complete words given the cards they select from the hat. The group
can come up with several small words or just a few long words, but every letter needs
to be included. Once they are done, you can have everyone put their cards back in and
re-draw, or move on to a new activity.

Aluminum Foil Modeling Games
From: Business Balls

This is not so much a game but a concept that can be used and adapted for all sorts of
activities and exercises, ice-breakers, warm-ups. Aluminum baking foil is a wonderful
material for model-making. Baking foil is clean, looks great when put on display, and is
very easy to clean up. You can use baking foil for any exercise that you might use
newspapers for, especially construction exercise like towers and bridges, etc. Baking
foil is also very inexpensive and easy to prepare in advance and to issue to teams and
groups. Structure the group to suit the situation and the timings and the outcomes you'd
like to prompt and discuss. Obviously not all individuals or teams need to be given the
same task. You can determine who does what by any method that suits your aims and
the preferences of the group. Instruct the participants to make some type of animal,
concept, building or object, anything your imagination can dream up.

Balloon Juggle and Sort
From: Wilderdom

Challenge participants to keep all balloons (1+ per person) in the air.  This gets the
group moving and cooperating. Once they've got the hang of it, make it harder by adding
in more balloons or placing restrictions e.g., no hands to keep balloons up.  Ask
participants to keep juggling the balloons, but to sort them into colors (works best with
large groups).

All Aboard
From Wilderdom

This activity requires working together in close physical proximity in order to solve a
practical, physical problem.  It tends to emphasize group communication, cooperation,
patience and problem solving strategy, as well as issues related to physical self and
physical proximity. The activity can be run in many different ways. Basic method: Ask the
whole group to try to fit inside a small area which can be marked by small platforms, or
circle of rope, or tarpaulin or blanket. When the group succeeds, decrease the area (e.
g., changing platforms, shrinking the circle, or folding the tarp) and challenge the group
again.  Cautions: Obviously people are going to need to feel physically comfortable in
order to get physically close and be supportive of one another.  So make sure people
are warmed up and preferably have removed excessive jewelry, watches, etc.


Barriers to Effective Teams. Further Education Resources for Learning. January,

Importance of Teamwork, The. Derek Stockley, January 2007.

Top Ten Reasons for Team Building. Larry Lipman, July 2006.

What is Team Building? Team Technology. July, 2006.