Candy Sort – Team Building Activity

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Overview:
In this activity, participants will compete to sort colored candy with a straw.

Resources:

  • One straw per participant
  • Flat colored candies – M&Ms work best.
  • Bowls – starting and ending

Space Required: Can be indoors or outdoors but you need a table.  Chocolate candies will melt in the sun.

Group Size:  Flexible.  Depends on how many candies you use.

Total Time: 20 minutes

  • 2 minutes to describe the activity
  • 3 minutes planning time
  • 10 minutes for implementation
  • 5 minutes to debrief

Prerequisite: None

Set Up

  • For each group, mix flat colored candies into bag/bowls.
  • Put out one straw per person.
  • Have a starting area and smaller bowls at the finish line for each colored candy

Running the Activity

  • This can be a collaborative or a fun competitive activity.  It fits great into a Team Olympics challenge.
  • Objective: To have teams work together to sort colored candies as quickly as possible.
  • If you are using a competitive format, make sure you have the same amount of candies per team.  They should also have the same amount of colors, but the numbers within a particular color does not have to be exact.
  • Team members will use the straw to “suck up” one piece of candy at a time.  They will move the candy to the sorting bowl at the end of the straw.
  • Team members cannot touch the candy with anything other than the end of the straw.  The candy must be moved using suction, through the straw.  No other resources are available to the group.
  • Starts teams at one end.  They will need bowls to drop the sorted candies into at the other end of the table.  Have as many bowls as you have colors.
  • If you use this outdoors, be aware that chocolate candies will melt.
  • Start all groups at once for a competitive format.

Suggested Learning Outcomes

  • Planning
  • Collaboration
  • Strategy
  • Engagement
  • Fun

Activity Guidance and Notes
This is a fun activity that usually has high engagement.  Make sure you have clean straws (1 per person) and enough bowls for the start and end areas.  This activity works for small and large groups.  It works well with just two people where other activities require larger groups.  Make sure no one uses any additional resources.  If you turn around for too long…some may have been eaten.

Review
Suggested questions to ask:

  • How well did you use your planning time?
  • Like any project, was it different than you expected when you reached implementation?
  • There is some negativity associated with being competitive.  What are the positive aspects?
  • How important is humor and fun in bringing a group together?
  • Were you successful…and how do you gauge success?

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