Index Cards Appreciation – Team Building Activity



In this activity, participants reflect on the participation and contribution of other participants.


  • Index cards and pencils/pens (1 for each participant).

Space Required: Can be indoors or outdoors.

Group Size:  Small to large.

Total Time: 25 minutes

  • 5 minutes for the introduction and resource dispersal
  • 15 minutes for the activity
  • 5 minutes for debrief

Prerequisite: None

Set Up

  • This is a closing activity.

Running the Activity

  • Ask the participants to sit in a circle.
  • Handout one index card and a pen/pencil to each participant.
  • Have each participant write their own name at the top of the index card.
  • Then, have everyone hand their card to the right, or left, but pick a direction and stick with it.
  • Ask the participants to write down something they appreciated about the person whose card they are holding.  Essentially, write down some feedback, but keep it brief.
  • It could be something they did for that particular participant.  Or it could be something that they brought to the day’s activities, such as: humor, empathy, honest feedback, etc.
  • The more specific the feedback the better (“you’re humor during the ball toss exercise really diffused a difficult conflict and helped us move forward”)
  • Set a time for each round – say 1 minute – then ask them to pass to the right again.  Try not to let the process be freestyle where they pass when they feel like it.  Two things will happen: 1) some participants will write quickly or not give the exercise enough thought; 2) participants who move slower will end up with four or five cards backed up and feel the pressure.
  • Try to have each person write on only one line.  Use the front and back of the card – which works best for groups up to 12 or 15.
  • For larger groups, hand out a sheet of paper on a clipboard for each participant.
  • Once the card returns to the original owner, have them spend a few minutes reading all of the comments and then move to the debrief.

Suggested Learning Outcomes

  • Feedback
  • Appreciation
  • Closing Activity

Activity Guidance and Notes
This activity presents a great opportunity to have participants give individual feedback to other participants.  This is particularly effective when you have spent at least four hours and used experiential exercises where the group needed to work together to be successful.  You can also frontload the activity by letting the participants know that, at the end of the day, they will be giving individual feedback to all of the other participants.  This helps them be successful in giving quality feedback, but it also improves the effectiveness of the day as participants are looking outward and noticing what is working and not working in their group.  This should be used as a closing activity.


Suggested questions to ask:

  • How did it feel to give feedback to other participants?
  • How did it feel to receive feedback from the other participants?
  • What surprised you about the appreciation/feedback you received?
  • Did knowing ahead of time that this activity would happen help you notice the contributions of others? How so?
  • Write down one person who you will give an in-person appreciation to when you return to the office/home.


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