A great activity for everyone

Cast Away

Unleash Creativity: Transform Random Objects into Deserted Island Survival Tools in this Engaging Team Building Activity!

Cast Away
By Jon Zajac

What is Cast Away?

The Cast Away icebreaker is a team building activity that aims to foster connections and improve communication among participants by simulating a deserted island scenario. The purpose of this activity is to encourage individuals to think creatively, work collaboratively, and share their thoughts and ideas with others. During the icebreaker, each participant is asked to choose one item they would bring if stranded on a deserted island, explain why they chose it, and discuss how it could aid in their survival. The groups then brainstorm ways to combine their items for improved chances of survival, promoting teamwork and innovation. This engaging and interactive icebreaker is suitable for ages 12 and up, and can accommodate groups of various sizes, making it a versatile and enjoyable way to strengthen relationships and boost morale in any setting.

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Rules for Cast Away

  1. Form groups of about five to ten people.
  2. Each person must choose one item to bring to a deserted island and be prepared to explain their choice.
  3. Give the group a few minutes notice before starting the activity.
  4. Each person shares their object, why it is important to them, and what they plan to do with it.
  5. After everyone has shared, groups must figure out how to improve their chances of survival by combining the items in creative ways.
  6. Allow ten to fifteen minutes of brainstorming time.
  7. Each group presents their ideas.
  8. A prize can be given to the most creative group.

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Materials needed for Cast Away

  • Paper and pen: These can be used by the participants to write down their chosen object, along with their reasons for choosing it and their plans for using it on the deserted island.

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Setting up for Cast Away

To set up for the Cast Away (I realize you’ve used a different name here, but I believe you are referring to the same activity as “Stranded on a Island”) icebreaker activity, follow these setup steps:

  1. Find a suitable indoor location with enough space to accommodate your groups. Make sure the area is quiet and free from distractions so participants can focus on the task at hand.
  2. Divide the participants into groups of 5-10 people each. Ideally, arrange the seating in a circular or U-shaped format to encourage interaction and discussion within the group.
  3. Clearly explain the instructions for the activity to the participants. You can choose to write them on a board or distribute printed copies for easy reference. Make sure they understand that they will have to think of one item they would bring if stranded on a deserted island, share their reasoning with the group, and then collaboratively figure out how to combine items for survival.
  4. Set a time limit for individual sharing (a few minutes per person) and group brainstorming (10-15 minutes). Ensure that everyone understands the goals of the activity and the expectations for their participation.
  5. If desired, prepare a prize or recognition for the most creative group to encourage healthy competition and engagement during the exercise.

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How to play Cast Away

  1. Gather participants in groups of 5-10: I like to form small groups because it encourages interaction and allows everyone to share their thoughts. This team building activity works well with ages 12 and up.

  2. Announce the scenario: Tell the group that they will be “stranded on a deserted island for an indefinite amount of time” and can only bring one item. Give them a few minutes’ notice to add urgency and excitement.

  3. Share your object, reason, and plan: Start by sharing your own item, why it is important to you, and what you would do with it on the island. This sets an example for others and helps break the ice.

  4. Encourage everyone to share their object and plan: Make sure each group member gets a chance to speak. Listen attentively and show genuine interest in their choices.

  5. Instruct groups to combine items creatively: Once everyone has shared, challenge the group to think of ways they can improve their chances of survival by using their items together in innovative ways. This step fosters collaboration and creative problem-solving.

  6. Allow brainstorming time: Give the group 10-15 minutes to come up with ideas. Monitor progress but avoid interrupting the flow of creativity.

  7. Have groups present their ideas: Encourage each group to share their most creative and effective survival strategies. This step builds confidence and public speaking skills while promoting teamwork.

  8. Optionally, give a prize to the winner: A small reward can motivate participants and make the activity more enjoyable. Choose something symbolic and low-cost, like a certificate or token of appreciation.

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Benefits of Cast Away

  • Builds teamwork and collaboration: By working together to combine their items in creative ways, group members learn to trust and rely on each other’s strengths and ideas.
  • Encourages communication: The activity requires each person to share their object, why they chose it, and what they plan to do with it, promoting active listening and understanding of different perspectives.
  • Develops problem-solving skills: By brainstorming ways to improve their chances of survival, group members are challenged to think critically and come up with creative solutions to potential problems.
  • Fosters empathy and respect: By sharing their personal reasons for choosing a particular object, group members gain insight into each other’s values and motivations, promoting a sense of connection and appreciation.
  • Promotes self-awareness and confidence: The activity allows individuals to reflect on what is important to them and express themselves confidently in front of others.
  • Provides an enjoyable and memorable experience: As a fun and engaging icebreaker, the Cast Away activity creates positive memories and strengthens relationships among group members.

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Skills built with Cast Away

  • Teamwork: By working together in small groups, participants learn to collaborate and combine their individual items in creative ways that improve their chances of survival on the deserted island. This activity encourages team members to communicate, listen to each other’s ideas, and find solutions that benefit the group as a whole.

  • Problem Solving: Stranded on a Island challenges players to think critically about how they can use their chosen item to survive in a hypothetical survival situation. By exploring various combinations of objects within their groups, participants enhance their ability to approach problems from different angles and devise innovative solutions.

  • Interpersonal Skills: This icebreaker provides an opportunity for individuals to share personal stories and connect with others on a deeper level. By discussing why they chose their particular object and what it means to them, participants build trust, empathy, and understanding with their group members.

  • Active Listening: As each person shares their chosen item and its significance, other group members must actively listen and engage with the speaker. This skill is crucial for successful teamwork, as active listening fosters respect, enhances collaboration, and reduces misunderstandings.

  • Public Speaking and Presentation Skills: Stranded on a Island requires participants to briefly present their chosen object, its significance, and how it can be used in combination with other items. This aspect of the activity helps build confidence and competence in public speaking, allowing individuals to clearly articulate their thoughts and ideas to others.

  • Creativity: The challenge of combining various objects to improve survival odds encourages participants to think outside the box and explore unconventional uses for everyday items. By fostering creativity, this icebreaker helps teams develop innovative solutions to problems and enhances their ability to adapt in changing circumstances.

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Why I like Cast Away

I appreciate the Cast Away icebreaker as it effectively encourages team members to share their thoughts and problem-solving skills in a fun and engaging scenario. By prompting participants to consider what object they would bring to a deserted island, this activity allows individuals to reveal aspects of their personality, interests, and values while practicing brevity and creativity.

The collaborative portion of the game is particularly valuable as it fosters group cohesion by requiring participants to build upon each other’s ideas and consider alternative viewpoints in order to improve their chances of survival on the hypothetical island. This exercise can help enhance communication, critical thinking, and decision-making skills within a team setting, all while promoting an enjoyable atmosphere.

In addition, I like that this activity is adaptable for various group sizes, ages, and settings, making it suitable for different environments and participant demographics. Overall, the Cast Away icebreaker offers a valuable opportunity for participants to strengthen their relationships and teamwork abilities through an engaging and thought-provoking scenario.

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Tips for making Cast Away more inclusive

  • Tip: Use open-ended prompts Allow participants to bring any object they want by using open-ended prompts instead of limiting them to typical survival items. This encourages creativity and helps people share their unique perspectives.

  • Tip: Consider accessibility Ensure the activity is accessible to all by considering different abilities and needs. For instance, provide alternatives for those who may have difficulty verbalizing or writing their ideas.

  • Tip: Emphasize cultural relevance Encourage participants to bring objects that represent their culture, background, or personal identity. This can help create a more inclusive environment and foster cross-cultural understanding.

  • Tip: Promote active listening Make sure everyone in the group listens to and values each other’s contributions. Encourage active listening by having participants repeat or summarize what others have shared.

  • Tip: Use respectful language Be mindful of the language used during the activity, avoiding assumptions or biases based on gender, race, culture, or ability. Create a safe space where everyone feels comfortable participating.

  • Tip: Encourage collaboration Highlight the importance of teamwork by emphasizing that the group’s combined efforts will lead to better survival chances. This encourages participants to work together and value each other’s input.

  • Tip: Reflect on the activity After the groups have presented their ideas, facilitate a discussion about what participants learned from one another. This can help reinforce the importance of inclusivity and collaboration in team building activities.

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Reflection questions for Cast Away

  1. What motivated you to choose the object you brought to the deserted island? This question can help participants reflect on what drives their decisions and why they value certain items over others.
  2. How did it feel to share your object and reasoning with the group? By asking about their emotions, facilitators can gauge how comfortable participants are with opening up and sharing personal thoughts in a team setting.
  3. What was your impression of other people’s objects and reasons for bringing them? This question encourages active listening and empathy, as participants consider the viewpoints of others in their group.
  4. How did your group collaborate to improve survival chances with combined items? This question can help facilitators assess the teamwork skills of participants, including communication, problem-solving, and creativity.
  5. What did you learn about yourself or others during this activity? Reflecting on personal insights gained from the activity can foster self-awareness and strengthen interpersonal bonds among group members.
  6. If you could do this activity again, would you bring a different object? Why or why not? This question encourages participants to think critically about their initial choices and consider alternative options, promoting flexibility and adaptability.

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About the author

Jon Zajac

Jon Zajac

Founder & Chief Icebreaker

I started Icebreaker Spot because I truly believe that strong connections are the foundation of successful teams. I wanted to create a platform that would make it easy for people to find and share icebreakers and team building activities, empowering them to build trust, foster collaboration, and ultimately, achieve greatness together.

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