What is Newspaper Tower Challenge?
The Newspaper Tower Challenge is a fun and engaging icebreaker that encourages teamwork, creativity, and coordination among participants. The purpose of this activity is to build the tallest tower possible using only newspaper and tape, within a given time frame. This makes it an excellent teambuilding exercise for groups of six to fifteen people, who are divided into teams and tasked with designing and constructing their towers using only the provided materials. The team that builds the tallest tower wins the game, but the challenge can also be judged based on artistic design and creativity for a more holistic evaluation. Overall, the Newspaper Tower Challenge is an effective way to promote communication, collaboration, and problem-solving skills among participants.
Rules for Newspaper Tower Challenge
- Divide the main group into teams of 2-4 people.
- Give each team an equal pile of newspaper and a roll of tape.
- Set a timer for 5-10 minutes and signal when the teams can start building.
- Teams must only use newspaper and tape to build their tower.
- No other supplies, such as glue or staples, are allowed.
- Once the time is up, all teams must stop working on their towers.
- The tallest tower made solely of newspaper wins the game.
- Any tower that falls over before being judged cannot be repaired or rebuilt.
- For a harder game, use less (or no) tape.
- Alternatively, you could judge based on a point system that gives credit for artistic designs and creativity as well as the height of the tower.
Materials needed for Newspaper Tower Challenge
- Newspapers: Gather as many newspapers as possible for building the towers. Be sure to recycle them!
- Timer or stopwatch: Use a timer or stopwatch to keep track of the building time for each team.
- Rolls of scotch tape: Provide rolls of scotch tape for teams to use in the construction of their towers.
- Measuring tape: Use a measuring tape to measure the height of each completed tower and determine the winner.
Setting up for Newspaper Tower Challenge
To set up for the Newspaper Tower Challenge icebreaker activity, you will need to do the following:
- Collect a large number of newspapers and separate them into equal piles. If you are unsure of the group size, create several extra piles as spare copies.
- Divide the main group into teams, making sure that each team has between 2-4 members. For a team-building exercise, consider larger teams to encourage communication and interaction.
- Give each team an equal pile of newspapers and a roll of tape. Be sure to have some spare newspapers on hand in case they are needed.
- Set up a timer or stopwatch for the designated amount of time (5-10 minutes) and explain the rules of the game to the participants.
- Ensure that there is enough space for each team to work on their tower without interfering with other teams.
- Prepare a measuring tape to measure the height of each completed tower.
How to play Newspaper Tower Challenge
- Collect and separate newspapers: I collect as many newspapers as possible in advance and separate them into equal piles. Each pile will be used by a team to build their tower.
- Divide the group into teams: I divide the main group into teams, making sure each team has between 2-4 people. If this is a team-building exercise, consider larger teams to promote healthy communication and interactions.
- Give each team supplies: I give each group an equal pile of newspaper and a roll of tape, ensuring there are spare newspapers in case any team needs them.
- Set a time limit: I set my timer for 5-10 minutes or prepare my stopwatch. When the time comes, I signal to all teams, allowing them to start building their towers using only newspaper and tape.
- Inspect and measure towers: Once the designated time expires, I instruct all teams to immediately stop working on their towers. I then go around and inspect each tower, measuring their height to determine the winner. Additionally, I ensure that only newspaper was used with no other supplies.
- Determine the winner: The team with the tallest tower using only newspaper and tape wins the game. For a more challenging version, consider limiting or removing the use of tape or incorporating a point system that rewards artistic design and creativity as well as height.
Benefits of Newspaper Tower Challenge
- Builds Communication Skills: I often find that the Newspaper Tower Challenge encourages team members to communicate effectively with each other. They must discuss their ideas, negotiate roles, and coordinate efforts in order to build a successful tower. This transferable skill can greatly improve collaboration in the workplace.
- Encourages Creativity: The challenge allows participants to think outside the box and explore different design methods. By encouraging creativity, I’ve observed that individuals become more engaged and motivated throughout the activity.
- Promotes Problem Solving: When faced with obstacles during construction, team members need to work together and come up with innovative solutions. This fosters critical thinking skills that are essential for success in various aspects of life.
- Enhances Collaboration: The game’s structure requires participants to collaborate closely, which can help build trust among team members. As they rely on one another to achieve a common goal, stronger relationships form and morale improves.
- Develops Time Management Skills: With a set time limit, players must strategically plan their actions to maximize results. This helps participants develop a sense of urgency and prioritize tasks effectively – skills that are highly valuable in professional settings.
- Boosts Self-Confidence: As individuals contribute to the team’s success, they gain confidence in their abilities and feel valued by their peers. This increased self-esteem can lead to higher job satisfaction and overall well-being.
- Provides a Fun and Engaging Experience: Lastly, the Newspaper Tower Challenge is simply an enjoyable way for participants to connect and have fun together. By creating a positive atmosphere, I’ve noticed that people are more likely to engage in other team-building activities and foster a strong sense of camaraderie.
Skills built with Newspaper Tower Challenge
- Teamwork: By working together in small teams, players must communicate and collaborate effectively to create the tallest tower possible within the time limit.
- Creativity: Players are encouraged to think outside the box and come up with innovative designs and building methods using only newspaper and tape.
- Problem-solving: Teams may encounter challenges during the construction process, such as weak structures or uneven towers. They must use critical thinking and creativity to find solutions and keep their tower standing.
- Time management: With a limited amount of time to build their tower, players must prioritize tasks and work efficiently to make the most of their time.
- Fine motor skills: The physical act of rolling, folding, and taping newspaper requires hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.
- Competitive spirit: Building the tallest tower fosters a healthy sense of competition among players, encouraging them to strive for their personal best and cheer on their teammates.
- Adaptability: In the event of a fallen tower, teams must quickly adapt and find new strategies to rebuild and improve upon their initial design.
Why I like Newspaper Tower Challenge
I enjoy the Newspaper Tower Challenge icebreaker because it encourages creativity, coordination, and teamwork among participants. I appreciate that this activity can be adapted for different age groups and group sizes, making it flexible for various settings. The simplicity of the materials needed also makes it a cost-effective and eco-friendly option.
The Newspaper Tower Challenge is an excellent icebreaker because it fosters healthy communication and collaboration within teams as they work towards a common goal. I find it engaging to see how different groups approach the task, utilizing various design methods and strategies to build the tallest tower possible.
Additionally, this icebreaker can serve as a valuable team-building exercise by promoting problem-solving and critical thinking skills. The time constraint adds an element of excitement and competition, making it more enjoyable for participants. Furthermore, the optional point system encourages creativity and artistic expression, allowing teams to showcase their unique ideas and designs.
Overall, I like the Newspaper Tower Challenge icebreaker because it is an entertaining, engaging, and versatile activity that promotes teamwork, communication, and creativity among participants.
Tips for making Newspaper Tower Challenge more inclusive
- Provide visual aids and clear instructions in multiple formats: By offering visual aids like illustrations or diagrams, as well as reading the instructions aloud, you cater to different learning styles, making it easier for everyone to understand the activity.
- Encourage communication and collaboration: Make sure all team members are involved in the building process by assigning specific roles or tasks. This helps ensure that everyone has a chance to contribute and feel included.
- Offer adaptive options for physical abilities: If some participants have mobility issues, allow them to be involved in other ways, such as designing the tower, directing teammates, or creating a stable base.
- Promote a welcoming environment: Use positive language and create an atmosphere where everyone feels comfortable sharing ideas and making mistakes. Encourage respectful interactions among team members.
- Consider diverse cultural backgrounds: Be aware that some participants might have limited experience with the materials used in this activity, so be prepared to offer extra guidance or alternative methods for tower construction.
- Acknowledge individual contributions: Publicly recognize each participant’s unique contribution to their team’s success, emphasizing how every role was essential to building the tallest tower possible.
- Provide options for language proficiency: If necessary, translate instructions and key terms into multiple languages to ensure all participants can fully understand and enjoy the activity.
- Consider age differences in groups: Adjust expectations and rules based on the age range of participants to make sure everyone has an enjoyable experience. For example, give younger participants more time or allow them to work together in larger teams.
- Encourage creativity and artistic expression: Allow participants to decorate their towers with markers, stickers, or other materials to showcase their personalities and artistic skills. This can help create a sense of ownership and pride in their creations.
Reflection questions for Newspaper Tower Challenge
- What strategies did your team use to build the tallest tower? This question can help participants reflect on their problem-solving skills and teamwork. It can also give insight into how they approached the challenge and what methods worked well for them.
- How did communication and collaboration within your team contribute to your success or challenges during the activity? By asking this question, facilitators can encourage participants to think about the importance of effective communication and cooperation in achieving a common goal. It can also help identify areas where teams may need improvement in their working relationships.
- What did you learn about yourself and your teammates while participating in the Newspaper Tower Challenge? This question invites participants to reflect on their personal experiences and growth during the activity. They may have discovered new strengths or weaknesses, or gained a better understanding of their teammates’ abilities and work styles.
- If you were to do this activity again, what changes would you make to improve your team’s performance? This question can help participants think critically about how they can apply what they learned from the Newspaper Tower Challenge to future challenges or projects. It can also encourage them to take ownership of their learning and growth.
- How can the skills and strategies used in this activity be applied to real-world situations, such as team projects or collaborative work? By asking this question, facilitators can help participants see the relevance and value of the Newspaper Tower Challenge beyond just a fun icebreaker. It can also prompt them to think about how they can use their creativity, communication, and collaboration skills in other contexts.
About the author
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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