Saturday, December 24, 2011


Monday, October 31, 2011

Game of the Month: Are you my leader?

In the spirit of Halloween, we decided to post an activity that could be 'scary' for some!  This one requires total trust in your group!

Materials: Blindfolds for half of your group

Goal: To put your trust in your group as you are lead through a trust walk, without knowing who is leading you!


- Divide your group in half and blindfold half of the group.
- Have the blindfolded participants stand in a line side by side.
- The other half of the group will now choose partners by forming a line facing the blindfolded players and standing in front of the partner they have chosen.
- The leaders now guide their blindfolded partner on a trust walk by allowing them to hold their arm.
- Only the blindfolded player may talk - the leader/guide must remain silent the entire time.
- Encourage the leaders to try and guide their partners around different objects.
- After a few minutes, call "FREEZE!" and then ask the leaders to guide their players back to the start line.
- The leaders should then form their line, but this time they should mix up the order of their line so that they are NOT standing in front of their partner.
- The blindfolded players can then remove their blindfolds.
- Now have the blindfolded players try to guess who their respective leaders were.  It is always interesting to ask them how they figured it out, or why they made the guess they made.
- Repeat this process for the other half of the class.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Game of the Month: Fear Field

Talk to your kids/class about enacting courage.  Here's a great game to get you started...

Materials: One small piece of paper per participant, One blindfold

Goal: To have players make their way through all the fears in "The Fear Zone", discussing them as we encounter them.


  • You will need an open space of approximately 10' x 15'
  • Split your group into smaller groups of approximately 4-6 participants per group
  • Have each participant sit separately to write a different fear on each of their three pieces of paper (the fears can be anything they fear in life, at school, etc.)
  • Crumple each piece of paper into a ball and randomly spread them out in the 10' by 15' space
  • Pick one group to start this challenge, from that group you will pick 1 player to be blindfolded and the other players to stand around the perimeter of the open space (aka "The Fear Zone")
  • The blindfolded player must walk through The Fear Zone, attempting to avoid all of the fear balls of paper.  His/her teammates will give verbal directions from their positions around the perimeter of The Fear Zone.
  • If the blindfolded player steps on one of the fear balls, that player must stop, take off his/her blindfold, pick up the ball that he/she stepped on and read it out loud.
  • The parent/teacher should now lead a discussion about that particular fear, survey the group to see if others share this fear, and be sure to compliment those for having the courage to share their fears.
  • Pick another group to repeat the process.
  • Continue with this for as long as you see fit.
Discussion Tips:
Here are some suggested points/questions for your discussion:
  • Just talking openly about fears is courageous
  • When did those first experience the fear they wrote down?
  • What are different ways to begin to face your fear?
  • Are we born with courage or can we learn it?

This activity has been adapted from the Dynamix Family Challenge seen in Character Is The Key by Sara Dimerman.

Getting the most from your Positive Reinforcements

An incredible lesson we learned years ago at Dynamix is the power of Positive Reinforcements.  In a post earlier this month we pointed to Positive Reinforcements at The Key Ingredient to Group / Classroom Management.  But like any other strategy it must be used properly and deliberately to get the full affect.

It seems intuitive that it will be easier on you, as the educator, and the participants if you were to say "Thank you for sitting quietly" rather than yelling "Everyone sit quietly!!!"  This is what Positive Reinforcement is all about.  Too often educators will focus on the 10% of the group making the wrong choices, when 90% of making the right choices and are even MORE deserving of your attention.

The best way to keep positive behaviours reoccurring is to reinforce the specific behaviours/choices as they occur.  This will give the children a clear picture of what your expectations are, and how they too can get your positive attention.

To get the most from your Positive Reinforcements you must be SPECIFIC.

Being specific is what tells not only that child, but the entire group what your expectations are.

It is the difference between:
-1- "Good job Mike!",  and
-2- "Good job Mike, I love the way you are sitting quietly waiting for us to begin."

In reinforcement #1 above Mike will feel good about himself and may continue to try and please you.
In reinforcement #2 above Mike, and everyone within earshot, will learn what behaviours are expected of them and how to get your positive attention (which they all desperately crave!)

Remember, all behaviours that you want repeated must be praised.  Don't sit back and wait for them to happen.

Good luck and stay positive!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Get on the same page... literally!

Have you ever had those moments where you and your teammates just didn't seem to be on the same page?  Those times where, even though everyone had the best intentions in mind, you seem to be moving in completely different directions?  Well it's time to get your team on the same page!

Earlier today we shared this tip (via @getdynamix on twitter)
TeamTip 27: Clearly define and state your team goals, and work together to achieve your common goals. #teamwork

Of course, this is easier said than done!  So to take this tip to the next step, I suggest you get your team, literally, on the same page.  Have a team meeting, bring out a large sheet of paper, and clearly define in writing what your major objective or goal is at that moment.  Have everyone sign the page and post it on the wall.  Doing this will:  (A) serve as a great reminder of what you are ALL trying to achieve TOGETHER, and (B) create more accountability for everyone on your team to play a part in achieving that goal.

Good luck to you and your team!!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The key ingredient to Group / Classroom Management

Even if you are the absolute master in your subject area, your vast knowledge could never be transferred to a group of students who are out of control.  So how does one manage the group in an effective way?  Of course, there are MANY strategies and techniques one could use.  We, at Dynamix, feel that there is one -very underutilized- approach that is the key ingredient to Group / Classroom Management:  Positive Reinforcements.

If used properly, Positive Reinforcements can be a game changer!

Earlier today we tweeted the following tip via @getdynamix:
Stay Positive: thank a #child who is doing the right thing instead of reprimanding one who is doing the wrong thing.
This simple tip, if used consistently can be incredibly effective.  Let's use an example to better illustrate how this works and why it is so effective.

Situation: You are working with a group of 20 students.  As you are giving your instructions for what the students are to work on next, 2 students are talking to each other and not giving you their attention.

The Traditional Approach:
Time and time again, we see educators stop giving their instructions, and immediately address the two students speaking out of turn and asking them nicely to pay attention.  This may correct the problem in the short term, but there are other factors at play here.  The message we've just sent to the class, is that even though 90% of the class is doing the right thing, and only 10% of the class is choosing to misbehave, that 10% will command my attention.  With this message presented, you are more likely to get other students starting to speak out of turn to get the same attention from you.

Using Positive Reinforcements:
So, how do we flip things around, and give our attention to the 90% of the class doing the right thing instead?  That's easy!  Start thanking those students doing the right thing.  Make a clear and public acknowledgement to those making the right choices.  If you do this properly, you will be sending a message to those making the wrong choice that A) those doing the right thing will get your attention first, and B) you will be giving them a clear idea of how they can make better choices, so that they too can get your attention. As soon as you see the students, who were making the wrong choice, correct their behaviour, thank them immediately for correcting their behaviour and move on!

This very simple (and positive) approach, will take no extra time from your class.  It is easy to implement, and best of all it is incredibly effective.

What other techniques are you using to maintain a positive classroom environment?  Please share with us!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Don't let this happen to you when you go back to school!

Back-to-school doesn't have to be so painful!

Reminder to students AND teachers... 
HAVE FUN going back to school!!!

All the best in the new school year!
From the Dynamix team

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Structure doesn't have to mean BORING

Posted by Mitch Zeltzer

Earlier today we tweeted the following kids tip: (via @getdynamix on twitter)
"Structure doesn't make things less fun for #kids, in fact, it creates an opportunity for MORE #fun!"

When I'm running professional development workshop for professionals in the youth sector and make this statement, participants are often puzzled by this claim.

To a lot of people, working both in and out of the youth sector, structure means;
  • Tell the kids exactly what to do and how to behave, 
  • Have everyone sitting quietly facing forward,
  • No moving, talking, laughing, or anything ending in "ing"
This, of course, would be boring and is NOT what we mean by structure!!

At Dynamix, structure means:
  • Keep things organized
  • Keep the students engaged by having them sit / stand in strategic positions
  • Use audio, visual and kinesthetic instructions and demonstrations
  • Make the experience unique and FUN
So to illustrate the difference between boring, seemingly structured and Structured the Dynamix Way, here's an example:

Situation: You've just finished teaching a lesson and would like to review the content

Option A: 
- Ask a review question
- Call on one person to answer (which by the way the only people likely to raise their hands are the ones who really understood the content, not the ones who truly need the review!)
- Ask another question
- Call on another person (or possibly the same smarty-pants!)
- And so on...


Option B:
- Split the class into groups of 4-5 students
- Provide the class with a topic of discussion
- Let the students discuss as you circulate

Review: Not too bad, but still not quite structured/creative enough to really keep ALL of the students engaged.

Option C: The Dynamix Way
- Split the class into groups of 4-5 students
- Provide each group with dice (enough for each student to get 1)
- Provide the class with a topic of discussion
- Before students start discussing, all players roll their die at the same time.  The student to roll the highest number starts the discussion.
- Starting with that student, and moving clockwise, each student will have 1 minute to respond to the topic
- At the front of the class place a countdown timer that counts down the minute, and assign a fun action and/or sound that the rest of the students in the group are to make with the student's turn is over
- Pick a new topic and repeat the process

Review: More structured, more accountability, more fun!

There are tons of examples and situations out there where you can apply the same logic and creativity.  You just have to look for them and try different things out!

Stay structured and have FUN!!!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Strengthen connections by getting to know one another... the fun way!

Posted by Mitch Zeltzer

For most kids September marks the start of a new year and not January. September brings a new school year, a new class, a new set of teachers and often a new set of friends. It is our role as educators and parents to provide children with the opportunity to strengthen their connections with their peers. What's great about this is that: (A) It could be fun, and (B) We, as educators/parents, will also benefit from these strong connections, in the form of less conflict and more positive interactions.

Earlier today we posted a Team Tip on our Twitter feed it was:
"TeamTip 25: Learn something new about 3 people in your class, group, or workplace." (via @getdynamix)
Everytime someone learns something new about someone else, they strengthen their connection, it's that simple! There are tons of ways to break the ice and get to know your peers, here's one that we've suggested in the past: Be There or Be Square! (<-- Follow this link for a complete description and printable templates for the activity)

Be There or Be Square is a fun / quick activity that you can not only use to get to know your peers, but can also use as a great structure for content review and more! Simply adjust the discussion topics accordingly, and away you go!

Remember, if you have fun, so will the kids, so get in there and play with them!!

Good luck and be sure to let us know how this activity works for you!!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Teamwork... at it's best?

Posted by Mitch Zeltzer

While I LOVE the brilliant teamwork at play here, I just hope these boys also use their brilliance for something other than video games!

Happy Friday to all!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Game of the month: Reset!

It's hard to believe, but the first day of school is just around the corner. Here's a great ice-breaker to help you get a jump start on building your classroom community.
(of course there are many other great applications for this game too!)

1 index card per player
(or you can make it a bit harder for older participants by using a deck of cards)

To get to know the other players, to have fun, and maybe even to win a round or two!

If you are using the index cards, you will need each player to write his or her name on a blank index card before the game can begin. If you have multiple players with the same first name, be sure to instruct them to include their last name initial or their complete last name.

If you are using a deck of cards, you simply need to distribute one random card to each player.

  • Everyone starts with his/her card
  • On "Go!" players are to mingle around and pair off
  • Once in a pair, players should share something specific. (You might have the group share their favourite food, or the most exciting thing they did over the summer, etc. Be creative and switch up each round)
  • After players have shared information, they are to trade cards
  • Players continue to mingle sharing and trading as they go
  • After about a minute you should call "RESET!"
  • Players must now try to get his/her original card back
  • Play continues in the same manner, sharing and trading, but now if a player get his/her original card back, they quickly make their way to the front of the class and give you a high five!
  • That player is declared the winner of this round
  • Get everyone to quickly give the card they are holding to the person it belongs to and play another round, this time you can have the winner of the previous round pick the topic of discussion for the round

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Game of the month: Musical Pools

Is the heat getting to you? Here's a way to cool down that is sure to be a great time and provide tons of laughs!

Water Source,
Kiddie Pools
(Quantity will vary based on the size of your group. I would suggest a ratio of 1 pool for every 5 participants)

Goal: To be the last player remaining!

Set-up: Line your Kiddie Pools up side-by-side, and fill each one with water.

Just like classic Musical Chairs, this is a game where you want to be the last player remaining. Players start by standing around the Kiddie Pools. As the music plays, they must circulate around the Kiddie Pools -dancing is encouraged! When the music stops, everyone must get into one of the Kiddie Pools (safety tip: don't allow more than 5 people per pool). The last player to get into the water is eliminated. Continue like this until one (very wet) player remains.

Have fun!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Game of the month: 52 Pick Up!

A deck of cards, a stopwatch and a group that's ready for the challenge, that's all you need for this one!

Materials: 1 Complete Deck of Cards, 1 Stopwatch

Goal: Arrange each suit of a deck of cards in order from Ace to King, as quickly as possible!


  • Have your group start by standing in a large square (all facing the inside)
  • Scatter the deck of cards, randomly and face down on the floor, on the inside of the square
  • On "Go!" the group must attempt to collect all the cards and stand in a square formation.  At each line of the square, participants should be lined up holding the cards of a particular suit in the correct order (ace to king).
  • If you have a smaller group, you can advise the players to line the cards up on the floor instead of holding them up in their hands.
  • Time the group's performance and challenge them to try and beat their time!
Between rounds, check in with the group and ask them questions to get them thinking about their process and how it might be improved for the next round.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Game of the month: Jump Ball

Play a very active and fun game, with only 1 ball!

Materials: 1 Volleyball

Goal: To keep passing the ball for as long as possible, without breaking any of the rules

Have the group stand in a circle. (If you are in a classroom or any confined space, have a few kids play at a time.) The goal is to continually pass the ball to other participants in the circle. The catch is that you can never be touching the ball and the ground at the same time. When the ball is thrown to you, you must jump and catch it and throw it before landing.

There are a couple of ways you can play this game:

World-Record Style; Count how many passes your group can do, then try to beat your record. For larger groups, split the group into two separate circles. See which team can make the most passes.

Elimination Style; If you touch the ball and the ground at the same time, you must sit out and wait until the next game.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Game of the month: Group Juggle

Group Juggle is an oldy, but a goody!!

5-8 soft, tossable objects (e.g. koosh balls, tennis balls, scrunched up paper, rubber chickens, etc)

Goal: To juggle as many objects as possible as a group.

1. Have everyone stand in a circle. They will be throwing and catching, so it is advised that you make sure everyone is about one arm’s length apart from their neighbors.

2. The first player throws an object to someone on the other side of the circle, calling out his/her name. That person then throws the object to a third person, and so on. This continues until the object makes its way to everyone once and returns to the first player. In order to establish a sequence that will work, it is important that each player only receive the object once, and that players remember to who they threw the object to. This sequence/pattern must stay in tact for the remainder of the activity.

3. Now, with the pattern set, the leader throws the first object. As the groups masters the pattern, another object is added, then a third, then a fourth, etc.

See how many objects your groups can successfully juggle without any mistakes or drops!

Be sure to look for Teachable Moments

How does your group react to a mistake?
What are they doing to help their peers?
Are they throwing to receivers when they are not ready to receive?
Is the group blaming each other for mistakes?
Is the group looking for ways to improve?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Teamwork that makes a difference!

Click here to donate!

We, at Dynamix, have established the Dynamix Outreach Program in efforts to have a positive impact on the communities we serve and to also help in making this a better world for everyone.

The Dynamix Outreach Program aims to raise funds and awareness for several important causes.  Dynamix has supported many different charities that affect the welfare of children.  In previous years, Dynamix devoted time and energy to help JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) with their annual "Walk to cure Diabetes". Dynamix facilitators provided children with fun carnival programs and reached out into the community to raise money for this very important cause.

This year we are very excited to work with Right To Play on a project that will not only train the students of our community become confident young leaders, but will also help children in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the world.

Click here to donate!

Right To Play is an international humanitarian organization that uses sport and play programs to improve health, develop life skills, and foster peace for children and communities in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the world. Working in both the humanitarian and development context, Right To Play trains local community leaders as Coaches to deliver its programs in countries affected by war, poverty, and disease in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and South America.

You can make a difference by donating generously to any of our team members. Together, with your support, we can all help make our world a better place!

Thank you,
Mitch Zeltzer & The Dynamix Team

Click here to donate!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Game of the Month: Bandage Tag

This unique twist on tag will have your group running and laughing, simultaneously!

Materials: You don't need anything special, just an open space.

Great ready for a unique twist on tag, suitable for participants of all ages.

- Select one player to be IT
- If you get tagged by IT, you have to use your hand as a bandage and run holding the spot that was tagged. (i.e. if you get tagged on the leg, you now run holding your leg)
- Each player is equipped with 2 bandages (their hands), which means you get 2 chances to remain in the game
- (Optional Rule) To keep the game going, you can assign a “paramedic” who has to run around making a siren noise to save eliminated players, by tagging them back in the. Of course if the ‘paramedic’ is tagged by the IT, he/she has to apply his/her bandages as well.
- When enough participants are eliminated, call everyone back in and select a new IT.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Game of the month: Team Musical Chairs

This activity is fun and you can play it many times throughout the year!

The same number of desk chairs per participant minus one.
Music or noise maker (optional)

This game is like musical chairs. All of the chairs need to be placed in a circle with the seat facing outwards. All of the participants will walk in a circle around the chairs and when the music stops/time is up, EVERY participant must find a place to sit. Like Musical Chairs, in the following rounds 1 chair will be taken away before the start of each round. However, in Team Musical Chairs, no one gets eliminated. Instead, the goal is to have EVERYONE on a chair. The only rule is that every body part must be off the floor for the class to be successful in that round. This will get more and more challenging as chairs get eliminated. Challenge your class to see how few chairs they can fit on!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Game of the month: Snowman-Hangman

Have some creative fun outside by playing hangman with a snowy twist!

up to 25 Short Sticks (or something else to mark letters), Snow
(optional) Snowman materials: hat, scarf, buttons, etc.

  • This game is hangman with a snowy twist.
  • This game is to be played outside and requires a minimum of two players to play the game.
  • Like in traditional Hangman, one person, the “password selector”, will pick a word or phrase, and using branches or even simply making marks in the snow identify the number of letters in the word or phrase.
  • After the markings have been made the game can begin. The other player(s) can start guessing letters
  • If a letter is correctly guessed, the Password Selector will carve that letter into the snow at each position that letter appears in the secret word / phrase.
  • If a letter is incorrectly guessed, instead of simply drawing out a stick figure on a paper, the Password Selector will add a piece to a snowman.
  • To save time the snowman’s main parts can be built in advance, but not yet assembled.
  • If the snowman is completely built before the people can guess the word the game is over and can be restarted. (You should pre-determine how many pieces must be added for a round to be considered over. Suggested snowman parts include: head, torso, bottom, arms, eyes, nose, mouth and hat if available.)