Caboodle Cards Series: A Tool for Effective Team Building, Debriefing & Reflection, Round 2

Sometimes groups can get stuck in a rut when it comes to thinking up new ideas. Luckily, in round two of our Caboodle Cards series, we’ll look at activities that will help your group get those brainstorming juices flowing. Use these activities to get your team primed for optimal brainstorming power!

That’s an Even Letter Idea!

Group Size: Any, small groups of 3-6

Time: 15-30 minutes

Distribute one card to each participant. Ask participants to divide into groups of three to six depending on the group’s size. Then instruct each group to look at the letter within the colored shape located at the center of each member’s card. Every group must come up with one idea or solution for each letter present on their team member’s card within a given timeframe. The idea/solution can be a word, phrase or sentence, and it must begin with the letter on the card. If you have additional time, instruct members to come up with several ideas or solutions for each letter present in their group.


Functional Fixedness

Group Size: Any, small groups of 4-6

Time: 10-15 minutes

Divide your full group into smaller teams of four to six. Evenly distribute the deck of cards among the teams. Inform groups that one factor that often limits individuals’ ability to brainstorm novel situations and ideas is a mental state called functional fixedness. Karl Duncker defined functional fixedness as being a “mental block against using an object in a new way that is required to solve a problem.” This “block” limits the ability of an individual to move past the original purpose.

Tell teams that they will engage in a challenge that will target functional fixedness. Inform teams that there is an item listed on the right side of their cards and that each card lists a different item. Working as a group, teams should come up with four additional uses for the items on each group members’ card. Teams will earn one point for each idea they come up with. The team with the most points at the end of the specified timeframe is the winner. Debrief the activity using the following questions:

  • How has your organization or group become ‘fixed’?
  • How have you become ‘fixed’ in your role within the group? How has your focus narrowed?
  • How has your creativity been impacted? Your engagement?


There Are a Number of Solutions

Group Size: Any, small groups of 3-5

Time: 10-15 minutes

Distribute one card to each participant. Ask participants to get into small groups of 3-5 people. Inform them to note the number in the colored shape in the center of their cards. Ask groups to discard the highest and lowest number. Of the remaining cards, have groups select one of the numbers. Instruct groups to work together to come up with that number of ideas or solutions to a specified issue or challenge within a given timeframe.


Hopefully, you’re able to squeeze every last drop of brainstorming power from your groups with these activities. If you missed Round 1 of our series, check it out now! You can now also view Round 3 for more handy ways to increase engagement and the fun factor in your next meeting or training.

Don’t forget, getting your own deck of Caboodle Cards is easy; you’ll even get a guide to show you 50 different ways to use them. Order them here today!

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