Best Climbing Wall Activities for Team Building

Best Climbing Wall Activities for Team Building

Climbing wall activities can do more than build strong bodies. There are many fun activities that also develop teamwork, cooperation and communication. Here are three of our favorite climbing activities that focus on team building.

Boy throwing ball to girl on rock climbing wall

ONE HAND CATCH-N-CLIMB

Participants must communicate and cooperate to be successful in this climbing wall game of catch.

Materials Needed: Balls (one per climbing panel)  

Advance Prep: Give balls to non-climbers

Grade Level: 3 and up

Grouping: Partners/Small Group

Activity:

This activity is a fun way to add some tossing and catching challenges to the climbing experience. It requires coordination between climbers and non-climbers. The number of participants depends on the size of the climbing wall. Ideally, the activity includes one climber and one non-climber per 4-foot wide climbing panel. Therefore, if you have a 20′-wide traverse wall, this activity engages at least 10 participants.  A steady stream of climbers on and off the wall increases this number.

Position non-climbers at the edge of the mats, approximately one every 4 feet. They will be tossing the ball to climbers as they climb by. Climbers line up and start climbing one at a time from one end of the wall. When they get to a position on the climbing wall where they are across from a tosser, they should stop climbing, turn and catch the ball and toss it back. The toss can be overhand or underhand.

Since climbers are periodically stopping to catch and throw, they will have to adjust their climbing speed based on what’s happening with the climber ahead of them. Climbers should try to keep the spacing of one climber on each 4-foot-wide climbing panel.

Have non-climbers keep a mental count of how many successful catches there are and work to improve the number of catches during subsequent climbs.

After climbers have traversed the wall several time, have them trade places with the tossers.

When the activity is complete, determine a grand total to “beat” the next time the activity is done.

Variations:         

  • Try balls of different shapes and sizes.
  • For an extra challenge, have climbers position themselves higher, lower or not directly across from the tosser.

National Standards: 1,2,3,4 & 5

Grade-Level Outcomes: 

  • Nonlocomotor (S1.E7, S1.E8, S1.E10)
  • Manipulative (S1.E13,S1.E26)
  • Movement concepts (S2.E1, S2.E2)
  • Engages in physical activity (S3.E2, S3.M3, S3.M4, S3.M5)
  • Personal responsibility (S4.E1, S4.E2, S4.M1, S4.M2)
  • Working with others (S4.E4, S4.M4, S4.M5)
  • Rules & etiquette (S4.E5, S4.M5,S4.M6)
  • Safety (S4.E6, S4.M7)
  • Challenge (S5.E2, S5.M3)

Three girls rock climbing with arms linked with plastic hoops.

HULA HOOP HAVEN

A great cooperative climbing challenge that requires climbers to communicate and work together.

Materials Needed: Hula Hoops

Advance Prep: None

Grade Level: 3 and up

Grouping: Partners/Small Group

Activity:

Climbers make their way across the climbing wall with arms linked by a hula hoop. This requires climbers to adjust their speed and communicate so that they remain linked by the Hula Hoop for their entire climb. If they become separated, they should stop and climb down from the wall and start over. After partners have had success with this activity, try it again with three climbers and two Hula Hoops. If that goes well, try with four climbers and three Hula Hoops.

Variations:

  • Challenge climbers to complete the activity without speaking.
  • Time the activity and work towards faster times, while still making safety a priority.

Teaching Tip: For safety reasons, do not have more than four climbers attempt this challenge.

National Standards: 1,2,3,4 & 5

Grade-Level Outcomes: 

  • Nonlocomotor (S1.E7, S1.E8, S1.E10)
  • Manipulative (S1.E13,S1.E26)
  • Movement concepts (S2.E1, S2.E2)
  • Engages in physical activity (S3.E2, S3.M3, S3.M4, S3.M5)
  • Personal responsibility (S4.E1, S4.E2, S4.M1, S4.M2)
  • Working with others (S4.E4, S4.M4, S4.M5)
  • Rules & etiquette (S4.E5, S4.M5,S4.M6)
  • Safety (S4.E6, S4.M7)
  • Challenge (S5.E2, S5.M3)

 Girl climbing on a climbing wall while blindfolded.

CLIMBING IN THE NIGHT

Participants climb the traverse wall while blindfolded in this advanced-level climbing activity.

 

Materials Needed: Blindfolds, or large handkerchiefs, one per partnership

Advance Prep: None

Grade Level: 4 and up

Grouping: Partners

Activity:

Prior to beginning, review proper spotting technique with participants. Next, divide the group into two-person teams. One person is the blindfolded climber and the other is the sighted guide. The sighted guide starts the activity by carefully leading the blindfolded climber to the start of the wall. Through a series of verbal instructions (see tips) given by the sighted guide, the blindfolded climber gradually makes his/her way across the Traverse Wall. The sighted guide is responsible for the physical safety of the climber; therefore it is imperative that accurate information is clearly communicated and that constant attention is given to the climber. At all times, the sighted partner should remain close to the climber, spotting and making sure that the climber never climbs above the three-foot height limit. When the climber reaches the end of the wall, the guide should help him/her climb down. Partners then switch roles.

Variations:

  • To decrease challenge, have climbers close their eyes (no blindfolds) and give them three strikes, or three opportunities to open their eyes during the activity.
  • Before the activity begins, have participants predict which role will be more challenging—climber or guide. After the activity, discuss the actual outcomes. This also makes for great journaling.

National Standard(s): 1,2,3,4 & 5

Grade-Level Outcomes: 

  • Nonlocomotor (S1.E7, S1.E8, S1.E10)
  • Movement concepts (S2.E1, S2.E2)
  • Engages in physical activity (S3.E2, S3.M3, S3.M4, S3.M5)
  • Personal responsibility (S4.E1, S4.E2, S4.M1, S4.M2)
  • Working with others (S4.E4, S4.M4, S4.M5)
  • Rules & etiquette (S4.E5, S4.M5,S4.M6)
  • Safety (S4.E6, S4.M7)
  • Challenge (S5.E2, S5.M3)

 

 

 

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