Custom Built Team Building and Leadership Initiative Training

Pipeline – A Classic Team Building Activity

Pipeline

Project Adventure’s Pipeline is a classic activity that will encourage your group to work together to achieve a common goal. Pipeline teaches your group that each participant has a part to play and is important to the overall success of the team.

Paradigm Shift

Number of Participants: 5-25 with the traditional Pipeline set.

Time:  20-25 minutes

Activity Level:  Moderate

Props:  Project Adventure’s Pipeline Kit: Includes Pipes, Webbing, “Eggs” – Marbles, Golf Balls, Ping Pong Balls

Objective:  To transport the eggs from their nest, down the trail, and into their safe haven – the pipe.

Set Up:

Place the “eggs” into the lid of the Pipeline Kit. Unwind a 25-50’ rope from the lid across the room ending at the pipe. Make the rope line about 10 feet longer than the length of the participants if they were lined up in a straight line.

Description:

This activity works best if related to the group via an incredibly story. I always tell the group that they are special scientists who are a traveling to a far away land to save a nest of very special eggs. These eggs belong to the Riverhawk, a rare and endangered species. These birds are rare due to the fact that they have very fragile eggs. Eggs that can only be transported by special tools that the group of scientists invented (the pipes). However, the eggs can only be transported in their special pipes if the scientists observe some simple rules. (See below). If these rules are broken, the eggs are returned to the original nest, and must be transported from the beginning.

  • Rules:
  1. The pipes may never touch each other.
  2. The eggs must never touch any part of the participant.
  3. Once in a pipe, an egg can never move backwards. It must always move towards the pipe at the end of the rope.
  4. If a participant has an egg in their pipe, that participant can not walk around the room.
  5. The pipes can not touch each other.
  6. The eggs follow the trail prepared by the facilitator.
  7. The trail and nests can not be moved.

The scientists’ special task on this adventure is to move these eggs as a group using the pipes given. They must follow the rules and must follow the trail. The eggs are being moved from the original nest to the safe haven (the pipe).  I will then give each participant a pipe of their choice and will encourage them to spend some time brainstorming ideas. When the group is ready, the facilitator will place an egg into the first participant’s pipe, and will let the adventure begin.

Variations:

  • For large groups, use two pipeline kits, and have the participants follow two separate paths that lead to the same pipe.
  • Make the rope trail curvy or include obstacles in their path.
  • Attach a point value to every egg they successfully move to the final nest. Make this a timed activity and see how many points the team can accumulate in the time period.
  • Each group is different, so feel free to alter the rules to match your group’s physical and emotional levels.

Questions for discussion:

  • What steps did the group follow to complete the activity?
  • Did the group allocate adequate time for pre-planning the activity? What pre-planning steps did the group take?
  • What ideas did the group find to be the most successful to complete the activity? Which participants developed the ideas?
  • What adjustments were made when using the different eggs?
  • How did the group communicate during the activity?
  • Did any members of the group take charge? Who? How?

Facilitator Notes:

  • This activity can relate to many objectives for the group. Pipeline is an excellent communication, team-building, and problem-solving activity. Focus on the positive aspects of the team.
  • Some teams quickly understand and efficiently complete Pipeline. Other teams self-destruct and Pipeline becomes very difficult. Overall the activity is fun and very well liked by the majority of participants.
  • You can purchase or create your own Pipeline Kit. I would encourage you to buy the kit from Project Adventure because at $55 it is typically cheaper than making your own…even though I have seen people use pool noodles as the pipes and they swear by it.

I hope you enjoyed this post…below is a video of some kids in Africa playing Pipeline. I hope you get the real importance of Pipeline while watching these participants laugh and celebrate together.

Ryan Eller
Founder, Paradigm Shift
ryan@myparadigmshift.org

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2 responses

  1. Hey Ryan, nice flow you’ve got going here with Paradigm Shift. Keep it up!

    One variation I would add to your already great list is to incorporate the use of Hotwheels, Matchbox Cars or the like. Add a few cars to the collection of rollie objects or use these styling diecast cars exclusively. Having a variety of cars (shapes, sizes, appearances, etc.) enhances the experience and ultimately the learning.

    Typically the cheapest way to acquire these cars is to borrow them from your kids or find a stash at a yard sale, garage sale, or on Craigslist.

    Happy Pipelining!

    January 16, 2013 at 10:01 am

    • I played Talledega Nights with Ryan McCormick at PA. Awesome variation. Thanks for the feedback bro.

      January 16, 2013 at 10:03 am

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