Take One

Type of Initiative:  Energizer, Problem Solving

Submitted by:  Mary Ann Loeffler, CTRS

Source:  Playing With A Full Deck, by Michelle Cummings

Group Size:  Best played with 10 or more players.

Props needed:  Rope barrier for Cards, Deck of Playing Cards

Setting up the Cards:  Place a rope on the ground in a square.  Place the entire deck of cards face down in the square.  For large groups use multiple decks of cards.  All cards equal face value and Ace equals 1 or 11, Kings, Queens and Jacks equal 10.

Playing the Game:

Establish a starting line twenty feet from the cards. Ask individuals to get into groups of 2-4 and stand behind the starting line.  Announce a “number” (e.g. 150), which all the groups need to reach. This number will determine the way in which they may combine their playing cards.  Each group will send one member at a time to the center square to retrieve a card.  The facilitator will announce the way group members must move, (e.g. run, jump, skip crawl, walk, roll etc), to retrieve their card.  Participants will follow suit, choose one card, and return to their group using the same movement. Once they get the card back to their group they may multiply, add, subtract, or divide the numeric value of each card they take.  Then the next person will retrieve a card using the same or another movement, determined by the facilitator. If the group decides they don’t want the card, the next person in line, returns the card to the main pile and places it in the pile face down and chooses another card and returns to the group. This continues until the group reaches the goal.


  • Instead of the facilitator calling out the movements, allow the individual to decide what movements they will make each time to the center square.  Every time an individual goes out to get a card they have to move in a different way going and returning to their group.
  • Only allow a limited number of mathematical functions (e.g.  Use addition only, use addition and subtraction only, etc.)
  • Have each group come up with a “cheer” using a word, sound, and movement when they reach the goal.

Debriefing Topics:

  • How did you strategize during this game?
  • Were all of the suggestions heard?
  • Did anyone feel left out?
  • Did you discover something about another individual in your group?
  • How did you all work together?


Learning styles utilized from the 7 Kinds of Smart:  ~logic smart, body smart, music smart, self smart

Purchase from the Training Wheels store:  Playing With a Full Deck, Jumbo Playing Cards, Colossal Playing Cards, Mini Playing Cards, Round Playing Cards

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