Number Slide

Type of Initiative: Communication-Cooperation Activity

Idea given by:  Christy Price

Published in:  Playing With A Full Deck, by Michelle Cummings

Props Needed:  playing cards

Group Size:  3-20 people.   Three to four groups of 3-5 people works best.

Setting up the Cards:  Separate the cards, (by suit is the easiest way), the Ace-Jack will be used in this activity.  Explain that Ace=1 & Jack = 11 in this activity.  The cards should be placed on the floor in four rows with three cards each, except for the last row which will only have two cards, (make sure they are NOT in numerical order).  If more than one group is doing the activity, I put them all in the same order so all is equal to begin, as most groups become competitive, although that is NOT part of the directions!

Playing the Game:

  • The goal of the game is to put the cards in order 1-11 by sliding cards into the empty spot.
  • The cards may only slide up/down or left/right, (not diagonally).
  • Only one card may be moved at a time.
  • Each group member must move at least one card.

Process:  Do not answer questions about “which” order.  I often put the Ace in the last spot (row 4, spot 2).  Most groups spend time moving the Ace to the first row, first spot, (as that is the way we read, so the assumption is that must be where to start.)

With three or four groups playing together, at least one does it a different way, (with the ace in the 4th row, or working vertically, or with an “s” shape).  This will lead to great debriefing.

Debriefing Topics:


  • Why did all groups not come up with the same solution?
  • Did the directions say the “order” was 1-11 had to be left to right, top to bottom?


  • Did anyone in the group try to do it a different way?  What was the reaction of the group to that person’s ideas?


  • Was it a race?
  • In what ways were you competing against other groups?
  • How did that add to the pressure?

Note:  This is like the game typically found as birthday party favors, but using only 12 “slides” versus the 15 pictured below.

Learning styles utilized from the 7 Kinds of Smart:  ~logic smart, people smart, picture smart

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