52 Card Pick Up - new

Type of Activity:  Problem Solving

Props Needed:  Stack the Deck cards.  The 52 Card Pick Up section is located in the upper right hand corner of the cards. You need one deck for every 10 people.

Set Up:  Place all 52 cards with the image side face down on the floor or table top.  You will need lots of space for participants to move around and perform various tasks.

Activity Preparation: 

  1. Prep time needed: 5 minutes
  2. Prior to class create an open space for play. If you are indoors, put chairs around the perimeter of the room.  If you are outside, find an open space to play that is free of debris or obstacles.

Activity Directions:

  • Have the participants get into groups of 10 and stand in a circle. Include yourself in the middle of the various circles so everyone can hear you.
  • Give each group one set of the Stack the Deck cards and have them scatter them on the floor with the words face down. They should not be able to see the words on the cards. 
  • Demonstrate with one group. Tell them the name of this game is called 52 card pick up.  Ask if anyone has ever played that game before.  Explain that we have changed the rules to 52 Card Pick up and it’s now a fun game. 
  • Explain to the group that there is one job written on each of the 52 cards.
  • When you start the game, each person will walk forward and pick up one of the jobs. They must perform the task written on the card before picking up another card.
  • If you think that one of the jobs you picked up is too hard or you don’t want to do it, you may choose not to perform the task on the card, and simply return the card face down on the floor. Recognize that SOMEONE on your team will have to do that job.
  • Your card is for your eyes only. You are not to share what is written on your card with other group members.
  • The game is over when all 52 jobs have been picked up and done to the best of the group’s abilities.

Time needed:  15 minutes 

Facilitator script:  “I need everyone to get into groups of 8 people and stand in a circle.  Once everyone is in a group I’ll give the directions for our first game.  (Wait for everyone to get into a group.) Great!  Has anyone ever heard of the game 52 Card pick up?  (Most likely someone in the group has an older brother that has played this game on them.)  Josh, you’ve played 52 Card Pick Up?  How is this game usually played?  (Big brother throws cards in your face and says ’52 card pick up’…)  Wow, that’s usually not a very fun game, is it?  Well we have changed the rules to the game 52 Card Pick Up.  It’s now a very fun game.  So what’s going to happen is this, you are going to be on a team of 10 people.  We are going to scatter 52 cards out in the middle of your circle.  What’s written on these cards are different ‘jobs’ that need to be done.  In a minute when we start the game, each person will walk forward and pick up one of the cards.  They will read the card to themselves.  Whatever is written on your job card is for your eyes only.  You are not to show your card to anyone or tell anyone what you are doing.  Some of the jobs can be done all by yourself.  Other jobs may need to have help from other people, but you can’t tell anyone what you are doing.  Once you feel like you have completed your job to the best of your ability, you may put your card in the ‘Done’ pile and pick up a new card and perform a new job.  Now if you pick up one card and decide it’s too hard or you don’t want to do that job, you may put it back in the center for someone else to do.  Recognize that someone else on your team will have to do this job because the name of the game is 52 Card Pick Up, not 51 Card Pick Up.  The game is over when all 52 Jobs have been picked up and done to the best of your team’s ability.  Are there any questions?” 


Debriefing points: 

First, let the group go around and read off a few of the ‘covert’ operations that went on during the activity.  These are silly in nature, but there are many debriefing points you can relate to real life.  Here are a few pointers to ask:

  • How is this activity like everyday life?
  • How are the behaviors demonstrated in this activity like interacting in a group setting?
  • Each behavior demonstrated in this activity could relate to a behavior in the real world.
  • How can this help you as a staff member/counselor facilitator/trainer?
  • What did you learn from this experience?

Purchase from the Training Wheels store:  Stack the Deck Cards

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