1 x fan per person, eg paper plate, cardboard, folder
Divide your group into two (or more) teams.
Within a large, open space, designate a goal area for each team.
Supply each person with a fan of some type, eg paper plate, cardboard, folder, fly swatter.
For each team, place one (or more) table tennis balls at opposite ends of the space from their goal.
When ready, each team uses the wind of their fans to blow their table tennis ball(s) to their designated goal.
Nothing (person or fan) is permitted to touch a table tennis ball at any time.
Players from an opposing team are permitted to alter the course of the other team’s ball(s) but never touch it or another person.
Play two or more rounds of fives minutes each.
Acknowledge the team with the most number of goals.
How To Play Narrative
This is a great activity with a lot of options for variations. It is best played in a large open area that has a surface on which a table tennis ball can roll freely.
To start, divide your group into two or more teams. Give every person some thing or device which they can use as a fan, eg school folder, piece of cardboard, paper plate, fly swatter, hand-held fan, etc.
Clearly designate two sets of goals using portable soccer goals, chairs, cones or masking tape. Locate these goals in the middle of opposite sides of the playing area.
Starting from the end opposite their own goal, present each team with one or more table tennis balls directly in front of them. When ready, explain that their objective is to get as many of these balls into their goal in the allocated time.
To govern fair play, it is often necessary to describe a few parameters:
Only the wind generated by a fan can move a ball, ie nothing – a person or a fan – is allowed to touch the ball.
Players from opposing teams are entitled to alter the course of their opponent’s ball at any time.
No physical contact is permitted between players at any time.
If physical contact is made with another team’s player or their ball, feel free to levy a penalty appropriate to your group and situation, eg 30-second time-out.
Once all of this has been understood and agreed to, it’s time to get started.
Play two or more rounds of 2 to 5 minutes each.
The team with the most number of goals wins.
Practical Leadership Tips
Yes, you can play this outdoors. Be aware that you will need a smooth surface (parking lot?) and if it’s a windy day, look out.
In my experience, table tennis balls do not take kindly to being stepped on. To this end, have a bunch of extras up your sleeve.
Boundaries are generally not required because if a team wants to travel a long way from their goal, that’s their prerogative.
Sometimes an individual or a fan makes unintentional or inadvertent contact. Judge these incidents based on their merit and apply a penalty if deemed necessary.
You could integrate Mighty Wind as part of a well-designed SEL program to develop your group’s ability to make caring and constructive choices bout personal behaviour and social interactions across different situations.
Specifically, this activity offers ample opportunities to explore and practice the following social & interpersonal skills:
Anticipating & Evaluating the Consequences of One’s Actions
Promoting Personal & Collective Well-Being
You can learn more about SEL and how it can support character education here.
Health & Wellness Programming
There is no specific health & wellness perspective to this activity other than promoting the benefits to one’s wellbeing of cooperating with others to solve a complex problem.
In a small way, you could argue that the focus required to interact and solve problems with others may speak to the benefits of having developed a set of supportive and healthy behavioural norms in advance. Or, if not, you could use these less-than-desired interactions or outcomes to explore what sorts of behaviours your group would prefer to see. For example, you could invite your group to reflect on the behaviours which create the most conducive environment in which to generate innovative ideas and teamwork.
If you can think of more explicit ways in which Mighty Wind could be purposefully integrated into a health and wellness program, please leave a comment at the base of this page.
Mighty Wind Switch: Periodically call “SWITCH” to instruct each person to hold the fan in their other (non-dominant) hand. You can also add the command “BOTH” which will instruct everyone to hold their fan with both hands.
Free For All: Invite each team to create or supply their own fans. This can be a highly inventive experience. Just be prepared to address the typical calls of ‘That’s unfair’ from opposing team members.
Mighty Wind Foosball: Provide each person with a gym spot and permit them (or the team) to place it permanently anywhere within the space. Then, during play, each person must always have at least one foot on their spot. This clearly will restrict the movement of every person, but will also encourage collaboration and team play.
Mighty Wind Relay: Create a simple course around which each participant must blow the ball or just have them go back and forth across a playing area with each person taking a turn.
Fight The Wind: Take a look at Striker for another team-based competition involving a ball that is easily influenced by the wind.