Lay two ropes on the ground parallel to each other, about 20 feet apart. Have the campers line up on one side of the rope, and tell them that they are looking at a giant hot chocolate river. They must get thier entire team across the hot chocolate river, but it is too hot to swim across, and too deep to walk across. (Obviously, they cannot walk around the river, since it does not end just because the ropes do).

The only way to get across is by using the large, fluffy marshmallows that you provide (such as carpet squares, poly spots or paper plates).

Give the campers about eight or nine carpet squares, so that they have enough to get across with one or two left over.

Advise the group that this challenge isn't about physical abilities, but rather it is about communication. Unfortunately, the current in the river is so strong that it actually sweeps the marshmallows away if someone is not holding them down (with a hand, foot, or other safe appendage). Also, the marshmallows swell up once they are placed in the river, and they become too heavy to move again, so they must remain where they are placed.

This seems like a simple exercise, but kids, especially middle schoolers, have a lot of trouble with it. It will take a good 45 minutes for them to begin to communicate with each other, and you will probably need another set of eyes to make sure that all the marshmallows are being “anchored down.”

Possible debrief options include:

-Team Responsibility (did it matter if only a few of you made it across the river?)
-Communication (the importance of checking on the person behind you before stepping onto the next marshmallow)
-Individual Strengths and Weaknesses.


2 ropes, or other way of marking off the river's edges. 8 or 9 carpet squares, tarp pieces, or anything else to use as marshmallows.


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Submitted by: Jessica Farnham

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